Desktop + iPad?

@katiefloyd’s comments on the latest episode about how rarely she uses her MacBook Pro as a laptop and is using the iPad Pro for almost all of her portable work really hit home for me. I’ve got an iMac on my desk at home and a Mac mini at work. Most of my mobile computing gets done on a 12.9" iPad Pro, to the point that trips where I take my MacBook Pro are more the exception rather than the rule. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to put reminders in OmniFocus every few weeks to take my MacBook Pro out of the closet to run software updates and Time Machine/Backblaze.

The issue that’s sort of hanging over my head is what am I going to do when my 6 year old MacBook Pro finally gives up the ghost. I don’t use it very often, but I sometimes need to do things when traveling that require (or are much easier) with a Mac. The problem is there are so few of them now it would be really hard to pony up $2000 for a laptop I might use 3-4 times a year. Earlier this year I actually spent $230 for an Apple Authorized Service Provider to replace the failing battery in my laptop so I could put off this decision for another few years. Eventually, though, the time is going to come where I’ll have to decide whether to replace my laptop.

Any Mac Power Users out there who have remained committed to the Mac on the desktop while switching entirely over to the iPad for their mobile computing needs?


I used to be iPad only. Started out as an experiment with the iPad 2 then went full iPad with the 4 and Air 1 then with the 12.9 iPad Pro. Late last year I got a 2017 iMac for the office. I forgot how great it was. I sold my 12.9 iPad Pro and bought a 10.5 since it’s a lot easier to hold and use. The small screen size isn’t an issue since I’m not using it as much.

Today while my daughter was at gymnastics I sat in a Chick-Fil-A and worked for about 2.5 hours. I had my Apple keyboard connected to my iPad and got a lot done. When I got back to the office I opened my pages documents, reviewed them and then printed them.

It boils down to what do you do and are their apps to allow you to do them. If the apps are there then I say go for it. I’d recommend the 10.5 pro but go kick the tires on one and see for yourself. (I will admit the 12.9 is pretty awesome though!) Just remember…the iPad cant be a laptop replacement for all but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a laptop replacement for some.


I think it depends on what you are planning to do for work and your own personality.

I tried doing iPad only. But found that I like to sit at the desk, have my big 27 inch screen and do work.

Other times, I’m okay on the couch doing what I need to from the iPad.

There are also some tasks that are just faster to complete on the MacBook than the iPad.

MacBook Pro use
-photo editing
-file organization
-audio/video editing
-long-form writing

iPad Pro Use
-reviewing notes
-reviewing research
-short writing and short editing
-reading and media consumption

1 Like


I’ve done this. I use a 2015 iPad Pro 12.9 instead of my Mac laptop. I have an iMac at home. If I need to get back to use Mac power when I’m on the road I use Screens - a bit clunky, but it does work. Some stuff - especially if your work is largely text based - is just as fast on an iPad in my experience.


1 Like

Sitting with my back to my iMac I read and respond to the forum with my 10.5. Having access to both I’m an interested spectator. I’m confident it’ll sort itself out.

1 Like

Is the iPad 2018 a good dollar value? I don’t do any photo editing or use photoshop. Productivity based, eg. Omnifocus, Evernote, Airmail, OmniOutliner, Fantastical. 128 GB I think would be needed. 32 GB seems a little light

Yup! I actually moved to an iMac as my main computer (bought used from an extremely reputable person who takes care of their stuff). A couple of months after that I realized I was not using my MacBook and only using my iMac and my iPad Pro. I sold the MacBook and haven’t looked back. It’s an amazing setup!

In a pinch I can use Screens on my iPad to use my iMac from the road.

1 Like

I don’t find it too much of a problem using the iPad exclusively when I travel. I tend to have my MacBook just in case I get an urgent job (after once having to do a huge proposal for a €40m project only with an iPad when I was on holiday, that was a huge challenge).

If I’m at a conference or event I find the iPad is ideal, especially with the pencil, and I can access my Mac server from my iPad anytime using VNC (and a ssh tunnel), if I really need to.

1 Like

I have an iMac 27" and a MacBook Pro, I use both of these on a daily basis even if I’m in the house. My iPad is primarily a media consumption device, I’m paralysed from the neck down so productivity on the iPad is too slow with switch control, I’m able to get so much more done on the iMac and MacBook Pro.

1 Like

Hi Rob: I need to upgrade my iPad, that I purchased in 2013. I see the iPad 2018 w/128 GB , iPad Pro, or wait until September for possible new iPad version? please let me know your thoughts & thank you

I have the iPad 2018 and it’s nice, but my one wish was more screen real estate as I use it more. I recommend if you need it now, go with a Pro. Otherwise, wait until September or November (as Apple often has 2 events in the fall).

1 Like

FWIW, yes, I have found that the best combo for me is iMac on the desk at home, and iPad Pro on the go. But, I think that it’s entirely dependent upon what it is that you commonly do. For me, it’s a good choice, because the iPad handles all my writing, which I do most of. The usual internet and email and stuff is a given. I do think though that if I were a graphic designer or pro photographer or studio musician, I’d find the iPad wanting.

My situation is, I bought the 2015 MacBook when it first happened, and the the 10.5" iPad Pro, and I tell you, I pretty much never take the laptop out anymore. In fact, I’m going to sell it to fund whatever new iPad Apple comes out with this fall.


Hi Yaakov,

The differences between the cheaper and pro are that you cannot use the smart keyboard, the screen is not quite as good, the speakers on the pro are much better and the front camera on the cheaper model is very low quality (for example, for video conferencing).

If you can live with these differences, you can save a lot by getting the cheaper model. The pencil works on both and there are Bluetooth keyboards that can make up for the lack of a smart connector.

If you decide to go with the pro, then waiting for the new model is definitely a good idea. It’s a big investment and hasn’t had a redesign for years.


Second this recommendation.

1 Like