If you could use only one Apple device, which would it be? Mac? iPhone? iPad? The premise implies that other corresponding devices would not be used. For example, if your Mac is more valuable to you than your iPhone, you could always get a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. In this case, though, no– one device. Which would it be?
Screen real estate notwithstanding, I think I could make a good case to myself to use just the iPhone. Why iPhone? The phone. Plus, most apps available for iPad run on iPhone. And, the apps that most of us use on our Macs have iPhone counterparts (*exceptions abound, of course).
In that scenario is an iPhone a good replacement for Mac and iPad (or, conversely on the dark side, a Windows PC and Android tablet)? Yes.
The first negative in this choice is screen size. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro screen is about as good as a tablet or notebook screen can get and compares well visually with Apple’s 27-iMac with Retina 5k display. Sorry, the iPhone’s screen just isn’t a comfortable place to work. But a 1080p screen and AirPlay, or an HDMI connector could do the job.
The way I envision this is a simple dock with a connection to a high resolution screen. Plunk the iPhone into the dock and the iPhone’s screen gets mirrored to the high resolution screen. A Bluetooth keyboard takes care of input.
It’s an arguable point, but I think the Mac’s trackpad is about as good as it gets and comes close to negating a touchscreen (which might explain why Apple won’t go there with the Mac). The trackpad equivalent for iPhone or iPad is their screen. As much as I want one on my Mac, a touchscreen isn’t a good way to use a PC notebook except in tablet mode, and, as everyone knows, Windows PCs suck in tablet mode.
Still, you can get plenty of work done using an iPhone, an external 1080p high resolution display, and a Bluetooth keyboard.
The second negative in this scenario are the apps. If you’re like most Mac users, you may be able to get by with all the counterpart applications that Apple provides on the iPhone. Safari, Mail, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Contacts, plus Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. But remember that most of Microsoft’s iOS apps are free, too, so you maintain some measure of compatibility with the business world.
iPhones have both iMovie and Garageband, but both fall short of their Mac versions, and professional level applications– including Adobe’s Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, and others– also have no iOS counterparts, so your mileage may vary simply based upon the Mac applications that are requirements for you.
With the right screen and keyboard, many of us could dispense with iPad and Mac entirely.
Again, the negatives are obvious. Screen size and application choice, but both could be offset somewhat by not having to spend money on a Mac or iPad.
I’m going to give it a try for a week or two.