Mac to iPad
It's no secret that I love my iPad Pro 13". I primarily use the device as my daily work machine. I've praised the Smart Keyboard for being the best keyboard I've ever used. It's fast, fluent, and extremely portable. It also allows me to do graphic design like I've never before. I can ever plug my guitar into it. It's the single most versatile computer Apple has ever made in my opinion. So what's stopping me from making this my main machine over my iMac/MacBook? Even Geekbench benchmarks have shown that the iPad Pro is faster than the 2016 MacBook (not to be confused with MacBook Pro.) One word: Software. For the longest time software was so advanced that hardware had to play catchup. Windows V!$#@ being a great example of that. Even Windows 3.0 was way more powerful than a vast majority of PCs that were available at the time. Then a change happened and PC hardware became way more affordable and it allowed all sorts of PC vendors (including Apple) to create some amazing hardware that needed better software. The time that I could think of when everything seemed to equal out was around 2009. I call this the Snow Leopard era. Snow Leopard is still called then best version of macOS 10 and it ran extremely well on the hardware of the time. Fast forward a decade and now the Mac is still a great powerhouse with an incredible version of macOS 10, that being 10.12 Sierra. Apple also has another piece of hardware that is taking over the market, that being iPad. Now don't get me wrong, I could never use an iPad mini 4 or iPad Air 2 as my daily computer just because it has a 9.7" display. Even the smaller iPad Pro wouldn't cut it for me but the 12.9" iPad Pro, that's where the line starts to get fuzzy. It's screen is almost 13" and can almost display 2 full iPad apps at once on the screen. Using the multitasking that was introduced in iOS 9 users can technically run 3 apps at once on a screen. Two apps side-by-side and a pip video. For the most part this gets the job done for me. But still there's something missing. It's dangerously close for me to say that I will never buy another Mac again. So here's a list of things that I personally need in order to make iPad Pro my main machine.

Improved Multitasking

Like I mentioned above, iPad Pro can technically run 3 applications at once on the screen and I use this every day! I'm even using multiple apps right now as I type this article on my iPad Pro. I want macOS' Mission Control on iPad because switching apps via the App Switcher is just horrendous on a 13" screen. I love it on my iPhone but on iPad Pro it's just ewwwwww (that's the technical term.) My favorite feature of Mission Control is that I can setup multiple workspaces so as an example when I'm working on my Mac I like having Mail and Messages in a Space, Safari in another, Calendar and Reminders in another. On iPad I have my left app and the right app. They are set in stone and if I want to change that I have to close one out and open the other. I also want the Mission Control UI on iPad. I don't want to see full screen previews of my apps, I want to see a thumbnail overview of everything that I have open and the Space they occupy. I love iOS' award winning multitasking where it will freeze apps when put in the background and allow critical services like remote upload and etc to function but those require developer support and after 10 minutes apps fully go dormant except push notifications. This works great for 90% of the time and it's great on battery and system performance. But sometimes I'm doing something and I need to have something run completely in the background. As an example I may be doing a huge file upload and after a certain amount of time that app will go dormant and there's nothing I can do about it. Now let's talk about the Dock. The iPad Dock is pretty much useless though I will say it's nice to see because it reminds me of macOS and thus makes me feel at home. I only have 3 app screens on my home screen and while its nice to get at 6 commonly used apps, it's too f****ng big!!! It's ginormous, it take up an eighth of the screen! I can't stand looking at it sometimes and it can only house 6 apps. I would love if the dock edges curved off like on macOS and both showed user placed apps and open apps. The ones you have chosen to stay running and maybe that would be a really elegant way of making apps run completely in the background. The user would do some sort of gesture and it would add that app to the Dock and then that app would have full multitasking. Possibly add an "Add to Dock" button in the Mission Control I proposed earlier. Even Apple Watch has true app multitasking! Then let the Dock be resized however the user would like it and let it get smaller as it fills up because it wouldn't have a limit. Some could argue that adding Stacks to an iPad Dock would be nice but it's not something I use all the time.

File Management

To bluntly put it. iOS file management sucks. I do like that in iOS 10 iCloud Drive is becoming more of a first class citizen on the operating system. I want Finder. I want full blown macOS Finder on iOS. I want everything that Finder has to offer. Customizable toolbar. Favorites Sidebar. SMB/AFP/FTP file mounting. VNC remote controlling with the ability to control a computer and be controlled. Along with that I want native screen recording. I do a lot of software demonstrations and the fact i have to plug my iPad into a Mac (that let me remind you is less powerful that the iPad Pro) to record the screen is unacceptable. I also do a lot of service support of my family and it would be nice to remote into their devices and help them.

Finder has a lot of amazing tools and the one that would get me to jump up in down the most is local storage mounting through USB, Thunderbolt and FireWire. This is another unacceptable thing for me. I cannot believe that an operating system that's turning 10 years old this year cannot mount local file storage devices. Now I will say that 90% of the people out there should never have to do this because using wired disks is not as stable as using iCloud because if that disk breaks you've lost your data. I mainly want to use an external drive as a scratch disk for video editing. I have 128GB of disk space in my iPad and now iPad Pro can go up to 256GB. That's a crazy amount of storage the majority of consumers will never use but it's not enough to hold footage for a movie especially now that we're moving to use 4K video. One could argue that you could shuffle footage on and off iCloud Drive but that's a lot of work I'd rather not put into a movie when all I want to do is make a movie. I want all of these features tied into a system file manager like Finder that when applications call up the Document Picker it would display a friendly file manager. Steve Jobs is famously quoted for saying that the hardest thing for people to learn on computers is the file browser and he believed it would be great if applications could manage their own files. The problem with that is when other applications want to access that file they have to ask for permission which I am fully okay with but it adds an extra step. One way to get around this is to have the file manager handle permissions. UNIX (which iOS/macOS/tvOS/watchOS are based off of) has a great permissions system which works exactly the same on Linux. The other problem that I can think of is that sometimes I have project files that consist of multiple document types and when applications handle their own document types you cannot group them all together.

macOS 6 introduced a feature called Simple Finder which turned off the complexity of the file system and maybe something like that would be great for iPad. That way grandma and grandpa could have the simple file manager like we have now but for people like me then I could get something more advanced. The last thing I wanted to mention is that when saving a file to iCloud Drive today is that you cannot rename files and when an application calls up Document Picker it just shows a huge list of content where-as before on iOS 9 it would display folders. Now it's nearly impossible to find anything. I find myself mainly putting stuff on my desktop because it's right at the top.

Interfacing with iPad

From day 1 iPad was meant to be a touch based computer with minor hardware keyboard functionality. With the introduction of iOS 9 Apple allowed system wide keyboard shortcuts even to the point where iPad Pro can have a keyboard physically attached. I mostly use iPad Pro propped up with the Smart Keyboard extended and I absolutely love it. There are times where I would like to select an option on the screen and I have to raise my hands to select it. That's not too terrible when it's just one or two things every once and awhile but the same principle stands for iPad as it does on the Mac. Touchscreen desktops are terrible because your arms want to fall off after using them for awhile and thats how I feel with iPad Pro sometimes. I love the touch screen when the device is laying on a surface but in a propped up position it just doesn't work. That's why I would love to be able to hook up a mouse or a trackpad. Think of how great Magic Trackpad would be on iPad Pro. At that point I could just leave it up all day and use it like a desktop but have all that same great iPad functionality. I know Apple doesn't want to build a hybrid operating system but I would personally love more desktop elements on the iPad. This seems like the most appropriate place to mention this, the current day macOS mouse cursor is so outdated to me. I think it should be a little transparent blue dot that the center acts as the center of the mouse click. That just makes more sense to me.

Siri and Notifications

I have more of a bone to pick with Siri than Notifications on iPad because Siri takes up the whole blasted screen! Noooo! I love how Siri acts on macOS. It dropped down from the upper right portion of the screen and you're still able to see your work. I feel notifications would look good if they came from the upper right of the screen like how they're handled on macOS. I think if the iPad is in portrait mode notifications would look good as they currently are but in landscape notifications would look great from the right.


Here's the meat and potatoes of the article for me. The apps I need in order for iPad to become my main computer are true Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Terminal, and Xcode.

Now why did I say "true" photoshop? We have a great application called Pixelmator on iPad. It is fantastic and deserves its own review but it's limited in comparison but it's all we have. I personally use it on a daily basis but wish it had feature-to-feature from the macOS version. At this point I don't care who provides this either Pixelmator or Adobe.

Final Cut Pro just makes sense on iPad. Like I said before, the 2016 MacBook is not as powerful as the iPad Pro and it can run Final Cut without a problem so why can't iPad Pro run it! Partnered with the ability to plug in external storage would make for an incredible editing platform. Directors like taking their MacBooks to video shoots because of how lightweight and powerful it is while the iPad is even more powerful and even more portable. Think of how much adoption from the film industry iPad would have with Final Cut Pro on iPad.

Me personally I do a lot of audio work and while GarageBand has gotten WAY better over the years, its no Logic Pro (which I use exclusively on my iMac.) The ability to conduct a multitrack radio show on the go from iPad would be a game changer for me.

This will be quick (haha), Terminal is something I really love having on my Mac. As an IT professional I do a lot of terminal work and right now there's no tool that can complete. The way I work around this is using an SSH program on iPad and then remoting into my Mac and control its terminal from my iPad. It works but it's not the best solution.

Last but not least, Xcode. As some of you know that I do a lot of application development and I exclusively use Xcode on my Mac. Simply put, I would love to write iOS apps on my iPad so I could test them out natively without having to connect up my iPad to my Mac. I also would love to be able to just take my iPad on a train trip and program right off it. Swift playgrounds is a great first step but it's not true Xcode.


I could write up some long concluding statement but I'll make this short as I'm approaching 2400 words. The iPad Pro hardware is amazing and I love it but software really holds it back from becoming the ultimate computer. I sure hope we see something soon from Apple because I'd love to just take one compute to work instead of two.
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