If the iPad Pro could do this, I'd give up my MacBook

The iPadOS is holding the iPad Pro back while developing a whole new interface is one option, this solution is much simpler

Apple iPad Pro 2021 12.9 review
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Pro now uses the same M1 chip that features in machines like the MacBook Pro 13, Mac mini and iMac. There's a good reason why in our iPad Pro 12.9-inch review, we gave it five stars. Its biggest downside though is the operating system. The iPadOS is based on the iPhone operating system and while it has been expanded in recent years to allow more functionality, it's still designed for simple tasks. 

So while the iPad Pro can deliver incredible performance for video editing and has an outstanding screen, it never feels as competent as a MacBook Pro. Even though it is. When the details of iPadOS 16 are released at WWDC in June, it's likely that we will see an extension of its abilities to multi-task and behave more like a laptop when used with a keyboard. However, the iPadOS needs to work with all current iPads, including the A13-powered ones. 

Unless Apple offers yet another OS variation, specifically for the iPad Pro models, as Mark Gurman from Bloomberg suggests in this week's email, the scope of the changes will still be limited. While it's not impossible that an iPadProOS could happen, I feel there's a simpler option, even if it's not as slick. 

Apple Pencil with iPad Pro and keyboard

Who needs a MacBook?

(Image credit: Apple)

What I'm suggesting is a form of dual-booting OS options. This would mean that you can run the iPad Pro in either the simplified iPadOS mode or in a full version of MacOS. The complication is that programs won't work across both operating systems, and so there will be some doubling up but ultimately most users are likely to pick one or the other. 

A longer-term solution would be a viewing mode for MacOS that is more tablet-friendly (and supports touchscreen). That way, there would be no need for the dual-booting option. However, this may be a few years away. 

Tablets like the iPad Pro are able to function more like laptops, and laptops are starting to function more like tablets. It can't be long before we get the first MacBook with a touchscreen. When that happens, you should have an OS that can run as easily on an iPad Pro. 

Maybe the iPad Pro only has a limited life, as future generations of MacBook Pro will work independently as a tablet, with a removable or connectable keyboard. Or maybe a 2-in-1 MacBook Pro will keep the iPad branding. Either way, the hybrid machine has a big future and if it can do everything my current laptop can do, I'd take one tomorrow. 

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.