iPad Pro iPad Pro going all in at least for now

Do you use you’re iPad Pro as a main computer

  • Yes but I still have a desktop

    Votes: 18 20.5%
  • Yes but I still love MacOS

    Votes: 13 14.8%
  • No i’m all in on the Mac

    Votes: 8 9.1%
  • No but i use it as a companion device

    Votes: 49 55.7%

  • Total voters
    88

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
Ok so now that I’ve resigned myself to waiting until Apple have fixed the keyboard on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. I find myself wondering if I can go all in, buy a 2018 iPad Pro with the new Apple Pencil (gen 2) and use it as my main computer.

Anyone using the new iPad Pro as their main computer? If so how are you finding it?

I still have a 2012 iMac (waiting until they get a more substantial update before upgrading) but I need a note portable device for around the house and out and about. I currently have the 12.9” 2017 iPad Pro, but I’ve read and seen reviews that say the 2018 version is slimmer and more portable, along with the power of the new Pro I find myself wondering if I should buy the new Pro along with the Smart Keyboard folio and see just how much of a replacement for a laptop it can really be?

I use my current iPad Pro everyday so I know that I will get the use out of it. Pixelmator Pro, games like Tropico and probably the new Pixelmator Photo app will all be used daily, iMovie I also use but not daily.

My only concern is typing, does anyone write for a living (like I do) and use their iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio to write with on a daily basis?
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
No way the iPad could replace my computers. Great for consuming the Internet by not when it comes to getting real work done.
It depends what you mean by real work? artists and designers use the iPad Pro for their work. Me personally i'm a writer and i love both MacOS which i still have on my iMac but also iPad Pro for art work and photo editing.

My 2017 iPad gets the job done for Pixelmator and so on, but the size reduction, Face ID and just the redesign is very appealing to upgrade to. That's before mentioning the new Apple Pencil. With Apple rumoured to be adding more iPad features in IOS 13, it's very tempting to buy a new iPad Pro and wait out the keyboard issue, at least until Apple fix it.
 

daflake

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2008
919
4,225
I bought an iPad Pro just for this reason. It has replaced my laptop for almost everything. The only thing it can't replace is my need to connect my laptop to my Boss Katana Amp to use Tone Studio. That software is not available in iOS sadly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pipper99

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,764
14,929
Jacksonville, Florida
It depends what you mean by real work? artists and designers use the iPad Pro for their work. Me personally i'm a writer and i love both MacOS which i still have on my iMac but also iPad Pro for art work and photo editing.

My 2017 iPad gets the job done for Pixelmator and so on, but the size reduction, Face ID and just the redesign is very appealing to upgrade to. That's before mentioning the new Apple Pencil. With Apple rumoured to be adding more iPad features in IOS 13, it's very tempting to buy a new iPad Pro and wait out the keyboard issue, at least until Apple fix it.
For some it will do fine but the iPad will never do justice to AutoCad. I sold my 2018 MBPro 15, used it with Windows via BootCamp. We are now using a ThinkPad with Xeon processor for a laptop and it does not compare to full AutoCad desktop workstation. I still prefer full Photoshop on my desktop or laptop.

If the iPad will suit your needs, that is great.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,093
30,690
Boston
The short comings are too numerous for me to seriously consider replacing my laptop with an iPad.
In no particular order:
  • Lack of a mouse/trackpad support
  • The keyboard support is inferior to typing on the laptop.
  • The iOS version of apps that I need/use are inferior or non-existent.
  • Screen size, I find the iPad form factor too small
  • Storage, while I can get up to a TB of storage on the iPad, it will cost as much as a laptop, its not really viable to spend nearly 2k on a tablet that does less, and is smaller then a laptop.
  • iOS is too locked down, lack of a real file system.
  • Lack of actual USB support, i.e., external drives and peripherals.
 

tarsins

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2009
885
602
Wales
For serious development the screen is way too small for me and I use my 27" iMac for that (I'll switch to the rumored 32" if that appears). My iPad Pro 12.9 is used as an entertainment device for casual Web browsing and games.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newtons Apple

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
It’s interesting you started this thread because I started a similar thread in the MacBook forum.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/i’m-spoiled-by-my-ipad-pro-want-better-features-for-new-macbooks.2177164/

There are limitations that I mentioned, that @maflynn has outlined below, but it also emphasizes what we are missing on the MacBooks. For example WCG displays with True Tone, and decent quality FaceTime cameras.

The short comings are too numerous for me to seriously consider replacing my laptop with an iPad.
In no particular order:
  • Lack of a mouse/trackpad support
  • The keyboard support is inferior to typing on the laptop.
  • The iOS version of apps that I need/use are inferior or non-existent.
  • Screen size, I find the iPad form factor too small
  • Storage, while I can get up to a TB of storage on the iPad, it will cost as much as a laptop, its not really viable to spend nearly 2k on a tablet that does less, and is smaller then a laptop.
  • iOS is too locked down, lack of a real file system.
  • Lack of actual USB support, i.e., external drives and peripherals.
There is USB support to a certain extent. The new iPad Pros have USB-C and the old ones can have USB-A via the camera adapter. Mice don’t work but memory card readers, Ethernet adapters, MIDI keyboards, regular keyboards, etc. work. I did this just for fun, but it works. :confused:

A88AC2A7-A196-4A40-8388-3F943E6B8D80.jpeg
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
It’s interesting you started this thread because I started a similar thread in the MacBook forum.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/i’m-spoiled-by-my-ipad-pro-want-better-features-for-new-macbooks.2177164/

There are limitations that I mentioned, that @maflynn has outlined below, but it also emphasizes what we are missing on the MacBooks. For example WCG displays with True Tone, and decent quality FaceTime cameras.


There is USB support to a certain extent. The new iPad Pros have USB-C and the old ones can have USB-A via the camera adapter. Mice don’t work but memory card readers, Ethernet adapters, MIDI keyboards, regular keyboards, etc. work. I did this just for fun, but it works. :confused:

View attachment 831258
Thank you for the link, i didn't see that thread before :eek:

For me the iPad Pro is half way there, the issue i have is that i'm a writer, can i really use the Smart keyboard folio for long writing sessions. That's the question i have for myself more than anything. I love MacOS and i still use it on my old 2012 iMac, but if i could use an iPad Pro without the need to also buy a Mac laptop that would be great. I do a lot on my iPad Pro at the moment, i use it for drawing, editing photos (along with my iMac which i also have Pixelmator pro installed on) playing games, watching Netflix and YouTube, reading, web browsing and so on. It's just that 1% of a task (writing for long sessions) that i'm not sure of.

The iMac is a great desktop and i don't see myself never owning one, the only reason i haven't upgraded thus far, is my 2012 is still working and i'm waiting on bigger changes. The iPad Pro and iMac would probably be the best combination without the need for a laptop.
 

BlankStar

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2004
621
340
Belgium
Got me a 12.9" iPad Pro to replace my old 15" MBP and the only thing I really miss, is mouse/trackpad support. It doesn't bother me on the go, but I'd love to have a trackpad at my desk.

Let's hope iOS13 introduces this...
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
For me the iPad Pro is half way there, the issue i have is that i'm a writer, can i really use the Smart keyboard folio for long writing sessions. That's the question i have for myself more than anything. I love MacOS and i still use it on my old 2012 iMac, but if i could use an iPad Pro without the need to also buy a Mac laptop that would be great. I do a lot on my iPad Pro at the moment, i use it for drawing, editing photos (along with my iMac which i also have Pixelmator pro installed on) playing games, watching Netflix and YouTube, reading, web browsing and so on. It's just that 1% of a task (writing for long sessions) that i'm not sure of.
I think Apple really nailed the size with the 10.5” and 11”, in terms of typing. It’s all about the key spacing:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ipad-keyboards-key-spacing.2174641/

In fact, Apple itself said it chose this size to accommodate a full-sized keyboard and it has achieved this. The 10.5” and 11” Smart Keyboards have key spacing of 18 mm, which is at the lower end of full-size. The 9.7” is too small at ~17.5 mm. I’ve used ones at ~17 mm which actually caused me pain, but 18 mm is great for me.

For the record, the MacBook is at 19 mm, like the iMac. The US government recommends 18-19 mm for proper ergonomics.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dave245

metalsiren

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2017
419
336
I might be able to do work but I really need basic mouse support. having to go back and touch the screen all the time actually for me takes more time that using a mouse. I think with mouse support, and full USB support (as in using USB to serial etc) then it might.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ghost31 and secretk

ssledoux

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2006
1,629
894
Down south
You left off, “Yes, and I have no computer,” (unless that’s what the “I still love Mac OS” was supposed to be). I’ve been all in for several years - no Mac.

I definitely don’t have a use case like some, but I have a Disney planning business and it is quite easy to accomplish all my tasks, from booking trips to typing and printing itineraries, on my iPP (heck, I was doing it all on my 6th gen in between pros).

I am gradually storing more of my stuff digitally on my iPad, I do my planning digitally, etc.

My only struggle initially was what to do with photos, but I’ve handled that by just going through my photos monthly and uploading what I want to keep into Shutterfly - ditching what I don’t need. It has been nice and keeps me from having thousands of photos on my phone (I’ve never had that linked with my iPad anyway, but it was the only thing originally holding me back).

I love that when I go out of town and grab my iPad, I have everything at my fingertips.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dave245

ssledoux

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2006
1,629
894
Down south
I might be able to do work but I really need basic mouse support. having to go back and touch the screen all the time actually for me takes more time that using a mouse. I think with mouse support, and full USB support (as in using USB to serial etc) then it might.
It’s so funny you posted this because anytime I use another device (at my part-time job), I’m forever trying to touch the screen!
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
I might be able to do work but I really need basic mouse support. having to go back and touch the screen all the time actually for me takes more time that using a mouse. I think with mouse support, and full USB support (as in using USB to serial etc) then it might.
Interestingly, one of my work apps, Citrix Receiver (VPN client), has a companion Bluetooth mouse that works in iOS. Unfortunately, it only works in their app, and it’s very expensive.
 

ofarlig

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2015
176
135
Sweden
Well it did replace my personal laptop (MBP 13” 2018) but I still have a beefy gaming desktop and a Mac Mini 2018 at home. For work I use a Thinkpad so I guess I have that one as well.

I couldn’t use iPad only for work mainly due to everything being Microsoft and Excel and such are terrible on iOS (and Mac OS). For proper gaming I can’t use it for obvious reasons.

But yeah, my 10.5” iPad Pro with the smart keyboard replaced my personal laptop and then I exchanged it for the 11” with the keyboard folio.
 
  • Like
Reactions: secretk and Dave245

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
I think Apple really nailed the size with the 10.5” and 11”, in terms of typing. It’s all about the key spacing:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ipad-keyboards-key-spacing.2174641/

In fact, Apple itself said it chose this size to accommodate a full-sized keyboard and it has achieved this. The 10.5” and 11” Smart Keyboards have key spacing of 18 mm, which is at the lower end of full-size. The 9.7” is too small at ~17.5 mm. I’ve used ones at ~17 mm which actually caused me pain, but 18 mm is great for me.

For the record, the MacBook is at 19 mm, like the iMac. The US government recommends 18-19 mm for proper ergonomics.
I think I’m going to give the Smart Keyboard Folio a try. The upgrade will be to the 12.9” iPad Pro since I’ve had that model with every iPad Pro iteration.

I will try and see if I can do my writing on the iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard Folio. If so there will be no need for a MacBook in my future, I’ll just upgrade my iMac when there are is a redesign.

The reduced size of the 12.9” iPad Pro 2018 will probably be helpful as well.

Do you know if there is any difference in the screen quality, between the 2nd gen (2017) and the new 2018 iPad Pro?
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
I think I’m going to give the Smart Keyboard Folio a try. The upgrade will be to the 12.9” iPad Pro since I’ve had that model with every iPad Pro iteration.

I will try and see if I can do my writing on the iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard Folio. If so there will be no need for a MacBook in my future, I’ll just upgrade my iMac when there are is a redesign.

The reduced size of the 12.9” iPad Pro 2018 will probably be helpful as well.

Do you know if there is any difference in the screen quality, between the 2nd gen (2017) and the new 2018 iPad Pro?
The 12.9” Apple Smart Keyboard (on both the 2nd gen and 3rd gen) has a 19 mm key spacing, which is exactly the same as the Macs. It’s 18 mm on the 11” model.

Both the 2nd gen and 3rd gen iPad Pros have excellent screens. I haven’t used the 3rd gen extensively but at least in the store, they looked the same as the 2nd gen, and they have identical specs other than the resolution. They’re all 264 ppi screens with ProMotion, wide colour gamut, True Tone, and 600+ nits.

In terms of UI performance, the 2nd gen is already excellent, but the 3rd gen is the epitome of smoothness. The 2nd is very, very smooth, but the 3rd gen is even smoother, presumably because the CPU is 90% faster. For real world usage it doesn’t actually save any UI interaction time, but the 3rd gen just has a slightly smoother feel that is noticeable if you compare the two side by side. In more complex stuff though like video editing, reports say there is definitely better smoothness with the 3rd gen, since the 2nd gen can sometimes bog down a bit and get a little laggy in complex parts of the editing process. However, both seem more capable for some of this sort of stuff than the 12” MacBook.

Both those iPad Pros are enormous upgrades from my old iPad Air 2. Completely different league.
 
Last edited:

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
The 12.9” Apple Smart Keyboard (on both the 2nd gen and 3rd gen) has a 19 mm key spacing, which is exactly the same as the Macs. It’s 18 mm on the 11” model.

Both the 2nd gen and 3rd gen iPad Pros have excellent screens. I haven’t used the 3rd gen extensively but at least in the store, they looked the same as the 2nd gen, and they have identical specs other than the resolution. They’re all 264 ppi screens with ProMotion, wide colour gamut, True Tone, and 600+ nits.

In terms of UI performance, the 2nd gen is already excellent, but the 3rd gen is the epitome of smoothness. The 2nd is very, very smooth, but the 3rd gen is even smoother, presumably because the CPU is 90% faster. For real world usage it doesn’t actually save any UI interaction time, but the 3rd gen just has a slightly smoother feel that is noticeable if you compare the two side by side. In more complex stuff though like video editing, reports say there is definitely better smoothness with the 3rd gen, since the 2nd gen can sometimes bog down a bit and get a little laggy in complex parts of the editing process. However, both seem more capable for some of this sort of stuff than the 12” MacBook. Those iPad Pros are both enormous upgrades from my old iPad Air 2. Completely different league.
Also if not mistaken the new iPad Pro benchmarks around the same as the 15” MacBook Pro, that is impressive (if it’s true). I really hope Apple add more features with iOS 13, ones that make it more like a computer. Not full MacOS but things like more multitasking and a redesigned home screen wouldn’t go a miss.

Think I will pass down my current 2nd gen iPad Pro to my mother who is using my old Air 2, the 12.9” iPad Pro 2018 and new Apple Pencil will probably be a good upgrade. The pencil I also use a lot so the upgrade to the new one will probably be nice also.
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
Also if not mistaken the new iPad Pro benchmarks around the same as the 15” MacBook Pro, that is impressive (if it’s true). I really hope Apple add more features with iOS 13, ones that make it more like a computer. Not full MacOS but things like more multitasking and a redesigned home screen wouldn’t go a miss.

Think I will pass down my current 2nd gen iPad Pro to my mother who is using my old Air 2, the 12.9” iPad Pro 2018 and new Apple Pencil will probably be a good upgrade. The pencil I also use a lot so the upgrade to the new one will probably be nice also.
I posted this before elsewhere, but I’ll post it again. LumaFusion on my 2nd gen can already handle 3 simultaneous 4K 8-bit HEVC videos no problem. Playback with the three simultaneous video tracks, with effects, is completely smooth in real-time. Video export to a final rendered file is also near real-time (as it is a hardware encode on A10X).

Basically, a lot of people are saying that if you can get around the limitations (like the lack of a proper user-facing file system), in some workflows it’s actually much faster on a 3rd generation iPad Pro than it is on a 15” MacBook Pro, the reason being is that the apps on the iPad are built specifically for the iPad and leverage their specific hardware, whereas some apps on the MacBook Pro are cross platform and skimp on the optimization.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dave245

Dave245

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 15, 2013
7,346
5,196
I posted this before elsewhere, but I’ll post it again. LumaFusion on my 2nd gen can already handle 3 simultaneous 4K 8-bit HEVC videos no problem. Playback with the three simultaneous video tracks, with effects, is completely smooth in real-time. Video export to a final rendered file is also near real-time (as it is a hardware encode on A10X).

Basically, a lot of people are saying that if you can get around the limitations (like the lack of a proper user-facing file system), in some workflows it’s actually much faster on a 3rd generation iPad Pro than it is on a 15” MacBook Pro, the reason being is that the apps on the iPad are built specifically for the iPad and leverage their specific hardware, whereas some apps on the MacBook Pro are cross platform and skimp on the optimization.
I think the apps are getting better, photoshop will be releasing a real version later this year, Pixelmator now has the photo app (out today I believe). As time goes by and with the power of the new iPad Pro, there will probably be more desktop class apps on the way.

I have been looking and saw that there is a Final Draft app available for the iPad and iPhone, something I use a lot and so this is great. I’m not sure if it’s the full version but it’s a start.
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
I think the apps are getting better, photoshop will be releasing a real version later this year, Pixelmator now has the photo app (out today I believe). As time goes by and with the power of the new iPad Pro, there will probably be more desktop class apps on the way.

I have been looking and saw that there is a Final Draft app available for the iPad and iPhone, something I use a lot and so this is great. I’m not sure if it’s the full version but it’s a start.
The standard for photo manipulation on iOS is Affinity Photo. The standard for video editing on iOS is LumaFusion. They are not Photoshop and Final Cut, but they are much of the way there, and often perfect for vlogger types who don’t need to be editing Hollywood movies, etc.

As for Final Draft, I don’t use it, but from what I understand, that doesn’t take much computing power at all. Apps on iOS are in large part no longer held back by performance. They are held back by the limitations of OS flexibility (lack of mouse support, and lack of proper external storage support) more than anything else.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dave245

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,207
1,015
If you have an employer provided computer (most people) for work applications that are difficult or unavailable on iPad, then it is very possible to make the iPad your primary personal computing device. You don’t even need an iPad Pro. The base iPad or new Air will do just fine.

A nice employer provided desktop at work plus an iPad for personal and on-the-go computing are a great combination.