You’re Up, iPad

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Your Move, iPad | Becky Hansmeyer

Ruthlessly purge the App Store Guidelines of anything that prevents the iPad from serving as a development machine. Every kind of development from web to games should be possible on an iPad. And speaking of games—emulators should be allowed, too.

This list is great, and I support all of them.

Here's my take on the M1 Macs and iPads: there are plenty of reasons to prefer Macs over iPads or iPads over Macs. I happen to fall into the latter group. As an iPad user, the new M1 Macs don't make me want to trade in my iPad Pro since basically all the new features are variants of things I already had with the iPad Pro.

  • Stupid fast processor? Check.
  • iPad apps? Check (obviously).
  • Instant wake from sleep? Check.
  • Change between scaling modes seamlessly? Check.

Now let's consider a few iPad features the Mac didn't get this time though.

  • 120Hz touch screen? Nope.
  • Apple Pencil support? Nope.
  • Detachable screen? Nada.
  • Face ID? Zilch.
  • Seamlessly handling touch and mouse input? Not even possible.
  • An OS I can’t fuck up even if I try? Not yet.

These are all things the Mac lacks today, but based on the Mac’s current trajectory, it’s not unreasonable to think that some of these are coming soon. Is it that crazy to think that a Mac laptop in a few years has a touch screen, Face ID, Apple Pencil support, and a higher refresh display? Not really.

The question is how the iPad distinguishes itself as the Mac adopts some of its key features. One option is to loosen restrictions for apps and enable more powerful workflows so that more work can get done on the iPad. The other option is to bow out of the “Pro” line of iPads and lean into it being a more casual device. As an iPad fan, I very much want to see Apple make the iPad much more powerful, but that’s not absolutely the way they are going to go.

All I know for sure is that us iPad fans have had a lot to get excited about in recent years, while Mac users have dealt more with iterative updates. Now Mac users got a big update, so the momentum feels to have shifted, even if it’s just a short-term shift. Either way, there are new iPad Pros rumored to be coming out in the next 6 months, and I’m going to be very interested to see what they entail. Even more so, I hope Apple has some substantial improvements coming in iPadOS 15 next year.