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Can Apple make my dream Mac now?

By Kenny Yeo - on 07 Jun 2021, 9:18am

A render of the rumoured redesigned MacBook Pro. (Image source: MacRumors)

If the rumours are to be believed, Apple will unveil new and more powerful MacBook Pros at WWDC early tomorrow morning. Given the performance of Apple's custom silicon, I doubt these notebooks will be nothing but amazing but they are not the notebooks that I wished Apple made.

My dream Mac is actually very simple. It would be a MacBook Pro with a detachable display. And when you remove the display from the keyboard, it turns into an iPad. Another way to think of it is that it's an iPad running iPadOS that turns into a Mac running macOS when you attach it to a keyboard.

It’s hard to say if Apple has ever thought of making something like this. But even if they did, they could never have made one because Macs ran on Intel and iPads run on Arm. 

Until now.

Last year, Apple decided to ditch Intel and use its own processors in Macs. This meant that for the first time, Macs and iPads are powered by the same type of processor. And to appreciate how amazing Apple’s new processor is, consider that the same M1 processor found in Macs like the new 24-inch iMac and MacBook Pro is also in the latest iPad Pro – a device that’s millimetres thick and with no active cooling system. 

This development is interesting. Apart from the obvious fact that you now have a ridiculously overpowered iPad, it also means that it is technically possible for the iPad Pro to run macOS. 

Many believe that doing so would fix a lot of the issues of the iPad Pro and iPadOS. As powerful and fast as it is, the iPad Pro is hamstrung by iPadOS and all of its quirks and limitations. It’s a common theme that you see in many reviews including mine – the hardware is bleeding fantastic but it’s impeded by its software. 

The iPad Pro is an example of superb hardware that's hobbled by software with odd quirks and limitations.

But simply having an iPad Pro run macOS would introduce new problems. macOS was never designed to be used with a touchscreen. The interface is just not optimised, and so macOS on an iPad would very likely be a terrible experience, if not downright unusable. 

Let’s take a step back. iPadOS is not a terrible OS. If I'm chilling, I'd prefer my iPad to my MacBook Pro. It's great for browsing the web, catching up on emails, and watching shows but it struggles when you want to sit down and really get work done. File management remains iffy, multi-tasking is complicated, and overall, it’s just not as straightforward to use as macOS is. You can make it work but you always need some sort of workaround.

But if you are doing work chances are you’ll be at your desk and your iPad will be docked to a keyboard or some sort of hub. In instances like this, won’t it be great if it ran macOS? Many things would be a lot more straightforward to do.

Such a device won’t even be terribly hard for Apple to design and make. Apple already has the necessary ingredients in place and detachable notebooks aren’t some newfangled thing. 

But one gets the feeling that Apple would rather sell you two devices than a single 2-in-1 device. Let's not kid yourselves, if you run a business, won't you? 

So after tonight, Apple will have likely announced a new MacBook Pro that’s faster and better; Mac fans around the world and I will cheer; and we'll wake up and continue buying Macs and iPads separately. And my perfect Mac will remain a dream.

Kenny Yeo

Kenny Yeo / Associate Editor

Specifications are not everything. It's what you do with what you have that matters.

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