The Mac and iPad can use keyboards, too, but only one goes all in on keyboard capability. The Mac. Apple’s new iPad Pro can perform traditional PC and Mac-like chores thanks to the crazy expensive Smart Keyboard Folio, but as a notebook it falls short.
Let’s face it. Microsoft did the only thing the company could do after it lost the mobile device wars to iPhone and Android. Do something different. The different was simple. Modify Windows enough so it could handle a few touchscreen gestures and touches, thereby turning such hybrid notebooks into lame to anemic tablets; but tablets that look great in TV commercials.
Apple refuses to bridge the gap between Mac and iPad despite a rather decent second attempt to make a useful keyboard that doubles up as an iPad cover. As any Surface or PC touchscreen user will tell you, the touchscreen is cool but isn’t something you’ll want to use often unless you’re an artist or graphic designer. As any iPad user with a Bluetooth (or, Apple’s own Smart keyboard) will tell you, the keyboard is OK for text entry, but all that switching back and forth from keyboard to fingertip, to wrist, to arm, to elbow, to shoulder is a good way to need Advil or Aleve in bulk.
This war between how a keyboard is used on Microsoft’s Surface notebook tablet hybrids and their ilk vs. how a keyboard is used on an iPad will not end soon, and is unlikely to produce a well defined winner.
Think different strokes for different folks. For many customers, the Surface touchscreen platform is sufficiently acceptable to use the device as, 1) a traditional PC notebook with keyboard, and, 2) use the touchscreen occasionally. To date, I have never witnesses a Surface user go without a keyboard, but I have many members of our school’s faculty, staff, and student body get by on their iPads without a keyboard.
Those that use a keyboard are more productive, but the tablet platform Apple developed does not make it a requirement. A keyboard is very much a requirement for Surface-like notebook tablet hybrids running Windows.
Since iPad Pro was re-introduced with a new Smart Keyboard Folio, members of the technology interwebs have both vilified iPad Pro and expressed admiration for the devices performance and capability.
See? Different strokes for different folks.
Until Apple’s next great thing can read our brains and transcribe without errors in spelling, grammar, or meaning, the keyboard will be centric to our device usage. It’s definitely that way for Mac and Windows PCs. And seems to be a dividing line between Microsoft’s vision of a notebook tablet hybrid and Apple’s vision of the tablet platform.
So far, Apple has had more success but these keyboard wars will not end soon. Apple could end it in iOS 13, due late next summer. How? Mouse and trackpad support so keyboard users are not required to move fingers and arm and shoulder just to navigate onscreen. Windows 10 customers with their notebook tablet hybrids have more keyboard options, plus trackpad, and mouse support.
Apple seems to enjoy knowing better than customers.