What about an iPad Hybrid?

“You can outfit any iPad with a keyboard case. Apple’s Smart Keyboard uses the custom connector on the iPad Pro. But in each case, the keyboard is subpar, partly due to limited key travel. So it has a mushy feel,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. ” Whether typing on fabric or plastic, I cannot go near as fast or as accurately as on a regular keyboard.”

“One possible solution I came up with on this weekend’s edition of The Tech Night Owl LIVE is what I call the iPad Hybrid,” Steinberg writes. “It’s probably a foolish product name, but you’ll see where I’m going over the next few paragraphs.”

“What about putting an iPad in a real detachable notebook case?,” Steinberg writes. “In other words, it becomes a 2-in-1 computer that runs iOS and serves as an iPad and as a true notebook alternative.”

“When fully assembled, the iPad Hybrid works as a traditional notebook in every way,” Steinberg writes. “The keyboard has the traditional feel of a MacBook, with a genuine touchpad. You could literally use it in a way similar to a Mac except for running iOS. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why limit it to iOS?

For the umpteenth time, 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


  1. I think switching between OSes in the same device would be a jarring, unpleasant experience. I think Gene has it right. I’m all for a hybrid iOS device. I don’t think trying to make OS X a touch-based experience makes any sense at all.

  2. In addition to the trackpad, can we have a mouse option?


    I am (and I suspect the vast majority of people are) way more productive with a mouse.

    Longing for the day when I can take my iPhone out of my pocket, mount it in a dock that connects to an external keyboard,monitor and mouse, and then use the iPhone as a tiny computer. Touchscreens have their place but face it, we are much faster with a real keyboard and mouse…

    Just my two cents.

        1. Yes, Microsoft’s solutions suck, always have, always will. The day Microsoft’s solutions won’t suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner, as it will work precisely to Microsoft intentions and specifications, and thus, simply won’t suck.

    1. Your wish is our eventual command. You’re welcome! The iPad Hybrid is here and it’s called an iPad Pro. With magic keyboard+trackpad and Pencil.

  3. Re: MDN take, and all others wanting same:

    What you want is already here and it’s called the Microsoft Surface… and it works as well as expected considering the divergent natures of two OS’s operating on one device.

    Oh, you want one OS doing both things? Well that’s already her, also… and it’s called the Microsoft Surface. And it operates equally as well.

    Which is why, I suspect, that Apple hasn’t gone down that path. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

    1. Thank you for stating the obvious that MDN and other Apple junkies choose to ignore.

      Usually I’m the one having to state such things and get my head ripped off in the process. Might happen to you too.

    2. Surface is terrible, sells in tiny amounts compared to iPad and MacBooks, and is an abject failure bought by people with questionable brain power

  4. I love my iPad Pro 12.9, use it for about 80% of my computing. I think rather than having more tech I would like to see iOS evolve into doing more. Even more than we will have in iOS 11 later this year. I simply cannot use a laptop again. bleh

  5. “I cannot go near as fast or as accurately as on a regular keyboard”
    I never get these statements. If you can touch type you can touch type on anything. The K is where the K is… regardless of if the key travels 4mm or half an inch. To say you’re LESS accurate when touching the same keys… what ELSE is going on here?

    1. I don’t get them either, but more so, I don’t get the people who equate a keyboard with transforming the iPad into a notebook or have never once even glanced at 3rd party keyboard options.

    2. If you can’t figure out the difference between a horrid mini keyboard ipad cover and a full size Mac keyboard with proper number pad, or even more advanced ergo keyboards, then you might not be the target audience for high productivity computer equipment.

      The iPad and iOS apps do suck for extended typing jobs. Period.

    3. What’s so hard to understand? Different keyboard mechanisms have different response rates… some respond quicker than others, some have a different tactile feedback. It affects your typing speed.

      I’m not a touch typist (old school hunt and peck while looking at the keyboard type), but I understand what they’re talking about. I’ve read about these issues for years. Every new type of keyboard generates them.

      As a graphics person, I’ve been more of a mouse user than keyboard person, but I’ve noticed mice have had similar issues. Lots of people have complained about Apple mice for years. I can’t say I’ve been particularly enamored of them, but never had any serious issues with any. Not even with the infamous hockey puck mouse which drove so many people crazy. I never had a problem with it.

    4. You’re clearly not a writer who’s at a keyboard all day. My iPad Pro spends most of its time resting. I use it for reading, a few other things. iMacs and MacBooks will never be replaced by toy keyboards for those who work with keyboards professionally all day.

      1. Type your favorite “every character” phrase (The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog) on an iPad Smart Keyboard, the onscreen keyboard, they keyboard that comes with the iMac and a big fat thick keyboard. Time them all AND see if you got any of the letters wrong.

        I’ve learned on and used a LOT of different keyboards over the years am able to maintain the same speed and accuracy regardless of what keyboard I’m using. If, for you, one is significantly different from the other in terms of accuracy (home row is home row, as long as you’re not using Dvorak) and speed, then you’ve got muscle memory related to a specific keyboard and you’ll be gimped on anything other than that from that point forward.

        “Work with keyboards professionally”.. 🙂 because only self-proclaimed “writers” are the only people with experience with keyboards. Is there anyone else here that’s not a “writer” but, amazingly, still finds themselves spending most of their day on a keyboard? 😉

  6. What I’d live to see is Apple replacing the quite un-Apple flappy mess that is the Smart Keyboard with its own take of something like, for instance, a Logitech Ultrathin keyboard, with proper Macbook style keys and multiple viewing angles.

  7. All I want is an iPad mini Pro. If you’re a someone not stuck on a desk, but walking around a work environment or school environment, the mini is the most practical size but lacks pencil support. Adding pencil support to the mini would blow sales through the roof in my opinion. I see folks using the Samsung note in the same fashion but I think everyone in love with the Galaxy Note would throw it away if the iPad mini gained pencil support.

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