“you can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.” Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said. Years later, the firm is placing the same processor architecture at the core of both the iPad and the Mac, but it also insists they are distinct, complementary gadgets that should remain so.
If Microsoft has proved something with its Surface 2-in-1s over the years, it is that there is a demand for products that combine the best of all worlds: the laptop with its keyboard and clamshell-like construction, and the tablet with its touchscreen, inking capability, and always-on, always wired features.
When Apple moves all of its devices to a single architecture, others have started to challenge the company’s emphasis on holding the Mac and iPad distinct, with little device in between to blur the lines. The new iPad Pro is powered by the same M1 SoC as the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Still, aside from being marginally lighter and fanless, there’s no justification for the MacBook Air to exist, and the iPad Pro lacks the same extensibility and ergonomics as, say, a MacBook Pro.
Apple marketing head Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak and hardware lead John Ternus affirmed the company’s strong decision to hold the two hardware systems apart during an interview with The Independent. They clarified that the key explanation is that Apple is only interested in producing the best product possible in any segment and allowing customers to vote in their wallets.
Simultaneously, they noticed that some users are likely unsure on whether an iPad or a Mac is better for them, whilst others have already incorporated both into their workflow. And, despite the fact that the iPad Pro has recently been more Mac-like than ever, Joz maintains that the two are compatible rather than competitive.
The Verge’s Monica Chin recently suggested that Apple put macOS on the iPad, but even that is impossible. The hardware convergence was always the goal, but just to give the control to iPadOS software developers. Joz acknowledged that businesses such as Adobe and Serif would soon capitalise on this additional strength, but he declined to speculate on whether Apple has anything in store for the tech side of things.