Golly, I’ve been thinking the same thing since WWDC. As all the reviews of the new iPads and of iOS 11 have been hitting, the age-old— well, seven year old question has been iterated again and again. Is this the iPad that finally kills the laptop?
Seldom does the writer acknowledge that they mean “is this the iPad that finally kills my laptop?” It’s a very personal question. Apple sells many different computers.
For many, the iPhone is the only computer they need. They scroll through Facebook, reading articles and liking photos. They message their friends. They respond to the occasional email. They watch Hulu and Netflix. My wife is usually in this camp. Perfectly comfortable to never grab a bigger screen.
For others, very powerful, customizable computers are required. Video editing, graphic design, photo editing, and more. They can do everything and more on their MacBook or iMac.
And then there are those that are happy with their iPhone, but sometimes or even often need a larger display. They may use a word processor. They may communicate much more and desire a bigger software keyboard. They may even prefer a Bluetooth keyboard. They may build websites. Or design websites. Or edit photos and video.
Consumers pick the computers that suit their needs. You may find that you can do everything you need on an iPhone. You may want a bigger screen, but more portability than a laptop. Or you may need much more power for your day-to-day tasks.
For me, I haven’t touched my Mac in over a week. I haven’t needed to. I’ve found Web Tools, Coda, and a Droplet to be all I need to get my job done. Most of that time, it has been a 12.9" iPad Pro that has done the job, with an iPhone stepping in occasionally to handle an email or text message.
Is the iPad the computer for you? You won’t know unless you try.
While Brooks and others are arguing that iPad will eventually replace the Mac, Gruber is arguing there will always be a need for macOS—specifically a desktop operating system. Despite what my aforementioned dalliance with iPad might suggest, I’m firmly in Gruber’s camp.
Here’s the thought experiment, which I used to inform my opinion: If you could take only one device with you, which one would you take? Ben Brooks or Federico Viticci would almost certainly choose an iPad.
However, I’d take a Mac. Exactly the 11” MacBook Air, which I’m using to write this article.
The other day, we were going to meet up with my extended family for dinner. My wife told me that I needed to bring my laptop, as my aunt wanted to talk about some logo design stuff. I was tired after a day of work and mindlessly grabbed my laptop. I regretted it as soon as we started to talk. Why? Because I couldn’t grab my Pencil and mindlessly sketch out some logos and notes.
Most of my design process is now done on my 12" iPad Pro. Between Adobe Draw, Graphic, and Bez I do a lot of design work on my iPad.
Christmas was on a Sunday. One Thursday, the 22nd, we drove up to Chicago to stay with my in-laws for the weekend. Going iPad-only, I did some doodling, some writing, and some reading. But I wanted to work on an iOS app side project.
So which one would I take? Depends. I have set up a Digital Ocean server, installed Ghost, and built a theme all from my iPad. I have designed entire websites on it too. And designed logos, posters, flyers, and more. But if I need to work on an app, I gotta have my MacBook.
So, it’s like Ben Brooks has said, “I couldn’t use my Mac as my only machine in 2004, but in 2005 I could.” If it were about preference, I’d be on my iPad 100% of the time.
"Sketch on the Mac costs $99, and we wouldn’t dare ask someone to pay $99 without having seen or tried it first," Omvlee said in a recent interview with The Verge. "So to be sold through the App Store, we would have to dramatically lower the price, and then, since we’re a niche app, we wouldn’t have the volume to make up for it."
Lot’s of great points that unfortunately have been repeated over and over in the last 5 years of iPad. If Apple’s intent is for this to replace desktop and laptop computers for many people, developers have to take the risk on the platform.
When the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, and even Apple are releasing software for free on iPad, the bar is set too low for prices. When developers cannot offer a free trial or paid upgrades, the only option is to price super low and make up for the cost in volume. But “pro” apps are typically a niche market. Developers cannot make a living from selling apps for $5.
I spent much of the weekend on my iPad. Some of that was working on designs in Graphic and some of it was research and writing. Unfortunately I have an iPad mini 2, which doesn’t support the new Split Screen, but it does support the Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture.
Actually sitting down and using it for the first time since Apple put it out in beta over the summer, I started feeling where the new multitasking could use some work. And then I read this article on Six Colors. They summerized nearly everything I was feeling, but I especially love these two ideas.
The Slide Over app picker sucks. Not sure who designed that, but being that Apple is encouraging all app developers to support iOS 9 multitasking, it is surprising that this interface falls apart if you have more than a handful of apps to choose from.
App Buddies. Cute term, but it is what I am doing on my MacBook. Mail and Calendar. Slack and Messages. Coda and Safari. Having this functionality on iOS would be amazing.
Overall, I have fallen back in love with my iPad. It is growing up and becoming a more productive device.
On Saturday I took a trip to Best Buy to play with the iPad Pro. And that sent me on a research trip over the weekend to see if it could replace my current setup. Right now I have a MacBook Air and a iPad mini. The MacBook is used for development and design work and the iPad is used for everything else. Unfortunately, the iPad Pro is way too large and awkward for use in bed, so I feel I would need to keep the iPad mini for that. And, so far, the “pro” software for iPad isn’t good enough to fully replace my Mac needs.
Here is how I see my uses:
MacBook Air: iOS Dev/Photoshop
iPad Pro: web dev/general
iPad mini: reading
Where design apps lack on iOS is slicing and outputting graphics, something required for development. If Pixelmator or Graphic allowed you to quickly slice and output images on iOS, I wouldn’t need a Mac for that.
Beyond that, I need Xcode for iOS. There is Dringend, but it requires a remote Mac to compile and it cannot open Storyboards/XIBs. Some of my projects are Storyboard/XIB free, but not all.
I would love to be able to replace my Mac with an iPad Pro, but unfortunately I cannot yet. I can use an iPad Pro for a lot of what I do, though. So I am considering one.
We believe Work Can Wait is an important notion. 9pm on Friday night is not work time. 6am on Wednesday morning is not work time. It may be for you, but it’s not for me. And I don’t want it to be work time for my employees either.
Every user on Basecamp 3 starts with a default work time from 8am to 6pm in their own time zone. People are free to change it, of course, but we think it’s important to encourage Work Can Wait rather than default everyone’s notifications on 24/7/365.
We hope more products offer similar abilities to shut themselves off when work is over. “You can get ahold of me about work whenever” will eventually lead to “I don’t want to work here anymore”.
Here’s to early mornings, evenings, and weekends being free from work. Work Can Wait.
Good Lord. This has been one of my biggest greivances with our culture over the last decade. From my second job chewing me out for not bringing a laptop and an Internet connect with me to a Christmas party while on vacation, to a young gal at my job at a start-up chewing me out for not receiving email over the weekend about a meeting at 7am on a Monday being cancelled. I don’t set up company email on my phone or iPad. If I’m not working, I’m not available.
Unfortunately, software has encouraged this practice of always being on. Over the weekend I had to silence Slack notifications because I was receiving notifications on a Saturday while preparing for one of my best friend’s weddings. While I am working, I want these notifications, but not when I’m with friends and family. Now Basecamp is going to support this. Let’s hope this becomes a trend.
The fact that employees are now always reachable eliminates what was once a natural barrier of sorts, the idea that work was something that happened during office hours or at the physical office. With no limits, work becomes like a football game where the whistle is never blown.
The three-month ‘proposal,’ advanced most principally by major labels Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, would allow current, free-access, ad-supported (or ‘freemium’) subscribers to continue their plans for 6 months, while new users would be limited to three months only.
The average artist makes less than a cent per stream on Spotify. Demon Hunter has seen a lot of my money, but artists that I’ve only played once or twice has seen next to nothing. I’ve gotten more value than I’ve given to them. When you buy an album in iTunes, the artist sees between 10 and 50% of the money. You’d have to stream a song some 30 times to pay the artist as much as the purchase in iTunes would pay them.
I had gotten more value than I had given. As an artist and developer, that stings. Every once in a while I think of turning back. Cheap access to music (I was a Premium, $9.99/month subscriber) is enticing, but I gotta say that owning music is way better. I’m glad I switched to iTunes. I seldom used Spotify as a radio, but instead for listening to entire albums. I use iTunes the same. iTunes Radio is nice from time to time for discovery, but I own a lot of music and buy a new album every month or so now.