Apple seems to be going overboard to tell us that PC notebooks are oh so 1999. Estimates say there are 600-million Windows PCs that are more than five years old, so Apple has a good market to push the iPad Pro to become the replacement.
Can the iPad Pro, in either the 12.9-inch or the 9.7-inch version, replace a Windows PC or a Mac?
The answer should be obvious but multifaceted. Yes. No. And, maybe; someday. When Apple CEO Tim Cook says the iPad Pro can replace a PC he doesn’t mean a Mac. After all, the Mac is the ultimate PC; the only device that easily runs OS X, Windows, and the various and sundry flavors of Linux and Unix, and all at the same time if you prefer. That’s about as ultimate a PC as you can get.
Cook is segregating the PC user base that no longer requires a flatbed truck to haul goods from the countryside farm to the city, from those growing numbers who are content to drive a compact car to the mall. A Mac (and any traditional Windows PC) is a truck. The iPad Pro is the sporty compact with good mileage but just won’t do any heavy lifting.
For Mac users, the iPad Pro comes with a few shortcomings which prevent it from replacing our Macs. Here’s what bothers me the most.
File System – Apple acts much like Big Brother and determined that iOS users don’t need to worry about where files are stored, and granted permission for apps to do the dirty work of file management. That sucks. Slowly but surely Apple has realized the mistake and granted users local iCloud Drive access and more control over files and folders.
Applications – There are two sides to this coin. Apps for iPhone and iPad simply outnumber apps for the Mac and OS X, so there’s a wider variety available and prices tend to be much lower (over 1.5-million apps for iPhone, 1-million for iPad, though many are the same apps), however, many apps on the Mac just don’t have comparable counterparts on iOS. Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office (no, they’re not the same on iOS), Creative Kit, and many, many others are far more powerful and require the added horsepower that comes with the Mac truck.
Hardware – Do the math on a new MacBook vs. a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro (or the 9.7-inch iPad Pro) and you’ll see the Mac remains a bit of a hardware bargain. A fully tricked out iPad Pro with 4GB RAM and 256GB storage weighs in at $1,229 while a MacBook with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is $1,299. The CPUs might be comparable, or nearly so, but it’s the Mac that runs the heartier applications.
Mobility – There’s not much difference between a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a MacBook. They’re about the same weight with keyboard, but the iPad Pro has an extra cost option for cellular data.
File and folder management on the iPad is more cumbersome than on a Mac with OS X. Likewise, iPad Pro users have many more apps from which to choose, but none of those apps are in the same league as some of the more popular applications and suites available for the Mac. Hardware is hardware and both devices are priced about the same. Ditto for mobility. You won’t be able to tell the difference between a MacBook in your backpack or an iPad Pro in your backpack.
What’s preventing us from ditching our Macs and taking everything to the iPad?
The Mac wins on flexibility and capability for the Mac user who demands more. For everyone else, the iPad Pro might work because of the application variety and ease of use. One is a tricked out Ford F-150 pickup truck, while the other is a sporty sedan.