With iOS 11, Apple’s iPad Really Could Be Your Next Computer

3 minute read
| Editorial

I’m a big iPad fan, and these days I do nearly all of my work on it. I love the advantages in mobility, size, and weight, and I’m quite drawn to its uniquely personal experience of touching content, apps, and data.

At the same time, the iPad is not without its obstacles. App Store economics have posed challenges for developers, and growth has slowed in recent years. As an aside, though, I think it’s worth noting the iPad still outsells the Mac by nearly three-to-one. Plus, somewhere around 2015, the iPad hit a milestone of selling more total units in half a decade than the Mac in its 30 year history.

But as an iPad user and watcher, I feel like things are looking good. So good, in fact, I think there are some great reasons for many to give the platform a look with fresh eyes and an open mind.

iPad Pro 2017 Product Line

iPad Pro

iOS 11

After using the public beta, I cannot stress this enough: iOS 11 is a colossal leap forward. From drag-and-drop to new multitasking tools, I find some workflows easier on iOS versus macOS now. That will only get better in the fall once iOS 11 ships and apps can publish updates to support it.

Great entry price if you don’t need Pro

The iPad Pro is the best iPad Apple has ever shipped (I’m typing this on Apple’s new iPad Pro 10.5-inch). But if you don’t need all that power, the 2017 iPad is a fantastic deal at $329. For many, it could be an extremely affordable and portable computer, even if you add a hardware keyboard for convenience.

iPad Pro beats some MacBooks in speed tests

Apple does not toss the ‘Pro’ monicker around lightly, and the iPad Pro is no exception. For those who do need a powerful tablet, the latest iPad Pro line beats some recent MacBook models in various benchmark tests. It’s seriously powerful.

The Pro line is now in sync

If you followed the rumors in 2015, you weren’t surprised when Apple debuted its first-ever, jumbo-sized iPad in the fall, the 12-inch Pro. But I was a little surprised when it followed up with a new 9.7-inch Pro that had a better display for color-centric work and larger 256GB storage option.

With the 2017 update, the iPad Pro lineup is now in sync. All features and storage options are available in both sizes. The only difference is that, for some reason, rose gold is not an option for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Next: Apple Pencil, Microsoft Office, and iPad Pro Apps

10 Comments Add a comment

  1. geoduck

    Agreed. I’ve seen the day coming when an iPad would replace my Mac totally. Admittedly it hasn’t come as fast as I wanted but it’s starting to become a reality.

  2. Lee Dronick

    Last week I bought a 12.9 iPad Pro 512GB, with Smart Keyboard and a Pencil. I am very pleased with the decision to choose it over a MacBook Pro, which I will get a bit later.

    Affinity Photo on the iPad Pro!

  3. Jonathan Hodgetts

    My MacBook Pro has sat virtually unused since I have had a iPad Pro 12.9″ – with iOS 11 I think I can let it go all together.

    Somehow the ipad is more friendly and intimate to use. I think it is the future of personal computing except for a few people with specialist requirements

  4. Lee Dronick

    This is thanks in part to Apple finally taking store management away from Eddie Cue, who seems far more interested in scoring iTunes content deals and dancing on stage.

    Take iTunes away from him and replace him with someone who cand and will clean up the mess.

  5. wab95


    Thank you for that iOS 11 preview, and the iPad Pro discussion. I agree with your overall assessment, and would only underscore that much depends on the type of work or play you do as to whether or not the iPad is a solution.

    In my line of work, there are already days in which the most important piece of equipment I’ll put in my backpack for the day may be my iPad Pro (10.5″), particularly when I need to very mobile but have my data and connectivity with me. There are now very few essential tasks that I cannot do on my iPad Pro, and in some of the more routine tasks, I might be able to get to and perform them faster on the iPad than on my 2012 MBP and in some cases things that I could not do on my MBP (I know, time for an upgrade) – like getting online and working collaboratively on documents, particularly in wifi deserts).

    Really looking forward to iOS 11.

  6. garethharris@mac.com

    Recently I bought a 9.7 ipad pro, maxed out, plus a pencil.
    I have owned ipads from the beginning, but the pro is the first really snappy and responsive.
    I have lots of docs, 200 books, thousands of songs in the 256G and memory is mostly empty thus far.
    Now my laptop stays at home, hooked to a thunderbolt screen.
    I now not only use the ipad in nearly all meetings,
    but in the field tethering my Nikon via wifi.
    The next move may be to include phone capability for those on the road.
    iPhones and iPads may merge.
    BTW, I have used every computer since 1960.
    I need a workstation, but Apple doesn’t listen.

  7. Jonathan Hodgetts

    I also wish the iPad had phone capability. When I am out on business I always have my iPad and carrying an iPhone as well should be unecessary, particularly now with the availability of AirPods to receive or make the calls

  8. Mark Connely

    At the end of 2015, I purchased a brand new, expensive, shiny, HUGE 12.9″ iPad Pro. I used it for 14 months, before it was bricked by an iOS update. I had begun the update just before I went to bed for the night, and when I woke the next morning, the iPad was completely unresponsive.
    I took it right down to the Apple Store. The Geniuses there hooked it up to their diagnostics, and informed me that it was dead, gone, finito, no mas. They did not know why, it was just dead. Perplexed, I asked if there was nothing they could do, and the Genius replied, “We can sell you a new one for $—.” I was shocked. Yes, I think shocked is the correct word for that feeling of being deeply offended and very surprised all at once. Never, never again.

    • skywatcher

      Really?! Did you try another store? Or, another genius another day?

      Normally, we wouldn’t expect a company to replace a product when it is out of warranty, but this sounds like something the upgrade did. (We’re assuming that your iPad hadn’t been jail broken.)

      Most of the stories that I’ve heard involve Apple Stores being quite responsive. If another genius or store doesn’t help, or one isn’t around, you should contact Apple directly!

      The other message to me is to always buy Apple Care.

  9. wab95

    @Mark Connely:

    The death-by-update outcome is odd. One can understand your frustration and next course of action.

    Did you have Apple Care for your machine? I know many people don’t like to purchase Apple Care for a variety of reasons, but I have found it a machine-life saver on more than one occasion, and routinely get it for anything expensive that I will need to immediately replace if broken.

    The response of the Geniuses, in my view, only makes sense if you were beyond warranty with no additional coverage. Even here, more often than not, I have found the Genius Bar willing to work with me on fix/replacement options. At the very least, I should think they’d want to know why your iPad died, if for no other reason to rule out that it was update related.

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