You have no doubt seen the ads from Apple the last few weeks proposing that you can give up your notebook computer for an iPad Pro.
There are some obvious advantages right out of the box. A tablet is thinner, lighter, and generally has a longer battery life. My 3 ½ year old iPad Air can still go for days on a charge with heavy usage. What makes an iPad Pro – Pro? The magic is in the pen. These are more than just rubber-tipped stylus you find at the office supply store. The pen available for the iPad Pro is much more accurate than a traditional passive stylus. It also works with any app versus some Bluetooth styluses which generally work only with certain apps such as the Evernote family of apps.
File storage is likely one of the largest challenges in replacing your notebook computer. Even if your MAC or Windows you are likely used to a robust file storage system. On the iPad, you are stuck with a few cloud-based services including iCloud that may or may not work with some or all apps. Each app developers seems to focus on including some but not all cloud sharing services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. It is also impossible to transfer files via a USB thumb drive on an iPad.
Another challenge is what we call legacy apps or software. Maybe your company uses a proprietary software package or something that is older that is not cloud-based. You could be stuck not being able to access data in these legacy apps if they have developed an iOS app and cloud connectivity. A work around some use is connecting to a remote desktop either provided by your company or yourself. You can connect to most corporate remote desktop services via an app such as Microsoft Remote Desktop client. Beware these desktops are not touch optimized and can be challenging to use in a touch-based world even with a pen.
What about cost? A standard 15.6” notebook computer with 4 hours of battery life running an i5 processor will run around $750 with Windows 10 Pro and a good warranty. A 12.9” iPad Pro with 256 GB of storage and Cellular connection will cost about $1129. If you can live with Wi-Fi only and just 32 GB, you can get out the door for $799. The Apple Pencil is not included and will set you back an additional $99. The smart keyboard costs an additional $169. If your following along at home that runs from $1067 to $1397. That high-end price is in the neighborhood of convertible computers such as the Lenovo Yoga line.
It comes down to convenience versus functionality. A lower-priced iPad can be a great road warrior, but we are not sure if it can replace a notebook computer for everyone. Of course, if you fly a lot it might be worth not pulling out your device for the TSA bag scan. They make you pull out notebook computers but not tablets.
There are other options such as convertible notebooks and tablets that run Windows 10. We will cover those in the next few weeks.