Apple, in its April 20th launch event, announced a plethora of gadgets. Starting from the purple iphone 12 and 12 mini , apple air tags, apple TV 4K with the redesigned touch enabled remote , the new iMac with latest Apple M1 chip inside it and finally the most awaited product, the new iPad pro whose chipset they literally stole from the new macbook air apple launched last year. This time, the 12.9 inch IPad Pro also comes with a new mini-LED display technology to achieve 1000000:1 contrast ratio and 1600 nits peak brightness. It is also P3 color gamut certified ans has over 2500 local dimming zones for those inky blacks. There’s a lot to talk about both the mew iMac and the new iPad Pro as well but our focus here will be on the iPad pro because that’s why you’re here after reading the title, right?
iPads have long been one of the best-selling tablets you can buy. In fact, exept Samsung’s Galaxy Tab lineup, there’s no competition for the the iPad and generation over generation, it has lived upto its legacy and never disappointed it users. iPads have always used turbo-charged versions of Apple’s A series chipsets for mobile devices. But, this time, they put on their most powerful SoC into the iPad, the Apple M1, which has no match for its processing power and power efficiency which makes it the most powerful tablet available in the market right now and even more powerful than many of the laptops. But wait… Would it be fair to compare a tablet with a laptop even if both are comparable in terms of raw power? Let’s find out.
First of all let’s see what are the things that you can do on your laptop but not on iPad.
- CODING: If you’re a developer or a student and want to learn coding, you cannot do it on iPad. The xCode is not available for iPad OS and although there have been speculations about it being coming to iPad but it’s those are just speculations and there’s a high chance that it’s not coming anytime soon.
- VIDEO EDITING: Although there are many great video editing apps like Apple’s own iMovie and Luma fusion available for video editing on the iPad, but can they provide the versatility of Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro? Although, the adobe photoshop for iPadOS shares the same code base as desktop version, but there is not even an iPadOS version of Premiere Pro. You have to keep yourself contented with the Premiere Rush.
These are just two use case scenarios where you can’t use your iPad, there are many more like you can’t install a bit torrent client on your iPad and many more and it’s mostly because of Apple’s closed system approach for software management. There are limitations on Mac too but these limitations are mainly optional where you can disable OS-level protection and install apps and softwares from third party. Let’s take a hypothetical situation that all these apps like xcode, premiere pro and final cut pro somehow make their way to iPadOS but can a mobile OS ever be as versatile as a desktop OS?
Now you may ask, “What’s the point in talking about all these things? A tablet will be a tablet and a computer ( or a laptop) will be a computer.” But that’s the catch. Remember how Apple advertised the last year’s iPad pro with it’s magic keyboard… “YOUR NEXT COMPUTER IS NOT A COMPUTER” , clearly indicating that they are trying to replace your computer ( particularly your laptop ) with the iPad but can they? Well, the answer is complicated. Until now, Apple’s Desktop Operating system were made to run on the x86 architecture but from the last year, with the introduction of Apple M1 chip for desktops based on ARM architecture, they also introduced a new version of their desktop OS to run on the ARM based M1 chip. Now, they have placed the same SoC inside the new iPad Pro 2021. Until now, laptop and tablet were two different things and one could not replace other. Then, Apple comes into play and tries to replace your laptop with the iPad but do they succed completely?
Now that the gap between the Macbook and the iPad has shrunk further to the point where they even share the same chipset, why doesn’t Apple finally replace the Macbook (Air) with iPad completely by replacing the iPadOS on iPad with Mac OS Big Sur? At least on the 12.9 inch iPad Pro it’s quite possible because it has almost the same screen real estate as the 13 inch Macbook. Now, some people might argue that a desktop OS is not meant to be used with touchscreen interface. Agreed. But it can have full-fledged Mac OS with a tablet mode (with iPadOS like interface) with user having the option to switch between the two and tablet mode as an extension of Mac OS big Sur on iPad doesn’t sound bad, does it? With the 2nd gen Apple Pencil support , a great camera system and a full fledged Mac OS, what else would you ever need on your next computer that would not even actually be a computer.
The iPad Pro with Mac OS Big Sur… A device you can take your notes on. A device you can draw your favorite caricature on. A device you can code on. A device you can use for video shooting as well as editing production. A device that can be used with a mouse and keyboard interface as well as touch interface. All of this in one device which is the size of your notebook. Fortunately all of this is very much possible but unfortunately Apple would never do it.Tim Cook, in the launch event said that with the new M1 chip inside the iPad pro, there’s no limit to what can be done with it, but the iPadOS itself is a limit to its capabilities.