Can the iPad Pro replace my laptop? Nope (not yet)

Though I really like the iPad Pro, I have to disagree with Apple CEO Tim Cook in that it’s a viable personal computer replacement. I’m pretty sure it will be in the near future, but, for me at least, that day hasn’t arrived.

For now, my 12-inch MacBook will remain my secondary computer. Doing my daily Apple World Today chores requires me to have Safari, Mail, Pages, Pixelmator, and Calendar running simultaneously — with multiple tabs open in Safari.

I move back and forth between these apps, doing research and cutting/pasting. I can do this on the iPad Pro, but not with the speed and elegance of Mac OS X. 

Here’s a prime example: the content management system we use at AWT is Squarespace. When it’s running on Mac OS X, it’s easy to select graphics I’ve stored my Pixelmator folder in my iCloud account. I frequently cut, edit, and save these images on-the-fly.

I can’t do this when running the Squarespace app on my iPad Pro. Any images I want to edit or insert into a story have to be uploaded from Photos. In other words, I have to find an image I want to put in a post, save it to the Photos Library, edit it using the built-in tools, and then select that image from my Photos Library. Then I have to delete the images from Photos when I’m done.

Is it doable? Yep. But it’s much faster and smoother to do this on my MacBook when I’m away from my iMac (which is my main work machine).

The multitasking features in OS 9 are a good start, but they let users see only two apps at a time. And many iOS apps still don't support these features. And many apps can't yet tackle even simple keyboard shortcut commands, such as cut, copy or paste. 

Plus, I run the occasional AppleScript. I can’t do that on the iPad.

Admittedly, your mileage may vary. If your workload involves writing, surfing the web, and checking email, the iPad Pro may serve just fine as a laptop replacement. It doesn’t work for me — although with future versions of iOS and an updated Squarespace app, that day will almost certainly come.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like my iPad Pro. It’s powerful, the screen is gorgeous, and the speakers are surprisingly beefy. Unlike some folks, I even like the Smart Keyboard. I think the design is ingenious, and I love the fact that the keyboard is designed to resist spills (something that shouldn’t be overlooked in a mobile device’s keyboard).

I have my iPad Pro with me at most times and use it as a “secondary screen” when watching TV. However, when I’m away from my iMac and need to do some AWT work, I set the iPad Pro aside and reach for the MacBook.