Apple is very adamant the iPad Pro can replace a computer. So, I decided to test the company’s claim and bought one to see if it could replace my computer.
Sorry Apple, you’re wrong.
I’ve been using iPhones and Macs for many years now, but the Apple product I’ve never purchased is the iPad. For my needs, I just never found it very useful. It seemed more like an oversized iPhone when it first came out and as Apple improved it, it still didn’t appeal enough for me to drop hundreds of dollars on a device mostly reserved for media consumption.
But with the iPad Pro and iOS 12, Apple introduced new features that promises to make the iPad more like a computer, and dare I say it, even replace it. Remember the “What’s a computer?” ad by Apple that got a lot of backlash due to its absurdity?
I never really bought in on the claim, yet I did contemplate whether I could replace my computer with an iPad Pro. After all, I am a writer so I don’t need an overly powerful computer to do my job. I mostly use Chrome and a few additional apps like Tweetbot, Slack and Spark. I have perfected my workflow on a MacBook Pro and I couldn’t help but wonder if the iPad Pro could come close to matching it.
So, I bit the bullet and purchased an iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard to see what it could do. To my surprise, I actually ended up liking the iPad Pro a lot, and yet, to my disappointment, it could not do the one thing I wanted it to do: replace my computer.
The biggest point of contention I ran into with the iPad is how the apps don’t offer the same features as they do with the Mac versions. Sure, you get apps for just about everything you can possibly use, but they often feel stripped down. You’d think the apps would work exactly the same, if not offer more functionality, but they don’t.
The WordPress app is nothing but a mobile interface with the bare minimum of capabilities; the TweetBot app cuts the columns I can view from five to two; and YouTube is missing key features the web version offers, such as keyboard controls.
Exacerbating the issue is that apps are limited by the iOS interface. With a computer, you can view an app or a window in any way you want to, be that stacked, split screen or in its own desktop. With the iPad it’s either the single screen or Apple’s split screen and slide over modes that still feel very rigid to me.
Adding to my frustration is how every service is divided into its own individual app. YouTube is its own app. Email is its own app. Docs is its own app. Everything is its own app. And while this at least delivers the platform functionality to the iPad, it’s a fragmented functionality. You end up getting spread out over a dozen different apps.
I have to jump in and out of these apps constantly, one by one. The always-present dock and Command-Tab shortcut on the keyboard makes it easier to navigate through each app, but it’s still a very narrow way to interact with them.
It’s also limiting how you can’t have multiple tabs of an app open. It’s one page for YouTube or one page for Docs and so forth. If you want to access another video or document, you’ll have to leave what you are doing.
Keyboard media controls and a headphone jack are two things I really wished the iPad Pro had. I also found cursor control without a trackpad cumbersome when using the Smart Keyboard. These are minor complaints rather than big issues, but they never went away.
For all the faults I found with the iPad Pro, I still very much enjoyed my experience with it. It’s a unique device that presents a lot of functionality in a lightweight frame that’s more comfortable to travel with than my MacBook Pro.
The Smart Keyboard is great, too. I made an effort to write notes and posts on the keyboard to get a good feel for it and I came away thoroughly impressed. The iPad Pro is what I want my laptop to feel and look like.
Apple is really close to replacing the computer with its tablet, and you can see how close the company is getting with the newest iPad Pro. Hopefully, with more tweaking to the software and hardware, Apple’s device will reach its true potential.
Until that happens, I’ll be waiting eagerly to replace my MacBook Pro.
My first Apple Watch experience lasted exactly 10 days before I returned it.
Until now, I’ve steered clear of wearable devices, unimpressed by their functionality and purpose. I’m vehemently opposed to notifications, which is a smart watch’s whole conceit, so buying one never made sense. Imagine my surprise when I found myself falling head over heels for the Apple Watch Series 4 (space gray, 40mm).
When Apple unveiled its newest smart watch, it became an instant sensation. Even we couldn’t help but gush about the company’s exciting new wearable. After years of half-starts, the Apple Watch finally felt like a fully featured smart watch. But more than that, it felt like a device that could greatly improve a person’s life.
In addition to an eye-catching redesign and faster guts, the Apple Watch Series 4 put a renewed emphasis on health. It was no longer a device just for notifications, but a wearable that prioritized healthy living. And with new heart-tracking features, it’s capable of diagnosing life-threatening conditions.
I pre-ordered one as soon as it became available.
Before it shipped, I was prepared to confirm my indifference to the smart watch market, return it and live my life. I expected it to feel like a tether to my phone, just another distraction. But it quickly won me over. Not even a full day in and I was an Apple Watch evangelist.
I was first struck by the Series 4’s design. The thing is gorgeous. With a slimmer build and a larger display, the Series 4 looks more premium compared to previous models. It’s elegant without being flashy, a perfect culmination of Apple’s engineering efforts over the past few years.
I then fell in love with the Series 4’s functionality. After tweaking some of the notifications and setting up my activity goals, I became obsessed with closing my rings. That’s nothing new—millions of people have already realized what a terrific fitness tracker the Apple Watch can be. I am admittedly late to the game.
I loved being able to compare my stats with friends and the satisfaction of completing my goals for the day. If I was short, I got off my butt and went on an extra 20 minute walk. It gave me the determination to exercise, stand up, and take breaks in the middle of a long work day. I never expected it to become such a good motivator.
It’s a much more versatile device than I anticipated, and way more durable than it looks. Being able to take it in the pool, on a hike, and dress it up for dinner was impressive. It never felt out of place or unnecessary in my day-to-day life, which is something I never expected to say.
I also loved how customizable it is. Thanks to Apple’s smartly designed Apple Watch apps, picking a watch face and customizing the complications is simple and fun. I actually really liked the busier new watch faces Apple introduced with the Series 4, despite my more minimalist tendencies.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Series 4 was how little I used my iPhone while wearing one. I didn’t have to check the time or open up a weather app. All I had to do was glance at my watch. It felt good not to rely on my iPhone just to get basic information. It meant I was spending less time staring at my device, because I never picked it up in the first place.
Yet, I returned it; $399 felt too steep a price for something I didn’t need. I wholeheartedly recommend the Apple Watch Series 4 for its impressive design and endless functionality. But it’s hard to justify spending so much when I’m already making payments on a phone that’s $999.
That doesn’t mean I won’t reconsider in the future. The Series 4 has completely won me over. Apple has figured out why the Apple Watch needs to exist, therefore making a product that’s more focused than ever. The Apple Watch is already the best-selling watch in the world, and the Series 4 could see that lead grow over the busy holiday period.
Although my honeymoon period with the Series 4 is over, I’m already plotting ways to re-purchase one (this time I’d pick the Nike+ version). For now, the high price of entry is holding me back.