iPad Pro Cannibalizes My MacBook Pro

The iPad Pro (with the Smart Keyboard) cannibalizes my MacBook Pro the same way the iPhone 7 Plus cannibalized my old iPad mini.

I'm blown away by how many non-work related tasks I can accomplish on the iPad Pro. And for some tasks, I can even do it faster on the iPad Pro.

My biggest discovery is split-screen mode works brilliantly because many apps are designed to work on iPhone-sized screen. Browsing and clicking on a link in a left-side app can open in Safari on the right. Apps on the desktop were not designed to work on iPhone-sized spaces.

Some of my favorite use-cases for split-screen mode are:

  • catching up on RSS feeds with Reeder + Safari
  • researching reviews with YouTube + Safari
  • catching up on email newsletters with Newton + Safari
  • catching up on computer tasks with Things + Safari

There's also something special about having a general-purpose computer that can turn on & off instantly compared to a laptop, yet having all the benefits of keyboard shortcuts.

This seriously makes me wish Apple would resurrect the iBook brand in the form of an iOS-driven laptop with built-in LTE.

Fraser Speirs: Can the MacBook Pro Replace Your iPad? →

Fraser Speirs:

The huge issue with the MacBook Pro is its form factor. The fact that the keyboard and screen are limited to being held in an L-shaped configuration seriously limits its flexibility. It is basically impossible to use a MacBook pro while standing up and downright dangerous to use when walking around. Your computing is limited to times when you are able to find somewhere to sit down.

Not that you would want to use a MacBook Pro while standing anyway. The sheer weight of these devices means that your shoulder is going to take a beating if you switch from iOS to OS X. The current 15" MacBook Pro tips the scales at 4.49 pounds - or three iPad Pros - despite having a lower-resolution screen and one less hour of battery life.

A brilliant alternative view of the MacBook Pro if judged by a tablet-first user.

What us older people forget is kids these days have literally grown up with multi-touch screen devices for 10 years. Kids who were 12 years old when the iPhone was introduced in 2007 will be graduating college and entering the workforce.

They will build their workflows and solve problems with multi-touch devices, not with keyboards & mice like we did.

To the touchscreen generation, the tablet is a real computer.

The Mobile Generation →

Ben Bajarin:

There is truly something happening with this generation growing up spending the bulk, if not all, of their computing time using mobile operating systems and doing new things with new tools. Being the techie that I am, I was a bit disheartened that my twelve-year-old was getting more out of the iPad Pro and pushing it further limits than I was. But she is a part of the mobile generation after all. For them, the future will look quite different and the tools they use to make that future might look quite similar to the iPad Pro.

It's easy for us older guys to dismiss the iPad Pro as "a large iPad that'll never replace my laptop". But for the mobile generation — the generation of kids who grew up with touchscreens and don't know the Save icon is a floppy disk — this is an evolution of technology they are most familiar with.

iOS: The Enterprise OS of the Millennial Generation →

Tim Bajarin:

This younger generation does use PCs. However, they actually spend the most time on their iPhones and iPads and Macs are mostly relegated to serious productivity projects. More importantly, they know iOS inside and out as they spend much more of their day in this operating system then they do on any computer they have. I believe Apple understands this better than anyone and their most recent iPad Pro is a nod to this trend. More importantly, I see Apple using this to drive millennials towards making iOS their OS of choice as they move into their careers and new jobs. In fact, within 5-7 years, I suspect Windows will not even be of interest to this younger set, as iOS will be the device operating system that dominates their work and personal lifestyles.

Apple playing the long game.

Apple Adopts Progressive Enhancement for iOS 9 →


In order to avoid the sluggishness and bugginess that was most notably seen in iOS 7 for the iPhone 4, Apple has restructured its software engineering process to better support older hardware.

Instead of developing a feature-complete version of iOS 9 for older hardware and then removing a handful of features that do not perform well during testing, Apple is now building a core version of iOS 9 that runs efficiently on older A5 devices, then enabling each properly performing feature one-by-one. Thanks to this new approach, an entire generation (or two) of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches will be iOS 9-compatible rather than reaching the end of the iOS line.

Great news. In addition to better performance on older devices:

  • slow iPhone/iPad upgraders will be able to run the latest versions of third-party apps
  • older iPhone/iPad users will get the latest security updates
  • app developers can spend less time/resources on supporting older iOS versions
  • third-party apps will progress faster

"Would you rather buy this Apple tablet with lots of apps, or save $100 or so and get this black plastic thing with far fewer apps?" →

Benedict Evans:

That's a perfectly legitimate question to ask, and Christmas was one big A-B test as to what tablet proposition people actually want. However, what does it tell you if someone says 'I want to save $100 and get the cheap-looking one with no apps'? Are they a good target for any publisher or developer? This is at the root of the staggeringly low engagement on Android tablets that all publishers report - under 5% of what they see on the iPad: self-selection by the users. People who buy cheap tablets are effectively declaring that they value the saving over the apps.

There will always be some piece of the market for consumers that have very little expectations and needs from a device. But for everyone else, there is so much more to consider.

The question should never be limited to "which smartphone/tablet/computer has the best specs and price right now?" The real question is:

Which platform/ecosystem has the best future to invest in?

Betting on iPad mini

This chart by Ryan Jones is the reason why I sold my first-gen iPad yesterday.

Some people still have doubts because Steve Jobs infamously once said that 7" tablets are "dead on arrival." I, on the otherhand, am still betting on the iPad mini because of three reasons:

  • this won't be the first time that Steve Jobs has backtracked on one of his bold statements.
  • the iPad mini can produced cheaply by using the same touchscreen as the iPhone 3GS.
  • the market and business opportunity is there. It wasn't there back then but the success of the Amazon Kindle has proven otherwise.

So I'm calling it now:

Apple is going to reassert its market dominance. It's gonna address that gaping hole under its price umbrella and be the hottest seller this Christmas shopping season. It's going to change the way an entire generation of children will learn in school.

The iPad mini is coming. It's gonna completely suck out all the air from the room and suffocate the competition, just like the iPad mini did to the mp3 player market.

I can't wait.

Get More Out of Your iPad with Instapaper

This isn't exactly breaking news...but man, Instapaper is a REALLY GREAT app.

For months I was hesitant about forking over $5 for this app. I constantly said to myself, "I already have Flipboard and Reeder...do I really need another reading app?"

A couple weeks ago, I said, "screw it" and finally bit the $5 bullet.

What happened? Instapaper quickly became my most-used app on the iPad.

I should note that I am addicted to RSS feeds. As of now, I follow 528 different feeds. So anything that helps me get through those feeds faster, I immediately fall in love with. In the past, that's been Firefox's tabbed browsing, Reeder for iPad, and somewhat recently, Flipboard for iPad.

A typical morning at the desktop, I will:

  • load up Google Reader.
  • go up and down the list with the "j" and "k" shortcut keys.
  • when I find something I want to read, I open it as a background tab and continue skimming through Google Reader.
  • once I finish going through Google Reader, I read each one of the background tabs.

Now with Instapaper for iPad, I have a similar routine while on the go:

  • load up Flipboard.
  • swipe through the pages, skimming through all of my Google Reader feeds AND Twitter feed.
  • when I find something I want to read, I'll read it right away or send it to Instapaper.
  • once I finish going through Flipboard, I load up Instapaper and read each article there.

And that's not all.

In the States, I spoiled myself with 3G plans for both my iPad and iPhone. During my recent 10 week trip to the Philippines, I didn't have that luxury for either device. But that was okay because Instapaper absolutely shines with offline reading.

Every time I was about to leave the house, I'd have several articles waiting for me. Hell, for my 16 hour flight back to Los Angeles, I queued up almost 100 articles. And when I came across an article that I wanted to come back to later, I'd file it under a folder like "Reblog Later", "Tweet Later" or "Watch Later".

Now that I'm back in the U.S., I really don't need to start up my iPad's 3G plan again. With Instapaper for iPad, I can enjoy my RSS feed reading list anytime, anywhere...with or without internet.

So thank you, Instapaper. Before I bought you, I had no idea how important you'd be to me. I was so hesitant on spending $5 for you...but you ended up saving me $25/month.