Thoughts of Simon: Apple, iOS and the death of the laptop
So, my predictions for the next 12 months...
Apple have already confirmed that their “...first ARM-based Mac...” will be available by the end of the year. They’ve all but confirmed that it will be a Mac Mini so that developers can speed up the process of migrating software from Intel to ARM. However, the most accurate rumour mills are already saying that there’s evidence that the next MacBook Air may arrive by winter or early next year with an arm chip along with an ARM-based MacBook Pro 14.
Here’s some capitals: NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME TO BUY A MAC :)
Some stats for context:
The latest iPad Pro 13 is a minor upgrade over the 2018 that I have. On Geekbench, the single/multi core performance of a MacBook Pro 13 is 859/3621. The MacBook Air is 1076/2350. The iPad Pro is 1116/4686! Real world testing exporting 4k video shows the iPad to be substantially quicker than the MacBook Pro and Air. These iPads are THRASHING computers in terms of performance.
So when ARM-based Macs come out, they will be running a version of OSX that will, to all intents and purposes, be iPadOS and presumably sport similar performance figures to iPads. You can already run iPad apps on the MacBook. This will be the start of the full fusion between the two operating systems which we’ve seen coming since OSX Mountain Lion.
It’s my view, therefore, that a MacBook Air next year will be running a similar operating system to an iPad. There will be a massive blurring of the lines between the OS they both run. The following year, the blur will be greater and within 3 years the OS will be the same. Quite simply the MacBook Air (and by then probably all MacBooks) will be iPad Pros with an attached keyboard.
You can already buy a multitude of excellent keyboards for the iPad Pro. Since iPadOS 13.5 it fully supports all mouse and keyboard functionality. When iPadOS 14 comes out, you will be able to write in ALL text fields using your pencil and OCR will convert it to text on the fly. So the current switching between using one’s pencil and finger will be gone - the last mild annoyance banished forever.
So why on earth would you want to buy an 'old-fashioned' laptop computer running a flavour of UNIX, when for slightly more money, you can have a tablet with the most astonishing performance, vastly improved battery life, better screen, the incredible Apple pencil, a touchscreen, and have technology that laptops are only just beginning to catch up to? The CHOICE of whether or not to attach a keyboard, the CHOICE of using a mouse, a pencil, a trackpad or a finger, a CHOICE of fashionable accessories....
The ONLY disadvantage to the iPad Pro at the moment is the smaller pool of “professional” software. And by next year, once developers have migrated software for ARM-based Macs, it will become available on iPads. And - to put it in perspective - 90% of the software I use today works perfectly on the iPad.
My MacBook Pro will probably be the last laptop I ever own. I made a mistake when I bought it. I should have bought this iPad and a cheaper Mac Mini for big screen use. Maybe next year, Apple will support multiple resolutions for external monitors on iPadOS. Combine that with a release of VMware fusion for the iPad and I will simply not need a 'computer' at all.