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Can you replace your Mac with an iPad in 2020?

  An iPad Pro with a magic keyboard, mouse, iPhone 11 Pro and AirPods on a desk.
Pickaxe Media / Shutterstock

The iPad is rarely considered a real computer, but times are changing. Apple's hardware, software, and marketing suggest that the latest iPad Pro and its Magic Keyboard are the laptop replacement Apple has made the closest.

So, is the iPad finally ready for the big time in 2020? It depends.

iPad Pro, iPad Air or iPad?

Despite many similarities, the iPad Pro, iPad Air and the standard iPad are quite different tablets. If you want to replace a full-fledged computer with a tablet, the iPad Pro comes much closer in terms of features and hardware options.

Starting at $ 799, the iPad Pro is also a lot more expensive than a regular iPad, which starts at $ 329. You can buy an iPad Air from $ 499. For this comparison, we consider the iPad Air to be the "standard" model because the regular iPad is cheaper and largely focused on classrooms.

The iPad Pro comes with a more powerful A1

2Z processor, two cameras, up to 1 TB of storage and a USB-C port. The iPad Air has a regular A12 chip, up to 256 GB storage and a single 8-megapixel camera.

  An iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and trackpad.

The latest iPad Pro models are compatible with Apple & # 39; s newly announced Magic Keyboard (including trackpad). The iPad Air has to do with a Smart Keyboard (a folio case without a trackpad). If you want to use the (last) second revision of the Apple Pencil, you are limited to the iPad Pro. Optionally, you can connect a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad to your regular iPad.

Overall, the iPad Pro experience is the premium of the two. Both Pro tablets come with high resolution 120Hz ProMotion screens, which means they respond better to touch input. Display quality is also better on the Pro, thanks to Apple's Liquid Retina display. The speakers have also been significantly improved.

If you want to perform demanding tasks on your tablet, such as rendering video or playing the latest 3D games, the iPad Pro is the better choice. If you want expandability via USB-C, go for the Pro. If a trackpad is important to you, you need the Pro.

  An iPad, iPad Air and iPad Pro 11-inch, side by side comparison.

Both tablets operate the same operating system and provide access to a largely identical library of software. However, the iPad Pro is much closer to replacing a laptop, while remaining competitive in price.

The iPad Pro looks more like a Mac than ever before

Apple's marketing for the latest version of the iPad Pro marks a turning point in how the company positions its high-end tablet. The claim that "your next computer is not a computer" is the first time Apple has called the iPad a "computer" (despite the implications of such a slogan).

But, there's a reason for this sudden shift in perspective: the new Magic Keyboard with trackpad. Apple has been at the top of the trackpad game for as long as most of us can remember. The trackpad on the new Magic Keyboard has received similar praise. IOS 14 is expected to make better use of this peripheral when it launches in October.

While connected to the Magic Keyboard, the iPad itself floats, unlike an iMac with a hinged hinge. It's a big improvement over the slimmer Smart Keyboard, while still being thin and light enough to pass as a tablet.

The iPad Pro also comes with a good USB-C port for charging and expanding, unlike the Lightning port on the Air and regular iPad. You can connect USB-C hubs to use regular USB-A, memory cards, a 3.5mm audio interface or HDMI connectors, with varying degrees of success.

  iPadOS 13 runs on an iPad Pro.

And then there is iPadOS, an offshoot of iOS. It looks and feels the same, but is more specifically tailored to the tablet's form factor. The gestures you use on the iPad Pro are similar to those on the latest iPhones. You can also run two apps simultaneously in a 50/50 split view or a 70/30 Slide Over view.

You can manage files locally as well as in the cloud thanks to Apple's Files app. Believe it or not, none of the iPad or iPhone models had this feature until iOS 11 arrived in late 2018. You can tag files with colors and labels to make organizing easier, just like you would on macOS. These are basic but essential features, and the iPad Pro ultimately has the most of them.

Another area in which the iPad Pro has been improved is software support. While iPadOS borrows a lot from the standard iOS release, the advent of heavyweight apps makes the tablet infinitely more viable for creative professionals. Adobe Photoshop for iPadOS even shares the same code base as the desktop version.

Adobe has also announced that full versions of Illustrator and Aero will be coming to iPad soon. This type of software support by an industry leader is a game changer. Combine this with professional apps, such as LumaFusion or Cubasis, and the iPad Pro becomes a much more viable platform for serious work.

What do you use your Mac for?

The iPad Pro (and even the regular old iPad) can perform almost any "wireless web" task. This includes checking and replying to emails, chatting on Slack, browsing the web, word processing and other office tasks. For most people, it is also quite a capable photo and video editing machine.

But there are many tasks that the iPad Pro and its cheaper siblings cannot perform. This is largely due to Apple's 'walled garden' approach to software management. iPadOS is not macOS. While the two platforms share more code and features over time, they clearly remain separate.

macOS is a real desktop operating system. Apple is committed to wrapping the desktop experience in cotton wool, making it more difficult to install software from unknown sources.

Mac features, such as System Integrity Protection, prevent people (and malware) from damaging important files or injecting code into apps, such as Finder or Safari.

  A 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2020.

These protections are largely optional on macOS. If you like that, you can install an app anywhere. You can disable OS-level security and play with files to your heart's content. You can install Windows on your Mac and delete your recovery partition if you really want to.

You can't do all that on an iPad without jailbreak (installing custom firmware that removes Apple's limitations). It's a fundamentally risky process because you also remove much of Apple's protection. Jailbreaking is a cat and mouse game and it is a security conscious people to avoid.

Your iPad cannot format a USB drive to exFAT, so you can view a movie file on your smart TV. Your iPad cannot run Windows or Linux or prepare installation media for those platforms. Many accessories are not compatible with iPad, including Thunderbolt RAID arrays and HDMI recording cards.

  A G-Tech G-RAID enclosure.

You cannot install a BitTorrent client on your iPad and use it to share files. You cannot easily play old DOS games with an emulator like DOSBox. You cannot run a simple file or media server for your home network from an iPad. You also can't make local backups of your iPhone or other iOS devices on an iPad like a Mac.

When you create software, there is no Xcode for iPadOS (not yet anyway). There are rumors that Apple will release a version of Xcode for the iPad along with iOS (or iPadOS) 14. This would be a game changer for many developers stuck with MacBooks and iMacs. It could also open the door for Apple's best apps to receive iPadOS ports, including industry standards, such as Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.

The iPad is a more limited device due to its design. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't work as some sort of computer replacement. It may even make more sense to buy an iPad Pro than to upgrade your existing machine.

The Benefits of Using an iPad for Certain Tasks

If you are looking for a faster, newer, shinier way to accomplish this basic everyday tasks, an iPad Pro could take up the slack. Instead of opting for a new MacBook, consider keeping your old one and supplementing it with an iPad Pro.

Starting at $ 799, the iPad Pro is cheaper than any MacBook model. Add $ 299 for a Magic Keyboard and you're looking at $ 1,099 for a standard 128 GB tablet. For comparison, the MacBook Air starts at $ 999 and requires no additional purchases.

However, the A12Z processor and all that multicore performance make the iPad Pro a much more capable machine. If you do video coding, multitasking, or running heavy apps like Photoshop, the iPad Pro is a more capable machine.

 Widgets on an iPad Pro home screen in landscape view. [19659004] Geekbench is a benchmarking tool that compares how capable the hardware really is. The base MacBook Air 2020 achieved a single-core score of around 1,002, while multi-core performance rose to 1,997. For comparison, the 2020 iPad Pro 11-inch averages a single-core score of 1,113 and a multicore score of 4,608.

If you hold your Mac for everything the iPad Pro can't do, the tablet could complete a nice setup. You also get a tablet that's perfect for watching movies and playing games, and a better couch or travel companion than a hinged laptop.

Battery life is comparable, as is charging, since both the iPad Pro and MacBook Air charge via USB-C. When comparing the 11-inch models, both are slim and portable. If you can live (or work around) with limitations, you might prefer the iPad Pro route.

Remember that the iPad cannot do everything. You will likely encounter some of these limitations at some point. Even things you take for granted, like using web apps (WordPress blog engine is a good example) can be frustrating on an iPad. But hopefully the new Magic Keyboard trackpad and iOS 14 will help solve some of these problems.

Progress, but still not suitable for everyone

When the iPad Pro was first launched, it was unable to make a laptop. However, in the past few iterations, Apple has made some big changes on both hardware and software fronts. These changes give the premium tablet a real chance of success.

Finally, years later, a strategy comes together!

RELATED: How Apple's 2020 iPad Pro Compares to the Trackpad Mac 1994 [19659057] setTimeout (function () {
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