What computer do you use? If you follow NoodleMac, it’s likely you’re an Apple customer, and the Mac is Apple’s computer, right? Apple seems intent to position iPad as, well, a non-computer. That delightful television commercial with a kid asking, “What’s a computer?” brought about public heat and scorn, but I understand the sentiment.
Those of us who have been around the computer world over the past few decades think of computers– Mac, Windows PC, Chromebook, Linux PCs, cloud services, et al– as computers. iPhone and iPad are not considered computers in the same sense, even if it’s obvious they meet the definition.
Each device– desktop PC or Mac, notebook, tablet, smartphone, or even a smartwatch– is a computer. The two latest from Apple are the redesigned and long overdue MacBook Air and the much heralded iPad Pro.
Which would you choose as your only computer? Mac? Or, iPad Pro?
From a monetary standpoint there isn’t much difference between the two. Similarly equipped, a 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB storage is $1,399. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio keyboard is $1,348. iPad Pro is a faster and more capable device. Except when it isn’t. Therein lies the rub.
What I want from a Mac or an iPad Pro is much the same thing. I want it to get whatever task I need to accomplish in the fewest number of steps or actions. Both macOS and iOS have sufficient differences that some actions on the Mac are far more efficient than iPad, and some on the iPad vastly more efficient than the Mac.
That, I’m afraid, is by design. Apple knows that Mac and iPad are not yet capable of a merge into a single device. If that was the case and parity prevailed, why have two devices? Remember; Apple is a hardware company and they want to sell us a Mac and an iPad, so it is likely iPad will never have quite the same capabilities as the Mac; even if the Mac gets a touchscreen and detachable keyboard (think Microsoft’s Surface notebook tablet hybrids with touchscreen).
So, what do I want from each?
The Mac is keyboard centric. Yes, we use trackpad and mouse, but power users are keyboard users. Many Mac applications in the enterprise do no have iOS counterparts, despite more applications available for iPad and iPhone.
The iPad is mobile and convenient in ways not experienced on the Mac (clamshell design, extra weight, keyboard and trackpad actually get in the way). The Mac is more for content creation while iPad is more for content consumption. Yes, there is a middle ground where both devices do their deeds in overlap mode, but that’s the general method.
What I want from my Mac I cannot get from an iPad. What I want from an iPad I cannot get from my Mac. That’s the way Apple wants it to be so many customers will buy two products instead of one.