You probably don’t need to buy a MacBook anymore

The new seventh-generation iPad packs even more value into the most popular, most affordable iPad model.
The new seventh-generation iPad packs even more value into the most popular, most affordable iPad model.

Apple on Tuesday introduced the new seventh-generation iPad, bringing more screen area and support for the full-sized Smart Keyboard to its most popular and most affordable iPad. Starting at just $329, the upgraded iPad features a stunning 10.2-inch Retina display and the latest innovations including gen. 1 Apple Pencil support, the fast A10 Fusion chip, advanced cameras and sensors, unmatched portability and connectivity, ease of use and great all-day battery life.

Mike Murphy for Quartz:

Apple now sells three basic iPad models — the standard version, the Air, and the Pro — as well as the cut-sized Mini… All now share a few common traits: high-resolution touchscreens, the ability to be controlled by a stylus, and keyboard support. With the forthcoming release of iPadOS, the new iPad-specific operating system that bring the tablet experience far closer to the traditional laptop’s, Apple will have three tablets that most people will likely have no problem using as their daily computing device. And for $329 (plus $159 for an Apple-made keyboard/cover) for the base model, you’re spending far less than for the base MacBook Air, which starts at $1,099.

There are certain things you just can’t do easily on an iPad, even a powerful one like the iPad Pro, as in manipulating large amounts of data and executing fine-tuned design work. However, this group of users is shrinking: High-end applications like Photoshop are now on the iPad, becoming more capable every day, and Safari can now handle the most complicated web-based applications with ease. When on the road, I do all my work on my iPad Pro these days…

So don’t spend the money on a new laptop just because it’s what you’ve always done. Consider what you actually do on your computer, and if it’s little more than checking email, watching movies, reading social media, checking documents, and browsing the web, you’re going to be fine with any iPad.

MacDailyNews Take: iPad is not for everyone, just the vast majority.

iPad Pro can replace the vast majority of people’s MacBooks because people never had an alternative to a MacBook to accomplish 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.MacDailyNews, November 11, 2015

iPadOS certainly brings in more people to a group that’s already a majority: desktop and notebook users who’d be better served with an iPad.MacDailyNews, June 14, 2019

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ladd” for the heads up.]


  1. Abject nonsense. If you use an iPad in place of a MacBook, you never needed one in the first place.

    Half the software I use on my MacBook doesnt even exist on the iPad.

    Real productive software is found on computers, not computer wannabes.

    1. I use a book formatting program called Vellum that’s Mac only. The Brads both worked at Pixar before starting Vellum but have no intention of making an iOS version. They’d rather put their time and resources into refining the best MacOS version they can. So I’ll always have a need for a Mac.

      I have an iPad Air 1 from 2014. I’m still trying to figure out why and have to think of reasons to use it over my XS Max.Though with the upcoming ability to use an iPad with external storage, it might get me to upgrade my DJ rig to an iPad Pro 12.9.

    2. Abject nonsense. If you use a FED in place of a Government owning and controlling its own money supply, you never needed one in the first place.

      Half the economies of the world use currencies that don’t even exist in Greenspan’s tiny little brain.

      Real productive economies are founded on gold, not fiat wannabe’s.

  2. MDN thinks a netbook heavily reliant on always-connected internet is better than a fully fledged laptop.

    The headline should instead read: “Consumers don’t need to buy creative devices”.

        1. No, more like a car that seats 4 having 16 cupholders.
          Most people use email, surf the web, play games, pictures, etc. Things that cane be done on a netbook or tablet. You can be “creative” with basic level tools.

  3. In a handful of cases I have seen the iPad replace a Mac. In most cases, what I have seen happening is an iPad being combined with a Windows laptop or desktop. Apple by trying to push the iPad over the Mac has reduced the appeal of the Mac and surprisingly increased the sale of Windows machines. Apple just plain out overpriced their MacBook Pros and Macs with SSD drives. I think Apple did this on purpose to push the much higher profit margin iPads.

  4. I need to use the full version of MS Office, unfortunately. I even have to use the Windows version too, as Microsoft still leaves out important features on the Mac version, which I need for some projects. I have always hated this tactic of Microsoft. I am getting pressure by those I work with to switch to Windows because the Mac version can’t do something required for a client project. If someone offered a SaS solution to allow me to run the full version of MS Office from a server (at a good speed), I’d happily forgo a MacBook Pro for an iPad Pro. I do agree that most people’s needs are met by the iPad.

  5. This has not been my experience and I struggle to see how others could use the iPad effectively for most work. It takes forever to get anything DONE on it. File operations are just awful—opening, saving, moving, etc. are all multistep and lack simplicity. The file browser is not efficient (and that’s even comparing it to Finder which is itself a bad replacement for Explorer). You can’t even see complete file names easily in iOS unless you use a trivially-short descriptions. Multitasking is tedious and limited. Throughout the OS, design choices were made to optimize mobile-use and they appear to favor the consumption of simple information or media. That’s fine but it defines customer usage scenarios. I really wish I could ditch the computer but for normal information worker / office-like functions such as organizing, reviewing, and acting on information the iPad is not as efficient or as effective as the Mac or Windows alternative. It’s not that you can’t get things done on iPad, it’s that it takes too long and is too complicated.

  6. I use my MacBook Pro for real work and need the industrial strength applications (Mathematica, Full Featured Microsoft Office, Eagle Cad, SmartDraw, Paralles and others) that go with it. An iPad, including the Pro, is no substitute for it. I think someone is underestimating the percentage of customers who do real work. I would have bought an iPad long ago if all I used it for was to send e-mail and surf the web. How has that equation changed?

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