Apple's new iPad Pro spot asks 'what's a computer?'

I love it. This is iPad. It's not a laptop replacement, whatever that means, but it's a laptop alternative that an incredibly diverse array of people will find more mobile, more flexible, and more accessible than any laptop.

It's the combination of ludicrously powerful Apple silicon with dazzling beautiful ProMotion display and the approachable but increasingly sophisticated capabilities of iOS that let iPad Pro be more things to more people.

"What's a Computer?" features a day-in-the-life of a young lady who picks her iPad Pro up off the floor in the morning and doesn't stop until she puts it back down at night. It travels with her in her backpack. It pops out the Smart Keyboard for her to type with in an alley, on a counter, and in the yard. It becomes a canvas for her Apple Pencil drawings and slides. And it lets her game as she busses around town.

It's exactly what an iPad Pro commercial needs to be — a window into what we can accomplish with a computing appliance that can not only lasts all day but can come with us almost everywhere, for almost everything, throughout the day.

I still switch back and forth between my Mac and iPad Pro, partly because I'm old and the trackpad and multiwindow paradigm is muscle memory for me now, and partly because Apple doesn't yet completely support the workflows I need for things like multi-header podcasting on iOS.

But I'm increasingly taking iPad Pro with me when I go out because it's already ready, always connected, and has the fastest time-to-use of any computing device I've ever owned. (iPhone notwithstanding.)

I do wish Apple would better address having and taking an Apple Pencil along for the ride — the new sleeve just doesn't do it for me — but other than that, when you add in the new camera capabilities, iPad Pro really starts to show that laptops aren't the only answer and certainly aren't even the best answer for everyone.

More like this, please.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • She wasn’t gaming on the bus, she was reading comics. * Written on my iPad
  • That's gotta be one of the best spots Apple's ever run.
  • I think this may have been a response to Satya Nadella's "Get a real computer" comment to two iPad-toting journalists a week or so ago.
  • Nice commercial. Keep it coming, and....perfect the HomePod before releasing. Patience is a virtue. *Written on my iPad Pro
  • I absolutely loved this commercial until the "what's a computer" part. The iPad is amazing for portability and all of the things shown in the commercial coinciding with that portability but if you're going to tell me a 12-14 year old girl who has a potentially $1,000 device that is her own does not know what a computer is then you're an *****. Everyone who knows what an iPad is also knows what a computer is, especially since the former iPad tag line on Apple's own site was "Super. Computer."