Will the iPhone eventually replace the MacBook?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by max.ine, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. max.ine macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2016
    After selling my PC in early 2015, I have had nothing but an iPhone 6 Plus for over a year — fortunately, almost all (~90%) of the software I used has become replaceable by apps.

    For those in fields like design and modelling, app developers have a long way to go, but for general usage, the iPhone can do almost everything a laptop does. I think one of the only things holding iOS back is the lack of an official file management system.

    Having experienced all of this firsthand, I can totally see why Apple is pushing the, "What's a computer?" campaign. It may not be a 1:1 solution, but it'll surely get the job done.

    What do you lot think?
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    No, definitely not. There are niche things that computers will always do better.

    If you're unsure about Apple's vision, they're still very much sticking with what Steve said. You can see the clip below. An iPhone or iPad will never replace a computer. It just so happens that they can do most things that a computer can do, so for most people, they don't need anything else.

  3. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Well, many people are using iPads as their "computers." Not iPhones, but we are getting there. It's quite amazing the kind of things one can do on a tablet/phone nowadays. Heck, Google thinks all you need is a web browser with their Chrome OS.
  4. max.ine thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2016
    Oh, I only meant a replacement for functionality, not form factor. I just don't think MacOS would remain as popular if iOS had a proper file management system.

    Agree with what you're saying, though.
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    The screen is too small and there is no mouse.

    My computer at work has three displays, I have a PowerPC Mac at home connected to six displays and both of my laptops are the largest Apple made - 17" PowerBook and 17" Mac Book Pro.

    No way in hell am I using a phone for something my Macs are purpose designed for.
  6. frankgrimes macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2016
    no and no
    No smartphone will ever be able to replace a productivity device..they aren't powerful enough, too small and lack important features.

    The closest thing are 2 in 1 such as the Surface

    Another fact is phones aren't upgradable which custom computers are
  7. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Its just depends on your usage for an actual computer. If all you do is browse the web, check Facebook and check email then sure, an iPhone could replace it. My mother uses an iPad exclusively for all your computer needs and it works very very well for her (and me as the tech support guy lol).

    I do not think a proper user accessible file management system is holding iOS back as a desktop replacement though. What would you even need a file management system for if you didnt have a desktop? Apps can manage the majority of files themselves. But without a desktop what are you doing with those files anyway? Usually share functions within apps for emails and messages. I upload pics and such to MR all the time via Safari. Send PDF's to email via iBooks (or Adobe). Same with Pages and Numbers.

    For me iOS can't even cover the basics very well. It takes a lot of effort to compose a very professional looking email on an iPhone (at least for me) for example. Doing my taxes, composing a document, even browsing the web is much comfortable on my Mac.

    For more advance stuff it will never compete obviously. Like encoding a video for use in iTunes.
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Ever looked at a spreadsheet on an iPhone? Thats a pretty basic use that wouldn't be possible for the kind of numbers I crunch.
    For your casual user (like my wife), maybe, but for everybody else no.

    Also what do you think all those apps get made on?
  9. ABC5S Suspended


    Sep 10, 2013
    I believe Apple was speaking of the iPad not an iPhone as a MacBook replacement someday.
  10. simon lefisch macrumors 6502a

    simon lefisch

    Sep 29, 2014
    As a Pro user (music and minor video editing), an iPhone/iPad cannot do what a desktop/laptop can do. The mobile OS/hardware does not have the power/capability to do what normal PCs do. I usually have around 30-40 audio/VST instrument tracks in Logic/Ableton. An iPad cannot handle that....and that's not including effects that are running. There is still a loooong way to go.
  11. Channan macrumors 68030


    Mar 7, 2012
    New Orleans
    Not anymore with Android apps coming to Chrome OS.
  12. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    It's interesting that whenever there's a discussion like this, people will immediately come out and specify their specific use case. If you guys watch Job's video, he did say that PC will still be available for those kind of heavy lifting, just like trucks still available today. But for the lay people, things are shifting. In emerging markets, many people skipped the PC and have smartphones as their first ever internet-connected-computer. For these people, the concept of a computer is not the same as us that went through the PC phase.
  13. nia820 macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2011
    iphones are too small to replace a MacBook. And iOS is way too limited to replace a desktop OS.
  14. ajcgn macrumors regular


    Oct 19, 2014
    Toronto, Ontario
    As to form factor, wouldn't a Bluetooth keyboard, Bluetooth mouse and mirroring onto to a big screen TV do the trick in a lot of situations?
  15. v3rlon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2014
    Earth (usually)
    EVENUTALLY? Maybe. Soon? Not so much.

    • The user interface is too small. Even adding an external keyboard, the screen is too small. This impacts photos, video editing, music, and anyone using more than one monitor.
    • Bluetooth keyboard and mouse have perceptible lag such that power users often opt for other solutions. Ditto for Airplay video. I REALLY wanted to like that external trackpad, too.
    • Peripherals aren't there yet. This is getting better, but there are still things to attach to a computer that do not connect to a phone.
    • Storage limitations: yes, cloud, but until telcos pull their collective heads out of wall street rectums, data caps will be a problem for memory intensive applications.
    • Larger form factors always have room for more power and features - music creation, video editing, photography, 3D rendering, & gaming will consume all the CPU/memory that you have and leave you asking for more.
    • Eyesight - people over 40 get farsighted, and smaller screens get harder to read. This is also the highest income point for most people in their lives, so it is a good demographic to keep happy.
    • I personally do not like editing documents on a phone, and can sort of tolerate it on an iPad (but I am over 40).
    Now, could someone UNIFY they two like Motorola tried a few years ago, where you plugged the phone into a laptop and the phone was your laptop with a bigger interface? Probably, especially if the 'laptop' offered more horsepower for intense applications - think an all purpose NVidia Tesla core.
  16. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    For some it already has. I think the business sector is what will keep PC going.
  17. NovemberWhiskey macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    Eventually, yes. But we are still a ways off from that. Currently, I do most of my browsing on my iphone. It's actually my preferred browsing method, over the ipad, and over my macbook pro. The 6S Plus screen size actually makes it viable (the iphone 5 was just too small to replace the other two).

    However, there are some things that I still need my MBP for.
  18. Applefan4 macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2013
    No - can't see me giving up my laptop that's connected to a 24' monitor with a mouse and a keyboard
  19. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    A phone could never replace my laptops or desktops. Not going to happen.
  20. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    I think at some point we will be able to plug an iphone into a screen via usb-c/lightning or whatever and be able to replicate macOS. The OS should adapt to the screen size.
  21. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK

    There was a rumor that samsung was making a "dumb laptop" that the new note 6 (as it was then) would drive.

    But android netbooks are nothing new.
    but an IOS netbook would be.

    Yes I know we got the 11" air and ipad/ipad pro.
    these are all netbook type devices.

    I know a few people who would like a ios netbook, without hassle of bluetooth keyboard to an ipad.
    They like netbook form factor.

    But I dont think iphone will replace laptop/computer for real users only maybe light users.
  22. USF813 macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2014
    Nearly snorted my coffee when I saw this. I was with my parents at Best Buy tablet shopping and they nearly bought a Samsung tablet. After fiddling with it I told them I can't help you with this device and I will pay you the difference immediately if you but the iPad!

    To the OP, no, iPhone won't be a PC replacement.
  23. Zaft macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Phone no way as the screen is too small. Now an iPad is what can replace a pc for general tasks.
    At work I use a pc and at home I use my iPad.

    I have no need for a full pc at home. iPad does everything that I need and now that you can do split window and picture in picture its very nice.
  24. Channan macrumors 68030


    Mar 7, 2012
    New Orleans
    When (not if) phones can be hooked up to larger displays and are as powerful and capable as a laptop needs to be is when they'll replace your laptop. It's inevitable.
  25. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    The hardware capability is getting there.
    Once you can dock your phone and use it with peripherals, including an external monitor, we'll be just about there. Software would need to make another big jump but I can see the possibility.

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