Not all about you: The iPad can be computer enough


Six years after the iPad’s introduction we’re still arguing over whether it’s a computer or not.

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and refurbished organ grinder monkey outlet store, Ben Sin says “Hey Apple, Stop Saying The iPad Pro Is A Laptop Replacement.”

No, you stop saying it.


Ever since Apple released its plus-sized tablet, the iPad Pro, last year, the tech giant has marketed the product as a laptop/desktop replacement.

That’s because it can be, depending on your usage. C’mon, this isn’t that hard.

Now if you’re a creative professional, like an illustrator, then I suppose the iPad Pro can really function as your all-in-one work machine.

But it can’t for me, so it isn’t a laptop replacement.

You literally just admitted it can be a laptop replacement. But if it isn’t a laptop replacement for every use case, then we must rage against the marketing machine.

But for me, and probably most people whose work requires a computer – that’s a heck of lot of jobs — the iPad Pro in its current form simply comes nowhere close to replacing an actual computer, be it powerful desktop or even budget laptops.

Of course a budget laptop can’t do everything a powerful desktop can. They’re both still computers, though, and so is an iPad. Are there tradeoffs? Yes. There are always tradeoffs. Welcome to life.

The point is not whether an iPad can do everything a laptop can. It can’t. The point is the iPad might be able to do everything you actually use a laptop for.

(Also, it should be noted that a laptop can’t do everything an iPad can, either, in terms of battery life and portability, not to mention other more esoteric benefits.)

…navigation on the iPad Pro is still done entirely via touching the screen…

Not “entirely”, but maybe more so than not.

What if you need a third window/app open? Too bad.

What if you’re using a laptop and you need crazy long battery life? Too bad.

For example, right now, I’m writing this piece on a Microsoft Word doc and chatting with a friend on gchat via Chrome. In between all this I’m jumping back and forth between Twitter (for news) and surfing the web (to find relevant links and double check information for this piece).

The human brain and the rules governing application focus dictate that you are not literally doing all those at exactly the same time. You’re simply task-switching faster. Which is pretty much exactly how the Macalope works, too. Until he really needs to get things done. Then it’s goodbye Slack, adios Tweetbot and auf weidersehen Mail. As Jason Snell noted four years ago, working on the iPad brings focus. Maybe that’s not what you want, but it’s definitely a thing that people could want.

There’s plenty to love about the device. It just can’t replace a laptop for me…

Which is fine. Apple’s jack-booted thugs will not be coming for your laptop.

…and most people.

This, on the other hand, you have not shown to be true at all.

The iPad Pro can eventually become a laptop replacement, if Apple gives the iPad Pro a separate OS from the one on the iPhone, one that isn’t entirely reliant on touchscreens.

OK, the Macalope let this go before but since you brought it up again, this is wrong. As in not factually correct. iOS is not “entirely” reliant on touch if you have a keyboard connected. Apart from certain OS-wide functions like command-tab working, apps have their own key commands. The Macalope’s current favorite text editor, Ulysses, has 13 you can see by holding down the command key.

If the iPad isn’t a laptop replacement for you, that’s perfectly understandable. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a laptop replacement for a lot of other people.

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