Please Just Make a Touch-Screen Macbook Already
Today, Apple announced a new iPad Pro that will use the same M1 processor as its Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, and now even the new, more colorful iMacs. The inevitable convergence of Apple’s lineup seems obvious to everyone but Apple itself.
So I’m begging you, Apple. Please just make a touch-screen Macbook already.
For years, the appeal of an iPad Pro has been, ostensibly, that it’s powerful enough to fill the space that a laptop would usually fill but with a more intuitive touch screen, much better battery life, and access to the vast library of iOS apps. And for a while, that was a pretty decent pitch. Sure, you gave up full desktop apps like Photoshop with an iPad Pro, but maybe that was worth it to you.
Now, the iPad’s advantages are diminishing. The new M1 laptops have nearly the best battery life in the history of Apple laptops. Meanwhile, macOS on the new M1 silicon can not only keep running the older, Intel-based apps from previous Macs, but it can also run iPhone and iPad apps (so long as developers have updated their apps, a process that will admittedly take time for everyone to get on board.)
So the iPad Pro’s core advantages over devices like the Macbook Air are now mostly narrowed to… that it has a touch screen. But the corollary is also true: The Macbook Air doesn’t have many advantages over the iPad Pro, either. The two product lines that used to have a litany of differences to distinguish them look more and more like each other with each passing year. One just has a windowed operating system while the other uses touch-based, largely full-screen apps.
The reason to choose one or the other is (and will increasingly be) one of personal preference. Do you care more about desktop applications like the full Adobe suite? Or are you more concerned with drawing applications like Procreate? Do you need something with at least 13 inches of screen space? Or are you comfortable with a more portable 11-inch display? Do you like navigating with a touch screen? Or do you prefer using a touch pad? Even that line has started to become blurred as recent iPads adopt an optional on-screen cursor when using a track pad.