Dalrymple: ‘I don’t want an iPad to replace my Mac’

“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the iPad Pro can replace your Mac as a primary device,” Jim Dalrymple writes for The Loop. “I think the simply answer to that question is, yes, it can. However, for me, the bigger question is do I want the iPad to replace my Mac? The answer to that question is, no.”

“There are a tremendous number of people out there that can use an iPad as their main computer. Those that surf the web, check email and social networks, and other touch oriented tasks where the iPad excels,” Dalrymple writes. “There are those that can do complex tasks on iPad and use it as an everyday computer. This number is growing all the time.”

“I’m not suggesting the iPad isn’t powerful, because it is. The iPad Pro is more powerful than most of the PCs on the market today. What I am saying is that if you truly want an iPad to replace your Mac, it can,” Dalrymple writes. “However, I just don’t think we are there yet.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, for anyone who feels that they are forcing themselves to use an iPad where they’d prefer to use their Mac, the iPad is not there, yet. For many, iPad is there already. As iOS and iOS apps continue to evolve and the hardware gets ever more powerful and sophisticated, most of us will get there eventually.

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Why Apple’s new iPad Pro makes Mac users feel weird – November 12, 2015
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Video: Apple Pencil for iPad Pro vs. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 stylus – November 12, 2015
Apple’s joyless iPad Pro launch: WTF are the Apple Pencils and Smart Keyboards? (4-5 weeks away) – November 12, 2015
Apple’s A9X-powered iPad Pro offers Mac-like speed – November 11, 2015
Wired reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: ‘The best tablet, and the best case for tablets, anyone’s ever made’ – November 11, 2015
Horace Dediu reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: Unlike anything we’ve ever seen before – November 11, 2015
Ben Bajarin reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: ‘The start of something new’ – November 11, 2015
Is Apple’s epic iPad Pro for you? – November 11, 2015
Gruber reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: A MacBook replacement for many
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mossberg reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: Graphics folks will love it, but I’m sticking with my iPad Air – November 11, 2015
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: Could this replace my MacBook? – November 11, 2015


  1. For a great many people who do not have computers and use their phones as their primary (and only) computer, the iPad is already there. And I think the iPad Pro will help push some of these people into buying their first computer. For these people there’s nothing a laptop or desktop can do for them that an iPad can’t.

    1. But please, STOP dumbing down MacOSX apps for the sole purpose of making them *feel* more like iOS apps.
      Instead, investigate how iOS apps could behave more like MacOSX apps. I am referring here to: improving the preference system, access to (possibly only) remote file systems
      And more importantly: a document filing system organized around PROJECTS rather than APPS.

      1. I’d like to see Apple focus on increasing the ability to tag files and utilize those tags in smart folders and searches. Much of this could be automated the the user needs to have tight control when he/she wants it. This would apply to OSX and iOS.

  2. This may sound like heresy but what I think the iPad needs is a mouse/trackpad interface. There’s no getting away from the fact that using your fingers is far from optimal for certain kinds of tasks. Editing a long document would be an example. When you are sitting at a desk using the keyboard and you want to move the cursor, select parts of text, draw diagrams etc, there is nothing that I have seen yet that matches a trackpad or a mouse. Until we have that (or some other solution that is as powerful), an iPad is not going to be a Mac replacement.

    – HCE

      1. I’m sure the pencil helps with certain things but it does not help much with the use case I am describing. If I am using it like a laptop (setting it down on a table and using the keyboard), I don’t want to be stretching my hand towards the screen over and over again to do things I would typically do with a mouse/trackpad.

        Maybe Apple will come up with a new way of interacting with the iPad that makes the mouse/trackpad unnecessary – until then, it cannot be a laptop replacement for me.

        – HCE

        The pencil can help with certain things.

      1. I agree that the touch IO is not optimal for editing text or spreadsheets. But I’d also strongly argue that a mouse and/or trackpad is also suboptimal. Nothing beats a keyboard with arrow navigation key to edit text and spreadsheets.

  3. I’m likely to get an iPad Pro for scoring music with Notion, PDF sheet music with ForScore, and comic books with Comic Zeal. I expect each use case to be the best possible of any device. It will replace my iPad Air, not my 5K iMac.

  4. It won’t ever be there… I never want to have to use my finger to select and edit text. Ever. And I want access to the file system. I have 9Tb of storage in use right now. I know where my stuff is and I want direct access to it. Locally.

    1. I’m with you and Dalrymple. I love my iPad. I love my Mac even more. Yes to the file system, yes to the Unix command prompt, yes to a 25″ screen for debugging, yes to attaching a DVD recorder/player…EASILY!

    2. I strongly agree that the iPad Pro is not a “replacement” for a desktop computer, or even a laptop for many/most of us professional or power users.

      I also think you are cheating yourself out of an incredible tool if you avoid the iPad Pro over this silly premise.

      For a very large number of users, the iPad Pro, or an air, or mini is all the computer they will ever need. For many Professionals the iPad pro is a powerful computing tool to use alongside a desktop, laptop, mainframe, workstation, etc. Those who seem confused are most likely the tweeters, those who fall somewhere in between.

      Submitted from my iPad Pro

  5. > There are those that can do complex tasks on iPad and use it as an everyday computer. This number is growing all the time.

    Actually, I think the number (as a percentage of total Mac and iPad users) has mostly stabilized. The Mac portion is growing, based on sales from the latest completed quarter

    4Q 2014 – iPad 12.3M – Mac 5.5M
    4Q 2015 – iPad 9.9M – Mac 5.7M

    but iPad Pro will no doubt give the iPad portion a boost.

    Over time, I think the ratio of iPad-to-Mac users has become more or less stable. There was initial excitement over iPad and the “coolness” of using the multi-touch interface, and higher sales “filled the void” of a new product category (no existing iPads before 2010). Now, customers are choosing based on their preferences, and the relative strengths of the Mac and iPad user experiences. Some choose Mac, some choose iPad. They all choose Apple.

      1. What constitutes “good” or “bad” hardware is often highly entangled with what one’s workflow and productivity requirements are.

        In this regards, one’s personal experience can’t speak for all.

        For example, given the topic here of the ‘trash can’ Mac Pro, it simply isn’t a solution that was as good as its predecessor for having high levels of high performance local data storage.

        And ‘goodness’ here isn’t merely if the machine is capable of doing it – – because a nMP *can* attach a Promise Pegasus on Thunderbolt to provide 3.5″ bays – – but rather, if the solution not only has the _capability_ but is also of a comparable *value*.

        And while USB3 appears to be an option, it introduces some hardware-centric system management issues there that mean that the compromise shifts to reliability. Choose your poison.

        In the meantime, the thermal design envelope of the nMP is inferior to the old tower, which adversely affects some other workflows.

        What the nMP appears to be good at (I say “appears” because it isn’t my use case) is to be a heavy lifting sprinter: it can very quickly crunch some 4K video (heavy lifting) editing … but because of its limitations, it can’t be too big of a project (thus, sprinting) before it runs out of fast local data storage or exceeds its thermal limits and slows itself down. As such, it is a specialty product with an even narrower niche than what the old Mac Pro was able to service.

    1. yes I love my 64lb shipping weight REAL Mac Pro, I use it mainly for backup storage because I can’t upgrade the OS beyond Snow Leopard ( hey wait, thats a good thing, except that much of my critical software requires the “latest and greatest” )

  6. Agree. I don’t want to replace my Mac with an iPad. I just want my Mac to continue to evolve. I find the replacement conversation strange especially considering there isn’t much of a cost benefit to going with an iPad Pro over a MacBook Air.

  7. I’ve been fantasising about running Logic Pro on the jumbo iPad. Maybe it will work as a drawing pad for logic running on my mbp ?

    I played with one with the pencil at the local Apple Store and loved it. If this comes about I’m buying one just for that (and everything else that it’s got going). BTW I have tried various Wacoms but they just didn’t feel right.

  8. The question isn’t whether the iPad can replace the Mac, but whether iOS can replace OSX. As I see it now, there’s no way. My iPhone 6+ has replaced my iPad mini, but it’s simply not possible to do many things (at least not comfortably and quickly) on it vs my Macbook Air.

    Until they figure out how to make voice dictation or touch keyboard typing faster and more accurate than a regular keyboard and make finger touch a superior practice to Apple’s awesome trackpad, they’ll hit a ceiling, not to mention making iOS more OS X-like and not vice versa as they’ve been doing.

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