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If the iPad will never be the Mac, should the Mac be a better iPad?

There’s an ongoing debate about the future of the iPad and Mac as separate platforms. In a new column for Macworld, Jason Snell perfectly outlines the current state of both platforms, suggesting the iPad and Mac are “on a collision course, and something needs to change.”

“Apple’s PC and tablet are on a collision course, and something needs to change”

Snell explains how Apple has focused on slowly making the iPad more Mac-like, but has stopped short of it reaching the “promised land.” On the flip side, the Mac has “failed to pick up many features from the iPad.” Keeping the product lines separate, he suggests, is starting to “harm the futures of both products.”

The solution? He writes:

I want to see what happens when the walls come down. Today’s iPad Pro is powered by the same chip that’s in the MacBook Air. Would it be such a cataclysm if I could simply reboot that iPad into macOS or run macOS inside a virtual machine?

Likewise, what if the Mac had a touchscreen and Apple Pencil support and came in shapes that weren’t the traditional laptop? What if the Mac began to offer the ergonomic flexibility that iPadOS is so good at? What if I ripped the keyboard off a MacBook and had the option to switch to a touch-based mode that was essentially iPadOS?

I’m not quite saying that macOS and iPadOS need to merge together. But I am starting to wonder if users would be better served if the iPad Pro could be more like a Mac and the MacBook could be more like an iPad Pro. (Of course, in this scenario, there would also still be traditional laptops running macOS and lower-end iPads running iPadOS).

I couldn’t agree more with what Snell suggests in this column. In a world where the Mac is better than ever thanks to Apple Silicon, and the iPad Pro is teetering right on the edge of crossing into the so-called “promised land,” it’s time for the walls to come down.

“As long as the Mac and the iPad aren’t allowed to use the strengths of one another, I fear that neither will become the best version of themselves,” Snell says.

The full column is well worth a read and available on the Macworld site. You can hear Jason discuss this column in more details on the latest episode of the Upgrade podcast on Relay FM.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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