This week saw analyst reports’ discussing Apple’s Magic Keyboard and the likely appearance in the 13-inch MacBook Pro this year, following on from its introduction in the 16-inch MacBook Pro late last year. They also noted the upgrade to the Smart Keyboard Case for the iPad Pro with the addition of backlighting and a potential switch to the same scissor-based technology of the Magic Keyboard.
Once more Apple is concentrating on the iPad line up to sell them as replacements for deskbound computers, while reducing the distinctive features of its own MacBook range when compared to other Apple products.
For many people, the iPad Pro will be enough to let them manage both their online and activities and the work that they need to do. You have access to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. Email and messaging clients are available, the web browser can unlock many more services, and you have Apple’s own suite of office apps (or Microsoft’s Office) in the mix as well.
This covers much of the work people will want to do on a portable device, but not all of it. The problem is that not having that last five percent of functionality for many people is an absolute deal breaker. It doesn’t matter how fast the iPad Pro turns on, how smooth the web browsing is, or how incredibly useful having a touch screen can be. No matter if you need a specialist social media management tool, a custom application to talk to your enterprise database, or needing to use a key USB peripheral, the iPad Pro can become very limiting very quickly. And let’s not get started on the level of video and audio editing that would be needed to make the iPad Pro a viable choice for those professionals.
Once you step of Apple’s design decision on what the iPad Pro should be able to do, it gets very swampy very quickly.
Of course Apple has an answer to the above, that that is the MacBook Pro. The MacBook family offer a great mix of portability and power while remaining incredibly open to third-party applications, emulation, operating systems, peripherals, and data transfer. The issues where the iPad Pro is weak the MacBook Pro is strong. MacOS also covers the basics as well, although the form factor means ‘on the move’ access is a little bit more difficult… although the same could be said of the larger iPad formats.
But Apple is still promoting the idea that “the iPad Pro can be your next computer.”
If the iPad Pro is more powerful than most computers, implying that it is better than the MacBook Pro, then surely that’s Apple’s fault for not pushing the MacBook Pro? The same for having LTE support in the iPad Pro but not in any of the Macs. Most business laptops running Windows 10, and a fair few consumer laptops, have the option to add 4G LTE support. Only Apple knows why it has not been added to the MacBook Pro.
With the additional purchase of Apple’s Smart Keyboard Case, the iPad Pro form factor becomes closer to a laptop. As does the purchase of the Apple Pencil, also touted as something you need to make the experience of the iPad Pro better than a computer because touch is important. Who decided that the MacBook Pro – unlike many of the medium- and high-end Windows 10 machines – would not include any touch support? Who indeed.
Over the years the iPad family had continued to push the idea of “a laptop replacement’, but when the point of comparison in Apple’s portfolio is the MacBook Pro and that laptop has not kept pace with the rest of the industry in terms of features, specifications, and communications, you have to ask yourself… does Apple strongly believe in the MacBook family? Or does it consider the laptop a secondary product good enough for its developers, video editing, and professional media creators, with everyone else being pushed towards the walled garden world of the iPad?