Apple really wants you to replace your laptop with an iPad

“For those still mourning the loss of the MacBook Air, Apple’s recent advertising push, which tries to convince the world that the iPad Pro is a full replacement for a computer, has likely not been well-received,” Mike Murphy writes for Quartz. “Over 2015 and 2016, Apple refreshed its laptop line, introducing a 12-inch MacBook, and upgraded MacBook Pros, seemingly leaving the Air, which has not even seen a hardware refresh in two years, for dead.”

“It’s not clear whether the Air will be revived, but Apple is currently pushing users to either shell out at least $1,300 for a new MacBook, or $600 for the base-model iPad Pro (which really jumps to $850 when you add in its keyboard cover and stylus) for its latest hardware.,” Murphy writes. “Although the iPad and MacBook lines are still kept separate on the company’s website, it refers to the iPad Pro as ‘Super. Computer.’ in advertising on its homepage. There has been no similar push for its new Mac laptops.”

“Apple’s recent marketing campaign for the iPad Pro… sets the iPad Pro up as Apple’s most approachable, and useful, computer for the average person,” Murphy writes. “For Apple users who actually use laptops as intended—as computers that can sit on your lap—it seems the only options in the future will be machines that cost over $1,000.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers.

Now, your average Joe and Jane Sixpack need to be disabused of the notion that “personal computer” means a laptop or a desktop. Not for them, it doesn’t.

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.”

It’s more sophisticated, yet less complicated. It’s more powerful, yet less cumbersome. It can store vast amounts of yesterday, or tell you what’s in store for tomorrow. It can draw a picture, or it can draw conclusions.

It’s a personal computer from Apple and it’s as easy to use as this.

Macintosh. iPad. The computer for the rest of us.

And, as we also wrote back in 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 debuts two new TV ads in their Twitter-themed ad campaign for iPad Pro – March 3, 2017
Apple debuts new Twitter-themed ad campaign for iPad Pro – February 17, 2017


    1. I am sick of this stupid commentary for years about the iPad replacing laptops and desktops.

      It can’t. And this is by design:

      -No precise input (like a mouse);
      -Different operating systems with stripped down Apps and terrible mukti-tasking;
      -Small screens (this cannot be understated);
      -Very lower power CPUs and GPUs;

      These are the major things. Screen real estate is a big driver of productivity and how software can be designed. Mobile do not have big screens. For this reason alone you will not be near as productive as you would be on a laptop or desktop.

      iPhones and iPads are glorified iPod Touches. The iPod Touch is a glorified Palm Pilot. The Palm Pilot is a glorified Newton.

      I want large multi-touch surfaces including my desk. I want multi-touch and precise input all in one operating system.

      The future is about massive multi-touch screens that line our walls and buildings. Multiple input modes in one singular operating system. A smart panel desk similar to the one i. Tron. All of this comes together to form a new paradigm, and one Apple is not yet delivering. I wonder if they ever will?

      1. One thing I’d add to this is that without flash support on the iPad I find myself forced to use my MBP for many websites. Even this site doesn’t display properly on my iPad Pro.

        I’d like to use the iPad for more things but I find that I hardly use it. In the iPad’s current form I’ll never give up my MBP.

        I also don’t like mail on the iPad (attachments, flexibility, and available storage). The iPad is more of a bench player that gets into the lineup occasionally because it’s not good enough to be an everyday starter.

      1. That’s an interesting question. I love my iPad Pro. I’m using the 12.9 inch right now and dictating this verbally. My work hours are typically between 5AM and 4PM. During that time I am primarily on my MacBook Pro. If I leave my desk depending on where I’m going, I take either the 9.7 inch or the 12.9 inch iPad Pro and my iPhone. From now until tomorrow morning, I’m not likely to touch my MacBook Pro again. I will consume information, possibly watch television or a movie, take notes, place and receive phone calls, make adjustments to my calendar, play a game or two, go grocery shopping, read a book, send and receive emails, pretend I’m writing a book for a little while, draw a diagram of an earthquake resistant fault tolerant network for a client, and all sorts of other things. I could not however handle the work I do during the day, which is largely system and network administration. During the day I need REAL multitasking with overlapping windows. I’m am also spoiled by Mission Contol and multiple desktops, a real file system, etc.

        So ironically the iPad becomes the most used yet least required piece of technology I own. I could easily get long without it, though I would not want to. If you took my MacBook Pro on the other hand, I’d be hurting. I’d take a substantial productivity hit.

        And MDM, I think the iPhone has won the title of ” Computer for the rest of us ” considering how many people use nothing more than an iPhone for personal computing.

      2. My iPad is a toy. I use it maybe once every few weeks.

        My MBP and Mac Pro get used every day, for many hours. I’m typing this on the Mac Pro, with the extended keyboard.

        I wouldn’t miss the iPad.

          1. Because it is very convenient for what it is actually good at: surfing, or any web-realated activities, playing games, Netflix, simple text editing. I could see where students might benefit from it, or how it might be of great use in meetings etc. For anything that requires the aforementioned screen real estate, and a lot does, it’s pretty useless. It isn’t powerful enough to drive large displays, and yes, all of the available software is too stripped down in functionality (and if it weren’t, it would be unusable on the iOS interface). I don’t care what Tim Cook says in his soundbites, there about a million reasons to still buy a computer.

        1. That’s more or less how I feel: Apple’s false, past reputation in the industry as a ‘toymaker’ has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their users are telling them exactly what they want, and rather emphatically at that, and it is falling on deaf ears. If they don’t want to do it anymore, than either give us something else that is both bold and highly functional, or start licensing it out again.

      3. In a heartbeat.
        If stopped buying Macbooks due to non-expandability, but even so, I would want the fastest, most broad in function, most uncensored device.

        The ONLY reason I got my first iPads (the Pros) was due to the stylus (I still refuse to call it a pencil. It’s not). Yes I have a Surface Pro 4, the iPad writes a bit better.

  1. Then give me an IOS-PRO… with a Robust, user manageable file sys and i/o …. and ability to run full fledged applications ( photoshop, etc..) rather than fragmented snippets of apps. ..

    Without thd above iPads are mostly a consumption devices … not content creation devices. And the moniker Pro is nothing more than marketing BS.

    As i suggesed many time before… let Ios-Pro be an upgrade for a fee…. those who care will pay and upgrade.. those who dont wont and they will have it as is…
    and Apple will have a new revenue stream…
    Win win for all.

    1. Someone seems to be hacking in and down voting stuff last few days

      And I agree with pro iOS. Using iTunes as hub for too many functions is also a pain –and many pros have too much stuff for Cloud.

      Typing this on a 12.9 iPad Pro in a coffee shop.

      1. Yes.. big time… and i wrote mdn about it… no response!
        Yesterday i got 30 1 star votes in a matter of 1 minute …… on a very neutral comment about apples upcoming event.
        It does not add up. Does not fit the normal pattern here .

      2. I don’t know if it is hacking. I think it has to do with the political discussions we get into. I know if I tick off a few people in political discussions, the next day I can simply type “Good morning” and get one star. Heh!

            1. Maybe it’s something that builds up over several posts by the same person that the downvoter disagrees with leading to downvoting any future post by that poster as a rule. *shrug*

    2. Please define what you would consider “iOS Pro”. Would it look like Windows?

      Because there is no way that existing iOS hardware and software would ever come close to replacing the Mac. If you want a Surface to do imprecise touch while running full PC software as well, by a goddamn Surface. Those who need power to do professional work are not interested in a kludged thin client touchscreen system, even if you stick an Apple logo on it.

    3. iPads are today’s professional’s and everyperson’s imdispencable super multi funtional tools, seperately and regardless…

      Once you use them as such in hundreds of everyday applications, you may realize that they are totally integrated and here to stay.

      1. Mm-mm. They aren’t a part of my workflow at all because as it currently stands they are incapable of being that. If all you do is web and text-based activities, then perhaps. Pretty much anything else done well, though, the iPad falls way short. No amount of pro-ing would meaningfully impact iOS or the iPad’s form factor in this regard. It’s literally the laws of physics: without a larger screen and more precise input, some things just aren’t possible, or at the least, as efficient, on iPads. It just is what it is. If at some point we get to where they, or our phones, are powerful enough to act as a hub to other devices, then we may be in business. I still don’t believe iOS would cut it, though.

      2. “iPads are today’s professional’s and everyperson’s imdispencable super multi funtional tools, seperately and regardless…”

        maybe you need a parody alert……….or maybe you do actually mean that…………wow, I gotta be somewhere else like right now.

    1. There are two monitors and two keyboards on my desk. One set gets used every day. The other one has Windoze on it.

      There’s really no comparison. The Mac is just better, always has been.

  2. I’ve been wondering whether Apple has something up their sleeve for Air. If not, why not name their newest ultra-thin laptop the Macbook Air, rather than simply the Macbook? My ideal would be for them to make a new Air that blurs the line between iPad and Macbook, much the way the iPad Pro does, but using MacOS and a laptop form factor as the starting point rather than iOS and the iPad.

  3. I replaced my laptop with a #hackintosh. Tim Cook is driving this company over the cliff. Way to go Tim.

    Apple used to be a company that provided tools to content creators as well as content consumers. They clearly are not interested in the creators anymore.

    Probably since they aren’t creating much these days either.

    1. I love the iPad Pro, but it doesn’t replace macOS. I currently have and iPP and a MBP. I think next year I’ll drop the MBP and get a new iMac. The iPad is great for lots of simple tasks, and it can serve most of my mobility needs, but I need the horsepower, real estate and macOS on the iMac to perform a lot of critical jobs.

  4. The Twitter and Facebook comments on these advertisements should wake Apple UP.

    Customers have an entirely different perspective than Apple does.

    Customers don’t see the iPad as a computer replacement. They see the iPad as another form of computing.

    Apple used to understand their customers. Unfortunately, they no longer understand their customers. Incredibly Apple still thinks they understand their customers.

      1. The fact that without advertising and a dearth of timely hardware updates, the Mac still easily outsells the iPad that has been advertised ad nauseum tells me that Grumpy is in the majority.

        iOS is a consumer-focused touchscreen OS for ultraportables. It cannot and will not ever offer the power that a mature PERSONAL COMPUTER operating system like the Mac offers.

        I would replace a Mac with Windows 7 before I would replace it with any version of iOS.

        1. The Mac does not “easily outsell” the iPad.

          In fact, last quarter, iPad outsold Mac to the tune of 13.081 million units to 5.533 million units. In fact, iPad has easily outsold the Mac in unit sales — oftentimes double, triple, quadruple times the Mac’s sales — every single quarter since shortly after it was introduced in 2010.

          1. The mac makes way more revenue. 7 billion last quarter vs 5 b iPad. If we look at unit volumes as ‘success criteria’ than iPhone would be losing big time to android but it’s winning via profits . iPad sales have dropped for nearly 8-9 quarters from its peak sales while mac has stayed pretty consistent in spite of neglect. The good thing about high unit volumes though is that you sell more services – besides apps, Apple lumps warranties into services revenue.


            Q3 2016:

            Percentage of total revenue:

            iPhone: 69.4%
            Mac: 9.3%
            iPad: 7.1%
            Other: 5.1%
            Services: 9.1%

            Again, these results are achieved with practically zero leadership furthering Mac capability while iPhones and iPads have been given enormous resources for annual updates and iCloud rental is forced on users at every turn. Moreover, there are more Mac competitors than there are iPad competitors.

            Imagine how profitable Macs would be if they offered features users wanted at competitive prices.

    1. Apple does understand its customers, however; Apple wants another stream revenues for its business. That’s all there is to it. I am perfectly happy with the MacBook Air like the rest of Apple’s customers.

      1. I don’t agree. Apple has an agenda, and that is to force subscription computing onto its users. To do so, it is removing features from its hardware, refusing to update its Macs, and advertising ultraportable iOS junk.

        To what purpose?

        Everyone here at MDN keeps saying that AAPL should be setting new valuation records every month, but the fact is that cloud computing sucks. By not listening to the broader market, Apple’s margins have actually declined from their peak in 2011.

        Q4 2011 Gross margin: 47.4%
        Q4 2016 Gross margin: 38.5%

        So what that tells us is that while Apple keeps ramping up volume, it is not making any progress on selling high margin products. The reasons should be obvious for everyone: because all of Apple’s across the board, with the exception of the iPhone, is growing stale. That is not the sign of a company that has healthy diversification of income or has a clue how to deliver high-end products. Apple is losing it.

  5. I’m not going to replace my Mac desktop with an iPad much less my Mac laptop! Not going to happen Apple. If the Mac somehow disappears into the ether I’ll bail to GNU/Linux, NUFF SAID!!!

  6. Once upon a time When a “PRO” had a meaning…

    Mac II CX, the computer I used for my Phd thesis:
    For me, It still today the most fantastic computer I ever owned.
    Today I also own a 3000+$ Macbook Pro with TouchBar. Believe it or not, the excitement I still feel each time I fire up my Mac IIcx with the system 7, remains unique.

    And believe it or not, the day i unboxed my Macbook Pro TouchBar, I did it with a huge frustration… a frustration that I still feel on my every day use!

    1. Aaaaah, what a wonderful experience it was for me back in 1989, having bought a IICX as server, and 2 x SE’s for my small manufacturing business. I used one of the SE’s mainly for Claris CAD, in conjunction with a 21″ Radius screen. Unbelievably easy to use and software so intuitive. I remember that the IICX also had a brilliant built in tutorial video which showed you how to operate the computer.

      Although Apple lost its way in the mid 90’s, before its resurgence, it seems to me that Jony Ive’s ever skinny designs and pale grey on white backgrounds mantra, are losing it again. Apple at one time used to listen more to their customers, but not anymore, in my humble opinion.

    2. ok, what a great video. First the Green Acres music came from.. nowhere, what?!?! Then, the idea of Gasse putting it together, holy mackerel, will we ever see this again? I think not. Steve must have been throwing himself around a padded room watching this but I find it pretty awesome. As to the computers, from the Fat Mac (512k memory!!) later upgraded to a Mac Plus, I’ve owned many of these computers and my Plus still fires up. Thanks for the video.

  7. Not going to happen, Apple/Pipeline Timmy!
    As much as I love my 13 inch screen iPad Pro, iPads are still a poor, somewhat kludgy and too simplified replacement for any fully realised laptop/MacBook with any world class operating system.
    I can’t believe after 10 years. that Apple cannot make iOS any better than they have in 10 years!
    I think for the past 5 years Apple and Tim Cook, as well as, Apple’s design and software teams have really dropped the ball on being trulu innovative!
    iOS has NOT fundementally changed since its inception. Neither has OS X/macOS for that matter!
    And really, neither has any of Apple’s computing hardware.
    Apple’s innovation in hardware seems myopically obseessed with making their products thinner and lighter and NOT really focused any longer on innovating BRAND NEW, paradigm shifting hardware devices or computer designs.
    I don’t think Mr.Cook nor Sir Ive is capable of this level of thinking.
    That is why Apple NEEDS someone, like Elon Musk, to help guide Apple and Apple product future.
    Is Apple, for the next 10 years going to keep producing new variations on old ideas for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iMac?
    I use my iPads as a laptop replacement, mostly, but I really wish Apple would push iOS more toward more flexible functionality and turn iOS into a more world class mobile OS.
    iPad users really need an iOS Pro or even an iOS-E, iOS-Ex (Extended features/operations/system) operating system.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.