The future of Steve Jobs’ iPad vision for Post-PC computing

“In 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPad as a new product category between the smartphone and notebook,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for AppleInsider. “It ended up dramatically shifting demand in the PC industry, but sales have since plateaued.”

“If you’re still wondering why Apple hasn’t updated its desktop Macs (the mini and Pro), their relative importance to Apple’s revenues certainly plays a factor,” Dilger writes. “However, those products may also involve a strategic importance. Given that iMacs make up most of Apple’s desktop sales, it’s likely we’ll see it updated first and the Pro next, while the mini might never be refreshed. ”

“Pads and Mac are not only equally important revenues sources today, but they also serve different price points and audiences, meaning there’s no reason for Apple to want to starve one to benefit the other,” Dilger writes. “There are a variety of opportunities for enhancing iPads–particularly new iPad Pro 2 models–that would serve to make them better as “Post-PC computers,” but there’s also good reason for Apple to avoid trying to make iPads too similar to existing Macs…”

Read more in part one here and part two here..

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in November 2015, “Given what the average users do, Apple’s iPad is what ‘personal computing’ for the average user should’ve always been, had the technology existed back when Steve Jobs first delivered personal computing to the masses.”

Apple’s next-gen iPads coming this year, along with iOS 11, will make Apple’s Multi-Touch computing even more accessible to even more would-be traditional computer users.

As we wrote last August:

Yes, barring untimely death, we’ve considered that the last Macs we’ll ever buy could come within 5-10 years. We expect to definitely buy one more round of Mac desktops and notebooks and at least one more round after that. That’ll be 5-10 years right there. iPad Pro and iOS can already replace our road Macs, but as longtime Mac users, we have ingrained habits and therefore remain much faster on our MacBooks than on iPad. Younger users (under 12 or so) have no such issues and can usually blow us away iPad to iPad, but we are getting better and faster all the time. Old habits will die hard, but they will die eventually.

That said, of course, beyond 2026, we’d love to see the Macintosh and macOS live on in some capacity (professional machines; “trucks,” if you will) for many more years!

And, as we wrote back in mid-November 2015:

iPad Pro can replace the vast majority of people’s MacBooks because people never had an alternative to a MacBook to accomplish what what they use a personal computer for: Web browsing, email, light word processing, music-video-photo storage and playback, and maybe some messaging (but they do most or all of that on their iPhones or iPhone wannabes).

Note: Obviously, we are not talking about our readership which skews heavily toward techies who use their Macs for far more than the vast majority of current personal computer users.

For the vast majority of people even a crappy low-end Windows laptop is vast overkill for what they do. Therefore, the headroom for iPad remains virtually limitless, especially as Apple’s A-Series chips, iOS and iPad apps become ever more powerful.

This “iPad pause” will not last forever.

Apple’s next-gen 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro lineup not coming until May-June – February 24, 2017
Apple debuts new Twitter-themed ad campaign for iPad Pro – February 17, 2017
Apple iPad’s bright future – February 9, 2017


  1. Has Apple delayed Mac upgrades for years because of a major shift in strategy with iOS and the iPad? Apple has sold over a billion iOS devices, but the halo effect is not producing substantially more Mac sales. Will there be a big surprise like the switch from PowerPC to Intel?

  2. Not saying it’s not useful, but it’s definitely is not a PC. In fact it could substitute for a PC for most users, but it’s still not a PC.

    a) “Personal” means I can fully control the machine.
    b) There’s no such thing as an “average” person. There are most commonly used applications and configurations. So it can’t be a Personal Computer for the average user. They don’t exist.

  3. My Apple upgrade planning horizon.

    Need to upgrade my iMac.
    It’s very close to Apple end of life.

    I want to update my iPad mini to to 256GB
    I want to upgrade my iPhone 6 to 256 GB.

    Maybe iPhone 7, Maybe iPhone 8

    My 13″ MacBook Pro is good for either a couple more years ot a very good reason.

  4. … Since that time Tim Cook hasn’t done a blessed thing with the iPad.

    As far as the new iPad Apple is planning… WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. The problem with the iPad delivering personal computing to the masses, is that the masses who already have computing experience, are often somewhat confounded by the limitations, constraints, and just downright clumsiness of iOS.

    Sometimes I go days using nothing more than my iPad. I’ve gotten used to working around the OS to get things done. When I go back to my MacBook Pro though, it’s like someone has given me wings and clear sky to fly in. True multi window, multi-destktop multitasking, along with a real filesystem, and broad operational consistency from one app to the next make the iPad seem downright primitive in comparison.

    I get it. It’s all that people need for surfing the web, email, and social media, but I think even those people who only have moderate needs, see the difference between the iPad and their conventional computers.

    In contrast, when a Windows 10 user moves from their computer to a tablet, or even phone, they’ve still got their Windows 10 environment.

    BLASPHEMER! BEHEAD HIM! Yeah yeah. Bring it. I’m good with the iPad, and I help lots of people use theirs, but I’ve seen the amount of confusion it causes. Little things like watching a person create a file in Word, then save it completely oblivious that they just sent it to Microsoft’s One Drive, and trying to find it again to email it to someone is fascinating.

    The iPad has a long way to go before it can replace the regular computer. It’s not that people CAN’T learn to do it, it’s that they don’t want to be bothered cobbling together the workarounds.

    I had a guy the other day. Not a stupid man, by any stretch of the imagination. He said “Should I get an iPad?” Based on his patience, I said no. He was intrigued by the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. I said to get it the way you want, is going to cost you 1129.00. I told him to get the 1299.00 MacBook instead.

    You get the real full blown macOS, a faster computer,

  6. If Apple put in 1/10 the effort of ios into its Mac product line, Macs would outsell iPads 4 to 1 and earn greater profit per unit too.

    To the typical consumer who needs more than an ebook reader or gaming device, iPads are simply not a good value compared to Macs because a Mac can do so much more, and much more quickly. The only problem is that Cook’s lack of leadership has led the Mac to be more like Windows 10 with each release, instead of pushing the Mac to be the most intuitive and reliable problem free desktop OS.

    1. I also run three 4k monitors off my 2013 (Trashcan) MacPro as I need those three displays for my business needs and hobbiest interests. An iPad cannot at all replace my desktop and I do not believe that a MacBook Pro can offer access to that kind of power as well. I really would love a new 2017 Mac Pro this year to upgrade my desktop and bring it current.

      1. At the very least, if Apple is going to quit making Mac Pros, just please come out with the news and let their customers know that no more will be made. That way we will know what the heck is going on with that part of their CE business.

      2. Well said!

        Apple has consumption users making up the hefty bulk of company profits, granted, and power users like us that are in the minority wilderness.

        I thought Cook’s Company Crusades nowadays were fighting for minorities? Transgender bathroom rights, for one.

        So why not fight for the Pro minority within Apple? I really don’t understand, Tim.

        You have the power, you have the best tech, you have the money. But what you don’t have is looking out for devoted power users writing on MDN for YEARS. ☹️

        I simply want the best Pro computer from Apple the world has ever seen. Is that too much to ask? 🤔

    2. At the very least, if Apple is going to quit making Mac Pros, just please come out with the news and let their customers know that no more will be made. That way we will know what the heck is going on with that part of their CE business.

  7. More slanted comments. So are mine. The fact is, Apple does what they do not because they are reckless or incompetent, but rather the reverse. Have 200 million users, make a decision, hurt some of them. Collateral damge, we are.

    1. What would be the point?

      Most of us just want macOS to be improved to do things as easily and intuitively as Snow Leopard but with modern security, file system, and Windows-like adaptability. The iPad will never have but a fraction of the power a Mac could offer–if only Apple kept it up.

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