That wouldn’t shock me at all. The iPad Pro isn’t super-heavy, but the MBA is more designed to be a single, integrated, lightweight package. Looking at it on Google, the 12.9" iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard is a little over 3 pounds, and the 13" MBA is about 2.8. So the MacBook is almost 10% lighter.
I really really really wanted to travel for work with only an IPad. But each time I do, I regret it. Returned From a business trip yesterday and took my 12.9 with Logitech keyboard case with me. Needed to prepare a presentation and it took me much much longer to do it than it would have on my Mac. Much more frustrating too. Maybe I’m not as knowledgeable about iOS as I thought or maybe the experience isn’t as simple as it should be (or both)?
I have a MBP 14 which isn’t lite but not that much heavier than the 12.9 combo above.
Next trip will be laptop and my mini for note taking.
Not worth the hassle. Sad face.
Being a Mac power user doesn’t automatically make someone a proficient iPad user. It takes time to learn a new UI and the strengths, and weaknesses, of a new OS.
I used an iPad as my primary computer for something like two months before I decided to purchase an iPad Pro. And another two or more before using it became second nature.
I’m on the road weekly now for work, tried to take the 12.9 pro along with the 14" MBP for the first couple of trips but it adds too much bulk and is really quite redundant with the MBP. My only real use case is watching media and surfing the web in the hotel, so I’ve just traded in the Pro for the mini.
I agree with @WayneG. This is a bit of a simplification but I now think if it as 2 groups of users…
People for whom the iPad cannot work because it simply does not do what they need due to hard limits of the OS. In this case, someone that needs XCode or Final Cut Pro or some specific app that’s not available. Or, they have a workflow that very specifically is not possible.
People for whom the iPad would work but they are not able or willing to learn what they need to learn to make that happen. While the foundation is the same iPadOS is not MacOS. In many ways they’ve grown closer together and old problems are gone. But it does have a different feel. I wrote a blog post yesterday exploring some of the recent iPad related punditry. And provide two examples that came to my attention just in the past week. Cases where a user threw their hands up in frustration saying something was impossible to do on the iPad. Both were wrong. And in both cases what they wanted to do was not only doable but was very easy. In one of the two it was EXACTLY THE SAME to do the task on the iPad as it was on the Mac. But this person was so convinced that it wasn’t possible they apparently didn’t even bother to look.
I see these examples come up often that Mac users have not bothered to learn how the iPad works and just quit in frustration. Or, they assume the iPad in 2023 is the same as it was in 2019 and just haven’t kept up with new features.
A third possibility is that in some cases a Mac user has a very specific workflow developed over years that isn’t possible on the iPad because details of it are Mac specific. But that likely gets into a certain app utility not being available.
A last bit I would add is that with the 13" screen being the largest, I think for some the smaller screen is a constraint. It can feel cramped. I can’t imagine working from the 11". That in itself would bother me be it an iPad or a Mac. But the 13" is the largest screen and it’s small for some tasks. Thats why having full 2nd monitor support is important and helpful.
But I suspect that for many who say they can’t do it on the iPad or say that they get frustrated it’s due to not knowing how to use it.
It’s a great read, @Denny. I’m glad to count myself among your 10 readers… or maybe I’m the 11th.
P.S. For anybody thinking that I just took a shot at Denny with that statement, I was not. I was riffing off of a line in the post.
I think you’re going to have to add some more categories of users. I love my MacBook Air and my iPhone Xs and am proficient with both user interfaces. I brought a 10.7 inch iPad home on the day it became available in April of 2010 and have tried all the sizes since. Still have an old mini and an Air on the shelf but have given all the others away to family. An iPad is simply not as pleasant or effective for me to use as my Mac. Different strokes, right?
Absolutely and no doubt I’ve simplified above… BUT…
And obviously, I’m just one person speculating about other people, but I often get the sense that some people, especially folks that are really proficient with an old school desktop computer, especially folks that tried an iPad between 2010-2018, especially folks that tried a smaller iPad… ended up frustrated.
It’s like someone used to cow’s milk trying almond milk or soy milk and expecting milk. It’s not. It tastes different. And if the expectation is milk then right off the experience is tainted.
I think that a lot of Mac users tried the iPad and were constrained, especially before the most recent years of added features. For some of them might now be a bias. Add to that other people they read or hear that are repeating some of the same and the bias is reinforced. And I point to two examples in my blog post of exactly this sort of thing that I suspect comes up very often.
And for long time Mac users, especially power users for whom the Mac is second nature, the computer that they love to use every day and with which they are so familiar that it just feels like home, well, if they try an iPad with the thought that maybe it could be their new computer/laptop… there’s going to be a period of adjustment… and who knows how long that is for each person. So many variables about how people work and adapt and learn. Some have more patience than others. Some are more particular or set in their ways, etc. Add to all of that the iPad tends to have a smaller screen, larger window chrome, etc and I think it can lead to a feeling of cramped space. Add to that different windowing. And in the past simpler apps - and it would make sense that a Mac power user would feel the friction and constraints.
But, but! I think that while some of the size constraints are still present, the big developments of the past 2-3 years are apps like Files and the other stock apps are growing into versions MUCH closer to what Mac users expect. And so there’s a set of these users who I suspect have a previously created bias that perhaps have not truly taken the time to learn the new features that have come in the past couple of versions. They assume the same constraints that are no longer present.
I mean, ultimately, absolutely everyone should use what they enjoy to use and what allows them to get things done in ways that work for them. But I think what tends to bother me is when I hear podcasters or read writers that are actually just wrong and sharing misinformation because they haven’t bothered to learn what’s possible. Because in that case they’re misinforming people and in my two examples I can only thing it’s either laziness or just previous bias.
I’m definitely old school computer. Learned on 300 baud phone coupler teletypes and Control Data mainframes and Plato terminals. Taught kids and execs on Trash-80s, Texas Instruments, Zenith PCs, and Apple IIs. Owned an original model IBM PC and an Apple IIci with an amazing portrait monitor. Most of my work career was spent on Windows laptops and Unix servers.
I cheered when menus, pointers, and mice became available and was even happier when excellent trackpads became common. I like to touch my Mac through my trackpad. And my touchscreen iPhone is always with me and collaborates well with my Mac.
I’ve spent my life being adaptable where computers are concerned and don’t easily become frustrated with them.
Really enjoyed your blog post – thanks for linking it here!
I’ve been using my MBP more lately, but I still love my iPad. Have you seen much progress in seemingly-randomly-broken websites on iPad vs MacOS? It drives me nuts to come across websites that are hampered just because I’m on the iPad…isn’t it the same rendering engine? Very confused why that is.
Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed the post!
I don’t come across many problems… the only example I can think of recently is reCaptchas being broken on some sites. Not sure if it’s an iPad specific bug or not. But the sites I use on a regular basis have been good for at least the past year.
I’ll have to check them out again then and see if any of my regular sites have issues. Now I just need WhatsApp to be available on iPad and I’ll be mostly set.
To me, the difference between iPad and Mac is illustrated well with the version 1 Affinity apps. Version 2 has improved things somewhat (which is also a problem… developers understanding how to make great iPad interfaces) but there’s still a critical difference.
You might imagine that Pencil input would unleash the potential of graphics applications, and it can, but… the lack of ability to hover before clicking or dragging (I’ve not experienced the new Pencil hover) fundamentally changes the interaction model for everything. That is a bigger disconnect for me than dealing with the still-there single application paradigm and its ‘bending’ into a multi-tasking model.
Could I learn to use the Affinity iPad apps efficiently? I’m sure I could, but I firmly believe I would be doing more work to achieve the same results. I think it would take me more than 2 months, too, because I don’t live in these apps. I use them when I need them, along with dozens of other apps. And I’ve been using many of these apps, or their forebears, for decades.
I have been using an iPad since V1 and currently have 3 that I use (2018 11 pro, iPad mini 6 and a 2021 12.9 that my employer bought me). I am certainly more of a Mac power user but am no stranger to iPadOS.
I was trying to create a presentation with PowerPoint pulling slides from different presentations. Very unintuitive and laborious.
The iPad doesn’t need to be a Mac (or vice versa) but it does need to provide a smooth experience where I’m not focused on the device mechanics at the expense of what I’m trying to produce.
I can’t help but agree with the group that says the device is hobbled by Apple.
In my country (Spain) a lot of websites are broken on iPad/iOS. For example, I cannot book a train or access my pay-slips on iPad but it works fine on desktop.
Two bits stand out to me here…
- “…it does need to provide a smooth experience where I’m not focused on the device mechanics at the expense of what I’m trying to produce.”
That, to me, sounds like you’re not as familiar with iPadOS as you are with the Mac. Regardless of if you meant it that way, your wording expresses exactly what I think happens with folks who spend far more time with a Mac and less time with the iPad. I think for those of us that fully switch, there’s a moment in the process when the mechanics of the iPad become 2nd nature, like walking. The only time I have to think about the mechanics of the iPad is when Apple makes a big change like Stage Manager or when I start using a new app that does things differently.
- PowerPoint. I’ve only used it a couple times on the iPad to check the export of a Keynote presentation to confirm everything was working before handing it over to a client. I do all my presentation work on Keynote and in that app it’s possible to open multiple files at the same time and simply select a slide from the sidebar, control click or long press to copy, then in the new presentation control click in the sidebar and paste. Or, even easier, just drag and drop a slide from one presentation to another and the slide is copied over. Stage Manager allows for 4 windows so I can have 4 presentations open for moving to the new presentation.
In my opinion, if PowerPoint doesn’t allow for that kind of editing it’s broken. Sharing between files in that way is pretty fundamental in the various iWork apps on iPad and I think on the Mac too.
Mac or iPad isn’t like politics where we are asked to choose the lesser of two evils. I’ve owned multiple iPads and wished for years that it could replace my computer. And finally, in my case, it almost can.
I don’t use complex spreadsheets and I haven’t had to create a slide deck for 22 years. I do very little photo editing, mainly cropping and exposure. And I prefer web based applications. Thirty years of using and providing server based solutions taught me the value of off device computing.
Twelve years ago we were offered an additional choice. Choose the device that works for you. Or buy both, that’s what Apple would like you to do.
- I say “almost” because Apple still doesn’t offer or allow a real backup system for iPad. So until they do I’ll need a Mac or PC somewhere to handle that.
It’s called a Mac. Plug your iPad into it and you can back it up. (I know you know this.) Or, with a combination of settings, you can back up an iPad to iCloud. The problem is that Apple originally envisioned the iPhone and the iPad as satellite devices with the Mac at the center. (And that is how I still treat my iPhone … I am not currently using an iPad.)
IMO a backup system must be automatic. And, IMO, an iCloud solution that only gives you 30 days to realize you have lost data, and attempt to recover it, isn’t a backup. I’ve lost files and didn’t discover they were gone until years later. Fortunately I was able to recover them from my backups.
So for now I only keep copies of files on my iPad. Originals are stored online and sync to my MBA or are saved to iCloud and immediately moved to local storage on my Mac. Everything is backed up locally and to B2 via Arq. And I do the same with my iPhone .
So my M1 MBA is a really a server (with a built in UPS) that is occasionally used as a personal computer.
That’s the way Apple positioned the Mac against iOS devices. Steve Jobs said in 2010:
When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular … PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.