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.

The killer OSX feature that compelled me to switch to Mac after 10 years of Windows PCs is the same feature I still use every single day — Mission Control (aka Exposé & Spaces).

This Fall, with iOS 11, the iPad has that in the form of the new App Switcher.

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

Dear Apple: Please Stop Selling the F'ing 16GB →

John Gruber:

I also understand the product marketing angle. That there are a lot of people who will look at the 16 GB models, see that they can get four times the storage for just $100 more, and buy the 64 GB model instead — when they would’ve bought the base model if it were 32 GB. I get it. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s good short-term business sense to go with a 16/64/128 lineup instead of 32/64/128. But Apple is not a short-term business. They’re a long-term business, built on a relationship of trust with repeat customers. 16 GB iPads work against the foundation of Apple’s brand, which is that they only make good products.

Apple has long used three-tier pricing structures within individual product categories. They often used to label them “Good”, “Better”, and “Best”. Now, with these 16 GB entry-level devices, it’s more like “Are you sure?”, “Better”, and “Best”.

Using the 16GB as a decoy price to make the 64GB more attractive is a great business strategy, but this only hurts customers and Apple in the longrun.

The biggest reason why people don't upgrade their iOS is because they don't have enough space on their devices and they have no idea how to manage it. Telling them, "just install via iTunes" is not enough. I know a lot of people that have never synced their devices with a PC. In fact, in many cases, they don't even have a PC to sync with in the first place. So what do they do? They don't upgrade. Ever.

The negative effects only grow from there. This Apple ecosystem becomes fragmented for developers because customers are spread out across different versions. This gives customers a fragmented experience because they have multiple Apple devices running different versions and can't take advantage of the killer integrations.

This is the exact opposite of Apple's "it just works" mantra.

Seriously, Apple. Don't turn into the greedy consumer electronics company that Apple-haters say you are. Don't sacrifice the ecosystem and user experience just to make more money in the short-term.

Customers like me are loyal to you for a reason. Please don't fuck it up.

iPad: The Microwave Oven of Computing →

Techinch, March 2011:

Looking just at the specs, a microwave didn't make sense to many. So manufacturers bundled them with cookbooks that detailed the many things you could cook in a microwave. Look, you can make this great Chinese dish in a microwave! Our microwave lets you bake a cake! Need a hot cup of this complicated spiced cider? It'll only take 15 steps in our microwave! They thought the microwave needed to be a full oven, and more.

But, wonder of all wonders, people started buying microwaves and using them regularly. In the store, a microwave didn't seem like a must-have item to many, but once you incorporated it into your daily life, it was irreplaceable. [...]

The microwave isn't easier for every cooking task, and perhaps it takes longer to prepare a complicated meal in a microwave. Perhaps no award winning meal will be created in one, unless it's a special contest for microwave cooking. But it simplified simple cooking, and consumers around the world saw it as a necessary piece of equipment within in years of it becoming popular. It didn't need to be an oven, and didn't need to be better than an oven. It just needed to be the best for some certain cooking scenarios, and that was enough to win the hearts and minds of people around the world.

Last year, Apple introduced the iPad, a computing device many have struggled to classify. It's bigger than a smartphone or iPod, smaller than a computer, but can do some things you'd otherwise do on both of these. You can type a document in Pages or find your way with GPS and Google Maps. So what makes it so special? From a specs perspective, tablets don't make sense. It cost just under $500, but if you've already invested in a computer and a smartphone, it's just another expense. Plus, netbooks only cost $300, right?

In 10 years, young adults will look at the tablet the same way we look at microwaves.

Thoughts on WWDC 2014

Depending on how techie you are, Apple's WWDC announcements last week left you with one of these impressions:

  • “No new iPhone?! LAME.”
  • “PATHETIC. Android has had all of that for years!”

If you're in the first group, you're most likely a consumer and not a developer. We have to remember, WWDC — short for World Wide Developer Conference — is a developer conference. For developers. Not consumers.

If you're in the second group, I got news for you: everyone copies. That's how technology moves forward. The best ideas are copied, remixed, refined, and evolve. As long as consumers win, why do we still need to argue about this?

If you're in the last group, you are either an iOS developer or an Apple enthusiast, and have a solid understanding/appreciation of how Apple does things.

As a developer and user experience designer, my job entails identifying specific user problems, researching/testing the right solutions, and delivering them to the right people at the right time. My passion lies in finding what makes new technology meaningful to real people, not just early adopting techies like me.

With that said, I'll try to break down all the developer stuff into real world examples for you.

Read More