As you may know, Apple, ever since the release of the first-generation iPad Pro in November 2015, has been consistently claiming the Pro to be a device fully capable of replacing the laptops of the world, a result of its truly ludicrous performance and large, responsive screen, supposedly perfect for multitasking and drawing with the Apple Pencil. However, during that time, there has been one major setback in the Pro’s quest to become a full-fledged laptop replacement: its software.
Like all other iPhones and iPads, the iPad Pro ran the standard form of iOS, complete with the simple, easy-to-navigate user interface and all the features and benefits that come with it. However, this was found to be not NEARLY enough for a machine touted as a true laptop replacement, remaining that way for a number of years. In 2018, the iPad Pro was in fact redesigned, with vastly improved specifications, an all-new screen, Face ID, a new, improved Apple Pencil, and a USB-C port to replace the Lightning connector. Many praised the new Pro, particularly its earth-shattering performance that rivaled even the best productivity laptops. However, the limitations of vanilla iOS remained, particularly the distinct lack of functionality of the USB-C port – users were unable to even transfer data from an external device to the Pro, one of the most basic(and arguably the most popular) functions of the port. However, much of these limitations look set to change with the announcement of iPad OS.
iPad OS, unlike what one may imagine, is NOT in fact a ground-up redesign, but rather an extensively modified form of iOS crafted specifically to take advantage of the many capabilities of the Pro. These features include:
- External Drive and extended iCloud Drive support for the Files app
- New palettes, erasers, markup functionality, an on-screen straight edge, and redesigned drawing algorithms for the Apple Pencil
- The addition of Today View to the Home Screen for rapid access to concise, essential information
- Expanded Split View and Slide Over support for vastly improved multitasking ability
- The desktop version of the Safari Web browser, optimized for touchscreen
- Greater text editing functionality along with custom fonts
- A floating keyboard with new swipe-to-type
- Improved packaging for App Store apps and app updates that greatly reduces file sizes
With that said, is the iPad Pro a worthy laptop replacement? That would largely depend on what someone may use their laptop for. It is clear that these updates to the Pro’s functionality are more geared towards content creation and productivity as opposed to gaming. Ultimately with these newfound advancements, in tandem with eventual support for full-fledged desktop applications such as Adobe Photoshop, the iPad Pro will soon grow to be an excellent machine with more than ample power, all contained in an incredibly portable package. For individuals such as artists, photographers, and designers who the Pro is aimed squarely at, the new iPad OS makes the device a compelling package that is more than able to handle the demands of daily life for them. However, the question remains – will customers actually sell their laptops in favor of the new Pro?