Why would you want an iPad to be a Mac? After all, Apple has already stated that iOS and macOS shall never meet. Perhaps not, and I definitely understand. One is a car. The other is a truck.
Besides, all it takes to turn an iPad into a Mac-like device is a keyboard, right? Uh, not so fast. Even iPad Pro has a few shortcomings which are common fare on the Mac. Think onscreen navigation with keyboard, mouse, or trackpad– vs. your finger, hand, arm, elbow, and shoulder for iPad.
Close Your Eyes
In terms of physical size, there isn’t much difference between an iPad Pro with Apple’s own Smart Keyboard and an entry-level MacBook. iPad Pro hits $1,100 while MacBook comes in at $1,299 (with similar storage options). Yeah, the Mac runs everything (Windows, Linux, etc.) but the iPad has more than half a million apps available. Take that, Mac App Store.
What I want you to do is to close you eyes and envision an iPad as a Mac-like device. That means clamshell design with detachable keyboard. Closed up, it would look like a slightly smaller, thinner MacBook. Opened up, it would look, again, like a Mac. In this case, there are two additional changes Apple needs to make to this future iPad Pro king model that would make it Mac-like.
First, the detachable keyboard. Wait. Doesn’t Microsoft already have Surface notebook tablet hybrids with detachable keyboards? Yes. As notebooks, they’re decent. As tablets, they suck. And Windows with a few touchscreen options (some I would like to see in a touchscreen Mac) are not enough to get anyone with iPad Pro or Mac to switch.
Now, this design needs to be ultra thin and lightweight and a better single design than the clumsy and ill fitting Smart Keyboard that Apple thinks is enough for iPad Pro users. It’s not.
Second, navigation controls in iOS. As the iPad is now, it’s a touchscreen device with anemic keyboard navigation options. Using a keyboard on an iPad makes you a second class citizen with iOS. So, all iOS needs is true keyboard, trackpad, and mouse support (just the keyboard shortcut support would be a big step forward) so we don’t have to navigate the touchscreen with fingers, hand, wrist, arm, elbow, and shoulder.
That’s stupid. Well, OK, it’s acceptable for a short period of time and the occasional navigation, but the whole idea of a keyboard is productivity, and a Bluetooth or Smart Keyboard is hampered because of a lack of keyboard shortcuts.
If Apple can build an iPad with a detachable keyboard with true keyboard navigation, then we’ll have an iPad worthy of the future.