“I think Apple sees the Mac’s relevance as substantially less in 10 years than it is today and iOS as substantially more. I don’t think that means there is a whiteboard in Cupertino with the day of the Mac’s death written on it.”
Asymco’s Horace Dediu offers an explanation on who the iPad Pro is really for and how it differs from the rest of Apple’s lineup. This 9 minute video is thought-provoking and well worth your time.
In part, this is why I was so darn annoyed that the iPad Pro setup process was done in portrait mode. In landscape, the Pro feels like a computer. In portrait, I feel like I’m holding a jumbo-sized iOS device—and an uncomfortable one, at that. The setup screens haven’t really been optimized for the Pro’s size, so buttons are at far ends from one another, and the lack of landscape support means lack of Smart Connector, so you’ll be typing in all your information with the (not great) portrait software keyboard. Thumbs down all around.
I figured that Apple would’ve fixed this by now, especially since their “Smart” accessories have always put the iPad in landscape mode. That feels like the default, yet the setup process and rear Apple logo are portrait. I’d expect that the iPad Pro with a keyboard attached to the Smart Connector would realize the proper orientation. Heck, even the speakers can do it!
When it comes to input devices, I find myself heavily conflicted. My daily driver at home and work is the Apple Wireless Keyboard (2011), which is a quite nice product and has held up quite well. The scissor mechanism has always given me a faux-mechanical click that is much more pleasant to type on than the cheap rubber dome keyboards found on most PCs. It’s nowhere near the experience of beloved Cherry MX-based mechanical keyboards, but it’s also a lot smaller and cheaper. Plus, it matched the last few portable Macs I’ve owned, creating a consistent typing experience. As far as pointing devices, I gravitate towards the Magic Trackpad, as I’ve grown accustomed to the gestures and also spend a lot of time in iOS. When Apple introduced the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2, I thought I’d give both a try and see if Apple’s newest iterations deserved a spot on my desk…
There’s a narrative that the iPad is doomed as a device, mostly because industry-wide tablet sales are a bit flatter than in prior years. The Surface isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, and Google’s latest offering, the Pixel C, has a lot to prove, since Android-based tablets have mostly felt geared towards entertainment. The iPad Pro is being looked at with some skepticism, and it’s unfounded, especially with the introduction of iOS 9, more powerful apps, and the computer needs of many people…
I don’t get my job done on an iPad like Federico [Viticci] does. There’s a lot in my workflow that could be done on a tablet, but there’s a lot that can’t be.
That single word is why I feel so weird today. I look at this iPad Pro, being updated via my Mac, imagining the horses that were used to deliver materials to Henry Ford’s factory.
Typically when reading everything about a new Apple device, I like to link to a few of my favorite reviews. Unsurprisingly, MacStories didn’t disappoint, especially as Federico Viticci uses an iPad as his primary computer, not in a 50/50 split, but more of a 90/10 split:
Those who will only compare the iPad a Pro to a laptop will miss the big picture – this is a large tablet that can be used at a desk and that runs iOS. The richness of the iOS ecosystem is what sets the iPad Pro apart, and the reason why, ultimately, people like me will prefer it over a MacBook. It can be used at a desk, but it’s also portable, and it runs iOS.
I had to read this paragraph twice, not because of questioning its accuracy, but for that revelation to sink in:
We’ve now reached an inflection point. The new MacBook is slower, gets worse battery life, and even its cheapest configuration costs $200 more than the top-of-the-line iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is more powerful, cheaper, has a better display, and gets better battery life. It’s not a clear cut-and-dry win — MacBooks still have more RAM (the iPad Pro, in all configurations, has 4 GB of RAM, although Apple still isn’t publishing this information — MacBook Pros have either 8 or 16 GB), are expandable, and offer far more storage. But at a fundamental level — CPU speed, GPU speed, quality of the display, quality of the sound output, and overall responsiveness of interface — the iPad Pro is a better computer than a MacBook or MacBook Air, and a worthy rival to the far more expensive MacBook Pros.