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I can't imagine how I would replace my laptop with iPad. Some tasks are definitely doable: Web browsing, Mail processing, Music listening, Skype (though chatting on iPad is terrible because you have to switch around all the time, losing your focus, may be split apps might help, can't experience it, because my iPad have RAM like 15-year old PC).

Generally speaking for power user every activity on iPad is strictly worse. I can't easily download ZIP, unzip it, open some text file, edit it, send it via Mail. Probably I can do it with right apps, but it would require much more clicks or taps.

What I can't even imagine doing on iPad: using Intellij Idea, using XCode, using Google Chrome to debug and develop web apps, using image editors like Sketch and Pixelmator (I know that I can get some kind of image editing, but I don't think that I can do what I'm doing on PC).

Now things I could theoretically do but probably can't, because of walled garden: using Terminal to embrace full Unix power, downloading files with BitTorrent, using BitCoin. Probably possible with Jailbreaking, I'm not sure. Also I'm not sure whether I could download some huge 20GB file and watch it using another app without duplicating (does iOS copy file when I open it with other app or just hardlink?).

And, of course, keyboard is necessary. Mouse would be useful too, but iPad doesn't support mouse, AFAIK.

So probably the only users who can easily migrate from PC to iPad are very casual users, who use their devices to browse web, chat and play simple games. There could be some professionals who work with iPads, it's theoretically possible, but I can't imagine anyone.

> [From the article] I don’t need a wholesale upgrade.

The newest component in my desktop PC is likely 3-4 years old. The entire machine is, obviously, a good deal more powerful than an iPad - it can drive the DK2 just fine, and Oculus have specifically called Apple out on performance.[1] You don't even need to participate in frequent piecewise upgrades to match or exceed the iPad.

What Schiller might be missing is that people are using their PC in addition to an iPad. This is an strikingly obvious conclusion but doesn't fit the typical Apple marketing rhetoric.

[1]: http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/4/11159700/oculus-rift-mac-su...

I think the iPad Pro project is Apple's last try to re-vive the tablet form factor. Tablet sales are going back, no one I know makes real good use of them (even my elderly mother prefers her MacBook to her iPad for browsing, etc). My friends all own an iPad in some incarnation but it usually is just a dust collector. And I don't have only techie friends.

If the iPad Pro fails as the iPad did I think Apple's going to discontinue that product line all together. Tablets are just in a weird spot between personal computer and phones.

I get that C level execs are in love with tablets because it's the ideal platform for their administrative tasks. But everyone else who has to do "hands on" work is going to prefer a proper computer.


First of all, the iPad did not fail in any sense of the word. The problem with the iPad is that it delivers on its mission so well that there is little reason to upgrade. For typical content consumption, multi-year old devices work fine.

The iPad pro is an attempt to keep the ball moving forward on replacing a full laptop with an iPad. For me personally, this will never happen unless OSX comes over onto the iPad. For others though, who might mainly use their phone now for as a 'computer' an iPad pro might be enough.

My parents bought me an iPad 2 about 4.5 years ago. I never found much use for it, and it too collects dust now. I'm not even certain it can be charged any more, as those 30-pin connectors are always breaking.

It has been a white elephant from day 1. I got stuck with it mainly because my Dad is an Apple fanboy. In contrast, the laptop I spent $300 on at around the same time has been used every day since I got it.

It isn't just the tablet form factor. Using the iPad feels like I'm diddling around with someone else's locked-down, crippled, coin-operated Internet kiosk, rather than working with my own computer.

If you stuck it in a laptop shell, it would still feel like someone else's computer. Mostly, that's because of the walled garden OS. Using that iPad is one of the major reasons why I prefer Android devices now, even though they also have some issues. But even the iOS/Android phones and tablets in the house still feel like toys with just the touchscreen input. They feel even more toylike than a Nintendo DS or WiiU touchscreen controller, because at least those devices have some actual, pushable, tactile buttons on them.

That's the problem I have with tablets. The interface stinks. I like buttons that I can push with just my fingers, rather than my fingers and my eyes, with my eyes getting frustrated because my fingers are opaque.

Put a multi-touch sensor on the back of the device, and put a tactile "display" over it--like a touchscreen for blind people. Bonus points if you can get a "click" feel out of it when you press. Then I might reconsider giving up mouse and keyboard.

Just an anecdote, but I have an iPad and use it all the time. I bought a logitech keyboard for it. If it weren't for that, I also would never use it. I have a 15" MBP and I don't like carrying that around with me. But the iPad I have no problem bringing anywhere that I won't need a full laptop (for coding, etc.)

That said, my iPad is a couple of generations back now. I don't feel compelled to upgrade it at all, it does what I need it to (browse the web, read e-mail, take notes, play some games, etc.) For this I find the iPad Pro too big and it certainly won't replace my MBP for real development work anytime soon.

And another data point, I just upgraded from an iPhone 4S to an iPhone 6S+. The only real reason I upgraded was because the 4S was a 16GB phone (it was a work phone) and the battery isn't lasting much anymore. Other than that, I honestly wouldn't feel the need to upgrade.

Anyway, just my thoughts and situation.

I think you're absolutely right. There are now larger phones that do most of what a tablet does yet are much more mobile. Phones are also a device everyone can justify buying.

For everything that involves producing content, a laptop is going to be more comfortable and more powerful than a tablet. And the new Surface tablet's killer feature is... A keyboard! So you can use it as a laptop. Of course you're going to need a keyboard. Every student out there needs to write essays. Everyone else is writing e-mails, reports and blog posts.

Lastly, the price point of tablets, and their specs, are just awkward. Less than 500 gets you some device with a weak processor, very little RAM, and almost no storage. To get a higher end model you need to pay 700-900. For that price, you can get a very good laptop.

Anecdotally I'd have to disagree - my iPad is easily the most used device at home. Not a day without multiple hours of use goes by. That's not to say that I could ever imagine replacing my desktop iMac with it - that's not going to happen, but unless I'm coding or working in audio (where the iPad also comes in handy as a controller), I'll prefer using the iPad compared to the iMac. So I do "real work", just not as frequently as reading, browsing, writing emails etc.

Don't own a laptop because it would it would sit around idle for weeks. iPad + Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard is a very mobile and comfortable combination. And for "truck work" I prefer a real, powerful desktop with a big display to a MacBook.

I think you have a really skewed picture of what most people use computers for.

The iPad isn't meant to replace a laptop for people like you, which is why Apple is still selling the mbp.

In this defense, a slide on this presentation does say "The ultimate PC replacement"..

So Apple has no clue what people use PCs for then.

Or Apple's slides are contextual and exist as support for the presentation. Nah, can't be it, context is not a thing.

There's not much a context can change with a sentence like "ultimate pc replacement"... The word "ultimate" doesn't leave anything up to interpretation.

Of course there is: the context of a use case or population.

1) They named it after their "Pro" line of products, and showed statistics of ALL PC users, not a subset.

2) That would have been phrased "a PC replacement for X users".

Maybe they should drop the 'pro' labelling on the ipad pro. Because the surface pro line is a perfectly acceptable laptop replacement for power users and professionals looking to do computing.

The surface pro is a laptop.

The iPad Pro is a tablet for professional work. There are many professionals who can get their work done using an iPad.

Actually, no, the Surface Pro is a tablet. The Surface Book is a laptop.

> I can't easily download ZIP, unzip it, open some text file, edit it, send it via Mail. Probably I can do it with right apps, but it would require much more clicks or taps.

> Now things I could theoretically do but probably can't, because of walled garden: using Terminal to embrace full Unix power, downloading files with BitTorrent, using BitCoin. Probably possible with Jailbreaking, I'm not sure. Also I'm not sure whether I could download some huge 20GB file and watch it using another app without duplicating (does iOS copy file when I open it with other app or just hardlink?).

Funny that all this is easily more comfortable on Android, yet its tablet market is almost dead. That speaks a lot for the "tablet as a PC replacement" dream.

> easily more comfortable on Android

Exactly why I went back to Android for my phone. We were doing something at our bank and the bank needed a copy of a document I had in Dropbox. Easy. I open the Dropbox app email them the link. But they can't open the link. I try sharing the document with email. But that just sends a link too. I can download the document but it opens in iBooks or other PDF readers and I can't attach it to an email from iOS. On Android, just download the doc, then attach it to an email.

Android tablets were simply not very good. I had a N7 and it was okay for the money, but suffered all sorts of quality issues. A couple updates of Android and it takes minutes to start. The battery life also always stunk. I have a couple Samsung tablets in the office for testing and they always felt cheap compared to the iPads. I'm sure there are great Android tablets out there, but I have not found them.

Speaking of battery life, I can leave an iPad for months in sleep mode and it still have a lot of battery life left when I need to test something. No Android tablet I have lying around can do that (the Kindles being the worst).

Well are we discussing usability or build quality now ? Because there are huge compromises in both (like always in life).

People I know that bought Android tablets bought it for doing stuff vbezhenar blamed iPad being clunky with and explicitly wanting a tablet form factor. Of course it's not as fancy as an iPad and the battery doesn't last as long, but you can do stuff you described with less hassle AND using Bittorent with it.

But more or less it's obvious that those kind of people are in a minority. They rather sacrifice convenience of a tablet form factor to get a more usable one - like a PC.

I have an old Nexus 10 I use casually for watching videos, browsing reddit etc. Its battery usually lasts like 2 weeks without use which isn't tooooo terrible. iPads are still better though.

2 weeks is great! I think the original N7 was just a prototype device and it showed. For the money it was not bad, but it never had the polish of the iPad.

Schiller wasn't talking about you.

He qualified it as people using PCs that are more than 5 years old. They have usage patterns and goals completely different than anyone on HN. They don't use IDEs. They don't need "full Unix power" or anything similar.

Their usage probably looks like web browsing, sending/receiving email, and listening to music at most.

For them, an iPad is a probably a good functional alternative, even if the price point doesn't work.

I use a PC that's about 6 years old. I use IDEs, I need "full Unix power", but I don't play modern games so 6 year old hardware is good enough. I have a quad core CPU and 8GiB ram so I'm rarely waiting for the hardware. I did upgrade to a bigger SSD but it's not subjectively much faster than the original SSD. A good 5 year old PC is much more powerful than any mobile device.

He didn't mean every single person who has a computer 5 years old or more. Just the average person who has an older PC. Specifically the type that only do a few things on the computer.

Anyone who needs to use an IDE is already excluded from the iPad target market club, because its support for programming is pretty abysmal.

Then why call it "Pro"

It could be branding? Just like most people don't like a "basic" offering.

I could be "Pro" doesn't just mean the "professional software developers" and could mean any kind of professional?

In this case it means pretty much Artistic professionals cuz Pencil is the only distinguishing feature.

> very casual users

That would include my mother and other extended family members. I would argue that given the number of viruses they've had they would be better off with a limited device and I think that is what this was all about.

If they tech people would replace their desktop/laptop with an iPad they wouldn't make iMac/Mac Pro/MacBook.

The iPad clearly isn't for your use cases. The vast majority of people only want to browse, look at photos, read emails and occasionally write some text. For them it's a cheap ($280 for the cheapest iPad) and easy solution.

Even those tasks are irritating on an iPad - outside of the limited multitasking, viewing multiple things at once is impossible. I can't look at an email and reference a website linked in it. I can't look at a few websites while composing an email. Comparing multiple travel booking sites side-by-side? Nope. If I try switching back and forth, the iPad has probably unloaded one of the tabs in the meantime due to memory pressure - why can't their state be archived to disk and loaded from that, at least?

It's interesting because for a very long time Apple said "maximizing is usually a waste of space" with the zoom button's behavior.

Modern iPads have something called “Split View”, where you can have two apps open and active at the same time. Only two, though, but it mostly solves this problem.

That is the "limited multitasking". You're limited to two, your ability to view information is arbitrarily limited by the application displaying that information.

Want to view two emails side-by-side? Use two emails apps, I guess.

Seems cumbersome. And do you get that on that 280$ version?

This is anecdotal, but my mother has an iPad and she vastly prefers using it to the computer for everything from email to images to web browsing.

I bought her a brand new iMac and it's basically been unused.

This isn't remotely true and rhetoric like this is why the linux desktop failed. Yes, people want to browse and look at photos and that's 80% of their use, but you're not covering that other 20% and that other 20% is mandatory. Playing a PC only game, using a PC only productivity suite, continue to use their beloved software, use real software suites not dumbed down mobile equivalents, etc.

Taking away a PC and giving someone a locked down tablet is fairly ridiculous. That'll be just as successful as the "Linux Mandrake replaces Windows XP" rhetoric older geeks remember. You guys were wrong then and wrong today.

Apple has already explained this.

Car vs Trucks. Apple isn't trying to replace your professional tool.

Apple is trying to make a computer that is easy to use, can handle some light tasks that some people need occasionally, can stream video lightly and can play lots of games.

You need a truck. Most people just need cars

Implicit in what you're saying is that the iPad is a good "car". I tend to disagree. Its ability to execute even "light tasks", like writing a three- or four-paragraph email, is significantly worse than even a Chromebook. And a perfectly usable Chromebook costs a quarter of what the iPad does. Fewer games, but better actually-important-stuff.

I find the iPad is a great platform to have when you have a lot of different computing options available and just need a lightweight client to bring with you. The most important app for me is Prompt2, an SSH client, that allows me to be work very efficiently, particularly when I pair a wireless keyboard. VMware Horizon lets me pull up an office desktop when I need one. Efficiency aside, I love using my iPad for reading, listening to music, checking news, etc.

But now you're lugging around an iPad and a wireless keyboard. Essentially you've got a 2-piece laptop with twice as many batteries to worry about, with awful performance-per-dollar.

Might as well just get a Chromebook and put Linux on it.

The only performance that really matters to me is the ability to keep up with my typing over SSH, which the iPad handles beautifully. I have used Chromebooks and I do not get nearly the same utility out of them, mostly because I am very happy with the quality of the apps that I have access to and how well it integrates with everything I have at home and at the office. The battery life is excellent, so that is rarely a concern.

I get that there are definitely times when local processing power is necessary, and I lug my laptop around when needed. The iPad definitely works for me 80% of the time for me, and the important thing is that I actually ENJOY using it. That is worth a premium for me.

Ultimately I guess it comes down to Just using the tool your most productive with, whether that be hardware, software, programming languages etc ...

I completely agree, recently took my Acer c720 with Lubuntu on it with me on my trip to GDC, it cost me £170 new and I could use it for everything I needed, which was basically just working on my game and browsing the internet.

One of those things I could not do on a £800 - £1000 ipad. The other thing I could do on it, with the minor benefit of a retiner HD display

I use Prompt2 on my iPad Pro for SSH/term also - really like the tabs so I can have a shell and a few emacs sessions open and flip back and forth (a little better than flipping emacs buffers).

I made a decision to not buy a keyboard. I can type fast enough on a virtual keyboard and I have 2 Mac and 2 Linux laptops for programming.

My iPad Pro is my most used device at this time. I also have a Chromebook that, like iPads, is something I would recommend to non-tech family and friends to use. Most people don't need a conventional computer.

The only issue with iPads is the cost! I love my iPad Pro, but $800 for a 32GB model seems expensive, especially compared to my Toshiba Chromebook 2 that was under $300 with a 1080p screen.

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