Some thoughts from a first time iPad user.
I just bought a 2020 iPad Pro and I just want to start by saying this is one of the greatest devices I have ever had the pleasure of using.
I’ve been a Mac user for many years and I’ve owned an iPhone from the very first generation. I never understood why you would need an iPad since it was really more or less just a big phone but with less functionality. Now that it now has full mouse and keyboard support all I can say is now it finally makes sense.
My laptop is a 2012 Retina MacBook Pro and until recently I had no real desire to replace it. I maxed out everything except for the SSD when I bought it back in 2012 and only in the last year or so it started to feel slow. Also the battery life is pretty horrible in comparison to modern devices.
I’m a big fan of consumer technology and before the 2012 Retina I got a new laptop every 2 or 3 years. Ordinarily I would have replaced my laptop 3 or even 4 times in the last 8 years. But every new Mac laptop since has more or less been exactly the same as my 2012 aside from the obvious spec bumps and additions of things like the Touch Bar.
Due to the lack of substantial upgrades and the fact that my personal laptop use cases have changed in the last 8 years the 2012 never really felt out of date. I started feeling the urge to upgrade about a year or two ago but my needs have changed since 2012 and I no longer needed such a large and overpowered mobile device. I was on the verge of buying the old 12” Macbook but it was woefully underpowered and then they discontinued it instead of upgrading it.
After they announced full mouse and keyboard support for the iPad I knew it was finally time to upgrade. Now after using the iPad as a laptop replacement for a few days all I can say is: wow. The user experience for media consumption and general web browsing is worlds better than on OSX or really even IOS. Now it’s not entirely sunshine and rainbows but for the most part it is much nicer.
Things I really like about the iPad:
1) It’s size is absolutely perfect. I got the 11” and I love how compact and light weight it is.
2) Face ID is incredible. I have it on my iPhone 11 Pro but it is even better on the iPad. I love how it is just unlocked the second I sit down to use it.
3) The fullscreen implementation is much better than on OSX.
4) Touch screen/pencil. I can’t believe the MacBooks still don’t have touchscreens.
There are however a few things I already miss from OSX for example:
1) Tapping with 3 fingers to look up words.
2) CALCULATOR. I know you can get an app but it seems silly not to have one built in.
3) Numbers on iPad is lacking some very basic features from the OSX version. For example in OSX when you select various cells it tells you the sum/average/min/max etc of the items in the cells but in the iPadOS there doesn’t seem to be any way to show these items without running a formula.
4) Missing some power user features. For example it doesn’t seem possible to reformat external drives and as far as I can tell it seems like there is no way to reset peripherals like the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 to factory defaults in iPadOS.
Overall I don’t think it can fully replace an OSX computer yet but for my use it is 99% of the way there and I don’t think I will ever buy a new Apple laptop again. Unless they make some substantial upgrades such as a touchscreen/pencil support, Face ID, better full screen support, and cellular connectivity the 2012 Retina MacBook will almost certainly be my final OSX laptop. I will probably only get a new OSX device when they finally stop releasing upgrades for the 2012 Retina and it will probably be a very basic Mac Mini or something like that.
TLDR: The iPad is the best Apple laptop since the 2012 Retina.