Why I Moved Back to the iPad-Only Lifestyle

This was originally posted for Tablet Habit, the quintessential iPad Newsletter. Subscribe today and save 40% off forever.

I recently sold my MacBook Pro and iPad 7 to buy the new 2020 11” iPad Pro. I also picked up the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. The reason for this was because I wanted to get the best iPad I could and make it my one and only computer.

To rewind a bit, I used to use a 16” MacBook Pro for both my marketing/videography job and for personal use when I could; but when I decided to leave that line of work the MacBook had to be returned to the company. Once that happened I found myself wanting to use my iPad 7 as my main device even though I had the 2017 MacBook Pro as well. Mind you, nothing was wrong with my MacBook Pro, I just felt that the iPad was more my flavor of computing.

Now that I am a month into using my 11” iPad Pro full time, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. When people ask me why I decided to move to the iPad over the Mac it comes down to two reasons: the operating system and what I think the future will be for the platform.

Why iPad OS over macOS

After watching the WWDC keynote this year I realized that while the lines between the Mac and iPad are beginning to blur with the announcement of Apple silicon, these devices are still vastly different from one another.

The biggest difference for me isn’t the apps or the way certain things interact on the screen, it is automation and making these computer do the things that you want them to. Enter Shortcuts, the app formerly known as Workflow that has since been acquired by Apple and added as a mainstay for the iPhone and iPad. Shortcuts is by far and away my favorite app of all time. The reason for this is because it’s allowed me, and others like me, to unlock the full potential of my iOS and iPad OS devices.

To me, that is the difference between a Mac and iPad in a nutshell. If you want to do something for automation on the Mac you can either try using an app like Keyboard Maestro or you will need to know how to code something yourself to make it happen. With Shortcuts you can create your own automation system in a matter of minutes using Lego-style blocks to build on one another. Shortcuts might seem like a rudimentary way to program for those that know how to code, but as someone that has tried learning to code over the years Shortcuts makes more sense to my brain than anything I could write myself.

In fact, it’s the first app I go to when I have an idea to automate or make something I do simpler. When I was using my Mac I felt as if that aspect of computing was unattainable for me. For example, I didn’t know how to write code to edit text the way that I wanted to, and as someone that works with text a lot it seemed inferior to my iPad for that reason. With an iPad I can use Shortcuts and make automated changes to the text in a matter of seconds.

I often would write things on my Mac and reach for my iPhone or iPad just so I can take the text that I spent so much time writing and run it through shortcuts for various things I wanted to do with it rather than fiddle with it on my Mac in hopes to find a solution.

This is not to say that Shortcuts is simple or completely understandable the first go around, but I have spent significantly less time learning Shortcuts than I have trying to learn JavaScript or Swift. It is safe to say that I absolutely have a better grasp on Shortcuts than I do any coding language.

Shortcuts allows the democratization of automation for people like me with no coding experience required. For that reason I chose the iPad over the Mac.

That being said, Shortcuts wasn’t the only reason I chose the iPad over a Mac. The other is where I see the iPad and Mac in the future.

iPad and Mac Futures

My other reason for going with the iPad is because after the announcement of Apple silicon my first thought was that the Mac is going to have a turbulent 2-4 years as they transition from Intel to ARM. I am confident the new ARM Macs will be better for the user in the long run, but as we are in a transition period for the Mac it seems to me that buying a new MacBook isn’t a great idea for the foreseeable future. Yes, Apple did say that they intend to release new Intel Macs before going entirely ARM, but the questions of “Should I buy a Mac right now?” and “What is the best Mac for me?” becomes muddied and difficult to answer for even the most knowledgeable.

On the other side of the coin, there is the iPad lineup–specifically the iPad Pro–that has recently had its 3rd iteration and the addition of one of the best keyboards on the market for any computer. To me, the Mac is on its way to being an amazing machine, but the iPad has already set its own foundation for a fruitful future. I firmly believe that this 2020 iPad can easily be my main computer for 2-4 years without issue, which is something I cannot say about the newest Intel Mac computers out today.

I don’t mean to rain on the Mac parade entirely. I am sure that the transition will be an overall smooth process. In fact it seems that Apple has really taken everything into consideration before officially announcing Apple silicon with Rosetta 2, emulation, and more. That being said, even if the new Macs are indeed amazing I personally will still prefer the iPad Pro over a MacBook Pro because the experience on the iPad is far superior than the Mac for me.

Final Thoughts

A much as this article was about the differences between the Mac and iPad, I don’t want this to be an additional piece of artillery in the war over whether or not the iPad is a worthy Mac alternative or not. To me it is, to others it isn’t; it’s that simple.

For me, I am beyond excited about the switch to the iPad and I absolutely adore my 11” iPad Pro. I can’t wait to push this machine to its limit over the next few years and share with you what I learn and create here on Tablet Habit.

Jeff Perry @jeffperry