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I'm exchanging my new iPad Pro for a Macbook Pro or Air. Here's why....
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2018
As has been noted in many tech blogs and test labs, the Apple iPad Pro is an impressive tablet. But it's not a computer per se. It has a lot of technical innovations, but at heart it's just a much bigger iPhone with a touch-sensitive screen refined sufficiently so that you can draw on it. You still must get your iOS applications from the Apple Store, which is a severe limitation of the iPad Pro's utility. Those that are available are not always the best but are always the most expensive. Not being able to use macOS applications ... well, say goodbye to the world of computing.
As for internal storage, it varies with price, but to share and sync data among your devices, you must stash everything in the Apple iCloud or another cloud system (for a price). As a longtime Mac user, I'm not thrilled by the iCloud's imposition of rules on how to handle my data. At least with a Macbook of one sort or another I retain control of how these things are done. Call me old fashioned, but having my provider dictate to me how to run my digital life is a big deal with me.
The keyboard that one can buy for text entry is seriously crippled: no backlighting, no touchpad, no easy scrolling or positioning of the cursor, and it's about half the size of a conventional keyboard. The keys have very little "travel," which is great if you're a skilled touch typist. But if not, you'll be prone to errors that seem almost spontaneous as your fingers weigh on the keys. Making text changes with one's fingers is challenging. I didn't buy the pencil because I'm not graphically inclined. I hear it's ideal for artists and designers, etc., which may be true of the iPad Pro overall.
If Apple is reading this, please consider developing (1) a Macbook capable of emulating the visual, aural, and touch capabilities of the iPad Pro; and (2) an iPad Pro that's more akin to a Macbook Air or Pro, with all of those platforms' data-manipulation capabilities. Why not, as one big-magazine reviewer suggested, a Macbook Air or Pro (or both) that operates as a computer, with a removable lid that can operate as an iPad Pro -- all running Mac OS rather than the iOS that's suited (maybe) to phone use, but not much else?
I'm sorry that Apple has stumbled so badly with the iPad Pro -- not technically, but in terms of performance flexibility and ultimately, customer satisfaction. I've been an Apple fan since I bought one of the first Apple IIs for the California Legislature, where I was a principal tech- and telecom policy consultant. Later, our office was the first to employ a network of Mac IIs. Of course I had several of the little white Mac portables. And for that brief time when Jobs was gone and Emilio was running Apple, I bought a Motorola StarMax, a beast of a machine with an interface licensed to Motorola by Apple. More recently, I've used a string of Macs of every variety, and OSs culminating in the current OSX variations. I've even experimented with Mac VR.
I expect Apple to get back on its horse and come up with a bonus solution that unites the best of its Macbooks, its iPads, and its VR engines to really up our computing games. Hey, do it now!