I tried the iPad-only life for months. Here’s what I found: The iPad gets you about 90% of the way to a laptop. It’s the last 10% of what you might need that is frustrating. For example:
- You can listen to music, but if you want to easily trim that media so you only hear the best parts, the Music app on macOS is what you need.
- Even if Safari identifies itself as a desktop browser, there are still sites that don’t fully work with it.
- I had a PDF that was attached to an email that I was unable to rotate on the iPad without a paid 3rd party app such as GoodReader.
- Another email attachment I wasn’t able to see in iPad Mail until I went to the cloud email portal (which barely worked on the iPad).
- Tax software on the iPad is even more clunky, expensive, and data-loss prone than on macOS.
- I was unable to change the text size of data entered in PDF form fields, thus making a printout of the form unreadable. Had to use a Mac.
- My wife used to love her iPad Pro (it was a lot better than the Windows notebook that made her break down in tears), but now she’s selling it because she outgrew Swift Playgrounds. She wants to make a real app in Xcode.
You may say now that you don’t need to do these things, that these are all edge cases, but you will run into your own edge cases where the iPad falls down and get frustrated. Maybe in a few years, the software will be better. But I suspect the Mac will be best for most use cases for many years to come.