Alright, You Wore Me Down, Give Me macOS on an iPad*

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read
Alright, You Wore Me Down, Give Me macOS on an iPad*

For many years I've argued that macOS and iPadOS should remain separate, and that you don't solve the iPad's problems by just throwing macOS on there. I believed, and still believe, that the touch-first operating system with additional user protections, ease-of-use, and accessibility advantages was valuable for millions of people. iPadOS should not go anywhere anytime soon.


I think I'm personally done waiting for the iPad to "get there" when it comes to Serious Business/Real Work/whatever. Obviously real work can be done on the iPad, but not everyone's work can, and it's becoming more clear that there's little chance of the iPad getting there for a lot of people in the foreseeable future.

Stage Manager has ended up being a turning point for me, and not in the way I would have expected when I was so hopeful earlier this summer. Maybe a better version of Stage Manager would change my mind, but as it stands now, even when Stage Manager is working perfectly, it still doesn't make me use my iPad much differently than before. I like having it, and I use it most of the time I'm on the iPad, but I still feel constrained in many of the same ways I've always been constrained using the iPad. Apple could release Final Cut Pro for the iPad tomorrow, and at this point I'm not sure it would make me move my editing workflow back to the iPad. Same for Photoshop…and Figma…etc.

Again, I think iPadOS has a place, and I do still use it daily for more casual things, but I'm not convinced it's going to achieve what I dreamed of it achieving for me for years.

The cherry on top is that I can't remember the last time a new iPad app really impressed me with how it could improve my work. Meanwhile, tons of apps have hit the Mac (see my YouTube channel for an idea of what I'm excited about), and web apps are thriving…which is a shame for the iPad because web apps suck on it.

There is third party software innovation happening out there, but it doesn't seem to be happening on the iPad, unfortunately,. which doesn't bode well in my view.

I've spent the last year using an M1 Pro MacBook Pro, and it's been glorious. Apple made all the right decisions with this machine, and it's an absolute dream for me.

That said, I sometimes want to use my computer somewhere that's not as convenient to use a full laptop form factor. Not everyone feels this way, but as a basic example, I personally hate using a laptop on the couch, and the iPad has been great for that, but as said above, that also means that I have to trim back what I can do in that environment.

Four whole years ago I reviewed the Surface Pro and I really enjoyed the hardware, it just wasn't running the operating system I preferred. I love the MacBook Pro, but I'd also love a Mac running on something like a Surface Pro in my life.

Once again, I don't think iPadOS should be taken away from anyone, and I also don't necessarily think I should be able to choose between iPadOS and macOS at checkout when buying an iPad (although the mock up at the top of this post was fun to make), but some form of tablet device running macOS would be super valuable to me, and I suspect many other people as well.

Final disclaimer before I go: this is a product I personally want, but this is not something I think everyone wants. But Apple already sells 10 Macs today (not even counting spec differences, full on different computers) so no Mac works for all Mac users anyway.