Apple explains why iPad is a terrible laptop alternative


Aston441

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Long ago I had one of the first PowerBooks. It was absolutely brilliant for it's time. Designed by Ives predecessor Robert Brunner, if we a work of art worthy of being added to the permanent collection in San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.

I have a 2011 Macbook Air, which was also brilliant, but which is an iteration of the PowerBooks, as per Ives. It's nowhere near the brilliant leap that Brunner gave us. Apple just discontinued support for my MBA to try to get me to upgrade. That has left a bad taste in my mouth. The latest MBA is garbage. The current 12" MacBook is tempting, but with only one port (so would need dongles), being slow, and having an insecure Intel processor, I thought I'd try something else.

So I’ve been experimenting with my new 2018 iPad to see how long I could go without my MacBook. I feel like we're back at the top page advertisement. I have a keyboard flopping around. I have a dongle for the pencil. I hope I don't lose the pencil. I hope I don't lose the pencil cap. I hope I don't lose the dongle. Trying to move files around is rediculously complicated, involving weird apps, flaky network connections, and sometimes borrowing someone's laptop. I have a separate charger for the keyboard. A screen protector. A case for the iPad. And then I have a bigger case to stuff all of that stuff into! It's insane.
 

Altis

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Only superficially. But I would expect superficial from a person who makes a thread about how an old ad is relevant today. ;)
I didn't make the thread. ;)

The UI isn't "superficial", though. It's how the user interacts with the device. Judging by the seemingly random-sized free-floating windows in the old photo, not all too much has changed.
 

Aston441

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The PowerBooks then came with OS 7.x, later 8.x.

The HUGE flaw then, that drove millions of us to Windows 95/98, is that it couldn't multitask hardly at all, very much how iOS is terrible at multitasking. Apple kept promising multitasking, and they just couldn't do it. Jobs had to return, scrap OS9, and move on to Unix.

The garbage windowing and garbage multitasking in iOS makes me feel like we're back in the 1990s again, dongles and all.

This time, there's no Jobs to set things right again.
 

Michael Goff

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I didn't make the thread. ;)

The UI isn't "superficial", though. It's how the user interacts with the device. Judging by the seemingly random-sized free-floating windows in the old photo, not all too much has changed.
My mistake, I must not be thinking.

Also, you’re saying it is the same since it uses the WIMP style? I assume you think all Windows versions are the same?
 

Altis

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My mistake, I must not be thinking.

Also, you’re saying it is the same since it uses the WIMP style? I assume you think all Windows versions are the same?
No, Windows added snapping :p

Neither macOS or Windows UI have changed all too drastically in the past two decades, strictly from a UI point of view, though. Nothing like DOS to Windows 3.1, or 3.1 to 95, for example.
 

Arran

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In its day, the ad made a good point about the convenience of having the ‘extras’ built into one box. It’s a clever ad.

Thing is, the iPad has all those extras built in. Memory, pointing device, communications, reduced weight, reduced size, productivity applications and instruction manuals (via the web)
 

Aston441

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In its day, the ad made a good point about the convenience of having the ‘extras’ built into one box. It’s a clever ad.

Thing is, the iPad has all those extras built in. Memory, pointing device, communications, reduced weight, reduced size, productivity applications and instruction manuals (via the web)

Fair point. But I still have a bag of stuff to carry around again. I used to carry the PowerBook, later the MBA, and nothing else. Now I have a bag of junk once more. And files were a heck of a lot easier to move around and manipulate in 1993.
 

KPOM

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Oct 23, 2010
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Fair point. But I still have a bag of stuff to carry around again. I used to carry the PowerBook, later the MBA, and nothing else. Now I have a bag of junk once more. And files were a heck of a lot easier to move around and manipulate in 1993.
Maybe you need to rethink your workflow. I could do about 90% of what I need to do for my job with an iPad. And that is increasing as my employer makes more of our infrastructure mobile-friendly.
 

Lobwedgephil

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Apr 7, 2012
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Fair point. But I still have a bag of stuff to carry around again. I used to carry the PowerBook, later the MBA, and nothing else. Now I have a bag of junk once more. And files were a heck of a lot easier to move around and manipulate in 1993.
Kind of on you though, I have a iPad Pro, attached to keyboard case, pencil attached as well. Nothing else to carry.
 
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KPOM

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Fair point. But I still have a bag of stuff to carry around again. I used to carry the PowerBook, later the MBA, and nothing else. Now I have a bag of junk once more. And files were a heck of a lot easier to move around and manipulate in 1993.
The cloud will take over eventuallly. It’s getting there. Not quite there yet, but close.
 

bandrews

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Jul 18, 2008
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Long ago I had one of the first PowerBooks. It was absolutely brilliant for it's time. Designed by Ives predecessor Robert Brunner, if we a work of art worthy of being added to the permanent collection in San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.

I have a 2011 Macbook Air, which was also brilliant, but which is an iteration of the PowerBooks, as per Ives. It's nowhere near the brilliant leap that Brunner gave us. Apple just discontinued support for my MBA to try to get me to upgrade. That has left a bad taste in my mouth. The latest MBA is garbage. The current 12" MacBook is tempting, but with only one port (so would need dongles), being slow, and having an insecure Intel processor, I thought I'd try something else.

So I’ve been experimenting with my new 2018 iPad to see how long I could go without my MacBook. I feel like we're back at the top page advertisement. I have a keyboard flopping around. I have a dongle for the pencil. I hope I don't lose the pencil. I hope I don't lose the pencil cap. I hope I don't lose the dongle. Trying to move files around is rediculously complicated, involving weird apps, flaky network connections, and sometimes borrowing someone's laptop. I have a separate charger for the keyboard. A screen protector. A case for the iPad. And then I have a bigger case to stuff all of that stuff into! It's insane.
And no integrated fax modem! How on earth do you cope?
There are no surprises with the iPad - I think by now even my mother knows the limitations of iOS (yet it’s still the only “computer” she needs).

I know what I need from a “computer” and turns out a new iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard and pencil has meant I haven’t needed to fire up my MacBook Air or iMac and the only dongle I own is one for an SD card (although my cameras can transfer jpeg and raw images wirelessly if I don’t have it on me).

Maybe you should have asked what you needed from a computer before trying to force a round peg into a square hole - after all, you still have the option of three Apple laptops lines or you could move over to Windows.
 

KPOM

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Oct 23, 2010
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There's a ways to go on that. I travel a lot and it's not unusual to be somewhere where Internet service is poor or even nonexistent. I don't depend on the cloud at all when away from home.
5G is supposed to change that. I say within 10 years, maybe 5, most things will be on cloud services or private clouds.
 
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HappyIntro

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Apr 30, 2016
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The PowerBooks then came with OS 7.x, later 8.x.

The HUGE flaw then, that drove millions of us to Windows 95/98, is that it couldn't multitask hardly at all, very much how iOS is terrible at multitasking. Apple kept promising multitasking, and they just couldn't do it. Jobs had to return, scrap OS9, and move on to Unix.

The garbage windowing and garbage multitasking in iOS makes me feel like we're back in the 1990s again, dongles and all.

This time, there's no Jobs to set things right again.
Hey thanks for sharing that old ad, I love looking at stuff like that. Look at those laptop keyboards! Full keycaps - man I am wishing modern laptops didn't degrade the keyboard input experience with flat, island/chiclet style keys.

Seriously though, you make a great point with that ad, and what jumps out at me is how Apple has whittled down the ports on their laptops so much. Lenovo could remake the Ad you shared with Apple being the computer that needs all sorts of accessories to work well and the ThinkPad being the better stand-alone machine. I realize that I am taking this off-topic a bit (me thinking of MacBook Pros and this being an iPad thread after all).

One nit though regarding the post quoted above - if Jobs came back today somehow, there's no guarantee that he'd set Apple straight. He did nearly run the company into the ground in the 1980s, then start up another company from scratch (Next) which was floundering badly when Apple bought it.
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,406
2,995
Hey thanks for sharing that old ad, I love looking at stuff like that. Look at those laptop keyboards! Full keycaps - man I am wishing modern laptops didn't degrade the keyboard input experience with flat, island/chiclet style keys.

Seriously though, you make a great point with that ad, and what jumps out at me is how Apple has whittled down the ports on their laptops so much. Lenovo could remake the Ad you shared with Apple being the computer that needs all sorts of accessories to work well and the ThinkPad being the better stand-alone machine. I realize that I am taking this off-topic a bit (me thinking of MacBook Pros and this being an iPad thread after all).

One nit though regarding the post quoted above - if Jobs came back today somehow, there's no guarantee that he'd set Apple straight. He did nearly run the company into the ground in the 1980s, then start up another company from scratch (Next) which was floundering badly when Apple bought it.
The point is that a Thunderbolt 3 port can do anything that any other port can do, with the right adapter. And the world is moving toward USB-C as the port to do all, when wireless isn’t sufficient. A USB-A port can’t double as a DisplayPort, HDMI, or VGA port. But a USB-C port can.

The reality is that Apple dropped support for all legacy ports 20 years ago when it embraced USB-A. No surprise it did the same when USB-C and TB3 came along.
 
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UBS28

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The iPad is a just a big iPhone with pencil support. It is not a laptop replacement.

Maybe if you jailbreak it, it has some potential. But I won’t void my warranty.
 

TheRealAlex

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Sep 2, 2015
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Long ago I had one of the first PowerBooks. It was absolutely brilliant for it's time. Designed by Ives predecessor Robert Brunner, if we a work of art worthy of being added to the permanent collection in San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.

I have a 2011 Macbook Air, which was also brilliant, but which is an iteration of the PowerBooks, as per Ives. It's nowhere near the brilliant leap that Brunner gave us. Apple just discontinued support for my MBA to try to get me to upgrade. That has left a bad taste in my mouth. The latest MBA is garbage. The current 12" MacBook is tempting, but with only one port (so would need dongles), being slow, and having an insecure Intel processor, I thought I'd try something else.

So I’ve been experimenting with my new 2018 iPad to see how long I could go without my MacBook. I feel like we're back at the top page advertisement. I have a keyboard flopping around. I have a dongle for the pencil. I hope I don't lose the pencil. I hope I don't lose the pencil cap. I hope I don't lose the dongle. Trying to move files around is rediculously complicated, involving weird apps, flaky network connections, and sometimes borrowing someone's laptop. I have a separate charger for the keyboard. A screen protector. A case for the iPad. And then I have a bigger case to stuff all of that stuff into! It's insane.
Your point is well taken. And well thought out it really hit me clearly.

We are at the top ad, with dongles and accessories and apps making up for lacking features.

Me personally I am without Laptop since the 11” iPad Pro fills so many of my needs. I could create my own Ad of all the things the iPad Pro replaces.

#1. A document scanner
#2. A Laptop
#3. A Keyboard I don’t do serious work on the iPad Pro.
#4. A 4K TV I just show patients up close using C.Anatomy or Websites they need to see.
#5. Nintendo Switch gaming on the iPad Pro is at another level.
#6. $349 Home Pod. I have a Sony XB30 combined with an iPad Pro portable music no WiFi needed better
#7. I have 50GB of LTE Data Hotspot coverage through Sprint via my Note 9 I have Data anywhere. No need for WiFI don’t see many LTE equipped MacBooks. I am truly mobile with my setup.
#8. A a PDA, I lived through the age of PDA and Palm Pilots glad it’s over.
#9. Social media communications. Social Media is the future period. And it’s better on iOS
#10. Security safety, I have 2 Factor authentication and a PIN Code on my Apple Account or iCloud I can restore, back up save and change devices if necessary in a flash. That’s still a pain on Mac or Windows.
 

pika2000

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I don't understand. Those points that favor the PowerBook are still valid for the iPad.
- Consistent app: there are more apps designed for the iPad than, let's say, Android tablet or Windows UWP
- Blistering speed: I think it's easy to say the A12X is still the fastest and most efficient mobile chipset
- Built-in networking, file-sharing: Wifi and bluetooth, coupled with iCloud, Airdrop, Handover, etc
- Trackball: superseded by multi-touch

And note:
The powerbook needs an adapter for attaching SCSI devices since it is not using the huge regular SCSI port

So I guess I miss your non-point. :shrug:
 
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