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Monday, 14 September 2015 11:57

iPad Pro not even an iPad replacement, let alone MacBook Featured

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Lest anybody be under any illusions that my past article was an endorsement of the madness that appears to have taken hold of Apple, let me be clear. Whatever Cook & Co may be thinking, the iPad Pro will never be a replacement for a MacBook or any other Mac. In fact, it’s not even a replacement for the iPad.

While Tim Cook and other assorted thin wannabee Steve Jobs clones were prancing around the stage with their buddies from Microsoft and Adobe, was I thinking that maybe the iPad Pro could replace my MacBook Air? Not really.

Lest anyone think that I’m an inflexible Luddite, nothing could be further from the truth.

On more than one occasion, I have made serious but unsuccessful attempts at running work applications on tablets – both the Apple and Samsung variety - instead of my MacBook of the time.

Would I be able to do the things I need to do at my desk or on the road with iOS 9 that I do now Mac OS X 10.9? I doubt it.

I’m a power user and I often need to have dozens of screens open at the same time.

At any time, I need to have an ad server, a live analytics package, web host management system, various members of the Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat, an email system, Google Docs, countless web sites, including our own, image processing software, desktop publishing system, web publishing system, CRM, sometimes Windows on Parallels and more all open at the same time and easily accessible.

My MacBook Air handles it all with user-friendly ease. Could the iPad Pro do the same? I doubt it.

Essentially, the MacBook, like the iMac and Mac Pro are input devices with moderate to serious computing grunt as you go up the scale.

The iPad Pro is essentially still a viewing device with input capabilities tacked on. You even have to buy the input accessories as extras.

Yes, the iPad Pro can run Office, a variety of Adobe software and maybe even AutoCad. However, it would be hard to imagine a serious power user of any of those products using an iPad Pro to do their primary work.

I could imagine taking the oversized tablet out on the road as a demonstration tool for clients but not as a heavy-duty design and processing tool like one of the Mac varieties.

Much has been made of the power of iOS9 and, without actually testing it yet, I do not for one minute deny that it is most likely a very powerful operating system – for a mobile phone or tablet.

At the end of the day, iOS is a version of OS X initially customised for small low powered portable devices like the iPhone and the original iPads. iOS was never designed to handle the type of utility and grunt work required of a full blown computer operating system like Mac OS X.

I take my MacBook Air out on the road and even with all my heavy duty applications running while being online, I still get a minimum of six hours of battery life. If I only want to do light work, I get a lot more – up to 10 hours in fact. So hearing that the iPad Pro will give users 10 hours of battery life doesn’t really impress me.

The other thing that doesn’t impress me is the 128GB storage limit. Like most power users these days, I need more than that. Cloud storage is all well and good but nothing can replace local storage for offline access and security of commercially sensitive data.

Finally, as its name suggests, the iPad Pro probably does have a place for commercial use.  It would be a great demo device to take on the road for some applications, particularly in the area of graphic design.

For consumer use, however, the iPad Pro looks to be an oversized clunker. It’s too uncomfortably big to be an in-bed reading or viewing device, too expensive to be a children’s device and, because of its size and price, is totally at odds with Steve Jobs’ original concept of having a small, affordable alternative to a sub-notebook computer.

Yes, no doubt there will an initial rush by the Apple faithful to buy the iPad Pro. However, at around AUD$1600 plus accessories for the 128GB model, I’m not even so sure about that.

iPad sales have been dropping off in recent times. Why that’s the case, I’m not sure. Perhaps, consumers’ desires for bigger screen portable devices has been satisfied by phablets such as the extremely popular iPhone 6 Plus. Whatever, the reason, I seriously doubt that iPad Pro will turn things around in that area.

As for the iPad Pro replacing the MacBook – not a chance.


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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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