Apple Event 10/30/18 (new iPads, Mac bump)


No, it’s not useful (see above), and it’s not correct. But I will accept that this amended statement is correct: “The iPad is a valid laptop replacement for two types of users: casual users and power users.”


It is useful, and it is essentially correct. I really don’t see how that statement is different than mine.

Either you’re a casual user who doesn’t hit the severe limitations of the platform or you’re an extreme power user going out of your way to compensate for those limitations.


Or you realize that any limitations aren’t things that affect your daily workflow, and are more than made up for by the benefits that the platform provides.

I’d be interested to hear what limitations you imagine that people need to compensate for or work around, because once again you seem to be speaking in vague generalities without actually providing any supporting evidence. Can you provide a few examples?


Seriously? I’m keeping this very short because they are all extremely obvious.

  • tiny screens
  • limited multitasking
  • most apps not keyboard-accessible
  • no mouse, so you still need to touch the screen all the time, slow as balls
  • can’t access the filesystem
  • can’t use USB storage or peripherals
  • keyboard isn’t backlit (seems a small thing, but this sucks)
  • only mobile games

If you’re a casual user you probably don’t care about that stuff, and if you’re an extreme power user you can work around most of it.


So I will bite again:

  • Non network connectivity sucks. Dropbox and Onedrive let me store files for offline use, but Word et al. can’t read from that area. When I go to Word and choose the service, I get a network not found error. Likewise, when I go to the storage app itself and go to “open in” Word, I also get a network error. It seems like the offline access is good only for reading documents, not editing. Also, in iCloud Files i can download the file, but if iOS thinks it needs the space, it could remove it and store it in iCloud. I can get a ton of storage on an iPad; I should be able to download my entire iCloud Drive.
  • I’m going to go back to the Full Office suite example because it is not an edge case
  • As an aside, font management on an iPad sucks
  • Accessing remote shares, and external drives.


I use my iPad to (1) take written notes through OneNote, (2) to read email, web pages, etc., and (3) to read text books that don’t fit nicely on my Kindle. I have the LTE version of the 10.5 Pro and that helps sync notes when I am someplace where I have no wireless connection.

Otherwise, my Thinkpad X1 or MacBook in various versions are much better for work. There’s really no comparison (for all of the reasons listed above). For note taking when I am in the office, I use the surface version of the X1 because it has more writing surface real-estate. The iPad is King of the road due to the LTE connection.


My work’s CMS doesn’t work on any iOS browser.


Hey, at least you’re providing more than a one-sentence, “No it’s not” response. Baby steps!

Most of these are already addressed by the article I already posted, but let’s go over them anyway:

  • tiny screens: An 11" screen at a viewing distance of 1.5 feet covers a wider field of view than a 21" screen at 3 feet.

  • limited multitasking: two-app multitasking and saved workspaces cover a lot of these use cases. But yes, you can’t have multiple overlapping windows with multiple apps displayed at once.

  • most apps not keyboard-accessible: Because apps are optimized to not need a keyboard for most things. It sounds like you’re trying to turn a tablet into a laptop, instead of using it as a tablet.

  • no mouse, so you still need to touch the screen all the time, slow as balls: You mean it has direct manipulation of onscreen objects, instead of being forced to use a mouse (with the associated space for a mousing surface) to navigate a cursor to act on the intended object. Again, it depends on what you’re used to, but moving a mouse to move a cursor to move an object is more complex than just moving the object.

  • can’t access the filesystem: Each app handles their own file manipulation so you don’t have to worry about it. The OS is abstracting the details for you so it’s one less thing to worry about.

  • can’t use USB storage or peripherals: Yes, you are limited to the internal storage of the device, along with cloud storage.

  • keyboard isn’t backlit (seems a small thing, but this sucks): Again, it seems like you want to turn this into a laptop, instead of using it as a tablet. That’s like complaining that a laptop is worse than a desktop machine, because it doesn’t have a flat surface you can set your coffee on. But if you really need to use the keyboard in the dark, the onscreen keyboard is fully backlit.

  • only mobile games: Ah, the old “platform X is just a toy because it can’t play certain games” argument.

Saying that all of these are drawbacks seems a little overdramatic. Back in the day, people also complained about GUIs showing files as icons, instead of manipulating files through a command line. And back then, people said, “The GUI is a toy interface for casual users who have to see pretty pictures of their files.” But the reality is that the GUI works for the overwhelming majority of users, who simply don’t need to operate on their files with a command line. And sure, maybe not being able to manually organize your files is a bridge too far…but a lot of people just dump their files into the Documents folder anyway and don’t worry about organization. These really are non-issues for many, many users.

So in exchange for these drawbacks like “I can’t organize files myself” and “I can’t use a mouse to do things I can use the touchscreen for anyway”, what benefits do you get?

  • instant-on access
  • extreme portability with a compact and lightweight device
  • silent usage, no onboard fans to worry about
  • no spinning hard drives to worry about damaging
  • no attached keyboard taking up space when you don’t need it
  • high-quality, high-resolution screen with accurate color and dynamic context-aware refresh rate (up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling)
  • high-DPI touchscreen with 240Hz input sampling for better accuracy
  • dynamic processors that switch to low-power usage when possible to extend battery life

Practically speaking, waiting for my hardware to wake from sleep is more of a hassle than not being able to manually access the filesystem. Being able to touch the screen is much more convenient than needing to attach a mouse to manipulate a cursor. Having something that I can easily take with me everywhere is more convenient than taking a laptop with a larger footprint and worrying about the battery running out.

Obviously these are major issues for you, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who disagrees with you is “casual or an uber-power user who has to work around these limitations.” For a lot of people, these simply are not limitations.


There are lots of advantages to an ipad, but we aren’t talking about relative merits, we’re asking whether it can replace a laptop. And the answer is sure, if you’re a casual user or an extreme power user/fanatic. Otherwise, no.


As a writer, I find writing anything lengthy on an iPad using native apps is really frustrating unless I’m doing a no-edit first draft. Selecting and moving text with the finger interface or even my Apple Pencil is a royal PITA compared to using a mouse.

I do travel with just an iPad sometimes. But I essentially use it as a terminal. With Jump Desktop and my Citrix mouse, I can Remote Desktop into a PC and use the mouse and the desktop version of Word.

So I get the portability of the iPad and the power of the PC. But I wouldn’t have to do all of this if Apple would just offer the option of mouse support.


BS. A photographer or writer can be heavy, technical, users and use an iPad as a laptop replacement. We aren’t saying they’re computer replacements, but something you use when you’re not at you main computer to get work done. It really depends on what you do.


If you’re focused on what a laptop can DO, then an iPad can absolutely replace a laptop for many users. If you’re focused on “USING A LAPTOP” as a use case (as you seem to be doing), then you’re right, an iPad is different than a laptop.

Or to put it another way: If you ask someone what they do on their computer, and they say, “Oh, I do multitasking, move the mouse around, manipulate the filesystem, use keyboard shortcuts, use the backlit keyboard, access USB storage”, they haven’t actually told you anything. They are describing interfaces, not actual tasks.

In this context, saying “An iPad can’t replace a laptop because it doesn’t work like a laptop” is about as valid as saying, “An Xbox One isn’t a valid game system because it doesn’t work with PS4 controllers, it can’t access PSN games, and it can’t read PS4 discs.”


You’re gonna edit photos on an iPad? Maybe when Photoshop comes out next year. Otherwise it primarily acts as a place to copy your photos off the camera.

Not that I’m saying some photographers can’t make Pixelmator or whatever work. But they’re working around the limitations of the platform, which is my point.

Denny just responded about writing. The missing mouse is a huge problem. Selecting text is a huge pain in the ass.


Have you used Affinity Photo on an iPad? I have edited a ton of photos on it, and it is near-feature complete from the macOS version. It is a highly-capable editing platform.


How dare you. Stusser has declared that there are only two types of users who can use an iPad and thus it is a fact. Everyone else needs to sell theirs now and buy a laptop, it has been decided.


I’ve written a bunch on my ipad pro with apple keyboard, and except for the mouse thing, the experience has been fantastic! Portability, accessiblity, etc. really give access when the muse hits.

Why in the world don’t they support a mouse? With that it would be perfect. Without it, can’t do any serious editing.


Yep, it’s a major bummer.

Remember the 13" iPad Pro now starts at $999, and that’s with only 64GB of storage. If you want to actually use it for work, you need more space, the $1149 model with 256GB minimum. There is no 128GB option. And then you need the keyboard case, another $199 for a total of $1350.

Compare that to the Macbook Air, which is also overpriced, but that’s a different conversation. Anyway, it starts at $1200.

It used to be that you could kinda make an iPad work, and it’s much more portable, and lighter, and better battery life, and oh yeah definitely cheaper. The cheaper part is now gone.


I fall somewhat into Stusser’s camp, but I think that is solely due to my line of work in financial planning, where the iPad plays a pivotal role when interfacing with clients but is abysmal when it comes to client management/excel work.
It’s great to throw up on an Apple TV and annotate with the pencil as we move through a plan deck though.

One thing for the “laptop replacement” crowd. How do you manage when you want to have two full screen side by side windows open at once? I realize it is technically possible on the 10.5 but its hamstrung and the windows are tiny. That alone is hurdle enough to keep a laptop on hand.


I don’t generally do this on any platform, so I guess it’s not a big deal for me. I usually split window on my 12.9 only if I need to drag and drop or reference something.

I don’t even use two displays on my desktop machines.


Also, lest anyone think iPads can’t be used for serious editing, here is a demo of stacking exposures on iOS Affinity.