What does the future hold for Mac and iPad? I mean, after all, Apple is the iPhone company, right? We’re living in the post-PC era, a spot on the space time continuum where mobile devices rule, right?
Kinda sorta mostly. Until we get glasses with lasers that can beam a 36-inch computer display onto our eye’s retinas, screen real estate still has value. We’re at a point in the mobile device era, somewhere in the post-PC era where Mac and iPad merge. No, they won’t become one. At least, not yet. What we have are two devices, two platforms, both with overlapping capabilities.
In simpler terms, what you can do on the Mac can also be done on an iPad. No, they’re not equivalent all the time, but tasks and functionality are sufficiently similar that we can see an overlap which will expand in future years.
Andrew Orlowski is high on iOS 11 for iPad Pro because it begins to mimic some of the capability of entry-level Macs.
iOS 11… transformed the iPad from a glorified picture frame into something resembling a modern computer. It was as if a brand new computing platform had fallen out of the sky.
Not quite. The progression has been an ongoing movement but iOS 11 brought features that made iPad Pro a more capable device.
Multitasking, drag and drop and file management had all been addressed. Add this to much improved hardware specs in the new Pro line, and the promise was: you could use this for most of your work – perhaps all of your work.
I love my iPad Pro and since iOS 11 debuted last year I find more ways to use it to take over Mac functionality. The screen size is comparable to an entry-level MacBook or MacBook Pro. It’s as fast as either at most tasks, including video editing. There are more applications available for iPad Pro than for the entire Mac line, though macOS High Sierra is home to a variety of professional-level applications not found on iOS. Yet.
For what most people use a Mac for each day, an iPad Pro can do the job in much the same way, though I have a few quibbles with Orlowski’s enthusiasm.
Apple’s wraparound Smart Keyboard sets the bar impossibly high. It is not much thicker than the regular Apple cover, so you’d expect compromises in keyboard quality. But the key feedback, for something so thin, is quite superb, with a nice springy feel – I didn’t get tired typing on it. And since it uses the proprietary iPad Pro port, rather than Bluetooth, you don’t have to worry about charging it, or waiting for it to connect.
No, Apple’s keyboard sucks. Alright, maybe not suck, but it feels more like a limiting device than a liberating device. I don’t like the keys. I don’t like the angle. I don’t like how heavy it gets when it becomes iPad Pro and keyboard.
The second issue has to do with what I call workflow. macOS and Mac apps have a distinct flow which is efficient and accurate, thanks to keyboard and time honored methods of dealing with files and simple things, like dropping images into apps. iOS 11 and iPad Pro are cumbersome at best; there are fewer keyboard shortcuts, and while iCloud Drive and the Files app are a massive improvement, the Finder and Open… Save… dialog box it ain’t.
Yet, here we are. It’s 2018. iPad Pro is as powerful– in some ways– as entry-level Macs. Apple’s own A-Series Bionic chip in iPhone is as powerful– in some ways– as mid-level MacBook Pro models. Mac and iPad have met and there is overlap, but thanks to power and screen real estate, both are more destined to remain brothers. Do not pity the iPad’s recent decline in sales. It still sells double what the Mac sells. It’s an enormously profitable platform. It has little competition.