All of us know that politicians, used car salesmen, and the media lie to us all the time. We’re used to it. Right or wrong, we discount what they say as soon as they say it. How would you feel if you knew Apple was lying to you?
Here’s the first in a series of attempts to persuade Apple customers to move in a direction that is contrary to the facts in evidence. First up, Apple TV. Apple says “The future of television is here.” No. It’s. Not. Apple TV isn’t even close to what the future of TV will be. For now, it’s a convoluted mess with promise and hype that doesn’t match the reality. What else?
The post-PC Era
Last year Apple introduced a new MacBook Pro. ‘Pro’ is a shortened version of professional. Mac professionals were up in arms for yet another Mac which had no professional level features. One cannot upgrade RAM, battery, or storage in the MacBook Pro which isn’t all that much faster, and is notably less capable than the model launched the year before. Don’t get me wrong. That MacBook Pro is a nice machine; lighter, thinner, faster, but it’s not professional class.
Before he died, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to the world and called it a sign of the times– the beginning of the post-PC era. Jobs was wrong. Mobile devices are the post-PC era, not the iPad. It’s seven years later and Apple has improved the iPad every few years and now calls the iPad Pro a Super. Computer. Is it? Can an iPad Pro replace a Mac notebook?
Well, yes, so long as your expectations are low.
A comparably sized iPad Pro with 256GB of storage and Apple’s smart keyboard weighs in at $1,298. A MacBook with 8GB of RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD storage, and a comparable screen size is priced at $1 more than the iPad Pro, yet the iPad has a slightly higher resolution touchscreen.
The iPad has more applications available to choose and use than the Mac, but the Mac can run more powerful applications, from full-on Photoshop to Final Cut Pro and Logic, as well as Windows 10 and various flavors of Linux and Unix– all at the same time. A MacBook is no slouch, but a keyboard-equipped iPad Pro can make a compelling device so long as you set your expectations appropriately.
Apple says the iPad Pro is more powerful than most PC notebooks and that’s probably true but it’s what you use on the devices and how you use them that matters most. Galen Gruman did an iPad smackdown of Microsoft Office vs. Apple’s iWork suite vs. Google G Suite.
Which of these office suites should you use on your iPad? Part of the answer depends on the functionality of the individual apps, but part depends on your greater ecosystem—namely, how your iPad productivity work fits into your overall productivity work on computers and other devices. That of course is for you to decide.
Gruman is correct, but it doesn’t matter because you can run all three with ease on any iPad. Google’s apps are free. Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are already installed on every iPad. They’re free. Most of the Microsoft Office apps are free, but can also be tied to an in-app purchase of the subscription-based Office 365 which comes with online storage and other perks.
Apple sells two to three times as many iPads as Macs so you can see why Microsoft is interested in making Office available to iPad customers. But the question is a simple one. Can an iPad replace a Mac?
The answer is a qualified “Yes” because it depends upon your requirements and expectations. With a smart keyboard the iPad is a compelling touchscreen PC that integrates well with Mac and iPhone– but at the same price as an entry-level MacBook which has more capability and more powerful applications, but fewer apps from which to choose and no touchscreen.
I’ve tried to ditch my MacBook Pro by saddling up on a few trips with an iPad Pro. The non-Mac Finder file and folder management system on the iPad is a deal breaker and at every turn I feel as if I’m going backwards, rather than improving my work. But that’s my game and it comes with 25 years of Mac experience to try to undo, iPad style. Your mileage may vary, but the caveat remains the same. It depends upon requirements and expectations as to whether an iPad works better than a comparably priced Mac.