Strange Requests: Asking for an Apple product that already exists

By Uluroo — November 25, 2017

When you think about it, Apple really should make the iPad Pro.

What does Apple need to do, you ask? Apple needs to do what it has already done. Does this make sense? No, but let’s say it anyway. And while we’re at it, let’s ask for something that isn’t really what we’re asking for at all…

Jason Snell of Macworld is here to tell you “Why Apple’s next laptop should run iOS.”

The dividing lines between Apple products are clear. Apple makes phones and tablets that run iOS, and laptops and desktop computers than run macOS.

And this is for good reason. Uluroo mentioned in an article earlier in the year that touchscreen laptops are an ergonomic nightmare, and Apple executives have said that the reason the Touch Bar is on the MacBook Pro in lieu of a touchscreen is for exactly that reason: The Touch Bar is more ergonomically friendly and puts the touch targets in a single, easy-to-reach spot. This is also why iOS is Apple’s only touchscreen OS; user interface elements don’t require the precision of a mouse to interact with.

But it’s time for Apple to start breaking down those barriers and experimenting with new kinds of products that cross the streams. It’s time for Apple to expand beyond the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

It’s time for… the iPad Pro. Essentially, that’s what Jason is saying.

Consider the iPad Pro.

Remember, this doesn’t count as a laptop. Because reasons.

With screens that measure 10.5 and 12.9 inches diagonally, they’re practically the size of Apple’s old MacBook Air models. The iPad Pro was the first iOS [device] to ship with an Apple-designed keyboard, the Smart Keyboard. When the Smart Keyboard is engaged, at a glance the iPad Pro already looks like a strange laptop.

You know what they say. A strange laptop is still a laptop.

The problem with the iPad Pro is that it’s literally not a laptop: You can’t comfortably set it in your lap and get work done.

Assuming, of course, that you’re using the Smart Keyboard and not a third-party keyboard.

This year I’ve been using my iPad Pro with the Brydge keyboard, a Bluetooth keyboard with two clamps that turn the iPad Pro into something that looks an awful lot like a laptop—albeit one with no trackpad.

So basically, what Apple needs to do is upgrade the Smart Keyboard to allow the iPad to sit in the lap more like a laptop. Uluroo gets this now! Except, unfortunately, Jason doesn’t stop there.

My year spent with this keyboard has convinced me that an iOS laptop would have appeal to a lot of people. It would be thin and light, like a MacBook; it would have a touchscreen, unlike the MacBook and MacBook Pro; and like the iPad Pro itself, it would have all the power of a laptop. iOS 11’s multitasking features make it even more appealing.

How exactly is this different from an iPad Pro with a third-party keyboard? Uluroo has no clue.

And some people really do prefer working with laptops over tablets, all other things being equal—not just writers, but people who watch a lot of video. My daughter is a great example: She loves watching Netflix on her laptop and has refused to consider switching to an iPad.

The anecdotes just write themselves! Although this one example is totally irrelevant, Uluroo would ask Jason whether his daughter dislikes the idea of changing from a Mac to an iPad or the idea of changing from macOS to iOS. The iPad Pro really doesn’t look that much different from a laptop; in the case of watching videos, the software makes more of a difference than the hardware.

A good comparison product might be Google’s Pixelbook, a fancy $1,199 Chromebook with a 12.3-inch touchscreen and the ability to run Android apps. The Pixelbook is, likewise, not a laptop for everyone—but it’s thin and light and powerful enough for many people’s needs.

Again, Apple could accomplish this by updating the Smart Keyboard.

But Apple can keep macOS and iOS separate and still design a laptop that looks an awful lot like the MacBook, one powered by one of its A-series processors. Add a touchscreen, remove the trackpad, and maybe add a hinge that lets the device tuck away the keyboard when it’s not needed.

So update the Smart Keyboard. Apple already has an iOS laptop; Jason, you’re simply asking for a Smart Keyboard refresh.

There are a lot of things worth asking Apple to do. Asking it to update an accessory and pretending they need to create an entire new device is not one of them.