I’ve been reading so many articles since the announcement of the new iPad Pros–as I’m sure many of you have–on this issue of whether an iPad is a computer or whether it can replace one. The debate has raged probably since the first Retina iPad. I wanted to solicit your thoughts on something I’ve been struggling with on this issue.
Two things stand out in my mind. There is the question of “can an iPad replace your laptop,” then there is the question of “can an iPad be your sole computer.” Most articles that talk about iPad replacing the laptop seem mainly debating the second question–mostly without expressly stating so. I think there is no question that if you have a separate machine, an iPad can easily replace your laptop–or serve as your laptop.
The more interesting question to address, then, is whether the iPad can be one’s sole computer. Nobody can credibly argue that it cannot be with respect to at least some categories of users. But for pro-level, tech savvy users, can iPad satisfy all of our computing needs? If not will it ever be able to and what will it take to get there?
Many of us, myself included, care deeply about this question. What I’m struggling with is why do we feel this way? Why do we feel so invested in iPad? When a computer is just a tool to accomplish our work, why do we care whether the tool is a desktop, a laptop, an iPad, or an iPhone? Why does it matter?
Should an iPad be able to be your sole computing device be able to accomplish everything you need to do on a computer? Why?
I’m not asking to be negative, but because I myself long for the day when I can do absolutely everything I need to do on my iPad without need to go to another computer to get everything done.
I like macOS a lot. I like my 15" MacBook Pro a lot, and the weight does not bother me when I travel with it. Still, I mostly use it like a desktop these days, docked in my home office and connected to a 27" display. I prefer my iPad and would like to be able to do all my work on my iPad. And, I don’t want a dumbed-down set of tools that cripple the pro-level, A class work that I do. I push my machines hard and I want computing devices that keep up with me, so I’m not looking to sacrifice powerful tools just so I can have this cool slab of glass to play with.
Certainly, you cannot answer for my personal reasons, but perhaps you have some insight into the general topic: why do we feel vested in the success of iPad as a stand-alone, completely independent computer, that can replace (if we wish) all the other computers in our lives and perform at the highest levels?
The corollary question might be, why does such a large swath of the tech press seem so vested in tearing down the iPad and pronouncing its failure as a “computer” replacement?