Commentary – Can An iPad Replace A Laptop Or Is That The Wrong Question?

WSJEarlier this week Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article titledApple 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Review: Tablet vs. Laptop Showdown” and you can find it Here. Following is the text of an email that I sent to Joanna. By the way, I did not include this in my email to Joanna but I wrote the email on my iPad and Brydge keyboard.

iPad_Air_2__Brydge_Keyboard.JPG iPadI read and enjoyed your review and while I agree with much of what you said, think you might have missed the point. Like you, I have an iPad Air – have not yet made the decision on the 9.7″ iPad Pro – and a MacBook Air. For me, the question is not can one replace the other but which is the best option for the job. On many shorter trips, I have been comfortable taking only the iPad and handled all of the things that I needed to do. Some of that relates to how I have the iPad configured – with MS Office 365, including OneNote which is a winner, Evernote, Fuze for meetings and my answer to file management Dropbox. Because I manage distribution emailing for three organizations using Constant Contact, and receive content in many formats, also have the iWork applications installed. I also attend two online chat meetings weekly and find the iPad best for that as I typically do this with the device in my lap. What makes all of this even more possible is my Brydge keyboard. I have used other keyboards on earlier iPads but nothing comes close to the Brydge. Backlighting, infinite display angles that hold where you set them and do not flop around and rock solid construction are just a few of the strong points of this product.

All that said, everything I regularly do can typically be done on the MacBook Air and in some instances easier. Also, not all of the applications – principally the MS Office group – have the same capability on the iPad but usually do not have a problem when editing something on the iPad that was created on the MacBook Air.

On the other hand, some things that I do daily are much easier on the iPad – reading newspapers and magazines at the top of that list. While in most cases I cannot get the publisher of magazines to stop sending me the physical product I typically have the issue read on my iPad before the physical media arrives and makes a one-way trip to the recycling barrel. The three newspapers I read are not so difficult and have agreed to stop delivering physical newspapers. By the way, I wished that the WSJ would come up with a lower digital subscription rate for us retired folk.

And there are some things, email, web browsing, basic correspondence among them, that get done based on which device I have at hand, and that by the way often extends to my iPhone. 

The larger iPad Pro is to me an answer looking for a question. I suspect there are some vertical applications where it makes sense but it still lacks the full power of the MacBook Air but when it is paired with the upcoming Brydge keyboard weighs slightly more than the MacBook Air. Who Knows. I am hoping that the rumor about a new MacBook Air sized MacBook Pro is true.

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