Earlier this year, Apple ran a couple of ads that promoted the iPad Pro, focusing on the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil to show how versatile the device is. Of course, Microsoft probably watched those ads like a lot of people who know that the Surface products exist, and laughed the appropriate amount.
Of course, as easy as it is to point out that other products already exist that do the same things, it’s not like Apple’s the only company that does this. It’s just the nature of technology, where eventually, and probably more often than not, there are similarities in functionality. That isn’t a bad thing.
In those ads, Apple asks, “What’s a computer?” and shows off cool things iPad Pro owners can do with that Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
There is a lot to be said about that ad, and not just for the ad itself, either. While the company wants it to be clear that there’s a clear distinction between its Mac lineup of products and the iPad, it seems pretty obvious that Apple has been putting a lot more focus on the products that begin with “I” — iMac not included.
A lot of Mac products have been left to wallow as potential buyers wait for upgrades to the hardware. The MacBook Pro finally just got a legitimate upgrade after years of missing out, for instance. And the Mac Pro? It’s been now more than a thousand days since that piece of hardware was upgraded in any meaningful way.
So it makes sense why Apple might want to present the iPad Pro as something that can, maybe, replace a computer.
I know a few people who this is actually the case. They had aging MacBook Airs and they decided to go with iPad Pros. Two of them picked up the 12-inch model, while another went with the 9.7-inch variant. All of them are at different stages of ownership at this point, one of them only having the iPad for a couple of months, but they are all happy campers as far as I can tell.
Only one of them went with the Smart Keyboard from Apple, though, because they, like me, don’t like cases. The other two went with third-party options that offer a more traditional keyboard feel, but apply a case to the entirety of the iPad. So the experiences are slightly different in each case, but ultimately they all replaced their computer with an iPad.
I’m one of the folks that tried this, but, ultimately, my day-to-day routine just wasn’t having it when I tried. For the most part I could get away with it, but while iOS makes it super easy to use a finger to copy or cut text, trying to do these things quickly is much better suited for a mouse.
I don’t think mouse support is going to arrive for the iPad lineup any time soon, but I know that if it were to arrive, I could honestly consider replacing my computer with one of Apple’s tablets. I probably still wouldn’t do it, just because I like my computer, but at least the option would be a realistic one.