Apple Developing 16-Inch iPad Pro
October 29, 2022 at 2:27 p.m.
A new Apple leak sheds light onto the company’s plan to make the iPad Pro appeal to professionals of a different sort. For now, it is a professional device. However, it still needs to perform more tasks for the technically inclined, such as software development and running a broader selection of desktop-class apps.
The Information received details from an anonymous source revealing that Apple will launch a 16-inch iPad Pro by Q4 of 2023. It’s unclear whether Apple’s new professional-grade tablet will come equipped with an M2 processor or its successor — the M3.
The leak comes on the heels of news that Apple is testing macOS on the iPad Pro. Both machines use the M2 processor, making this convergence more technically possible than ever before.
The main problems with running macOS on an iPad Pro are the screen size and dimensions. These are manageable obstacles, as macOS can already accommodate multiple screen resolutions.
Many who doubt Apple’s will to port macOS to the iPad contend that the operating system will require touch screen support. Microsoft did this years ago. Surely Apple can do the same. Furthermore, accessories like the Magic Keyboard transform the iPad Pro into a Mac-like device, complete with a trackpad.
There’s a significant advantage to touchscreen PCs. Users can choose between a traditional computer experience, a tablet experience, or both. For example, when I use Ableton Live on my touchscreen Windows 10 laptop, I can tweak audio controls using the touch screen. It’s swift and intuitive. The iPad Pro would enable even better interaction with the Apple Pencil, which can now control the iPad by hovering over user interface elements.
Cellular capabilities are another aspect that sets the iPad Pro apart from its Macintosh counterpart. If you want to use a cellular connection on your Mac, you can tether it to your iPhone. Built-in cellular connectivity in a device running a desktop-class operating system may appeal to enterprise customers or nomadic social media influencers.
The iPad Pro also has way better cameras than any MacBook. With macOS, it could serve as a complete production studio with pro-quality results. That would be a true game-changer for wayfaring content creators.
Of course, if Apple allows iPad Pro owners to run macOS, it will cannibalize Mac sales. Keep in mind the iPad Pro rivals MacBooks in terms of price. The Magic Keyboard costs $349. Indeed, if someone really desired a complete macOS experience on an iPad Pro, they’d pay much more for it than buying a Mac.
There’s a good reason to prefer an iPad Pro over a Mac. MacBooks have a sketchy history since Bob Mansfield parted ways with Apple in 2012. His successor tried to turn the Mac into an iPad but managed to create the most fragile notebook computers Apple ever made. After my 2017 MacBook Pro broke for no reason, I vowed never to buy one again. I own an LG Gram laptop and a Mac Mini desktop computer. Due to past experiences, I doubt I will ever purchase an iMac or MacBook again.
The iPad Pro has few moving parts. It has no fans. Apart from a few switches, it’s a solid-state device. My iPads have held up well. I still have a second-generation iPad that works just fine, apart from being very slow. It can even run for up to 10 hours on a full charge. It’s too old to sell. I just traded in my 5th gen iPad to Apple for $65. It worked fine, but it was too slow. The iPad is so durable it lives beyond its obsolescence. In my experience, a MacBook can break if you look at it funny. They’re remarkably fragile after Bob Mansfield left Apple.
An iPad Pro running macOS is appealing to those who value reliability. If your Magic Keyboard breaks, you can buy a new one. It’s not glued into a computer that will cost up to $1300 to fix. If you’re working in a remote area, there may be no Apple Stores or certified repair shops in the vicinity. The iPad’s robustness is critical for those working in the field and away from civilization.
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve known people who have sunk thousands of dollars into MacBook repairs. It doesn’t make sense. But they’re in a tough situation. They need to use a Mac for work. Either they buy a new one that can break or fix the old one. The latter choice is often more expedient and cost-effective in the short term.
A macOS-enabled iPad Pro makes sense and would benefit Apple and customers alike. It gives consumers more options, and since both devices are similar in terms of their chipsets, it’s entirely possible. The real source of contention is how this will affect Apple’s bottom line.
If Apple launches macOS on the iPad Pro, they will likely allow dual-booting, as with many devices capable of running multiple operating systems. An iPad Pro that can run both iPadOS and macOS will appeal to a specific type of professional user. Although some may forgo purchasing a Mac, they’ll likely upgrade storage or buy a larger iPad Pro.
Perhaps this is why Apple is working on a 16″ iPad Pro. The new model will cost much more than other iPad Pros. With a Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil, upgraded storage, and cellular connectivity, some Apple customers may spend $3000 or more to run macOS on an iPad. I think Apple can live with that.