Will Apple still switch to macOS for the iPad?

At the recent Apple spring conference, the scene where Cook became a thief stealing the M1 chip and installing it on the iPad was called a famous scene. The “Mission Impossible” movie scene was shown at the conference. This is the first time.

On the other hand, the new iPad Pro is really amazing. Apple has transplanted the chip M1 used on the desktop to a thin and light mobile device such as the iPad Pro. What is interesting is that the new iMac and iPad Pro are very similar in shape from the side, just like An enlarged version of iPad Pro.

Both use the M1 chip, and Apple has increasingly emphasized the productivity of the iPad Pro in recent years. Will the iPad Pro directly use macOS?

This is what many iPad Pro users expect. After all, the various productivity applications on the macOS desktop can quickly make up for the lack of large-scale software on the iPad. The same chip also means that the two will not have major compatibility issues.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is likely to be no.

"The next computer, why is it a computer"

In March last year, when Apple released the iPad Pro 2020, it used the slogan "Why is the next computer a computer". While people were amazed by the charm of Apple's copywriting, many people also ridiculed the lack of productivity of iPad Pro compared to traditional PCs. , Even with the Magic Keyboard, it lacks common productivity applications like Adobe Pr and AE.

Whether the iPad Pro is productive or not is actually closely related to the personal workflow, so I won’t discuss it here, but from the slogan of Apple, it can be seen that the definition of iPad Pro products is different from that of Mac. Products of the same category will not use the same operating system.

When you install macOS on the iPad, it becomes a Mac in another sense, especially now that the iMac, MacBook Pro, and iPad Pro all use the M1 chip, the previous method of confirming product positioning through the chip has failed.

Let's assume that Apple really does this. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch uses macOS and the existing MacBook Pro is similar, and the application display is not too crowded or too small.

But for the iPad less than 10 inches, the smaller iPad mini, the application is displayed on such a small screen, the desktop side is proud of the split screen is meaningless, because it is too small, the combination of the small screen and macOS It will also cause a lot of operating problems. The accuracy of the operation, the keyboard shortcut and the touchpad all need to be adjusted.

And even the Magic Keyboard with trackpad is now only compatible with iPad Pro and iPad Air, iPad and iPad mini are not compatible, the newly released 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also thicker due to the influence of the mini-LED screen , Leading to the replacement of the keyboard mold.

The impact of replacing the iPad with macOS on its product line is huge, not only the question of whether it is good or not, but also the question of whether it can be used.

Taking a step back, even if Apple only uses macOS for the iPad Pro, the conflict between the iPad Pro and Mac product lines will be even more intense, and even the iPad Pro may invade the Mac product line.

Comparing it with the MacBook Pro, even if the MacBook Pro uses a stronger chip in the future, the iPad Pro still has an application ecological advantage.

Even if the Mac using the M1 chip can expand some iPad applications, most of them are developed based on touch interaction, and the experience of using the touchpad is still inferior to the iPad Pro.

Besides, note-taking applications like GoodNotes are applications that need to be used with Apple Pencil. Macs cannot be used if they cannot be touched. The advantages of application ecology and interactive operation will inevitably prompt users to choose iPad Pro instead of MacBook.

The development of the two in the corresponding category is the norm.

At the launch of the first iPad, Steve Jobs used an image metaphor to tell the public what the iPad is, and the product between the iPhone and the Mac can be said to be abruptly opening up a new consumption range.

Judging from today’s situation, Apple is still moving forward according to Jobs’ plan. After the press conference, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, John Ternus, in an interview with Techcrunch also said that the iPad and Mac will not be integrated, and said that they have been making various Work hard for the best product in the category.

Interaction defines the product

Looking back at the iPad and Mac series now, it is easy to find that the core difference between them is the interaction. As a traditional computer, the shape of the Mac has been fixed by the interactive method of keyboard and mouse.

From the moment the Mac was born, the keyboard + display combination has not changed. It is nothing more than a larger screen and a lower weight. This can be seen from the drastically reduced appearance of the iMac in recent years after using the M1.

Decades of industrial development have made keyboard-mouse interaction the mainstream of the computer industry, and as long as this interaction method remains the same, the huge software ecosystem and user habits built around it will be difficult to change. This has also resulted in the ultimate goal of computer products. There will be no major changes in the shape, and more of a gradual update of light and thin plus high-performance chips.

The iPad is different. From the moment of its birth, it has been very close to its final form. It can also be seen from the changes in the iPad product line that it is nothing more than narrowing the screen frame and removing the physical home button, and all of this is the same as Apple. The core interaction method developed is related to touch interaction.

Jobs once said at the initial iPhone conference that fingers are the best way to interact. Humans have been learning to use fingers since its birth. It is undoubtedly easier to learn than external tools such as keyboards and mice, ease of use and development potential. Are higher.

This interactive feature was later moved to the iPad, and the subsequent addition of Apple Pencil is more like an extension of fingers. In an interview , Jony lve, the former president of Apple’s design, also said that Apple Pencil is only for creation, while the fingers remain the same. It is the basis of operating the interactive interface, and the two are completely different in purpose.

The Magic Keyboard, which appeared in the past two years, was also added as a productivity component. Yes, we can see the same Adobe software on iPad and Mac, but different interaction methods determine that people will use it in different ways.

Apple did not follow the logic of the mouse cursor one-to-one correspondence on the iPad. In order to improve the control accuracy, the cursor in the iPad often automatically absorbs and adds a layer of gray shadow when it encounters a button, so that people clearly realize that it is a button. , And will not conflict with the interaction logic of the original finger click, after all, the two have different requirements for control accuracy and button distance.

Purely carrying the interactive logic of the macOS keyboard and mouse, the experience of using the iPad Pro plus the magic keyboard may not be good. After all, there are still many people who are not accustomed to using the trackpad.

The difference between the core interaction methods determines that the two are different types of products. In order to quickly improve product productivity, it is a lazy way to install macOS on the iPad in a one-size-fits-all way. There are still many possibilities worth exploring under touch interaction.

Among the three iPhones, Macs, and iPads, the iPad is actually the product with the shortest development period. The first two have entered a mature stage, and the iPad is still going around because of its hardware redundancy.

The regret of iPad Pro lies in hardware redundancy

The expectation of iPad users to switch to macOS is of course well-documented. Touch interaction is a better and more advanced way of interaction. In form, iPad is already close to the optimal solution for this category. Just find an alternative keyboard and mouse. As a new product of the integration of tablet and PC, iPad Pro seems to be a reasonable way.

After the Magic Keyboard has been added as an accessory, this expectation seems to be closer. Since user habits and application ecology cannot be quickly changed, then direct access to a peripheral keyboard with keyboard and mouse interaction is a shortcut.

But it still does not solve the core problem of iPad productivity-hardware performance redundancy. Starting from iPad Pro 2018, the appeal of new hardware to consumers has not been very high. iPad Pro 2018 is even in second-hand trading apps such as Xianyu. Become the most valuable iPad.

The new Lidar and A12Z processor of the iPad Pro 2020 are the same, and ordinary users cannot feel the obvious difference in experience from the improvement of chip performance.

Even if the newly released iPad Pro this year is equipped with a mini-LED screen, its hardware quality has reached the real top of the industry, but there is still not a strong enough application to eat this powerful hardware ability, and an excessively smooth user experience. Become a constraint on the development of iPad Pro.

In the field of personal PCs, there is a well-known "Andy Beer's Law", to the effect that Windows systems and third-party software have higher and higher requirements for hardware, so consumers have demand for higher-performance Intel processors, and Intel updates The processor's improved performance can also allow Windows to better expand its functions.

Only in this way can a healthy industry development law be formed. Consumers pay for a better experience. Software vendors create software with better experience and higher hardware requirements based on better hardware performance. Unfortunately, this law does not work. Implemented on iPad.

Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing, Greg Joswiak, also mentioned a similar point in an interview . The iPad Pro still has a lot of performance space to be used by developers, and said that relevant developers will soon take advantage of this advantage.

Greg Joswiak

Therefore, the more likely result is that Apple will continue to promote large-scale productivity applications into the iPad ecosystem. It is very likely that Apple’s self-developed applications such as Xcode and Final cut X Pro will also be included. In the past, when Apple demonstrated the powerful performance of the Mac at press conferences They are also used as case studies.

Previously, we can see that many creators use iPad as a portable monitor when shooting. This is also the way Apple used to shoot promotional videos in the past, and the high quality of the mini-LED screen can just meet the requirements of professional video creation and production. Claim.

The regrettable part of iPad Pro is also the most anticipated part of this product. As a user, I still expect Apple to set an example at the WWDC conference to further promote the ecological growth of iPad.

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