iPad Pro = Nintendo switch of computing? Or original Mac?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The A hypothesis. And likely not the first to think of this. 


A few years ago, Tim Cook was really pushing the iPad as a replacement for your computer, even going so far as to restrict himself to its exclusive use every day. 

Fast forward and everyone realizes that was way premature and not feasible at all. 

Apple has been down the road of artificially inflating its mobile smart device value by dumbing down software previously (FCP X, etc.) and was met with serious backlash - for good reason. 

At that time, the ARM Mac OS rumors were heating up and  there was speculation that Apple would merge the Mac and iPad. Such talk is in full swing today with the release of the m1 iPad Pro, which now shares the exact same SOC in new Macs. Same amount of RAM, etc. 

add to that the recent dumbing down of the iMac, removing the thermal envelope and space needed to add more powerful components, and it would appear that Apple is trying to force a comparison and beg the question as to the feasibility of the iPad becoming the “ultimate” Mac. No compromise tablet and no compromise computer. 

Of course, there are opportunities for Apple to add massive transistor counts to higher end SOCs in higher end devices. But one can’t help but wonder why Apple not only beefed up the iPad to such enormous degree, but also severely limited the iMac - including the form factor hardware constraints so as to eliminate the possibility of really going wild on the power. 

So... to the point: the original Mac was an all in one machine. The iMac has been the spiritual successor to that. Now, it seems, the iPad is aiming to take over that spot. 

With the M1, a keyboard and trackpad add on, and an incredibly easy to accomplish MAC OS install (fast switch to IOS when needed - or *gasp!* a universal OS that runs on all Apple devices (remember... Jobs touted the orignal iPhone as using OS X, the Mac OS), and you have a full in, full power (on the low end) Mac that is also the best tablet money can buy. 

Apple has denied they are thinking of doing this. But... that’s their M. O. and has been for a long time. 

And it just makes sense. 

The new iMac, while fun, is not compelling. The Mac mini is an iPad without a screen, so it’s inferior (does have a fab though, so it’s faster consistently), and the new laptops are basically new iPads with clamshell keyboards (though much sturdier, more stable, and easier to transport without damage). 

While I’m not in favor of Apple stifling Mac power in order to elevate iPad, it seems that they are on track to make the iPad the main lower end Mac. 

Nintendo came out with a console that does double duty. It’s a standalone portable but turns into a console when “docked” 

the iPad can basically do all of this wirelessly. Imagine a wireless monitor, keyboard, mouse, and accessories all connected to the iPad. This is basically a Mac. 

Apple may not do this with the brand new iPad Pro, but it stands to reason that by 2022, they’ll push it. 

Just need to sort out some wireless delay in video transmission. 

Plus the iPad would automatically be a second display when connected to a monitor (reverse sidecar) 

so it appears that Apple is definitely on this road. 

I think most people are not really in favor of this because it seems like their is favoritism over actual macs. 

And that is valid. Seeing the new iPad Pro basically the same performance as the new iMac, there is no other way to see it. 

But the flip side is that it may end up being an ok solution for many, while the pro series is the one with massive core counts, giant XDR screens huge RAM amounts, copious storage, and extra capabilities. 

Unless Apple handicaps even the pro tier - which is unlikely. 

The drawback then would be the form factor. No matter how good the magic keyboard, it’s a pain to use in your lap, to transport with thinking about how careful to be with it, etc. 

so I hope Apple does not hold back the cheaper lines while pushing the iPad hard.  It it looks like that may be the theme going forward. 

Haven’t seen the pro series yet (outside of the 13 MBP, which was just a friendly transition machine), but here’s hoping apple invests as much, dreams as big, and pushes as hard for specific pro Mac innovation at least as much as they have with the iPad Pro. 

They’ve pushed the iPad to be the absolute ultimate tablet. 

Still waiting for that spirit to infect the Mac and make it the ultimate computing platform for even the most demanding users. 

No compromise. Give macs the big power the required fan cooling and larger enclosures. Not iPad enclosures and lower capabilities to match. 

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 1
    thttht Posts: 4,037member
    Life isn't like Highlander. There can be more than one.

    The purpose of different form factor computers, such as a tablet, AIO, laptop and SFF desktop, is to attract different niches of the market. It's a recognition that different people prefer to use different types of computers depending on their taste and use cases. This necessarily means Apple should be trying to make the best possible version of each as they can envision. This is absolutely the right thing to do, and if anything, there are large enough market niches that Apple ignores, and maybe they shouldn't.

    For the iPad Pro, everyone wants iPadOS to be more functional and featured. Providing more features by booting a different operating system sounds like a bad idea. The proper course of action is for Apple to add features to iPadOS so that more and more people can use it for what they want to do. An overlapping, windowed UI is needed for desktop use cases where you have a large vertical monitor and keyboard/mouse input. Background multitasking is a requirement. So, Apple has a lot of work to do, and I'd rather they spend resources doing this than have macOS work on iPads.

    With all these desktop-like features, the primary input method should be multi-touch and all apps should be designed for iPads using touch. The keyboard and mouse are there for desktop usage, but all these apps have to be usable while mobile with touch. This is probably the biggest problem. Complex macOS apps are currently built using AppKit. iPadOS is UIKit. At some point in time, all the complex apps, and simpler apps, have to transition to SwiftUI, making it easier to deploy all these apps on whatever Apple OS is desired. Ie, FCP can be deployed on iPadOS or macOS with 95% the same code. This is just a long term process, and requires some push from all parties.
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