With iOS 11, Apple’s iPads can finally replace notebooks

“I’ve always found a lot to love about tablet computers and iPads in particular. Light weight, long battery life, excellent displays, low-cost apps, are all things I like and want,” Robin Harris writes for ZDNet. “But I could never pull the trigger on replacing my MacBook Airs or my newest notebook, a loaded MacBook. Why?”

“My workflow is file-based,” Harris writes. “With iOS 10 or less though, I could not integrate these common – for me – workflows.. [In iOS 11], Files presents as an app with a Folder icon. The app opens with a list of Recents or, if you choose the Browse pane, a list that includes Locations, Favorites, and Tags.”

“I’m planning to get a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with an Apple Smart Keyboard to see if it can replace my MacBook. Yes, the screen is smaller, the battery life no better, and the weight is about the same, but I want to test if the simplicity and ease of use of an iPad offers significant advantages,” Harris writes. “Thanks to the iOS 11 Files app, I’m hopeful it can.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a three-way combination of the Files app, the new Dock (the way it always should have been) and Multi-Touch Drag and Drop that truly, finally makes iPad a viable notebook replacement for many use cases.


    1. iPad has had a virtual trackpad since iOS 9.

      To engage the virtual trackpad, simply put two fingers down on the keyboard.

      You will know it is working when the keys on the keyboard go blank. To move the cursor, leave your two fingers down on the screen and move them around just as you would on a normal trackpad. The cursor will follow your movement. And as a bonus, you don’t need to confine your movement to the keyboard section of the screen. When the virtual trackpad is engaged, you can move your fingers anywhere on the display, and it will act as one giant trackpad.

      You can also scroll through text by moving the cursor to the far top or to the far bottom of the screen. As you continue to move your fingers in that direction, the text will scroll with you.

      You can also select text using the trackpad.

      You will use two fingers to engage it as normal, only instead of moving your fingers around the screen, you will hold them still for one-to-two seconds. The cursor will change from a vertical line to a vertical line with a circle on each end of it. This means you are in selection mode. When you move your fingers, instead of simply moving the cursor, it will select text starting with where the cursor was when the selection mode was engaged.

      You don’t need to put your fingers down on the keyboard to use the virtual trackpad. It is easier to teach the technique by touching the keyboard simply because the keyboard goes blank, alerting you that the virtual trackpad is engaged. But anywhere on the screen you can edit text, you can tap your two fingers and engage the trackpad. You can even select text this way.

      More via Lifewire: How to Use the Virtual Trackpad on the iPad

    2. The iPad has a trackpad built in. When the onscreen keyboard is displayed, use two fingers on it.
      Press down with both and move them together up, down, left, right and the cursor will follow above. I use it all the time for correcting spelling or punctuation in what I am typing. Now (iOS 11) I can use it to place a cursor where needed, highlight text and drag and drop it.

  1. Don’t do it. I replaced an iPad Air 2 With an iPad Pro 10.5. The iPad Air 2 has a Brighter display inside and outside. But 10.5 is faster. With better voices. But I regret buying the first generation iPad 10.5 I’ve had to call Applecare three times because of various problems with this particular machine. Apple overhyped the qualities of the 10.5. Which they never have never done in the past . Maybe I just happened on a lemon.

    1. I’d say for every 1000 ideas they are now saying “no” only 500 times, instead of 999 times. It just getting stupid. Click on your picture to bling up the list of previous app purchases? Damn stupid.

  2. I love my iPad for a lot of reasons, but unfortunately it’s not a replacement for a Mac. I just bought another Macbook this week, but I would have preferred to use an iPad and keep my money.

  3. So with iOS 11 the iPad is more like a MacBook Air type computer. And this is good because………????

    It seems like Apple, determined not to support the Mac very well, has to come up with a replacement. So what they do is turn the relatively inexpensive iPad – small, highly portable, great battery life, easy to use – into an expensive replacement for the Mac. Someone tell me how this makes sense.
    More and more I see Apple marginalizing itself through VERY high prices and abandonment of the Apple Ecosystem.

  4. Regarding the Files App.
    Apple is turning into Microsoft pushing their iCloud on everyone. Why didn’t they just create Aliases that could be put into folders. Files could remain where they are or you could use the cloud if you elected to do so.

  5. Nope! But it’s great to see iOS attempt to step closer to the functionality of macOS. There’s still a WHOPPING long way to go, if that’s Apple’s intention.

    Happily, I’ll stick with my MacBook Pro. I look forward to Apple getting their act together again and making the Mac state-of-the-art again. They damned well better.

  6. I replaced my previous MacBook Pro with an iPad Pro 12.9″ soon after they first came out and have never looked back. I much prefer using. It is a much better experience and much more flexible using when travelling, particularly having built in SIM for 4G connection. Many things require doing a different way than on the MAC, but with a little research (whenever I don’t know how, I do a web search) and being flexible to change, most things are possible – and even more will now with iOS 11.

    I use the iPad Pro exclusively when travelling and quite successfully run my international business using just this device and an iPhone (in fact am writing this while in China). What little I can’t do on it, can always wait until I am back on my iMac in the office.

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