“What do you do when you see a ground-breaking product sell hundreds of millions of units and enjoy sky-high user satisfaction? You watch sales steadily drop after that initial wave, not because the fad is over but because the product is so good that people don’t need to replace it. It just keeps working great for years,” Galen Gruman writes for InfoWorld. “Welcome to Apple’s iPad dilemma.”

“Five years ago or so, the iPad’s sales were so strong that some predicted iPads would displace computers as the primary computing device for many people. That hasn’t happened, but it’s true that an iPad can be your primary computer for many activities, at least for hours at a time. I for one haven’t brought a laptop with me on business trips for years now, just my iPad,” Gruman writes. “But I still need my Mac or Windows PC; a full-on computer is what I use at my main workplaces.”

“Apple really should support Bluetooth mice. How hard can that be? (Android does, after all),” Gruman writes. “The more difficult issue is supporting larger screens. The iPad has long supported external displays… So the issue isn’t the video connection per se. The display challenge is having iOS adjust to a large screen. That means supporting multiple overlapping windows like Windows and MacOS have long done. It also means ensuring applications can work at any window size, again like Windows and MacOS. I have no doubt Apple can make this work… These two changes would transform the iPad into a replacement laptop, while letting it function as the standalone iPad so many of us know and love.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We find that there are many older users longing to make iPad work like a laptop, because that’s what they know.

Take a look at a twelve-year-old who’s only really ever used an iPad for personal computing. It’s an eyeopener. It’s like looking into the future.

The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm.

In the meantime, while we wait for iOS and iOS developers to progress (it took personal computers 40 years to get to this point), we ask again: Who’d be in the market for a 12.9-inch device that’s a macOS-powered MacBook when docked with its keyboard/trackpad base and an iOS-powered iPad when undocked?

As we wrote in January: Here’s an idea: Apple could sell iPad Pros as they do now, and for those wanting a “Mac,” Apple could sell them the macOS-powered display-less keyboard/trackpad/cpu/RAM/SSD/battery base unit. Attach your iPad for the display and off you go, you Mac-headed truck driver! Plus, you get to use the iPad’s battery, too, extending battery life to provide a truly all-day battery for portable Mac users. Detach the display and you get your iOS-powered iPad back, same as always.

Too outside the box? We’d love to be able to take our 12-inch iPad Pro, mate it with this theoretical Mac base unit, and turn it into a portable Mac. Right now, we carry 12-inch iPad Pros and MacBooks in our backpacks. Guess what’s redundant? Right, the displays. We don’t need to carry two screens on the road. The iPad Pro’s screen would do just fine, thanks.

Buy the Mac base on its own (for those who already have 12.9-inch iPad Pros) or buy it as part of a package (get a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro at a nice discount when you buy it with the Mac base). Imagine if Apple had unveiled this headless MacBook that you use with your iPad at their iPad event last fall. How many more 12-inch iPad Pro sales would such a product have generated? Enough to return iPad to unit sales growth, we bet. And, how many more Macs would have been sold, too?

Illustration from Apple's hybrid Mac-iPad patent application

Illustration from Apple’s hybrid Mac-iPad patent application