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iPad to Mac – making the big switch

iPad life has taken a grip on me

iPad with M4 Apple Silicon

Here is something I never thought I’d be saying, but I’m hardly touching my Macs these days!

It’s been roughly 6 weeks since I started to use my M4 iPad Pro and it’s honestly delivered in virtually every area – overdelivered even. I remember going to Apple Battersea to buy it filled almost with dread.

All I had ever heard about the iPad was negatives – the woeful file management, a poor OS and no meaningful multi-tasking workflow. All I can say is I think folks are looking for it to be something it’s not. The iPad is not attempting to be a Mac – but it is a bloody great tablet.

I’ve not switched full-time to iPad – this is not one of those clickbait stories of a lifelong Mac user switching to iPad. It’s just me saying that I’ve been reaching for it more and more over the past few weeks and apart from a few pinch points there have been precious few horror stories.

There is though one ongoing niggle that I have – and I’ll mention that later on…

iPad FAQ’s

When I’ve made content about living with the iPad, there seem to be some questions that I get asked regularly so I thought it might be worth covering those now.

Firstly why did I choose the specs that I went for?

It didn’t take me long to decide I would go with the 1 TB model and there were two main drivers behind that decision. It meant I would be getting the fully unbinned chip – giving me a 10-core CPU with 4 performance cores & 6 efficiency cores and a 10-core GPU.

AI and Apple Intelligence are only going to go one way and the demands will become ever greater. By going with the unbinned chip it means I am future-proofed which is a big thing to me. And of course, with 1 TB it means I don’t have to worry about what I throw at it and what files I have in the Files app etc.

The accessories make the tablet though.

When I bought the pencil I didn’t think I’d be using that much – as it turns out I love it and it quickly became a very natural way to work with the tablets UI. The keyboard remains one of the very best keyboards out there and makes working on it a total joy.

As for the OLED display – it’s every bit as gorgeous as you’ve probably heard. By a long way, it’s the best display I’ve ever used. Do yourself a favour, if you have not seen one yet, get down to your local Apple Store and prepare to be blown away!

I also went with the largest size iPad when it came to the display – I have the 13-inch model simply because I’m a sucker for a large screen.

The Mac is still here

As I said, I’m not ditching the Mac – but I now have a choice of working on a Mac with macOS or an iPad with iPadOS.

I don’t want macOS on my iPad and I don’t want a touchscreen on my Mac. They are different yet similar – we are all Apple users right, so switching between the two is not that hard. Learn to appreciate the strengths and differences.

When do I use a Mac? Primarily now I use them only for audio and video editing. I edit audio in Adobe Audition which isn’t available on iPad. Final Cut is, and it works great, but it is limited by the fact that currently there is no ability to use plug-ins.

Outside of that though, the main reason I’d always edit audio & video on the Mac is because of screen size. I edit on a 27-inch Studio Display and for that kind of work, a large screen is massively important.

Apps

Part of the bad press that the iPad gets I don’t think is the fault of the iPad itself, but rather that developers are not utilising the unique advantages that the iPad offers.

It looks to me as if iPad is bouncing back in popularity and is about to become more mainstream- maybe that will be incentive enough for the devs to put more time and effort into their iPad apps.

When apps get it right though they are special and show what the iPad has to offer. Three of my favourites so far Safari, Lightroom & Final Cut.

Safari feels and looks exactly as it does on the Mac – it’s quick, efficient and behaves just like the Mac version. Lightroom works because of the pencil. Making edits and grading with it feels easier and more natural on the iPad than it does on the Mac.

As for Final Cut – although as I said you don’t get the full-blown version on the iPad, Apple has played to its strengths in the version you do get. It’s intuitive, easy to pick up and utilises the screen size brilliantly. Weirdly, it doesn’t feel cramped editing on the 13-inch display. Editing video on that OLED display – well that is sheer heaven.

That problem

Earlier on I mentioned there was one ongoing issue…and it’s the battery life.

Apple claims you’ll get up to 10 hours of general use out of the 13-inch M4 iPad Pro but I can tell you in the real world that is a flight of fancy. You can work for a decent time – I’d say around 6-7 hours but after that, you’ll notice yourself taking a bit more interest in what battery you have left.

Apple shot themselves in the foot here. For whatever reason they decided to go with the ultra-slim 5mm design. I’d have been more than happy if Apple had decided to make the iPad 2mm or 3mm thicker and used a larger physical battery cell to give us a much-improved on-time.

History reminds us that slim Apple devices haven’t got the best track record and with the rumours that the iPhone is about to go the same way it could be a cause for concern – even with Apple silicon.

iPad is getting a lot right at the moment. The M4 Apple silicon chip makes this the quickest of all my devices to use and now I’m getting used to working on an iPad – I’m loving it.

I think that the iPad is finally growing into its skin and finding its niche. It’s taken too long but now it’s fairly clear to see the place that Apple feels the iPad fits into its lineup.

iPad – the best is yet to come.

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