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Poll: Will iPad Pro replace your MacBook?


Will iPad Pro replace your MacBook? With the iPad Pro officially going on sale today, there is lots of discussion about what this means for the iPad category. Can it be a true Microsoft Surface competitor? Does the addition of official keyboard and stylus companion accessories from Apple mean the company has finally changed its stance on so-called hybrid laptop/tablet devices?

While the majority of reviews praised the bigger form factor, pen input with the new Apple Pencil, and benchmarks on par with some MacBook models, many reviewers pointed out iOS as the limiting factor in making the iPad Pro a PC replacement or hybrid competitor. But does it need to be?

Apple’s marketing message for the new iPad Pro is unmistakably clear. The company is romancing pro users (like Disney and Pixar animators) for the launch of the new device with most of its ads and marketing material focusing on content creation possibilities with the larger display and new Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And companies like Adobe are taking full advantage by making sure there is a lot of pro software available at launch. 

But how will YOU be using the new iPad Pro? Will you attempt to replace your MacBook or other device in one way or another? Or will the larger iPad Pro simply complement your current lineup of devices and add new possibilities to your workflow? That’s the question we’re asking in today’s poll, and we’ll be continuing the discussion in the comments below. 

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  1. Kevin Stuckey - 7 years ago

    The problem with the iPad Pro is that it’s still an iPad. It runs iOS, which was designed for a mobile device and not a computer.

  2. gamoraes (@gamoraes) - 7 years ago

    IMHO, it’s insane to think that an iPad/iOS could replace an authentic Macbook/MacOS. Both have their own, and distincts, objetives.

  3. Eduardo Antonini - 7 years ago

    iPad Pro won’t run OS X-class applications – like Illustrator, Photoshop, and programming apps. That’s the main reason I’m keeping my Macs as my primary work tools. It’s a shame Apple won’t open a special App Store specifically for iPad Pro with desktop-like apps adapted to a touchscreen interface. I think developers could really benefit from that, and it’d certainly step the iPad Pro concept up to a whole new level. Maybe in iOS 10. Who knows. I needed an upgraded iPad anyways.

  4. triankar - 7 years ago

    No way it can.

    I need REAL file management and I need apps being able to access the filesystem, not just copying stuff each to their own little sandboxes before even opening them.

    Apple could create a registry of “filesystem provider” applications (local storage, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc). Each of these apps would have to register itself as such with the os, and then other apps (or this app itself) could ask the registry for access to (parts of) that (virtual) filesystem. Then this registry could be used as a File/Open dialog, where needed.

    The current file access model, copying files from one app to another, can only be characterised as cumbersome and counter-productive for work.

    Until iOS presents us with a better file-access model, I can’t regard it as suitable for work.
    While at it, Google Drive’s implementation of file management works BEAUTIFULLY on iOS. I would love to see something like this (and more) coming from Apple.

    Then again, there’s one last thing: external storage. I still use USB drives for one very good reason: transferring many / large files wirelessly over the internet or even via WiFi is simply too slow / impractical. Plus, the iPad Pro is limited to 128GB at best.

    So, in a couple of years we HOPE these issues will somehow have been sorted out (though I doubt they’ll EVER allow external storage on any iPad).

    For the time being, I’m definitely sticking with my rMBP.

  5. Josh Lambert - 7 years ago

    If they would just put that screen on a Macbook Air. Bam, best product ever!

    • justincirello - 7 years ago

      Didn’t they already? I.e. new macbooks?

      • Josh Lambert - 7 years ago

        Not really, because the logic board/ports suck, and not touch screen.
        So therefore a macbook air plus this iPad Pro touch screen would be the best of all worlds.

      • Giovanni (@canesalato) - 7 years ago

        slower processor, smaller screen, no ports

    • michaelcpearson7 - 7 years ago

      Actually i think they have fixed the issue of file management. I dropped my Dropbox account and went with the 1tb iCloud account. Now, instead of saving files in Documents/Dropbox I use iCloud drive now. I can access from all of my IOS devices. BUT… the iPad Pro? No! Not for Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign. You can’t use a mouse and thus you can’t do serious photoshop work.

  6. Rishi Gupta (@rishbest) - 7 years ago

    Only if it ran OS X.

    • charilaosmulder - 7 years ago

      Powerful hardware that runs OSX with input methods designed for OSX. That would be great. Wait. That’s a Mac. Why would you want an iPad to run OSX?

  7. Josh Shorter - 7 years ago

    I am able to use my iPad Air for work almost exclusively but the screen size makes seeing it later in the day difficult so I only end up using it when I am away from my desk. I run a production company and I can run our entire ERP off of an iPad, as well as schedule management, etc. I look forward to using my iPad Pro almost exclusively and then using my MacBook Pro as a secondary device.

  8. Robert - 7 years ago

    The iPad already 99% replaced my MacBook Pro

  9. Matt Byers - 7 years ago

    until you can create iPad apps on an iPad it won’t be able to replace a laptop/desktop

  10. Larry Griffin - 7 years ago

    The iPad pro is much like the surface pro RT from a few years ago… It’s nothing but a larger tablet… They need to incorporate OS X into it then I’d be interested

  11. A Dimension Of Mind - 7 years ago

    I can see the iPad Pro becoming my daily always with me machine, backed up by office and home iMacs for necessary OSX stuff like Photoshop creation. If Adobe are smart they’ll transition to a fully fledged iOS Photoshop app in a couple of years, rather than scattering features across more than a dozen apps now. If that happens iPad Pro 3, maybe, will become a device for everyone, home, and power users alike.

    To paraphrase Steve a little, PCs may be trucks, which we’ll always need for things, but the iPad, and iOS, could be the car we find ourselves using most of the time :-)

  12. Mimus Polyglottos - 7 years ago

    I waited for the iPad Pro announcement before deciding whether I could get one of these instead of a MacBook Air or Pro. I ended up getting a Surface Tablet, because I figured that would be the best of all worlds: one device that could serve as a desktop (docked to keyboard, mouse, and monitor), laptop, and tablet. With Windows 10, I figured it would all be good. But I learned that Windows is still Windows, and I encountered enough bugs and strange usability oversights that I gave up and switched back to my Mac.

    I think what we’ll see in the years ahead is a continuing convergence of OSX and iOS so that eventually they’ll meet in a seamless blend. Microsoft has effectively done this in Windows 10 and it’s great in theory; in practice it leaves a bit to be desired. Tablet mode in Windows is just Windows with a touch interface; it’s not optimized the way iOS is and the apps I’ve tried using are pretty lame in comparison. Plus you can open any of your apps in tablet mode, even those that don’t work well with a touch interface.

    Google seems to be headed down the path toward convergence as well, with the announcement that the Chromebook OS and Android will be more tightly integrated in the future.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      I alway wonder about this “windows is still windows” that I only find here!
      Windows 10 is not something like windows xp or vista. I have surface pro 4 and it is an amazing device. No bugs of any kind and reviews every where are praising the device. Yes Mac os if better but this pencil that comes with surface is just amazing. apps on windows yes are not great but its a matter of time and I see many apps coming to the store.

      • Mimus Polyglottos - 7 years ago

        Yes the Surface Pro 4 is an amazing device (I have the Surface Pro 3) and you’re right that everyone is praising the device. The problem is that it runs Windows. I’ve been using Windows 10 since it was released and have encountered a pretty steady stream of bugs and usability oversights, primitive functionality, etc. I just booted it up a few minutes ago and the built-in email program is crashing on launch, that never happened before. And when it does work, the email program has bizarre limits in functionality: you can’t select all emails in a mailbox and delete them at once like you can in Outlook, you have to delete them one by one. That’s death when you’re trying to empty your junk mail. The Microsoft photos app doesn’t process raw images and doesn’t do non-destructive editing — even the Mac’s free Photos app does that and it’s much more full-featured.

        When you say the apps on Windows are not great, that’s a problem: I bought my computer so I could use apps on it, I didn’t buy it because I wanted to play with the operating system. Several of the apps I’ve downloaded from the store were very poor quality, some stopped working after a day, others had reduced functionality compared with their iOS counterparts.

        Windows 10 is certainly better than Windows 8; I’m not sure it’s better than Windows 7, which I use at work and has been rock solid. I’ll give it a year to see how things develop; I have high hopes for Windows 10 but so far it’s not meeting them.

  13. iali87 - 7 years ago

    I am very happy with my macbook pro and surface4 pro. No need for an ipad.

  14. fakeycakemaker - 7 years ago

    My MacBook has all of my photos, movies and music on that then is accessible through my Apple TV. If the iPad pro can perform this function then I’d be very interested!

  15. Brian Batch - 7 years ago

    I fully intend to replace my MacBook Pro with the iPad Pro. I rarely use my MacBook any longer and love the portability of the iPad. I have come to fully utilize the file management built within the apps and via iCloud and OneDrive, so file management isn’t an issue for me. I don’t code, so I have no reason to worry about that. I consume, create, edit, markup, etc., with my current iPad, with ease. I recently went on a two-week vacation without my MacBook, and my phone and iPad suited my needs just fine. Some folks have different needs, and my needs are met with iPad and iOS. I intend to use the iPad Pro as my “desktop” machine, my iPad Mini for reading in bed, and my iPhone as, well, my iPhone.

  16. J.Johnson - 7 years ago

    No. Never. It will always be a companion product until you can download items to the actual device that don’t come from iTunes.

  17. Oflife - 7 years ago

    I tried on several occasions to ween myself off MacBook/Windows to iPads, never worked. You have no efficient speedy file management control. How do you speedily drag/move multiple files across desktop/cloud services? IE, from a desktop folder to say Google Docs or iCloud or DropBox? It just isn’t possible without a lot of fiddling about. Ten times less productivity. Secondly, no keyboard exists yet that allows using a tablet on the lap or in bed, the tablet/iPad flops back. Even Surface Pro kickstand and keyboard don’t handle this that well. And there’s the lack of power user apps. There are well designed drawing apps, such as TouchDraw and iDraw, but they have 10% of the features of say, Adobe Illustrator or Autocad. If Apple (as Android does) allowed mice to drive iOS and more efficient multitasking, we would be there. Oh, and a better full size full depth backlit keyboard.

    I know! Add a stylus operable touch screen to the MacBook Pro 13″ Retina and make the screen removable! IE, a Mac like one of the latest Lenovos or HPs, but with a stylus.

  18. I want a system designed for the iPad Pro, while this iPad runs with iOs not will make the difference

  19. gkbrown - 7 years ago

    I think the Pencil may help make the iPad Pro a bit more compelling. But they seriously can’t figure out anything else to do with the home screen? How about increasing the icon density, or at least making the icons bigger? It’s bad enough on a regular iPad, but it’s ridiculous on the Pro!

    • bennynihon - 7 years ago

      definitely agree that Apple needs to innovate a bit more on the homescreen with these larger touch devices.

  20. bennynihon - 7 years ago

    absolutely! I will keep an iMac that I can do heavy work on at home, but plan to replace my MacBook with this, and will do a large majority of my computing both at home and on the go with the iPad Pro. I have a little, always-on RaspberryPi type device that runs ownCloud, webDAV, SFTP, Samba file sharing so I can easily access files using a nice file browser like Documents (from Readdle). I could run Plex Media Server on the RaspberryPi, or just stream movies and videos directly using VLC or Infuse. I can even remotely program using Coda which has a built-in SSH client. And I run NoMachine on the iMac so I can full control the iMac from the iPad if need be.

  21. Is it just me or does the poll not appear in Google Chrome but does in Safari?

    Anyways, the reason I switched from a Toshiba Windows 7 laptop to a MacBook Pro Retina was mainly due to Xcode and I do not see this coming to the iPad if ever. Same goes for people who are doing serious Adobe Creative Cloud documents and having a proper file management system (Finder), however for everything else being surfing the web, emails, word processing, spreadsheets, editing basic multimedia files and content consumption, the iPad Pro can do it all, but I can’t justify spending AU$1,249 for the base model in Australia.

    I would honestly say that if you are going to spend that amount of money, you’re better off spending a little more and buying something like a MacBook Air for around the same price as an iPad Pro 128GB model + keyboard, if the primary use case for the iPad Pro is media creation.

  22. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    if you only do basic editing, check a few emails, sometimes browse the web, and occasionally play mobile games – then you dont really need a fully pledged laptop and this would do the job. BUT given that it is about the same price as the lower end models, especially if you add in the pencil, keyboard, and other accessories, you might as well get a laptop…

    This really helps those who need a touch screen – something apple laptops dont offer… so if you mostly need touch screen, plus the ability to check emails etc – then i guess the ipad will replace your laptop needs…

    because it uses ios, in my eyes this is just an ipad plus — to make it pro, and a better contender of the surface, and a true laptop replacement, it would need to have at least dual boot into osx – this could be achieved by having a desktop dock that has the necessary processing power — it will allow ios on the go, and osx in the office/home.

  23. tigerpork - 7 years ago

    This will sell worst then the ipod touch.

  24. ohho (@ohho) - 7 years ago

    I am still waiting for a light-weight MacBook Pro 15″…

  25. Terrence Newton - 7 years ago

    I’ll give it a shot. Since school is over, I use my Mac for email, calendar, the web, and work (which is 99% through Remote Desktop). Honestly, most of the time I grab my late 2008 MBP, it’s so I can feel the sturdiness of the keyboard on my lap. But even now, typing on the iPad pro’s on screen keyboard is a pretty big improvement compared to the iPad Air, for me anyway. So yeah, I’ll give it a serious shot, and I’ll consider a physical keyboard too.

    • Terrence Newton - 7 years ago

      I will admit though, I expect that the updates for the new screen size will be rather slow, and the keyboard in zoomed apps is just horrible. Also, split-screen Safari would be nice. Another note on the plus side though is that they row of numeric keys is quite welcome. Yes, it’s been a long time coming, and sure, I could have used a 3rd party keyboard, but I’ve just had such horrible experiences with those in iOS.

  26. Marty Funderburk - 7 years ago

    Will Apple Logic Pro X be available for the iPad Pro? If so, then I could see buying it…if not, I’ve got to keep my iMac and MacBook Pro.

  27. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    It will replace my Mac when it runs OS X !

  28. Will it replace my laptop? No, not yet at least; as a developer I need Xcode among other things. But if Apple managed to create an Xcode for iOS, then I’d be thinking should I get an iMac for when I’m not on the move and an iPad Pro for the lounge/travelling. However if future MacBook Pro’s were a lot lighter then that would change the dynamics again. One thing’s for sure the A-series chips now are starting to get the power to start even considering these options.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.