Over at the Mac Power Users forum iPad user and enthusiast Tom asks:

Why do we even want the iPad to be able to stand alone and serve as a replacement to our Macs?

And then:

What is it about the iPad that makes people want it so much?

It's a fun and thoughtful post explaining what it is about the iPad that he most enjoys.

For me it goes back to Apple's first iPad and the Keyboard Dock. It was, and is, that the iPad starts as a hand held tablet. I love that form factor. A slab of thin glass and aluminum that is the computer. To this day I still marvel at the simplicity of it. The iPhone never hit me the same way and in fact I didn't get my first iPhone until 2012. I always felt the screen was too small and still do. It has it's place and its uses but for me that's when I'm out on a walk or engaged in other outdoor activity. But that's a very specific role.


Going back to Steve Jobs' positioning of the iPad during his keynote introduction of it, it's the device in the middle. The iPad, with its larger screen, felt like a real computer without the attached baggage of a keyboard getting in the way. The iPad as a transformer, a modular computer that fits into my environment in ways other computers cannot.

Right now I have it attached to stand that's connected to the shelf next to my futon. I have a similar stand attached to my desk. This allows the iPad to be elevated and moved around to a variety of angles and heights. I've got it elevated to eye level, 16" above my lap where I've got a keyboard/trackpad. The stand has a magnetic attachement for the iPad so I can pull the iPad off easily to move, hand hold it or pop it into the Magic Keyboard. It is the hub of any configuration. The only limit is my imagination and willingness to experiment... well, that and available accessories. I have imagined so many more than currently exist. More than anything I want exactly what Microsoft is offering with the new Surface: a thin keyboard/trackpad combo that connects via Bluetooth. If the Logitech Combo Touch had Bluetooth it would be that.

Touch and multitasking

Interacting via touch has never gotten old. Instantly natural and magical. Like something that shouldn't be possible but is. That's the delight. It's magic paper. That's the connection you describe. Multitasking via touch gestures continues to be a delightful experience and is central to productivity and enjoyment in my use of the iPad.

App ecosystem

My dock is bursting with apps that get daily use. Over the years I've rarely had a problem finding an app solution for what I've needed. It's generally the case that there are several apps to choose from for any particular task I need to do. And it's generally true that a well done, built-for-iPad app doesn't feel like a compromise. The last gap in my toolset was filled by Affinity Publisher in the fall of 2022. Like the other Affinity apps, it sets the bar for what's possible with a "desktop class" app. The opposite approach to that taken by Adobe.


It's become a common request that Apple make a touch MacBook or allow macOS to be installed on iPads. Would I switch to macOS if it were available as an option on the iPad? No. I've come to prefer iPadOS and with each year I enjoy it more as Apple has taken steps to expand it's capabilities. My experience has been made much better by the addition of macOS-like features to iPadOS for those that want them. I think of it as two modes of the same OS. The original basic experience for those that want that and the more advanced Mac-inspired mode that's been added over the past 3-5 years. Most notably, the addition of cursor support, Stage Manager, external display support, and the improved Files app have created a far more capable, flexible experience in iPadOS.

Speaking of Files, just today I learned that Files in iPadOS 18 will be able to erase and reformat hard drives. A feature too small that Apple didn't mention it during the WWDC Keynote. But this is exactly what we can expect: year by year, Apple keeps adding features to close the previous gaps.