Comic: Is the iPad Pro a Computer?

thats not what i meant. you could also install pcalc

can the ipad replace a personal computer? is the ipad a pc? im an outdated stereotype

this may not be p.c., but an ipad is almost as useful as a pc. but its no mac.

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Rich Stevens

Pixel lover and cartoonist. Still have my original Apple IIgs. See more at clango.org or follow him on Twitter @rstevens.

7 Comments
  • Yes, the iPad is a personal computer. So is a smartphone. So is a smartwatch. It is narrow-minded to just call a desktop or notebook computer a "computer", and all other types of personal computers NOT "computers". The interfaces may be different (multi-touch vs. cursor-based) but the functions are the same. You can do basically the same functions on a tablet as you can on a notebook, it's just that you do it differently (fingers and/or stylus vs. trackpad). Merriam-Webster dictionary defines computer as: "a programmable usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data". The definition DOES NOT specify that ONLY devices with command-line interfaces, or a mouse, or a trackpad, or any other specific detail that applies to desktop and notebook PC's but NOT to tablets or smartphones, are "computers". A person could just as easily make up different "rules" for what qualifies a device as a computer. For example, I could equally say that only a device that DOES NOT use a mouse or trackpad is a "real" computer, and that all other devices (desktops and notebooks) are not computers. But that would be the same narrow thinking that some people use to try to disqualify multi-touch tablets and smartphones using their own fabricated definitions of "computer". Also, Apple has NEVER said that the iPad is a good laptop replacement for everyone. It is also true that a notebook is NOT good replacement for a desktop computer for many people. And for some people who MUST have a mobile computer, a desktop computer is NOT a good replacement for a laptop or tablet. But the reality is that MANY people have already replaced their laptop or desktop computers with an iPad (again, NOT everyone). Just look around next time you are in a coffee shop, or a business meeting, or on an airplane, or anywhere else. You WILL see lots of people using iPads, where before you would ONLY see laptops being used. It's just the reality of change... And some people can't accept change easily.
  • My only criticisms with the iPad is the things it can't do but should be able to do, and I'm not really talking about not having mouse-support or a CLI because I don't think it needs those things. First off is a lack of Pro software, it's getting there but we need better video editing tools (e.g. Final Cut, Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas), better music editing tools (e.g. Logic. There is Cubasis, I haven't heard much about it though). The biggest miss on the Pro tools is software development tools, that's incredibly limited at the moment. The second thing is better filesystem support, the new iPad Pros boast a USB-C connection which is great, but it doesn't work with external storage without using a custom app. The Files app still seems somewhat limited with local storage. I haven't got an iPad to test with, but from what I recall those points above are the main thing. It'd also be nice to see (although I don't think it will happen) the ability to install apps from sources other than the App Store, many of the best Mac apps aren't available through the Mac App Store, either due to sandboxing issues or because it's difficult to make a profit with Apple taking their share. Some apps are only able to provide subscription pricing via the App Store which I _really_ do not want, I don't want to see that coming to the iPad, otherwise I'll definitely be sticking with a Mac
  • It is a device that computes. It is not in the modern day definition a computer, but it can be used instead of a computer for most people. An Android tablet would be more of a computer in the classic sense. A computer lets you install any app you want, maybe with a warning, but it doesn't stop you if you try. I still can't get apps that don't censor speech on the iPad (unless they make an iOS only version that blocks certain segments by default because Apple decided I can't handle it). I still can't SSH into my iPad to copy/move files because Apple says I can't handle it. I can't install a 3rd party OS after the iPhone 3G with Whited00r or whatever. I couldn't even change the power settings completely or verify what's going on with the battery until Apple was caught deciding for us that we can't be trusted with the decision to run the CPU at 100% or keep the battery running as expected. It's not that I can't accept change, it's that it isn't what you're saying it is. Is an ATV a car? Is a jetski a boat? An ATV/jetski functions similarly, but they don't have the same features. They do some things better than their counterpart, but they don't replace their counterpart. Next, you'll tell me a scooter is a motorcycle. Edit: I'm also not counting it as "an Android tablet can't run Windows" as that's more of an issue caused by Microsoft not compiling for Android Tablets than an Android tablet not being able to.
  • The iPad is very much a "people-friendly" computer. You don't know how many computers I've had to fix where someone has installed malware, or they've changed some setting which has made the computer run worse, or pretty much just screwed the whole system up. Not to mention the bloatware that most pre-built computers come with. The iPad is perfect for the kind of people that run into these issues. iOS does become less restrictive each year, although I know that there are parts of iOS which Apple will not remove the restrictions from, which I agree it is frustrating. What I would like to see, is some hidden toggle switch buried within iOS, which tech-savvy users can enable to remove these restrictions, and that toggle switch can present a warning as well to the user. If this happened, then we would have the best of both worlds, where we could have iPads that work for the non-tech savvy people, and the tech-savvy.
  • ATVs and Jetskis are vehicles, and that is closer to the specificity of the word, computer. Computer is a very broad tem that literally encompasses a wide range of devices and capabilities, including iPads. Trying to define 'computer' by the types of programs you can load is like trying to define what is a vehicle by the number of passengers or cargo it can carry.
  • The iPad is a computer. It just isn't a Mac. Slight but important difference.
  • Of course an iPad is a computer. There were people in the 1980s who made fun of the then-new "micro computers", saying they were not "real computers" because they could not run mainframe software. Now we have people saying "iPads are toys because they do not run Windows software". Or some other equally silly metric like "all they run are apps, I need applications". Uh huh, right. Current phones and iPads have more computer power than Windows PCs of 15 years ago. Were those not "computers"? An Apple Watch has more computer power than the computers on the ground that ran the moon landings in the 1970s. Were those not "computers"? BTW, if you look up the definition of "computer" in a pre-WWII dictionary, it will say that a "computer" is a PERSON who does complex calculations. In the 1950s, the first commercially available computers were called "electronic computers", to differentiate them from human computers. Today, we are surrounded by computers. Computers are arguably the greatest invention in the history of humans, and have progressed further and faster than any other technology, ever. In 50 years they went from machines that filled huge rooms and needed a dozen or more 240 volt power outlets (plus massive air conditioning to keep everything cool), to pocket sized devices that are one million times more powerful and run on a single 3.7 volt battery.