Do you remember how excited Apple’s customers were when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in early 2007? This was not just an iPod-like device with a phone inside. iPhone was powered by OS X. The OS X in Mac OS X with a touchscreen.
In other words, Apple gave the iPhone a world class operating system. Well, here we are more than a decade later, Apple has sold perhaps 300-million iPads and more than a billion iPhones, and iOS still is neither as powerful as Mac OS X was back in the day, nor macOS High Sierra today.
Call the Mac technology from the last century if you will, but as much as I love my iPad Pro, it just isn’t a Mac. Yet. I want it to be. Soon. In fact, I can think of some things I want my iPad to do that even my Mac cannot do. You know; like launch multiple instances of the same application (I’ve seen it happen but more so when something is broken).
High on my list is Multi-User capability for iOS. Sure, make it iPad only, Apple, but make it work as it does on the Mac. Guest user, separate user, etc. That kind of thing.
Second, and I can be critical of how the Mac has been treated in recent years with all those old chips inside and lack of attention from Apple’s engineering and design staff, but the iPad sells twice as many units each quarter as the Mac but has just four basic models.
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro at the top
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro below
- 9.7-inch iPad entry-level
- 7.9-inch iPad mini (ancient)
Either Apple has something planned for future iPads or somebody at Apple Park just doesn’t give a horse’s patootie about Mac or iPad. You know, Apple, with iPhone sales reaching something of a plateau, maybe it would be worthwhile to prop up the aging product line elsewhere– you know, where you have a few hundred million customers?
Compare those four iPad models, each with a few different colors, storage options, and connection configurations, to the Mac line.
The High End:
- iMac Pro (most powerful Mac ever)
- Mac Pro (mostly end of life)
- iMac (not much of a design change)
The Low End
- Mac mini (unchanged for years)
- MacBook Air ($999 for old technology)
- MacBook (entry-level above the entry-level)
- MacBook Pro (the Pro without the pro)
What else could Apple do to make the iPad a more powerful, Mac-user friendly device?
Here’s the problem. By keeping the iPad somewhat crippled relative to the Mac, that condition forces Apple’s customers to buy two devices. An iPad and a Mac. For some, the iPad works fine for Mac users. After all, iPad sells double the Mac’s numbers, so maybe Apple’s strategy is good. For Apple.
What else could Apple do to make the iPad more Mac-like without making it a Mac with a detachable keyboard?
How about tabs in Safari? How about a Finder-like Files app? With tabs. Yeah, Files is better than nothing but damned simplistic. In fact, how about tabs everywhere. Nothing is better at saving screen space than tabs.
Now, let’s talk apps. Specifically Mac-like apps that can run on iOS. Apple gives us the basics– Safari, Mail, Calendar, et al. But Garageband and iMovie are anemic Lite versions of the Mac versions. Why? Isn’t an iPad Pro about as powerful as the entry-level Mac Pro? Can those Apple-designed A-Series CPUs run a decent version of iMovie and Garageband? There isn’t much in the way of professional levels apps for iPad Pro– even Microsoft’s Office and Adobe’s various Photoshop-like tools are anemic; not to mention nothing that works like Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro X.
iPad Pro isn’t so much pro as it is big.
In the end, the iPad is not like a Mac because Apple doesn’t want the Mac to be like iPad and doesn’t want iPad to be as powerful and useful as a Mac because as things stand now, Apple sells two devices where one could do.