Apple won't merge iPad and Mac, despite hardware convergence

nanoguy

Posts: 770   +12
Staff member
Big quote: Apple CEO Tim Cook once famously said "you can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user." Years later, the company is putting the same processor architecture at the heart of both iPad and Mac, but still strongly believes they are separate, complementary devices and that they should remain that way.

If there's one thing that Microsoft has proven with its Surface 2-in-1s over the years is that there's definitely a market out there for devices that encompass the best of both worlds -- that of the laptop with its keyboard and clamshell-like construction, and that of the tablet with its touchscreen, inking capabilities, and instant-on, always connected qualities.

With Apple transitioning all of its products to a unified architecture, some people have begun to question the company's insistence on keeping Mac and iPad separate with no product in between, nothing to blur the lines. The same M1 SoC that powers the new iPad Pro also powers the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. But other than being slightly thinner and fanless, there's little reason for the MacBook Air to exist, while the iPad Pro doesn't quite offer the same extensibility and ergonomics as, say, a MacBook Pro.

During an interview with The Independent, Apple marketing head Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak and hardware lead John Ternus once again reiterated the company's firm position to keep the two hardware platforms separate. They explained that the main reason is that Apple is only interested in making the best product it can in every category and letting consumers vote with their wallets.

At the same time, they noted that some people are likely undecided about whether an iPad or a Mac is best for them, while some people have already integrated both into their workflow. And Joz insists that the two are complementary, not competing against each other, even as the iPad Pro has just become more Mac-like than ever.

In a recent editorial, The Verge's Monica Chin suggests that Apple should put macOS on the iPad, but even that's unlikely. The hardware convergence was the plan all along, but only to put that power in the hands of iPadOS app developers. Joz noted that companies like Adobe and Serif will quickly tap into this extra power, but he wouldn't say if Apple also has something in store for the software side of things.

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Farkinell

Posts: 157   +223
Can anyone answer if this is something that can be hacked?

If both platforms run the same backend architecture, is the only barrier software and if so can this be overcome somehow?
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,053   +2,848
Microsoft tried to merge mobile and desktop and it turned out :poop:. Even Windows 10 still has mobile residue left.
 
For one I don't want MacOS on the iPad. It's system one interacts with and can't be abstracted away and it wouldn't work well on all use cases the iPad can have. I remember years ago when I got to work with a iPad and felt it restrained by iOS developed to iPhones. Now it would feel just a crap solution.

Hopefully iPadOS traces it on creative path instead of unoptimised subpar solutions.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +940
At the same time, they noted that some people are likely undecided about whether an iPad or a Mac is best for them, while some people have already integrated both into their workflow.

Well at least that finally answers my question: Apple is arrogant enough that they want to get some people to buy two devices when they could literally do the same things with just one.

Apple has such contempt for consumers, sad part is that it probably will work on at least a few that will buy both.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +940
For one I don't want MacOS on the iPad. It's system one interacts with and can't be abstracted away and it wouldn't work well on all use cases the iPad can have. I remember years ago when I got to work with a iPad and felt it restrained by iOS developed to iPhones. Now it would feel just a crap solution.

Hopefully iPadOS traces it on creative path instead of unoptimised subpar solutions.

Except Apple now sells a 350 touchpad keyboard that basically contradicts EVERYTHING you (But more important, they) said about the "tablet experience"

I mean if you are willing to put down money for such an overpriced accessory can they just allow *those* people to access Big Sur mode if and *only if* they have the magic keyboard attached?

What's the downside there? Do you plan on somehow using a keyboard, a touch pad and the touch screen all at the same time? Of course not: that's why they gave you a touch pad to begin with.
 
Except Apple now sells a 350 touchpad keyboard that basically contradicts EVERYTHING you (But more important, they) said about the "tablet experience"

I mean if you are willing to put down money for such an overpriced accessory can they just allow *those* people to access Big Sur mode if and *only if* they have the magic keyboard attached?

What's the downside there? Do you plan on somehow using a keyboard, a touch pad and the touch screen all at the same time? Of course not: that's why they gave you a touch pad to begin with.

I agree totally that their very expensive keyboard option, now with a trackpad, contradicts mine and Apple point about the tablet.

Perhaps I should say that I see more potential given time and development for the tablet factor to be a different computation device from a mobile phone (which has a ecosystem for itself) and a laptop. We have some the hardware way before than the software or other important stuff so one has no solution but to constrain it a bit and continue developing. If it catches and go, great, if not, oh well.

I don't see it much different from when Microsoft bet on 2-in-1 and touchscreen support on Windows 8 and kept it on Windows 10 with some backtracking. Enough time has passed that it has sticked and people are now wondering why Apple doesn't join it.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 371   +474
They're stuck halfway converged, with phone app support in MacOS and such, but doesn't have the balls to admit they were wrong. So, you're stuck with two names for the same thing.
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +940
I agree totally that their very expensive keyboard option, now with a trackpad, contradicts mine and Apple point about the tablet.

Perhaps I should say that I see more potential given time and development for the tablet factor to be a different computation device from a mobile phone (which has a ecosystem for itself) and a laptop. We have some the hardware way before than the software or other important stuff so one has no solution but to constrain it a bit and continue developing. If it catches and go, great, if not, oh well.

I don't see it much different from when Microsoft bet on 2-in-1 and touchscreen support on Windows 8 and kept it on Windows 10 with some backtracking. Enough time has passed that it has sticked and people are now wondering why Apple doesn't join it.

It probably doesn't needs to be just "Big Sur" at all either: you could let developers enable an App they don't want to fully port to ipados to be run only if there's a keyboard.

So if I am a professional that does drawing, I probably want the ipad pro and the pencil. But it would be nice if I could just launch the Big Sur version of Photoshop on the tablet if I happen to dock it on the magic keyboard and that way, Adobe doesn't has to port or change anything at all with the app and even if the interface it's normally easy to use at all on a touch screen well, the app checks to see if there's a trackpad or a mouse connected otherwise just tells me "Connect your magic keyboard to use Adobe Photoshop" and just not lauch.

It seems a hell of a lot more reasonable to do that than to tell someone that wants the above workflow "Oh buy and carry a macbook too" for something that would probably take Apple a couple hours to develop and deploy.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +940
Macs are designed for MULTITASKING and Content Creation.

iOS is not.

I don't think anyone disagrees with that statement. What Apple did however, is contradictory to the statement and their press release: First they mraketed the ipad pro for professional use. Which was received with "Professionals need an actual OS"

Then Apple proceeded to slowly but surely implement some of the features that professionals wanted into the ipados: There's better (But still far from perfect) file management now, they introduced multi tasking (Again, very basic and not very good at all vs an actual OS but serviceable if there's nothing else available, which is the point of a mobile device after all) and finally they introduced not only mouse and trackpad support but their very own high end trackpad and keyboard combo as well.

Now they're seemingly going backwards on all of the above: Now that people say "Wait a minute, it's an M1 can we get Big Sur, or at least those Apps?" And apple is saying "No, these are separate devices: buy both" when before they had Apple silicon on laptops and desktops, they were moving towards exactly that: making the ipad pro more usable as a quick-and-dirty laptop replacement.
 

GettCouped

Posts: 17   +46
TechSpot Elite
I don't think anyone disagrees with that statement. What Apple did however, is contradictory to the statement and their press release: First they mraketed the ipad pro for professional use. Which was received with "Professionals need an actual OS"

Then Apple proceeded to slowly but surely implement some of the features that professionals wanted into the ipados: There's better (But still far from perfect) file management now, they introduced multi tasking (Again, very basic and not very good at all vs an actual OS but serviceable if there's nothing else available, which is the point of a mobile device after all) and finally they introduced not only mouse and trackpad support but their very own high end trackpad and keyboard combo as well.

Now they're seemingly going backwards on all of the above: Now that people say "Wait a minute, it's an M1 can we get Big Sur, or at least those Apps?" And apple is saying "No, these are separate devices: buy both" when before they had Apple silicon on laptops and desktops, they were moving towards exactly that: making the ipad pro more usable as a quick-and-dirty laptop replacement.

This is a very good point. How do you market it as a laptop replacement if it can't perform laptop duties just as easily. Through work I have a laptop and an iPad with the trackpad. I wanted to try and work with an iPad but I would just end up RDPing into a Windows machine and working that way. So the iPad basically became a media consumption device. Hardly worth the money.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,449   +3,602
It probably doesn't needs to be just "Big Sur" at all either: you could let developers enable an App they don't want to fully port to ipados to be run only if there's a keyboard.

So if I am a professional that does drawing, I probably want the ipad pro and the pencil. But it would be nice if I could just launch the Big Sur version of Photoshop on the tablet if I happen to dock it on the magic keyboard and that way, Adobe doesn't has to port or change anything at all with the app and even if the interface it's normally easy to use at all on a touch screen well, the app checks to see if there's a trackpad or a mouse connected otherwise just tells me "Connect your magic keyboard to use Adobe Photoshop" and just not lauch.

It seems a hell of a lot more reasonable to do that than to tell someone that wants the above workflow "Oh buy and carry a macbook too" for something that would probably take Apple a couple hours to develop and deploy.
But then apple couldnt charge you an extra $1500 for another device.

The way I've seen it the reason windows 8 tablet mode failed was MS trying to shove a full desktop OS onto a tablet with no consideration for how you use tablets. The tablet mode of 10 is clunky too. There's no reason you couldnt have an underlying OS system just like windows with an android/iOS UI on top, other then incompetence apparently (and given the metro interface is still not finished after a decade and three OS versions would seem to back that up). I mean the only reason we want desktop OSes on tablets is the open nature of installing software and managing files, android 3.2 honeycomb came close.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 548   +940
But then apple couldnt charge you an extra $1500 for another device.

The way I've seen it the reason windows 8 tablet mode failed was MS trying to shove a full desktop OS onto a tablet with no consideration for how you use tablets. The tablet mode of 10 is clunky too. There's no reason you couldnt have an underlying OS system just like windows with an android/iOS UI on top, other then incompetence apparently (and given the metro interface is still not finished after a decade and three OS versions would seem to back that up). I mean the only reason we want desktop OSes on tablets is the open nature of installing software and managing files, android 3.2 honeycomb came close.
I agree: That's why I kinda revised my position a few post above to say "Just make Big Sur apps work on ipados" as in "If you have mouse or touchpad enabled, then it runs" so you can manipulate the finer details of that: A tablet device is already fairly close to ideal on ipados, yet for short periods of time why not give big sur apps under certain conditions a chance to run?

To go back to my example if you want to draw you'd probably want one of the many ipados specific drawing apps. And probably the rest of the tablet apps for most things. But if you really need a tweak that can only be done in Photoshop or it works out much better there, ideally I'd like to go "Ok let me dock for 5 minutes, launch it, get it done and then back to drawing on my pen"
 

rmcrys

Posts: 32   +26
The company could create Surface Pro style hybrids (or iPad with keyboard and trackpad) with MacOS which in tablet mode would work as iPad OS. Samsung Smartphones docked have the DeX (desktop mode) which works lovely.

So, you could buy a MacBook if you don't use tablets, or an iPad Pro with MacOS (and iPad OS UI in tablet mode) which would be ideal.
 

tokyojerry

Posts: 12   +3
Just buy the macbook, be productive with it and end the discussion. Those who use the ipad could keep pretending that they are really working on something serious. Let them be.

That's pretty much my attitude too. So long as Apple continues with the stubbornness to not want to bring MacOS to the iPad, not want to bring touch screen to Macbooks, BUT, wanting consumers to buy two machines because it enhances Apple's bottom line (money grab), I will stay away. Unless illustrating, painting or drawing is specifically one's needs, consumption can be done on a Macbook (or PC). Apple continues to resurrect their 'toaster vs refrigerator' analogy. Then they should forego trying to scrape another $350 from trying to sell keyboards as an accessorry and leave iPads as they are, a tablet.

When the most recent iPad was announced, with all the fancy graphics and Mission Impossible-like mini entertainment movie marketing hype, I watched it with interest and seriously thought maybe I wanted to get an iPad. But then, the more I watched, and reality set in, I thought, $2,400? For what? An iPad? Add in the accessories, Keyboard, pencil and of course Apple Pro Care because you don't want to pay for that high-tech screen when it damaged, the numbers approach $3,000 bucks! That can buy me a fairly decent computer. In fact, I just purchased an ASUS Zephyrus ROG G15 with AMD Ryzen 5900HS, discrete Nvidia 5700 GPU, 16GB/1TB SSD for just under $2,000.

I think I will forego this iPad and wait and see what Apple does with the Macbook Pro 16" when they bring it to fruition later this year with an M2, M1X or whatever nomenclature they decide to assign it. (I never purchase Gen.1 anything) A final purchase decision though will be contingent on design, extensibility, upgradability (unlikely), and at what price will try to gouge from the wallet.

Apple is a hardware company. In spite of all the show-off bells and whistles tech presented in the recent iPad release, it still runs the same old iMovie, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, et el. Nothing new comes in terms of software innovation and advancement. Apple depends heavily on 3rd party development to enhance their hardware. If Apple wanted to make some progress in the software arena, they could support FCP-X, Logic Pro, or even integrate macOS if they want, but they don't and won't. So, once again, I will forego this grossly overpriced slate. iMovie et el. can still run on older iPads if one really wants to use an iPad.

A word on the Macbook Pros, at least they have some extensibility. A lack of a touch screen, 360° swivel options, etc., they are not with the times. But even lacking a touchscreen, painting, illustrating, drawing could still be done via the purchase of a separate 15" mobile touch display and connecting it externally over thunderbolt to accomplish such objectives. Furthermore, it also becomes a mobile dual screen setup.