What are your biggest barrier(s) to going iPad only or primary

OMG, are you my separated twin? :smile:

Add inline citation management for Endnote or Mendely and I might pass out.


How about Bookends and Texpad?

Brotha from anotha motha?

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The question for me is why would anyone use the iPad for anything other than content consumption, or work using the Pencil, such as drawing or annotating PDFs?

For anything requiring a keyboard, the Mac is superior in every way.

And yet here I sit typing with an external keyboard on my iPad, because that is how I prefer to do recreational social media, RSS feeds, blogging and forums (like this one). And I do not know why I prefer it.


One reason for me is that the iPad is always ready to go, whereas a Mac takes time to start and get into the configuration I want it in. It’s more likely to be within reach as well. Also, when travelling the battery lasts forever, it has a cellular radio, and it’s not uncomfortable to use on a plane, even when flying in steerage. (I have the Smart Folio keyboard and, while not the best keyboard in the universe, it’s not bad. I could not use this thing without a keyboard).


For me, the difference between the desktop and the iPad versions of apps is stark. Logos Bible software is the bread and butter of my work and there is not a single Bible software company that is putting any effort into making mobile apps even partially as good as their desktop versions.

So I have 2 27” monitors with logos on one and all my writing stuff on the other. That cannot be equaled because and only because developers are not putting their energy into iPad software.


Not being able to have two 27-inch screens that nobody ever touches.


It’s all my programming related things:

  • Xcode
  • Manipulation of hundreds of images with ImageMagick
  • Big screen, multiple window work
  • High speed background tasks

I seriously considered switching a few years back, but now I’ve realised that what I most enjoy doing on a computer needs macOS.

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Well, I would say, that iPad is simply not made for any kind of active work. By “active”, I mean involving a large amount of tasks you do, be it editing text files, handling files between different applications, handling multiple windows. As long as you are reading/watching youtube and maybe poking a bit around with AP it is perfectly fine. Maybe the usage as typewriter is ok, too, but honestly - even the first macs running on a hardware which my AW outperforms were that good, too.

So the question is not what are the biggest barriers to going iPad only - there too many of them to count: Automation, bad keyboard layouts, lack of proper multitasking, file handling, barely usable for coding, no way to go around the AppStore and so on.The question is: Do you really need a mac?

Strange thing is: people, who are perfectly served with an iPad keep asking for a PC/Mac, so I have to ask them “What would you need it for?”. But here, at MPU, people ask whether they can switch to an iPad. You don’t even need to hear it out and can already say “No”. We are on a forum called “Mac Power Users”, people who can be happy with an iPad don’t know what “power user” means and will never find this place. It is like someone on a scientific forum would start a thread whether his/her needs could be met with a toy microscope for 50 EUR. If you are here, you don’t even need to ask.

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Exactly! It is about using the right tool for the job. Sometimes, that tool can even be the iPhone.

(I am feeling the device confusion right now, as I find myself typing this on the phone with my iMac and iPad Pro on the desk in front of me :grin:)


I used Bookends for a bit, but I always end up back on EN or Mendeley. Haven’t jumped into the Tex/LaTeX world yet, but am very tempted to!

Most days, working on my MacBookPro, I also have my iPad Pro – and my iPhone – sitting next to me. I’ll frequently pick it up when I want to

  • take handwritten notes (my preferred note taking method);
  • clip something from Safari because there’s a greater variety of share extensions on iOS than macOS thus far – read: iOS has a more refined toolbox for this clipping and sharing;
  • read and take notes on a PDF;
  • watch a video clip;
  • control Apple Music playing thru my HomePods – iTunes on Mac is seriously in need of a do-over.

I don’t think much about which device to use. It seems natural to pick up the iPad to do this, move over to the MacBook to do that, and so on.

It’s not an either/or Mac or iPad situation or question in my mind – it’s a both/and Mac and iPad world.


How was it with David Sparky and his “iPad only” trial? Broken on files + mails combination. Gorgeous.

I think it’s just that you don’t like doing them that way, which is fine.

Then show me how to code an iOS app on an iPad, I want to be enlightened. I can still do everything you do on your iPad on my mac - only faster. Call me, when it is the other way around.

Don’t assume that the only way to get stuff done is the way you do it. It’s belittling and dismissive.

Don’t assume, that the limited stuff you do on you iPad is the only stuff everyone does on their computing devices. It’s be… ah, you surely know it already.

If you’re going to make a categorical assertion like that you’ve got to expect some pushback. Obviously people have different computing (and form factor, screen size, input device, etc.) needs. If your idea of “active work” is sitting in a chair working in an IDE with two 27" monitors, the iPad probably isn’t going to work for you. But if it’s doing a location shoot, field interviews, litigating in from of a courtroom, on-site inspections, lecturing off the podium, etc., the iPad form factor is going to allow you to be a lot more active than you would be lugging around a laptop.


Exactly what I mean - it may be active from you personal point of view, but all these are still pretty passive with respect to interaction with a device itself. Tipping something on a single-screen app is not the same as reading mails, looking something in the documentation, coding in the IDE a going through the file system within a minute. Sorry, but these iPad workflows are merely a walk.

I have nothing against people having only such “light” requirements, but we should call it what it is and honestly answer the question whether an iPad can replace a Mac with “yes, but only if you do almost nothing with your mac”. I also think, that it is pretty obvious, if one goes through answers in this thread.

So people who edit audio are doing almost nothing? Edit video? Do graphic design? Image editing? Illustration? Web development?


I don’t believe that @macsparky has ever gone iPad only. He tried the iPad as a laptop replacement a couple of years ago and ended up going back to the MacBook Pro. However, more recently he’s made the switch to iPad again. It sounds like the Files app and iOS 11 have solved the issues that forced him back to the Mac the first time around.


People, who do it on a toy level, possible on the iPad do almost nothing, yes. You don’t expect to into a rendering/sound recording/image processing studio and find there people sitting with iPads, do you? Photoshop with a promise of feature-parity to the desktop version may be an exception, however, it remains to see whether the limitations of the platform itself stop the dreaming about “macless” future pretty fast.

So, Jason Snell is doing podcast editing on a toy level?


It is an issue with iOS being a completely restricted OS, thus hot suited for any task involving solutions not foreseen by apple. No need to put it nicely.

Sure, sure, I even could access my mac with XCode witn some kind of RD client from the iPad. Just to make a point about how badly a mac is needed. Never felt the need to remotely access an iPad for work sitting before a mac, on the other side.

Honestly, I don’t care what you do. Fat period. The rest about “assumption” is your own brain movie. You may have some issues with the importance of your tasks, but what I am saying is that iOS (and thus, iPad) is poorly suited for task involving heavy interaction with a computational device - examples provided. One may be a surgeon, do not care about computers at work that much, interact with them on a low level only and be happy.

I spent the weekend writing code on my iPad, real code at that, the managing switches and routers in an enterprise environment kind of code.

I usually use a Mac for this kind of thing, but this weekend I decided to try it on the iPad; It was wonderful because when I would get an idea, the iPad was right beside me on the living room table and could just pick it up and try the thing that’d come to mind. Picking up the iPad involved less friction than firing up the Mac.

When you can work inside of a single application, or if your work involves applications that fortunately work well together, the iPad is a fantastic device. Currently, it begins to falter when you have to share data between arbitrary applications.

For a great number of people, even many professionals (even some professionals who do a lot of computing), the iPad can replace other forms of desktop computing. As things stand I’m not one of them, but I’m certainly not going to dismiss those who are as not doing real work, nor will I be dismissive of their chosen method of doing it.