Apple is falling behind. No matter how much they try to convince us that their iPad Pro is a replacement for a laptop, consumers just aren’t buying it. No matter how much Apple tries to tell us that the touchpad on the MacBook and MacBook Pro are better than having a touch-enabled screen, people keep turning to touch-enabled PCs by Microsoft, Dell, and others.
Proof (although admittedly unscientific) that Apple is failing its notebook market can be seen by going to a Starbucks, Coffee Bean, or any place where a lot of people sit with laptops. About five years ago, everybody had some type of MacBook device. PCs just weren’t cool anymore; they were just for people in IT departments. Now, if you go to one of these places, you’ll still see MacBook Devices. But you are also guaranteed to see PC devices by Microsoft (the Surface Pro is very popular), Dell (The XPS 13 has been a hit since 2015) HP, or Lenovo.
At the beginning of 2017, Alex Hen from the Guardian wrote an interesting article on why, as a MacBook user, he was tempted to go back to using a PC.
In December of 2016, Sascha Segan from PCMag discussed why he left the Mac world to buy a Surface Book.
“While the new MacBook Pros are slim, powerful machines with great screens, I just couldn’t get with the super-flat keyboards,” Segan notes, adding that he loves the Surface Book’s touchscreen, the ability to take digital notes, and the “divine” keyboard.
Apple will tell you that the Touch Bar, an OLED strip stretched across its new MacBook Pro devices, is a great substitute for a touchscreen. However, the Touch Bar has ended up being (mostly) a gimmick. You can do many things with keyboard shortcuts that you can do with the Touch Bar. In fact, the keys that the Touch Bar replaced on the top row were just as functional, though not as cool.
Of course, anybody that wants an Apple touchscreen device can just go to the iPad Pro. Both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch versions are beautiful devices perfect for consumption. However, the fact that they run Apple’s mobile iOS makes it difficult to use them as content creation devices. In some cases, you can use your iPad Pro as a MacBook or PC replacement – but you will have a very difficult time in doing so.
It’s baffling while Apple doesn’t use the iPad Pro hardware, but load it with MacOS rather than iOS. They can still sell a folding keyboard cover, but they would need to improve the keys. What would be even easier is if Apple kept making MacBook devices but provided them with a touchscreen. They can even make them compatible with the Apple Pencil, the best stylus device on the market. If Dell and Lenovo can make foldable laptops, Apple can also do the same with the MacBook.
Apple will eventually have to give in and build a device to compete with Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Surface Book. The iPad Pro is certainly not that device. The sooner Apple gives in, the better. And there will certainly be people lining up on the day the new “MacBook Touch” is released.