In an interview with the Irish Independent, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has again squashed rumours of a possible Mac / iPad hybrid device, saying that any possible hybrid device would compromise the user experience, a line he has been repeating since the launch of Windows 8.
Apple has said many things over the years, the most relevant one today which is probably a stretch given how technology has moved on since the famous line BUT, the late Steve Jobs was quoted as saying:
It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it
and…we have the Apple Pencil.
Then we have
In multitasking, if you see a task manager… they blew it. Users shouldn’t ever have to think about it.
iOS has an app switcher where you can kill apps…like a Task Manager
There are many more ‘we won’t do this‘ or ‘you have failed if‘ but if Apple are not going to head towards a more integrated platform and convergence of iOS and OSX what do we end up with? I can’t see how they can upscale the apps to provide a full desktop/laptop experience on an iOS device – no matter what the A9x or even the next gen chip delivers.
The issue comes down to usability or as Panos Panay at Microsoft puts it with regards to the Surface devices ‘Lapability’ This translates to ‘Desktopability’ too – in essence how we interact with the hardware. While the iPad can display/render 100’s of layers of an AutoCAD drawing or design, how could anyone realistically use an iPad Pro as their single device for creating such a design. I could understand using it as a review tool but serious design and productivity requires a better laptop/desktop experience not a compromise like the iPad Pro. The lack of sufficient peripherals to support input cripples the iPad Pro for starters. The inability to use devices like mice or other devices that you might connect via USB for example Wacom tablets and other varied input methods. The Apple Pencil cannot replace a lot of the designers tools albeit it can help in some ways as a standalone sketch tool. Any serious productivity requires a proper keyboard too which would be delivered better via Bluetooth than the Surface-like keyboard case that Apple offers like Microsoft at an additional charge to the device itself. I don’t see how anyone could ever use an iPad Pro as their one and only device. As they say about Windows Phone right now in the mobile world, the same applies to the iPad Pro in the PC world….the apps and hardware just aren’t there – therefore neither is productivity!
As mentioned also in a Vox/Verge video review of the iPad Pro the applications are not (yet) on feature parity with desktop versions – in this case the Adobe design suite. Does it make sense for Adobe to be building applications to scale for both an iOS and OSX platform (as well as Windows) maybe; is the demand there for iPad Pro enough to scale up all of these apps to what effectively would be a productivity vs usable level as they have now?
Whether there is a convergence of operating systems or maybe a convergence of hardware i.e. touch added to OSX and MacBooks, something has to give at Apple. Touchscreen laptops and hybrid devices are here to stay and the userbase is growing.
Apple will surely have to compromise its strategy somehow to meet demands and cater for what users want and judging by the current sales of hybrid Windows 10 devices that is a pretty clear direction.