iPad Pro Has the iPad replaced the ultraportable MacBook?

dingclancy23

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Original poster
Nov 15, 2015
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It seems like Apple is not making MacBooks smaller than 13 inches anymore.

I wonder if there is still a big demand for a smaller Macbook. It looks like 13 inches is the border between the iPad and the Mac.

This means that Apple sees the iPad Pro is selling well and people are looking at iPads to replace their ultraportables.

Before the iPad I would imagine that there are people who would want a very mobile Mac, but this might be an indicator that the iPad has a firm place now in the computing lineup, and the reason we are not seeing bigger iPads are that anything greater than 13inch is too clunky too hold, and the Mac is still more useful for larger screens.

But the ultraportable is a big market, a market that only the iPad has a product.
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AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
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Austin, TX
I would love to do a side by side comparison of an 11" MacBook Air with the modern 13" MacBook Air. The 11" had large bezels at the time and the newer ones have significantly smaller bezels.

We'll know better what the state of tiny macs is if Apple ever brings back the MacBook Adorable.

I'm a solid believer an iPad is still an insufficient replacement for a Mac, but that's just me.
 
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Vally1945

macrumors member
Aug 8, 2019
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Palm Springs, CA
I would love to do a side by side comparison of an 11" MacBook Air with the modern 13" MacBook Air. The 11" had large bezels at the time and the newer ones have significantly smaller bezels.

We'll know better what the state of tiny macs is if Apple ever brings back the MacBook Adorable.

I'm a solid believer an iPad is still an insufficient replacement for a Mac, but that's just me.
I agree that an iPad can never replace a Mac. It'll be a long time before physical keys go out of style. But the question still remains... when is the Mac just TOO small? lol
 

OdT22

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2012
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I’m using the iPad (11”) because it’s the only ultra portable Apple makes today, besides the phone. A keyboard and trackpad are sorely missed. Either OS is fine, just give us the hardware.
 

urkel

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Nov 3, 2008
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I'm a solid believer an iPad is still an insufficient replacement for a Mac, but that's just me.
I think it can be argued that the MacBook 11” has limitations that make it barely a Mac.

People understand that theres a huge trade off when going for the smallest MacBooks. For the most part its been an expensive but acceptable compromise. But with the introduction of the iPad (with keyboard) then youre able to do most of those “Mac” tasks on a cheaper and smaller device that actually has better battery and many unique benefits. So the move from Macbook to iPad has been pretty smooth for many people.
 
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AutomaticApple

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Nov 28, 2018
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Massachusetts
It seems like Apple is not making MacBooks smaller than 13 inches anymore.

I wonder if there is still a big demand do for a smaller Macbook. It looks like 13 inches is the border between the iPad and the Mac.

This means that Apple sees the iPad Pro is selling well and people are looking at iPads to replace their ultraportables.

Before the iPad I would imagine that there are people who would want a very mobile Mac, but this might be an indicator that the iPad has a firm place now in the computing lineup, and the reason we are not seeing bigger iPads are that anything greater than 13inch is too clunky too hold, and the Mac is still more useful for larger screens.

But the ultraportable is a big market, a market that only the iPad has a product.
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In my opinion, it has in fact completely replaced the ultraportable MacBook. One benefit is that it's much more powerful than the ultraportable MacBook.
 
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Ludatyk

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May 27, 2012
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This means that Apple sees the iPad Pro is selling well and people are looking at iPads to replace their ultraportables.
I‘ve gone the way of iPad Pro as a laptop replacement every since Apple released it back in 2015. It’s been a long road of finding methods to do certain things on a iPad Pro, which I admit came much easier on laptop. But I enjoyed the flexibility the iPad platform provides.

Like the saying goes “more than one way to skin a cat”... everyone has their own method of computing.
 

jeyf

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2009
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depends on your computing needs

-i find macOS and even more iOS too locked down
-i need a home "server" and leave at least one device always on wake on lan
-there is no good file association with iOS
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
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For me, the big advantage of MacOS vs iPadOS is the easy of multitasking with numerous floating windows to easily navigate while you work on multiple documents. Also, spreadsheets are generally much better on MacOS because the trackpad offers precision pointing, right click, and a better experience.

However, an ultraportable Macbook with a small screen loses some of the benefits because it’s just not as practical to have lots of windows floating about or large spreadsheets on a little screen. You are more likely to enter full screen mode on a small laptop. The iPad is basically optimized for the full screen one App at a time experience. Yes, you can do some simple multitasking with an iPad, but that is not its strength.

Assuming that I had a desktop at my office/den, I would probably choose an iPad over a smaller screen ultraportable for on the go. If I am going to spend most of my time mobile and working in full screen anyway, I might as well pick the device with a mobile operating system optimized for the full screen.

Of course, this assumes that, when mobile, you don’t need a particular App or program not available on iPadOS.
 
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nburwell

macrumors 601
May 6, 2008
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As others have alluded to, it really depends on your needs. I have a 12" MacBook and 11" IPP. The MB is primarily used for LR and PS in processing RAW files from my cameras. I know that I can process images on my iPad, but I prefer MacOS in using both photo editing programs. YMMV, but that's just my own take.

Now if I didn't have photography as a hobby, I do not see a need for me to have a laptop. I would be completely fine with my iPhone and iPad Pro combination.
 

Ungibbed

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Dec 13, 2010
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I did, in fact, move from a 13" MacBook Pro to a 12.9" iPad Pro and use a Mac Mini for larger tasks.

There are still many things I wish the iPadOS would adopt from macOS though. Better file management being the most important to me and the ability to edit MP3 tags in the music app being the second.
 
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Ludatyk

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Better file management being the most important to me and the ability to edit MP3 tags in the music app being the second.
If I’m not mistaken, you can find an app to edit MP3 tags. I just searched for an app called Evertag.. never used it, but perhaps... it could help you. But external drive support has been terrible. I’ve been so disappointed with transferred speeds with files from/to USB-C.

I’ve read that cause in slow speeds is due to the fact fact it can detach easily USB-C without a mounting option for iPadOS. But I was hoping to transfer quickly with a USB-C... but it’s horrible. Maybe someone have had better experience... if so, please let me know.
 

muzzy996

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Feb 16, 2018
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As others have alluded to, it really depends on your needs. I have a 12" MacBook and 11" IPP. The MB is primarily used for LR and PS in processing RAW files from my cameras. I know that I can process images on my iPad, but I prefer MacOS in using both photo editing programs. YMMV, but that's just my own take.

Now if I didn't have photography as a hobby, I do not see a need for me to have a laptop. I would be completely fine with my iPhone and iPad Pro combination.
You're not alone. Photo processing workflows exist on both platforms and some of us will prefer one over the other based upon our needs. I can find various apps to do various things on a mobile device but I'm often jumping through a bunch of hoops and fiddling with sharing options etc. just to get stuff done due to the sandboxed nature of iOS file management. This isn't to say that there isn't a reliance on multiple applications to get things done on MacOS but at least there is less in the way on a desktop platform when complex workflows are desired.

On my photo editing workflow I often love using metadata utilities on MacOS to assist in organizing my photos. Utilities like A Better Finder Rename or A Better Finder Attributes are helpful to assist in batch naming files coming out of various camera sources.
 

subjonas

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Feb 10, 2014
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I’m sure the 12.9” iPad and the 13” MBA both had a part in pushing out the 12” macbook. It’s a shame though, as I feel neither really fills the hole that the 12” macbook left. It was the most portable keyboard-centric device.

I enjoyed the flexibility the iPad platform provides.
By ‘platform’ do you mean the software or the hardware? macOS is more flexible than iOS (as in not so locked down), but iPad has a more flexible form factor.
 
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Ludatyk

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May 27, 2012
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By ‘platform’ do you mean the software or the hardware? macOS is more flexible than iOS (as in not so locked down), but iPad has a more flexible form factor.
Flexibility in terms of everything.. from software to being able to use it via cellular, even the fact it’s a touch interface. Being able to choose whether to use a external keyboard.
 
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muzzy996

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Feb 16, 2018
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I've always believed that the software flexibility that people perceive on iOS speaks more towards the workflow needs of the individual than it does the true flexibility of the platform. For example there are ways to exchange data between apps, but it isn't always consistent in nature or convenient. Lightroom comes to mind right now - I can bring files into LR on iPad by navigating in the app to the "From Files" menu which launches a Files window. All well and good - but I can't use multi-window and just drag and drop a photo from Files to LR. This might sound like a minor inconvenience and ultimately it is, but this kind of stuff creeps up in various workflows and can be a nuisance to those of us who demand more complicated workflows be done at greater efficiency.

When it's all said and done all that matters is if one finds an acceptable workflow to accomplish what they wish, so I make no judgement against those who love the iOS platform. I happen to love it to, but I do try to use the right tool for the job when I'm able to.
 
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subjonas

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Feb 10, 2014
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Flexibility in terms of everything.. from software to being able to use it via cellular, even the fact it’s a touch interface. Being able to choose whether to use a external keyboard.
I agree iPad is more flexible than Mac in terms of cellular and choosing between touch and keyboard. But in terms of software flexibility, not sure what you mean. macOS allows a developer or user to do a lot of things that iOS doesn’t allow, but not so much the other way around.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
5,393
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For a lot of things yes. I’m using an iPad Air 3 to write this now - it is my MOST used Apple device. That said, as others posted here, there are just some things that I have to do on my MBP. But over the last few years, my usage of my iPad as my primary device has really picked up to being #1 on a pretty big % factor.

Over the last few years I‘ve moved my banking, CC management to my iPhone/iPad... I do a lot less on my MBP than ever before.

But photo management, work (Windows 10 Pro with VS 2019), studying for certs, file management, gaming ... all MBP.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,644
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This means that Apple sees the iPad Pro is selling well and people are looking at iPads to replace their ultraportables.
...more likely, it means that Apple makes more from App/iTunes Store sales and Music subscriptions from iPad users than from Mac users, so they'd prefer to sell you an iPad Pro and keep the entry price for MacBooks over $1000... You don't keep a $1TN market valuation by giving customers what they want to buy if you can get away with giving customers what you want to sell.
 

Mainsail

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Sep 19, 2010
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For me, the ideal combo would be desktop, ipad, and iphone. I am retired but still working on some family real estate business. So, I would love to get my workflow to the place where I basically only used MacOS at my desk with a full sized monitor and keyboard. The large monitor takes full advantage of the floating windows and MacOS multitasking. As with many folks, my laptop (MBA) primarily sits in clamshell mode anyway.

Away from my desk, I would stick to mobile touch first devices; iPad and iPhone. No physical keyboards flopping around. Just an Apple Pencil for marking up documents, taking notes, and drawing rough diagrams. If I need to do a lot of typing and multitasking, I would wait until I got back to my desk. In this world, I really don’t need an ultraportable laptop.

Now, I understand many people don’t have this luxury. They need to do a lot of typing and multitasking remotely. The problem is that ultraportables (11-12” screens) are not great for multitasking because they lack screen real estate to really do it effectively.
 

Ludatyk

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May 27, 2012
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I agree iPad is more flexible than Mac in terms of cellular and choosing between touch and keyboard. But in terms of software flexibility, not sure what you mean. macOS allows a developer or user to do a lot of things that iOS doesn’t allow, but not so much the other way around.
Different strokes for different folks. macOS is a mature OS... Apple has had decades to build and refine it. Let me first rephrase my wording... perhaps the best word to use is versatile. Obviously you can do much more on macOS as compared to iPadOS. And there’s no debating that, but I just enjoy the versatility of the iPad.
 

JagdTiger

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Dec 20, 2017
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530
It seems like Apple is not making MacBooks smaller than 13 inches anymore.

I wonder if there is still a big demand for a smaller Macbook. It looks like 13 inches is the border between the iPad and the Mac.

This means that Apple sees the iPad Pro is selling well and people are looking at iPads to replace their ultraportables.

Before the iPad I would imagine that there are people who would want a very mobile Mac, but this might be an indicator that the iPad has a firm place now in the computing lineup, and the reason we are not seeing bigger iPads are that anything greater than 13inch is too clunky too hold, and the Mac is still more useful for larger screens.

But the ultraportable is a big market, a market that only the iPad has a product.
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The iPad is almost a perfect portable computer.
 
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