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Apple has recently launched the new iPad Pro, shifting the focus from the Mac platform to its tablet range. The iPad Pro offers an expansive screen, thin construction, and portable keyboards, with marketing promising that “your next computer is not a computer.” However, challenges remain in keeping the iPad and Mac platforms distinct. Mark Gurman highlights the need for Apple to expand the differences between the two devices and allow each to excel in their unique strengths. The Mac platform offers more powerful chip options, larger displays, built-in keyboard and trackpad, fans for heavy workloads, more ports, and better battery life, while the iPad is more portable, better for gaming, superior for watching videos, and suitable for capturing photos and videos.

Apple is making efforts to bring the two systems closer together, enabling iPadOS apps to run on MacOS and allowing developers to create universal apps that run on either platform. However, there are still hardware limitations, such as the Mac platform lacking a touchscreen and the iPad family lacking a touchpad or physical keyboard without additional peripherals. Despite years of trying, a unified platform still seems far off, prompting the need for Apple to focus on the individual merits of each device. The iPad Pro may deliver power and a top-notch tablet experience, but it falls short of the MacBook Pro and the Mac platform as a whole in terms of being a fully-fledged system.

Reviews of the iPad Pro hint at its potential as a laptop replacement for the MacBook Pro, with the powerful M4 chipset offering significant capabilities. However, limitations in software functionality and the inability to fully leverage the power of the chipset hinder its usefulness for those accustomed to MacOS. The idea of running macOS apps on an iPad through emulation or dual-booting has been discussed, but concerns remain about the practicality of having two different operating systems on one device. The iPad Pro, despite its strengths, still falls short of providing the productivity and capabilities of a Mac laptop.

One of the key limitations of the iPad Pro is the closed nature of iPadOS, which dictates that all activities must be approved by Apple and distributed exclusively through the App Store, subject to the company’s commission fees. In contrast, MacOS offers a more open system where developers have the freedom to code and distribute applications as they see fit, without restrictions from Apple. Touching on the ongoing debate around interface, touchscreens, trackpads, on-screen keyboards, and cellular connectivity, the primary advantage of Mac over iPad is its open nature, enabling users to fully utilize the power of the chipset without constraints.

While Apple continues to explore ways to bridge the gap between the iPad and Mac platforms, the fundamental differences in hardware, software, and distribution channels continue to pose challenges. The iPad Pro’s desktop-class M4 chipset may offer immense power, but without software optimization and an open ecosystem like MacOS, its potential remains untapped. As discussions around iPad as a laptop replacement persist, the focus on each device’s strengths and limitations becomes increasingly crucial. Apple’s efforts to enhance the iPad and Mac experiences independently while maintaining their uniqueness will shape the future of computing for the tech giant.

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