As much as Apple’s CEO Tim Cook thinks an iPad could be a good replacement for a PC, he’s obviously talking about a Windows 10 PC notebook or hybrid tablet with a touchscreen because Apple would prefer that customers who need a Mac buy a Mac and buy an iPad, too. Apparently, that strategy works well because I know many people who have both, use both, but each for different purposes.
The Mac is a workhorse device. The iPad remains more of a consumption device, though the new iPad Pro models and the upcoming File application and iOS 11 will add some blur to the differences between the two.
Much of what I do on a day-to-day basis is keyboard driven. iPad Pro can use any decent Bluetooth keyboard or Apple’s own SmartKeyboard which doubles as a stand. I prefer hefty screen real estate and even with a Retina display of higher calibre, it’s just difficult to beat the iMac’s Retina 5k display which easily manages two full documents or webpages side-by-side. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro– roughly the same screen real estate as a MacBook or MacBook Pro– moves in that direction with iOS 11 which promises to bring more multi-tasking and drag-and-drop capability to match the upcoming File app which should bring a few Mac Finder-like functions to the workflow.
There it is. A new File app from Apple. It’s a placeholder now but promises to bring more Finder-like functionality to iOS in the near future.
Access and organize your files now matter where they’re located– on your device or in the cloud with Files. The Recents view displays all the files you’ve been working on lately in high-resolution thumbnails. Use the powerful Browse view to Navigate folders, organize your files with Tags, move files between folders, and search. Files also makes it easy to access iCloud Drive and third-party cloud storages services such as Dropbox and Box.
Voila! Files is like the Mac’s Finder. Kinda, sorta, mostly.
That added functionality alone goes a long way toward making an iPad Pro work more like a Mac at roughly the same weight (I did the math; good Bluetooth keyboards weigh about a pound, which makes iPad Pro, cover, and keyboard around two pounds total– not far from a MacBook or MacBook Pro).
If screen resolution is good, and it is; if you can choose your keyboard, and you can; and if app selection is higher, which it is, then why can’t an iPad be a Mac?
This is where we cry out, “It depends.” It all depends upon your needs. An iPad is a good consumption device because it’s light, has an excellent display, and half a million or so applications from which to choose, including those from Adobe and Microsoft Office. Only an iPhone is more portable.
The difference should be obvious. A Mac is a truck. An iPad is a car. Perhaps a smaller luxury car, but a car nonetheless. As a truck, the Mac can do about anything an iPad can do except park in smaller spaces. Macs can run macOS and all the powerful apps available that do not have– yet– iOS counterparts (Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Logic Pro X, Lightroom, et al), Plus, it can run Windows and most flavors of Linux and Unix (and, at the same time if you need).
The Mac is a truck. The MacBook might be a Ford F-150, but the iMac is a Ford F250, and the iMac Pro, due later this year, would be a Ford F-350. The need for such raw power is specialized, yes, but it is a need nonetheless.
Apple may be blurring the lines between iPad Pro and entry-level MacBook models, but there is less blur between iOS and macOS. Everybody gets the table stakes of Safari, Mail, Photos, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Calendar and the basic applications, but apps that do hard work, heavy lifting, and require some expertise are best left to the truck.