I was wrong about the iPad Pro (2018): Re-review

iPad Pro with MacBook
(Image: © iMore)

I received a lot of great feedback on my iPad Pro review and I appreciate it very much. But I also got some criticism and I think it was fair. I didn't have as many negatives on my list as some other reviewers, but I think it's because I reviewed the new hardware and most of the negatives were directed at the not so new software. Also, I didn't address the iPad Pros ability to replace a laptop, which is something almost every other review focused on extensively.

For the software, I viewed that as a known quantity and, at 20-minutes long already, didn't want to spend even more time recapitulating what's pretty much the same story wrapped in a new, if much more powerful book. The counterargument was and is, and again I think fairly, that the new power should prompt not a recapitulation but a reexamining of the story.

As a laptop replacement, I don't really wonder about the iPad Pro that way, any more than I wonder about the MacBook Air replacing the iMac Pro. Both the iPad Pro and MacBook Air are ultra-portables, and both the MacBook Air and iMac Pro are traditional computers, but to me they remain different, if overlapping tools in the belt. The counterargument was and is, that whether or not Apple is positioning the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, tech media certainly and some or many customers are looking at it in exactly that way.

So, after spending two weeks now with Apple's third generation iPad Pro, I decided to focus this re-review on what I missed last time: iPad Pro as laptop replacement and the iPad Pro software story. And what I think everyone is still getting wrong.

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iPad Pro (2018) as a laptop replacement

I think Apple had two slides at the October event that caused a lot of confusing. The first showed iPad sales relative to laptop sales in the rest of the industry. In addition to annoying PC laptop fans no end, it also helped many reviewers justify the iPad Pro-as-laptop-replacement as their primary narrative. After all, Apple was comparing the two, right up there on stage.

How to transfer data from your old iPad to your new iPad

How to transfer data from your old iPad to your new iPad (Image credit: iMore)

My read was different. It wasn't. Oh, look at how many people are choosing iPad as their laptop! It was, oh, look at how many people are choosing iPad instead of a laptop. That difference might sound subtle but I think it's also key to understanding the market.

The second showed A12X performance as being "Faster than 92% of all portable PCs". There, I think Apple was just strutting over its platform technology teams continued crushing of mobile silicon. But, combined with early leaked Geekbench scores showing the new iPad rivaled a modern MacBook Pro in terms of performance, I think, cemented "laptop replacement" in a lot of minds.

If it's as powerful as a MacBook Pro, it should be a MacBook Pro, right?

I have to admit, I find myself thinking that way a lot. I come from a traditional computer background that's shaped a lot of my preconceptions about these types of devices should be and do, and I have a very hard time looking beyond my own wants and needs and understanding that I'm not the market any more. In fact, traditional computer types like me are an increasingly small part of the market.

Hence that graph. And hence the iPad.

When Steve Jobs introduced it, from the very moment he introduced it, he went out of his way to clearly say and show that the iPad wasn't meant to be a laptop, let alone a laptop replacement. Yes, even though Apple had a keyboard dock for it on day one, it was meant to be a third category that fit between a smartphone and the Mac.

Now, that was fine for the iPad nothing, but iPad Pro is for pros, right? It has the word right in the name. Surely that's meant to be a laptop replacement?

It's super tempting to think that way, but it also seems limited. Is the MacBook Pro an iMac Pro replacement? For more people than the MacBook Air, I bet, but certainly not everyone. Nor is it meant to be. It's meant to be an alternative for those willing to trade some power for portability, or an addition for people who need maximum power at the desk but also as much power as possible on the go.

Is the 12-inch MacBook an iPad Pro replacement? Probably, for people who want something ultra-light that can run macOS down to it's UNIX terminal. For those who want an incredibly powerful tablet for illustration, drafting, modeling, and more? Not so much.

But they're not pros, is something really easy to say. It's like upstate New York. Anyone who lives even a town to the north is upstate. Anyone who doesn't do exactly what I do or something that fits in a traditional box isn't a pro. So they run a website and produce some of the best automation work and content on the planet. They use an iPad Pro as their primary computer. Must not really be such a Pro…

Yet, if Apple has had one core mission since inception it's been to relentlessly, continuously, democratize technology. To make it more accessible to more people. Not just to cater to existing pros but to help make new kinds and generations of pros. Not to serve only the needs of power users but to empower every user.

I can't tell you how many people I know — how many professionals in all walks of life — who have always found traditional computers to be intimidating and unapproachable. How many legit geniuses have been made to feel dumb and less than because their brains just didn't fit a file system or their fingers, a mouse.

When you look at that graph again, sure, there are some traditional computing types buying some of those iPads instead of a laptop. But there are countless more buying those iPads because they're not laptops.

Even iPad Pro with all the power of A12X, and they're using it to draw storyboards for major studio productions, swipe through medical scans, receive, mark up, and resend documents and comps, crush photos, djay clubs, take clients through and tweak architectural models, and do a ton of real pro work, every damn day.

And they'll be able to keep doing it for years to come because A12X can not only handle augmented reality, machine learning, computational photography, and other heavy workloads today, it has enough headroom to handle iOS 13, 14, 15, and likely many more workloads to come.

If those workloads are different from a journalists or a developers or, yeah, me, so be it. They're still every bit as important. If a laptop is better for you, great, you have plenty of those to choose from. If an iPad Pro is better for you, well it's the first thing that really is so everyone else can just back up off. Because it's not just about us. It's about all of us.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say if Apple didn't consider it exactly that way, the company wouldn't have introduced the new iPad Pro at the exact same event where, just minutes before, it introduced the new MacBook Air. An iPad Pro and a laptop, not an iPad Pro instead of a laptop.

iPad Pro 2018 and the iOS story

All that said, whether or not you or I or anyone thinks the iPad Pro should be a laptop replacement or not, there are undeniably areas where the iPad Pro still isn't all the iPad Pro it could be. Where, even with all the power of the new hardware, it still hits a software sized brick wall.

iPad Pro 2018 display

iPad Pro 2018 display (Image credit: iMore)

One of the worst mistakes you can make in tech support is stating solutions you think you want rather than problems you actually have, because quite often there's a much smarter, better solution out there that just never occurred to you. Maybe because it hasn't even been conceived of or implemented yet. So, I'm going to stick to laying out my problems:

  1. You can't just plug in a drive and Dyson down files the way you can a camera or SD card for images and video.
  2. When using a keyboard, there's no way to navigate without taking your hands off said keyboard.
  3. When loading web pages, I get the phone version rather than the desktop version way, way to often. Especially Reddit. Dammit, Reddit.
  4. I can't podcast because I can't Skype or FaceTime or whatever with other people and still record my own audio at the system level at the same time. Let alone multiple tracks.
  5. I can't create and deploy App Store apps for iPad using the iPad. Well, ok, not me, but developers can't and they're currently the largest group of professionals in the market.
  6. I can't lend my iPad Pro to anyone else, be it a colleague or a kid, without them having access to all my stuff.

That's my list. I know other have their lists. But this one is mine.

And again, I could suggest just implement DocumentPicker for external storage the way ImagePicker is already implemented for SDCards, have an indirect navigation option using the keyboard the way Apple TV already has FocusUI using the Siri Remote, have a permanent "Load Desktop Site" setting like there's a permeant "Use Reader Mode" settings, have system-wide audio recording like there is video recording, release an Xcode for iPad app that, like the forthcoming Photoshop for iPad, lets developers perform an important subset of work synced to an online repository, and have an iCloud Accounts option that lets multiple users sign-in and sign-out to access their own environments, including GuestBoard and a kid's restricted mode.

I'd also add something about the Home screen, because if I don't, so many of you will point it out so immediately. There's some interesting stuff around the minus one Home screen — the page you get to by swiping the other way from the Home screen. But, ultimately, like I said back in 2015, I'd love to see iPad get the same thing Apple Watch and Apple TV got: It's own version of SpringBoard. iPadOS, like watchOS or tvOS.

Mostly because a dedicated iPadOS team would force major full point releases to ship every year, just like new versions of watchOS and tvOS, and not just every few years as iPhone gravity wells allowed.

There were rumors Apple was working on something like that, actually a lot of things I listed, for iOS 12. But, when the decision was made to go all-in on performance enhancements, it got postponed to iOS lucky-number 13 or later.

iPad Pro (2018) two weeks later

Ok, so this has ended up being far more rant than it has re-review. For the last two weeks I've been using the new iPad Pro for almost everything. Where I haven't been using the iPad Pro much if at all is video and image editing. Photoshop is just muscle memory for me at this point and I'm set in my ways, and I just can't do graphics work — not photo editing, that's fine, I mean graphics editing — as fast in Pixelmator on iPad as I can on the Mac. That might change when quote-unquote real Photoshop for iPad Pro ships next year. I'm cautiously neutral-mystic. We'll see.

Same for Final Cut Pro X. iMovie is quick. Luma Fusion is powerful. But neither lets me do what what I need, as fast as I need, like Final Cut. So, as much as some of you want some form of Xcode that lets you open your existing projects on the iPad Pro, I would very much like that for Final Cut Pro. I imagine that'll require a bunch of cloud-based abstractions, same as Photoshop, but just the ability to tap into, tweak, and send back work on the go would let me leave my Mac home far vmore often.

For other things, not just drawing, I find the iPad Pro far better and faster already. I'm basically doing all my writing on it. That's thanks to side-by-side apps, which I use all the time on iOS, because they're still a hot mess on macOS, and one that seems to have been abandoned as fast as it was introduced.

If all I did was blog, and edit if not record podcasts, I could easily go all-in on iPad Pro.

To steal a line from John Gruber, it's the lightness of iOS is what lets macOS be heavy, or maybe it's vice versa. Either way. Both. Whatever.

For those professionals who don't want or need a laptop, but do want or need more than a phone, iPad Pro can be just perfect. Amazing screen, amazing silicon, with a better-than-ever Apple Pencil and what feels more like a just-as-good-if-differently-compromised Keyboard Folio as options.

For those professionals who want a heavy Mac, like a 15-inch MacBook Pro or iMac Pro, iPad Pro might likewise be the perfect portable for when you want something light to take a subset of your work with you on the go. It's way easier to carry, especially than the iMac, but it still packs a ton of punch for everything else you want to do.

For those professionals for whom it's not reasonable to buy a second computer and iPad Pro just doesn't do enough to be the primary, that's totally valid too. And it's why Apple released a brand new MacBook Air at the same time, and even showed off a mobile Vega 15-inch MacBook Pro the same day.

If iOS 13 or iOS 14 change that, reassess then. Otherwise, you compute you.

Personally, I like the direction Apple is going with iPad Pro, I just don't like how long it's taking to get there. The hardware is bleeding edge. Always. The software, be it iOS 9 or iOS 11, comes in fits and starts.

But traditional computers, including macOS, have so much legacy baggage that was never was or never should have been meant for humans to deal with. A few years to get copy and paste, a decade to get drag-and-drop. It's glacial in a way that's totally not cool, but it's not porting — it's re-imagining, and that's what needs to be done. Just much, much, much — did I say much — faster.

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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.

  • Well this was certainly a better article than your initial one. Here at least you got to the heart of some of the issues that are holding the iPad back from being a real laptop replacement. And I agree whole heartidly that Apple needs to being an iPadOS to the Pro line to really seperate it from the iPhone.
  • I think even the thought that a cellphone OS-based device can replace a laptop is a ridiculous concept for anyone that uses the device beyond Fruit Ninja.
  • iOS isn't really a cellphone OS anymore, it's a touch-based OS. Obviously there are Apple-isms in it, like no default-apps, limited filesystem support, only able to install apps from the App Store, however these aren't due to it being a cellphone OS, but rather Apple trying to take more control. Each iOS release loosens these restrictions, and the iPad can definitely replace a laptop if the only tasks you do on your laptop are capable of being done on the iPad, like using office apps for example.
  • Well yes as you eluded to it if your tasked are only limited to simple things like a word document then maybe, even tho the full Mac version of Word is still much more powerful than the mobile version. And PowerPoint is also much weaker on iOS than the full Mac version I work with numerous huge healthcare softwares that none have iOS version or if they do their capabilities are crippled compared to MAC version
  • iOS doesn't really limit what software itself can do, and that's proved with software like Affinity Photo. A much more complete version of Microsoft Office could easily work on the iPad, but Microsoft won't do it. And from what I know, a lot of "huge healthcare software" are very outdated, or are built using legacy frameworks, they're essentially just to lazy to rebuild it on iOS.
  • Lazy or not, microsoft's fault or not, outcome is the same, you can't replace laptop with ipad pro if you want to do anything beyond the basics for productivity
  • But this isn't a problem with the iPad Pro? It's a problem with the developers. Your comment is in the wrong place, go to Microsoft's forums
  • It is a problem with the Ipad "Pro" when it's using a cellphone OS that developers of many productivity apps clearly aren't willing to put the effort for it. End result is it can't replace a laptop with a full OS regardless of who's fault it is.
  • Now you're backpedalling. Fact of the matter is, Apple allows full, desktop applications on the iPad. If developers choose not to make them, the developers are at fault. Period.
  • Years ago (for home use; my employer provides and mandates a Windows laptop), I sold my Mac and got a chromebook when they first came out, and then another chromebook. I was skeptical but, for home use, it worked fine. I’ve been using a 12.9 iPad Pro 2 and now a 3, as my “laptop” replacement and have no regrets.
  • You should NOT have had to explain yourself because of RABID and aggressive Android Fanboy's. The iPad itself in the context of being a laptop replacement will always ever be (how good the app eco system is). For example, my company is fully on Office 365. The iPad is actually a 100% laptop replacement for work for me because of that. All of the office apps are near perfect to their desktop counterparts.
    People are hating just because it's cool to hate on Apple products as usual. How long has this been this way? Forever.
  • As opposed to the RABID and aggressive APPLE fanboy? Do you fanboy bro? You are just as bad a fanboy for APPLE as others are for "insert their favorite here".
  • kojackjku you sound like a 12 year old. Why not add something useful to the discussion?
  • Just like how you just added something really useful, right?
    Fanboys United.
  • Where have I not added something useful? If someone writes a stupid comment, then I can't really provide a useful reply, but to other people here who are contributing to the discussion, I'm able to respond with a contribution as well.
  • Ha ha ha. Says the kool aid guzzling rabid fanboy who will defend Apple to the death even though he knows they do some stupid things. I am typing this on my iPad 2018. I am not a brand fanboy. I am a tech fan. I like things from all platforms. Being an Apple fanboy like yourself is the real child here
  • I haven't defended them on everything, if you'd actually read my comments
  • Dilusion at it's finest folks!
  • More like deflection at its finest, from you.
  • Again, dilusion at it's finest. NO deflection here fan nut.
  • This whole thing was deflection. Instead of adding to the discussion, you just decided to put a comment which would stir people up.
  • No. Stating fact only stirs up the fanboys. No matter what platform is being talked about
  • Which part of this comment is fact?: "As opposed to the RABID and aggressive APPLE fanboy? Do you fanboy bro? You are just as bad a fanboy for APPLE as others are for "insert their favorite here"."
  • You being the rabid apple fanboy. that's a fact. If it wasn't, you would not be following me around commenting on how fact is wrong! i.e. the screen on the new MBP etc. thanks for proving my FACT!
  • That's your opinion, and you continue commenting as well…
  • Please give it a rest. you are the biggest kool aid drinker here. If you would like me to stop, feel free to lead by example. Tone down the drum beating you may even be likeable. But man, you are WAY out there in defending apple. the screen issue on the new mbp is just one of many things you seem to think is NOT apples problem. ALSO, they are refusing to replace screens under warranty leaving those who sunk thousands of hard earned dollars into a supposedly premium device that is touted as being able to last a long time, out in the cold with a 700+ dollar repair bill. Thats not great customer service, product or policy. Hence the reason I am not buying anything of the new generation of apple products. When they get off their high horse regarding their quality etc, I may. I was so very close to buying a stop spec MBP with touchbar, but I am super happy I never.
  • I actually never said it wasn't Apple's problem. Let's just leave it there.
  • HA HA HA. backpedal...the last resort of a fanboy.
  • There's no backpedalling, I never said that. Show me where I said that, because I've had a look and I haven't mentioned it
  • Look it's Rene with his typical retort. Did you tell that to bullies as a kid as well?
  • A troll is pretty much the online version of a bully, so the answer would be yes.
  • Stop picking on Danny, He must of had too many wedgies in school
  • One of the trolls here already had their account deleted, so it's no bother to me
  • ha ha ha. whiner.
  • There's no whining from me, only trolling from you.
  • Ha ha. the typical fanboy cry. Someone disagrees with you or calls you out on your fanboy dilusion you scream troll. typical. Take your fingers out of your ears and open your mind. Apple does not make the best everything. They have good stuff, but its far from perfect like your mind likes to think it is.
  • You started this with your "Do you fanboy bro" ****. You provided no useful information to the discussion, you just came to trigger people. Luckily it's all in writing, and everyone else can see that you started it.
  • Did they give you swirlies too?
  • And you're still proving no useful discussion…
  • Nor, are you...yet here we are. I guess they did. ha ha ha.
  • I have provided useful discussion, responding to other people in the comments who are willing to have a proper discussion
  • If you say so. Most replies to you are very similar to mine. Meaning YOU are the issue. Not the people who reply to you.
  • I've very rarely had people reply to me the way you do.
  • I guess you don't read any replies, only mine then!
  • I read most people's replies, I miss some of them because I check the latest posts and some people reply quite later on. But you can see I read and respond to most replies I get, and barely any of them are like yours. All I want is normal discussion, but you throw words and insults out like kool-aid and other ****, rather than just replying to my comment, so I can't really give a decent response either.
  • So, you can run ODBC connected excel sheets with VBA in Excel? Nope. Just one example of how the iPad falls well short of a laptop. (Also, every time you say Android Fanboy you're saying "I am a rabid Apple Fanboy")
  • Uh... Just so I understand what you’re trying to say... It’s the iPad that falls short and not Excel? So by that logic, because I can’t run Final Cut Pro on a Windows computer, that’s one example to prove that a Windows computer falls well short of a Mac?
  • Yeah this is a limitation of the iOS version of Office, rather than iOS, so cc3d is actually angry at Microsoft here…
  • it doesn't matter who's fault it is...its the end-result that matters...which is crippled IOS productivity apps that cannot compete with the full MAC versions, hence Ipad Pro will never replace a laptop for the productivity crowd (not the fruit ninja crowd)
  • Except it does when you come and comment on iMore complaining about the iPad. There's nothing wrong with the iPad in this regard.
  • Huh? I already schooled you on the shortcomings of a device that is using a cellphone OS and is trying to replace a full laptop.
  • Microsoft Office is limited on the iPad because Microsoft limited the features in order to get people to buy Windows 10 devices. What has this got to do with a so-called cellphone OS? Microsoft could've easily put the whole Office on the iPad.
  • Wait, you actually believe this was done because of a bunch of ****** off Android Fanboys? Even Apple Fanboys are ****** at this matter. Look, don’t get me wrong, this is definitely the tablet I imagined back in Late 2009 when the first iPad rumors were running rampant, but what I didn’t imagine is almost a decade later such an amazing was limited to a crappy mobile OS. It also included a headphone jack as well (yeah I did just go there). I mean, while I believe the original concept of iOS 12 redesign probably had this iPad design in mind, unfortunately the end result is crap. iPad needs a hybrid OS, an OS of its own now, because iOS is officially limiting what the iPad can truly do. I do believe that at one point it can go from a device I use 80% of the time to a device I use 100% of the time, but until I can plug an external hard drive and be able to use some sort of file system functionality (like syncing my own music directly into the iPad without iTunes) that USB-C port is no different than a lightning port. Alternative methods are only useful when they are attractive, and iTunes Match will NEVER be an attractive alternative to iTunes syncing, Until that day comes, my Surface Pro will have to come in to fill that last 20%.
  • The fact that you said "yeah I did just go there" in relation to the headphone jack means you know how stupid that statement was. I don't think the iPad needs a hybrid OS, it just needs to be more flexible, and iOS does become more flexible year by year. I'm pretty sure Apple will allow accessing external hard drives at some point soon, as well as things like setting default apps. For many people the iPad is now their only computer, and Apple are going to want to expand that to as many people as possible, so I can definitely see most of these issues being solved, without making a hybrid OS
  • “The fact that you said "yeah I did just go there" in relation to the headphone jack means you know how stupid that statement was” How so?? Sorry that Bluetooth still sucks. Yeah, I know why Apple removed it, but based on the logic being used to removed it that move can also be considered stupid as well.
  • If you don't want to use wireless headphones, then that's what the USB-C port is for.
  • No that's what the headphone jack is for. Apple arrogantly decided to remove it all in the name of unnecessary thinness.
  • Apple, and many others, have removed it because it's been replaced by USB-C. It's for much more than just "thinness"
  • Okay, then explain why it’s still on the Mac now that they have USB-C?
  • The same reason the Mac doesn't have Face ID; they're rolling it out on their product line. iPhone first, iPad second, Mac third.
  • For those of us with solid internet connections and therefore can use the cloud for everything, and really only do office productivity work the iPad Pro is definitely a laptop replacement. I've been using mine for that purpose since last year, and I've yet to have a complaint. Also, I've never got a mobile version of a website on my iPad, perhaps it's the bookmark you're using....
  • THIS. Exactly my point. I read so many reviews hyper critical of the iPad Pro because you cannot connect a HD drive? are we serious? the future is the cloud and mobility. Stop buying the wi-fi only version, and carry a HD drive. Buy LTE and use the cloud. Or stick to your laptop. Times are changing
  • LMAO!! Not trying to insult but holy crap the future isn’t even here yet, so let’s please cut that crap already. Bluetooth still sucks for crying out load. You honestly think it’s convenient to be downloading and upload from cloud storage constantly?? And what the F does LTE have anything to do with trying to make your point? If one lives in a rural area then cellular signal is probably just as garbage as WiFi. Yes, we’re serious. Literally every Laptop can plug to an external HDD yet we are supposed to rely on vulnerable cloud storage as a way of computing in the future with powerful device limited to a crappy Cell phone OS? How about perfecting the bigger picture first before focusing on “ the future?”
  • "Bluetooth still sucks for crying out load." Why does Bluetooth "suck"? It works great for me and everyone I know, it's gone through a lot of revisions so it makes sense that it works really well now. "You honestly think it’s convenient to be downloading and upload from cloud storage constantly?" It works fine as long as you have a decent internet connection, obviously the main flaw to this is rural areas like you said, but outside of that it's really not that bad. "vulnerable cloud storage" Not really vulnerable if you use a reputable service, Dropbox has not failed me to date and I've been using it for around 10 years. "crappy Cell phone OS" This comment is the kind of comment that was made when the iPad was first released, since then iOS has advanced much further, including many features designed for the iPad. It's hardly a cellphone OS, but it's not quite a desktop OS either, however there are less restrictions every time a new iOS version is released, so good progress is being made.
  • Simple, Bluetooth requires battery, and even in some cases software updates, my $20 earphones don’t. Why on earth go through such an inconvenience just for the sake of not dealing with a wire?? Yeah, that may sound like a stupid reason but that’s yet like always, another cable I have to carry around. Sure USB-C is putting a band-aid on the problem, but again, it’s not the future yet.
  • The latest version of Bluetooth requires a trivial amount of battery, you probably wouldn't really notice the difference considering most other elements of the phone use more battery than Bluetooth does. I've never had to do a software update to use Bluetooth, however if you did need to, it's a pretty painless process that takes at most 20 mins. USB-C will never be the future if people don't start using it, which is why it's now on most Apple devices
  • Actually to an extent, I have to agree with him. I don’t use bookmarks or anything like that. Some websites insist on using a mobile version, or what normally happens is a page from a website will only load as mobile. Sometimes a refresh works, sometimes I have to go to my Surface Pro if it’s absolutely necessary.
  • You can request a desktop version of a website, which will force you onto the desktop version, so you don't need to go to your Surface Pro, the iPad web browser is a full web browser
  • No it isn't. Pretty much all other tech blogs said in their reviews that Safari on iOS doesn't have full features like desktop Chrome, Edge, or Firefox have (forgot about extensions?).
  • Have to concur here. “Request desktop site”, does NOT always take you there.
  • If it doesn't take you there then you're browsing a terribly designed website, in which case your complaint is with the website developers rather than Apple. I'm a web dev myself, so it's an area I know a lot about.
  • Regardless you are mistaken in this instance. The desktop version works fine from a computer. Period.
    Also a website that supports flash for example doesn’t mean it’s badly designed.
  • The iPad simply presents a UserAgent string to a website telling it it's an iPad, it's up to the website developer to develop their website so it works well for all devices. "Mobile versions" of websites shouldn't really exist anymore anyway, if you know anything about web design, then responsive design is the way to go, where your website adapts based on the screen size rather than what device is being used. Websites don't "support" Flash, they can contain Flash content, and if it does then yes that means it's badly designed, with the exception of websites like Newgrounds that archive a lot of historical content.
  • That doesn't mean it's not a full web browser. You can browse any website with it, which makes it a full web browser, extensions are an added extra but aren't required to browse the internet.
  • What makes you believe I didn’t try that?? That doesn’t work AT ALL.
  • Not everyone knows about that setting since it's somewhat hidden. In this case, it's a fault with the website rather than the iPad, and you should contact the website developer. If you need a temporary workaround, search for browsers that allow you to change the "useragent string", the useragent string tells websites what kind of device you're using.
  • Good re -review ! Some personal thoughts,some self evident Most reviews are written by writers who seem to expect the iPad Pro to have the word processing abilities of a laptop, it doesn’t and they fail the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. I’m not a writer so this point is null for me yet I’m amused by the narcissism and self centeredness of tech journalists reviewers , they assume that their needs, their standards are yours too. They’re not. I primarily bought the iPad Pro for editing photos, as I did the original iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. What I find frustrating goes back to the original iPad Air where it initially came with iPhoto. The editing abilities of iPhoto still beat Adobe’s mobile apps which are fragmented mess of 3 separate apps, maybe it will be fixed with the 2019 update, though I heard that line with the original iPad Pro in 2015 . I doubt a full featured Photoshop will ever come to the iPad. Snapseed which is free is eating Adobe’s lunch. iPhoto also briefly demonstrated that you could have desktop software on an iPad. Would it be possible to run Mojave on an iPad Pro?
  • Better question, open the pod bay doors, is when is apple going to move to the future with a 2 in 1 MacBook pro, with pencil and full touch support? Then you will have the perfect device. A 13" pro photo and video editing powerhouse that you can use with the pencil instead of having to use a silly drawing tablet, or such plugged into it.
  • It'll take a long time to perfect a 2 in 1 MacBook Pro, Microsoft have tried doing it for a while and their implementation is still very rough.
  • Apple COULD do that in one year and have a completely polished product, Don’t kid yourself.....kid. I’m not talking a tablet based MacBook, I’m talking xps 13 2 in 1 type device with pencil support. The iPad takes care of averything I want to do tablet wise. But editing photos and videos is better using touch, and while travelling pulling out my dell computer, flipping it into tent mode takes up way less space on the tray on the plane, etc. It would boost MacBook sales a lot.
  • Touch based input would require ALL the interface to be adapted for touch, and that includes apps by other developers as well. It would definitely take more than a year
  • Not really considering that they are allowing IOS apps to run on MacOS, it's a safe bet that they are able to allow touch quite easily on MacOS. As for coding the Mac system for touch, apple has enough resources to do that in a few months. It's only because they have bashed touch as a viable interface on desktop and laptop configurations so much that they have not made it available for MacOS right now.
  • These apps aren't just a cheap port of the iOS version to macOS, they have been tweaked a lot and that requires time to come up with the design and implement it. Yes, Marzipan is used to provide the initial process of bringing an iOS app to the Mac, but you can see that they have made several changes to adapt it to the Mac
  • Again, they could do it, very quickly. but decided NOT to. Please think about it, if they can port the app, they can port the touch input code of the app. SIMPLE. Apple chooses not to.
  • Probably what will happen is that when Marzipan (Apple's software for moving iOS apps to Mac) is developed enough, people will be able to move over iOS apps very simply to macOS, which would also provide the touch interface already there. Then all that would really need to be done is to change the UI of macOS, and you'd have a touch friendly macOS. But this is still held back by Marzipan needing to be more stable first, it's not even out to developers yet.
  • Nope, but if Apple wanted to, it could be. It will need to be since the ole stock is in a nosedive as of late. Next up is touch Mac and mouse support for iOS, It has to come or Apple is going to find itself in a very troubling spot market wise. Don’t get me wrong, I am rooting for them. As that’s the thing holding me back from using macOS. Mouse on my iPad would be friggin killer too.
  • A touchscreen Mac I can see happening, not so much the mouse support for iOS, plus iOS devices are selling fine aside from some issues with the exorbitant prices of the latest devices. What would you find useful about having mouse support on the iPad? I guess maybe if you have a hardware keyboard and have the iPad in a laptop-style setup, then it would be a bit easier using a mouse rather than reaching over to the screen, but that's the only use-case I can think of off the top of my head
  • Because I want to be able to do anything with ALL of my devices. simple. Macbook 2 in 1 with touch and pencil support, and an Imac with a folding hinge, touch and pencil support. I am not the only one who thinks this should happen. having mouse support on the ipad will give it just more usability thats all. having it setup like a surface. If they want to really take that device on, add mouse support and it will open up a whole new / old side of developement for the ipad.
  • I think it's more likely some hybrid OS would happen rather than mouse support coming to iOS. The current situation is that iOS has a touch-friendly UI, and macOS has your typical computer UI where you have dropdown menus, and toolbars full of small buttons, perfect for a mouse. If a hybrid OS was to be done correctly, then the system would detect whether you're using touch or a mouse, and give you the most optimal interface
  • Agreed, and that hybrid OS should be available on the mac touch and the ipad. it would be ideal! ONE OS. Windows 10, only done correctly.
  • It’s frustrating as Apple actually did this in 2008 with the original MacBook Air running a full fledged desktop OS on mobile hardware, it essentially had an 80 GB iPod drive this was way before 2 in 1’s and Chromebooks. Apple the innovativted the idea of running a desktop OS on a mobile hardware . Ironic that they created desktop class mobile hardware that’s fully capable of running a desktop OS. To say that New iPad Pro out-specs the original MacBook Air is an understatement. Apple actually created the solution to what bedeviles the iPad Pro before the iPad itself and proved that the iPad Pro now is indeed capable of running Mojave and not some compromised splintered system like Chrome or fragmented hardware like the 2 in 1. What’s holding Apple back ?
  • It's really not that simple. The Microsoft Surface has many apps which aren't touch optimised, not to mention the bits of Windows which haven't been optimised for touch either. Optimising for touch means making buttons bigger, which means you can't always fit the same amount on the interface and suddenly you have to redesign an interface which is a lot of work. If a 2 in 1 was going to happen, macOS would need a "touch-friendly" GUI as well as a normal GUI, which would need to be applied across _all_ applications, requiring all the app developers to update their apps as well. It's a ton of work, Microsoft are still far off and they've already been trying to do it a number of years.
  • Good point, Luna Display seems to be an embryonic version of the this addressing the issues you’re discussing. It uses the iPad Pro as an external monitor for the Mac Mini. I’m tempted to get it if from what I’ve read from other articles if you can actually access the Mac Mini’s functions via touch on the iPad Pro. It doesn’t seem that anyone has really come out with a true touch screen computer , which is what you seem to be describing and will truly be revolutionary when it comes to be.
  • Rumor has it that Apple already have an in-house version of Mac OS running on ARM. Sounds like something they would explore. Now whether it will ever be released or not is another thing. My guess is that they will announce it next year... let's wait and see.
    But they would probably not put it on an iPad, I am pretty sure it would be running on a MacBook Air (obviously with one of Apple's ARM SOC inside).
  • I would temper your expectations especially anything based upon fanboy rumors.
  • Not an expectation, a guess... and if you just throw those clichés then you are not contributing to the discussion.
  • I love taking my Ipad on business trips. Once connected to air plane wifi it becomes the "almost" perfect tool for travel. I can stay in touch with email and imessage and I can have movies for entertainment at my disposal. I just wish it was better at email. Half the time emails wont even load and while I can see the subject line in the preview plane, I get nothing to work with when I actually open the email. There is no way to sort emails by sender and it still bothers me that I cant set a reminder to follow up on an email. The functionality is basically identical to the Iphone and Apple really needs to address this. If I really need to triage my inbox, I have to be on my lap top. Being able to actually edit Excel documents would be a plus also.
  • I'll never understand the fixation on "is this a replacement for that". Is a burger a replacement for a steak? Are roller skates a replacement for a bicycle? Is a phone a replacement for a SLR camera? While it could be argued "yes" for all of the above, the fact is they are just different, meant for differing tastes, price ranges and use situations. The fact is, most people do not need the power or complexity of a traditional PC, whether Mac or Windows. Everyone used to buy those, because there was nothing else available to buy. Now we have phones and tablets. Everyone has a phone, while PC sales have been dropping for the last 7 years. Personally, I like tablets too. I have the new iPad Pro (and had the previous model too). It certainly replaces a laptop for me. I still have a laptop, I just don't use it very much anymore. The vast majority of the planet just need internet access. Web, email, texting, shopping, streaming, social, sharing photos, etc. You no longer need to learn how to be an IT admin to manage a Windows PC, in order to do these things. You can get a phone, or a Chromebook, or an Android tablet, or an iPad. Any of which can do whatever most people need a "computer" for. For those who need more, laptops and desktop PCs are still available. But one will never be a replacement for the other. Just like a frozen grocery store pizza is no "replacement" for homemade lasagna.
  • 100% agree with you. This is a false debate. The iPad is a new tool with different possibilities. People have to chose whatever tool suits them the best.
    1. The new iPad pros are faster than most 3000$+ laptops for 1/3 the price.
    2. For some tasks they are way better suited (Photoshop seems to be a good example). They are incredible drawing tools, there is nothing else like it.
    3. Even the largest iPad pro is more portable than any laptop.
    The iPad is not designed for the traditional business customer (the eternal Windows crowd), they may get there some day but I doubt it.
  • Getting tired of these types of reviews. If you’re trying to compare an iPad to a laptop, just stop. Run out and get yourself a laptop, that’s what you really want in the first place. It would be one thing if Apple stopped making MacBooks and forced the iPad as a laptop replacement, but they’re not doing that, and they’re not saying that either. There was never any claim that the iPad could replace your laptop without any issues. The only things they are claiming is that the iPad is an excellent computer and it is fairly powerful. And that a lot of people are buying them and using them for many different tasks. Trying to shoehorn a different type of device around a workflow that you’ve tailored specifically for your laptop is never going to work. EVER! This is where ALL reviews fall short, because people who do not have a laptop (or desktop) are not going to try and make these ridiculous comparisons and will find they can do just about anything they want on an iPad. The iPad does not need to become more like a laptop! You people that think so, should just except the fact that you really want a freakin laptop!!! We’ll all be much happier. People who want the simplicity of a tablet can have our iPads. And those of you who need all the legacy software support you need can stick with your d@mned laptops.
  • I think this review is for people who want to consider moving to the iPad from a laptop. Not everyone hates change, some people like myself embrace it, and like to try new things, or new ways of doing things. I think the iPad could take some features from a desktop OS, but they need to be carefully selected rather than just flat-out trying to change it into a laptop. Also on a funny note, people who want legacy software support won't be able to update to the next version of macOS, since it won't support 32-bit apps.
  • Yes this is true especially now that the iPad Pro does have the hardware capabilities of a laptop, interms of RAM, storage and processing power, I think this the first time an iPad has ever been able to legitimately make these claims. I can see how Apple was inspired to say it’s a laptop replacement and the insuring firestorm of negative reviews and comments. I got an new iPad Pro and comparing to the original iPad Pro is similar to going from the iPad 2 to the iPad Air, a really astonishing physical change which completely changed my experience. The iPad Air also came with iPhoto which was a desktop app. Why Apple killed in the next update with Apple Photos, I’ll never know. Many complained bitterly about the new app. With iPhoto at least for a few months I had the experience of desktop software on an iPad and no mobile app years later has the editing capabilities of iPhoto , most mobile app have the instagram model of filters rather than being able to edit your photos through multiple adjustments of all kinds. Adobe’s suite of Creative Cloud apps is able to do this somewhat but it’s fragmented and frustrating, i.e Adobe fix for spot healing, Photoshop mobile for other adjustments using the instagram mode of filters ugh! Waiting with skepticism to see if the rumors of the new Photoshop for the iPad Pro really deliver! I primarily bought the new iPad Pro to edit photos and inspite of the iPad’s limitations l still prefer to edit photos on an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil which is more immersive and tangible experience than on a desktop .
  • I don't know if you've tried Affinity Photo for iPad, it's a nice alternative to Photoshop and as far as I know it matches the Desktop version of Affinity Photo, or near enough. There's also Affinity Designer too.
  • I have Affinity running on both my ipad and notebook and they are basically the same program while using them.
  • I almost never get a mobile site on my iPad. It’s been years since that’s happened more than once for every several hundred sites I go to. Maybe your settings are wrong. This whole argument is worthless. Every device has its strong, and weak points. It takes some time before a new technology gets accepted. The first microcomputers came out in late 1975. Most people on websites weren’t even around back then. It took the Apple II to get IBM worried enough to come out with their own personal computer. Apple will evolve the iPad, and iOS enough so that much of what it has problems with now, will be resolved.
  • I almost never get anything BUT mobile sites, and many times there is zero way to force the desktop site to load. Especially financial sites. It is also frustrating when I want to go to icloud.com as there are things the web site can do that the local apps can't, but iOS refuses to allow me to go to the website.
  • If you hold down on the "Refresh" button you will get an option to request the "Desktop" version of a site, which should work for everything except icloud.com. For icloud.com you will have to use a browser from the App Store that allows you to change the UserAgent string.
  • I think the crux of the issue is that many reviewers declare that the IPad Pro isn't a laptop replacement when what they really should be saying it isn't a laptop replacement *for them*. They simply assume that since it isn't a proper laptop replacement for them, then it isn't for anyone else either.
  • The reviewers complaining that the iPad Pro isn't a laptop replacement remind of the same people in 1984 who said the Mac wasn't a replacement for command-line based computer (ie: Apple II). We know how that turned out. Transitions take time
  • Exactly this. Every year I see more and more people using iPads as a computer replacement, and it'll continue to grow as iOS becomes more flexible and more Pro apps become available for the iPad
  • The iPad will never replace a laptop until it comes with a laptop OS on it. The iPad Pro should come with OSx and until it does it’s just another tablet.
  • A laptop will never replace an iPad Pro until it comes with iOS on it. Until then it’s just another laptop. See how easy it is to make pointless comments? The point being, Apple already sells laptops. iPads are not sold as “laptop replacements”. Nor should they be reviewed as such. You might as well review a 2 door sports car and claim it it is a failure because it is not an SUV replacement. Until it comes with 4 doors, a back door and a bigger engine, it is “just another 2 door sports car”.
  • I guess someone forgot to tell Apple's marketing department, since their ads are literally saying that the iPad will "be your next computer." If you think about it, that's an even bolder claim than saying it can replace a laptop, since a laptop might just be a secondary computer for travel, but they're saying it can be your only computer. https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/11/19/new-ipad-pro-ad-hammers-home-...
  • Depending on what you do on a computer, the iPad could be capable of being your only computer, and for many people it already is.
  • Indeed, iPads are computers too, like laptops, just different. Clearly a lot of people are missing this point. And the fact that they are designed for different tasks.
  • Instead of focusing on what it’s not let’s talk about what the iPad is really good at.
    1. Greatest drawing tool ever made (ok, paper isn’t bad either but still lacks undo and 3D).
    2. Great at AR... not too many laptops support that...
    3. Extremely portable for a screen of that size, even more so than a laptop. You can easily tuck it under your pillow at night...
  • I long for the day that iOS allows the absolute most basic of use cases that prevents me from ever considering my iPad Pro as anything more than a mediocre device: Tagging photos. Seriously...you can't do it in iOS. As a result I am forced to lug around my old heavy Macbook on trips to do dead simple, basic photo management because Apple can't be bothered to allow the absolutely most basic method of photo management, keyword tagging. Maybe tagging wouldn't be such a requirement if they would actually MOVE photos into the folder structures you create, but not allowing tagging of photos in iOS is flat out negligent. Oh, that and a setting to FORCE desktop sites to load in the browser instead of crippled and feature-limited mobile sites, even sites that have apps installed. There is probably a reason I am trying to go to a website instead of launching an installed application.
  • If you hold down on the Refresh button, it should give you an option to force the Desktop version of a site to load.
  • Are you willing to sell it to me? I guess you’ll give me a good price for a mediocre device.
    Really, obviously this device is not for you...
  • Ignore this comment, it was supposed to be a reply
  • I just recently got the new 11” iPad and really love it. I have to say one of the things that is really starting to wear on my love for Apple products is how ridiculously cheap Apple has become. The other night I decided I’d listen to some music with my iPad, that’s when I remembered Apple yet again was courageous and took out the head phone jack. No problem I have a lot of lightning headphones, oh but Apple decided their margins were so tight they couldn’t include an adapter from anything to USB-C. It’s cheap nickel and dime BS that now I have to buy a dongle that rightfully should have been thrown in for the $1500 I spent.
  • Yes Jmurgen. that's what happens when you sell less devices per year, they have to nickel and dime you to keep profits up.