Even with all improvements to the iPad Pro, it still can not replace my Mac

I was hopeful that this would be the year I could move my workflow to the iPad Pro, but again, there's nothing on Apple's tablet line that can make my Mac usurp. Let's talk about why.

2018 iPad Pro

2018 iPad Pro

Over the years, the iPad has improved considerably, both in hardware and with iOS. It has improved so much that I have used the iPad as a primary device in most cases, spending more time than both my iPhone and my Mac, both in my professional life and in my personal life.

As Apple has constantly repeated on the iPad Pro, we remain seductively close to the point where I can really use my iPad instead of my Mac for all my tasks.

It works as a recording list, a device for taking notes and the occasional teleprompter during video recording. During photo sessions I quickly dump photos for example and processing. When I work with a photo & # 39; s work, I fall back on the couch with my iPad and Apple Pencil to edit. On trips it is a great big screen to relax with movies or TV. Instead of watching movies, it is also great to read or kick back with a game. I even do light front-end web development on my iPad. Of course it is also a great writing device for almost all my articles and videos here AppleInsider.

When Apple announced the range of iPad Pro's of this year, I leaned back, full of anticipation. Apple showed a wealth of new functionality, including connecting to external 5K displays, using USB-C to connect directly to a professional camera, uncompromising Photoshop, and of course the upgraded Apple Pencil.

There is very little iPad that I can not use. But despite all the new features of the iPad, I knew that my MacBook Pro would still not be replaced. At least not yet.

Unclear omissions

If you have not seen the blatant hole in my iPad workflow, iPad's biggest limitation for me is video.

That does not mean that iPad does not have a number of video capabilities. There are several fairly capable iPad-specific video editing applications that I have used from time to time. Yet they are no substitute for Final Cut Pro X, where all of my AppleInsider and other professional video & # 39; s passing.

It is also much more than just FCPX costs to appear on the iPad, so that I can actually use the iPad Pro as my real device. The interface alone would be very cumbersome on iOS.

Final Cut Pro X timeline

Final Cut Pro X timeline

From the basis of interfacing with the timeline to animating with keyframes, without a mouse, these tasks would be difficult. Just looking at the timeline, for an audio track you have the audio level, the fades in / out and the start and end trims. These UI aspects can become extremely small and tight and beg for the use of a mouse. Moving some of these into pop-ups or modals would work, but it would significantly slow down the workflow.

In order to work with FCPX and mouse support, I would also need external storage support. I have terabytes of storage space occupied by hundreds or even thousands of video's over the years and their backups. There would simply be no way to use local storage on board for all my video production. I might be enough if I'm on the road, but to dump my Mac, I need to be able to connect more external storage.

Currently, developers can create apps that talk to external storage, but it is heavily obstructed by iOS, making it almost unusable for this scenario.

Finally, I also want better monitor-out support. Of course I can connect to a 4K or 5K screen, but it is only a reflection of the iPad or an example of media instead of being used as a real display. Support for the mouse can play a big role in this, so that you can actually communicate with items on the screen, but undoubtedly some work and adjustment will be needed.


That said, it is not that the iPad is unable to do what I need to do. The benchmarks for the new 2018 iPad Pros are excellent, which means I can exceed my MacBook Pro by the end of 2016.

If I run the test a few times myself, my Mac 15696 will pull on the multi-core test. The new iPad Pro's on the other hand are capable of clocking 17995. A pretty substantial profit. Of course Geekbench is not the comprehensive measurement of real-world performance and does not always represent a given workflow with 100 percent accuracy.

That's why we can view real 4K export times to get an even clearer picture. Laptop Mag did exactly that and the results were insane. Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro exported a 12-minute 4K video in 7:47, almost a quarter of the 25:53 that the 13-inch MacBook Pro wasted on the job.

That gives me confidence in the power of the iPad and also in the confidence that it should be possible Benefit from it of that power.

The cost of upgrading

Where that leaves me now is in a bit of a hole. I really challenge the iPad to the extreme with editing huge RAW photos and other workflows. This makes it absolutely worth upgrading for the new Pro & # 39; s.

The iPad Pro's of this year have been redesigned, so instead of just picking up an iPad, I'm going to purchase a new Apple Pencil and a new Smart Keyboard, which will drive my ownership costs well.

At the same time, I can not dump my Mac. I can not even choose a cheap Mac like the new Air or the Retina MacBook because I need some power to process those 4K videos.

That leaves me with an absurdly expensive setup, one that could be considerably less if my iPad could handle video well.

I would not leave the Mac completely, it still runs like a home server, but I would not need the advanced model I need now.

The bigger picture

Assuming that everything is not entirely about me, if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, it is clear that the iPad should be the primary device of people.

It recalls an old Steve Jobs interview in which he discusses the parallels of computers and tablets with trucks and cars.

In the agricultural era, trucks were ubiquitous and had 100 percent ownership of the vehicle. As time went by, vehicles evolved and people switched to cars because trucks were no longer needed for most of the consumers. Jobs described that as a similar transition in the market from computer to tablet. Personal computers were what everyone had, because it was what was available and necessary.

To date, most people still see the iPad as a pure consumer device and not as a device that can really replace their computer. Apple faces a tough battle as it tries to shift the perception of their titular tablet.

Even more than when the iPad was launched, tablets are ready to take over. Computers will still be there and fill an empty space, but tablets can fill the need that we dare to tell most people.

Hope is not lost

Fortunately, I have never felt better about the future of the iPad.

2018 iPad

2018 iPad

Apple has positioned the iPad Pro this year as a direct computer replacement rather than a device for mobile consumption. There is a clear sign that Apple wants the iPad to be used for making and productivity rather than just games, movies and reading.

We see some early signs of this with iOS 11 and 12. They have received several new productivity features for pro users. Multitasking – now not nearly as robust as it has been improved on a Mac -got. Between split view, slide-over and PiP I can run many apps simultaneously. Especially for me, the import of photos & videos has been overhauled, which has had a huge impact on the processing of images on my tablet.

Next summer we will take our first look at iOS 13 and what new features Apple has in store. For years Apple has been rushed by requests to open the file system / support external storage, improve multitasking and add support for a mouse.

I hope that iOS 13 makes the final step for the iPad Pro to make a complete computer replacement. I will wait patiently.