Can an iPad Pro replace a Mac? Sorry. It can’t be done. For me. That should sum up the differences between those who claim an iPad Pro can replace a Mac vs. those who are sure it cannot and would only allow their Macs to be removed from their cold, dead hands.
Now, that’s not to say an iPad or an iPad Pro cannot take some of my day-to-day functions away from the Mac. In fact, that’s been ongoing since the iPod debuted at the turn of the century, and accelerated with the iPhone in 2007– more functions were offloaded to the iPad starting in 2010. In other words, many Mac users have seen a slow erosion of specific tasks and functions move to Apple’s mobile devices.
I went along for the ride and I don’t have regrets. I would like to see more of the currently Mac only functions move to the iPad.
The iPhone isn’t a good device for typing, even though you can use just about any decent Bluetooth keyboard. Why is this not a good thing? Screen real estate. That’s where the iPad excels over iPhone. Versus the Mac, iPad portability is competitive, too. Yes, I have a MacBook Pro. Most of my Mac notebooks last from five to six years before becoming hand-me-downs, and they are used not on the lap– Apple no longer refers to them as laptops; they’re not– but on the desktop. That’s where a notebook belong. That makes both iPad and iPhone more mobile, hence the post-PC era.
I find the new iPad Pro models to be the most intriguing yet, and with iOS 12 (recently installed on an older iPad), more functionality from the Mac will make its way to the iPad, though mostly thanks to a full sized keyboard and the larger 12.9-inch model. The advantage is that the iPad and keyboard combo are detachable. Read Barbara Marie Brannan’s “The Ugliest iPad Is The Best iPad” to understand the value of detachable.
To be honest, a new MacBook has far more power and capability than a fully tricked out 12.9-inch iPad Pro (and with keyboard actually is heavier than entry level Mac notebooks) but mobility and usability suffer because the Mac’s keyboard is not detachable. That makes casual usage, browsing, and portability worse than an iPad. Plus, an iPad can have cellular data built-in. Not the Mac.
With the new iPad Pro models and iOS 11, Apple has once again blurred the lines between Mac and iPad. iPad applications have improved, too. No, we’re not talking Photoshop or Final Cut Pro capability, but many of the features and functions most Mac users require are available on iPad these days (Office, Pixelmator, Affinity Photo, LumaFusion, Twisted Wave, to mention a few).
Much of what we have used a Mac for over the past few decades can be handled easily by iPad and iPhone. But not everything. Apple’s ARM-based CPUs in iPad Pro rival Intel’s Inside the MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro models. But horsepower isn’t the only issue. Power applications are predominant on the Mac. Sure, everything is still point and click, much like it was more than 30 years ago, but those big iMac Retina displays are so good, so big, so useful with true double-screen capability, that moving to anything else is a move down the food chain.
That means it will be a long time before the Mac has been completely supplanted by the iPad and iPhone combo. For now, many of us use all three devices and fan out our needs and work over each, an act of courage and expense that I hope Apple’s executives appreciate as they cash in their stock options.
Will I move completely from my Macs to an iPad Pro? No. Screen real estate and power applications prevent that from happening and it’s likely to remain that way for many years to come. Will I move more functions from Mac to iPad Pro? Yes, thanks to a slightly bigger screen, and a slightly bigger and detachable keyboard. And iOS 11.
Will everything I do on my Mac eventually find its way to the iPad?
Perhaps, but I’ll be dead first.