Jason Snell speaking about the reveal of what would become the M series chips in the iPad Pro:

But that boast also drew the iPad into direct comparisons with PC laptops, and while its sheer hardware power might have defeated most of those laptops, power isn’t everything. It’s what you do with the power. And in many ways, that’s been the story of the iPad Pro since then: This is a device with computer power, but running a phone-adapted operating system that’s not nearly as capable or flexible as macOS. And thanks to the Apple silicon transition, today’s core iPad Pro hardware is almost indistinguishable from the chips that power a MacBook Air.

Jason goes on to talk about the time he spent trying to make the iPad his full-time device, which he eventually gave up on. I also spent that time working to get it to be my device for programming and me regular day job. I even was able to make it work for a few months with a 10” iPad Pro and then another time for a few months with the 12” M1 iPad Pro I still use today.

I love the form factor of the iPad today but the operating system is far too limiting to be my daily driver. I don’t even mind Stage Manager in principle, but it’s no power user window manager1.

My next tablet isn’t going to be an iPad though, I’ve got a StarLite Linux based tablet coming any week now which I’ll spend same time putting through it’s paces. Over the last year as I’ve used Linux more and more there are so many features I love about the operating system and in many ways it’s so far ahead of macOS that Apple’s operating system feels like playing in the kid playground.

No I don’t expect the StarLite to be as powerful as the M1 iPad Pro I have. I don’t expect the screen to be as nice either, but I’ll be able to install whatever Linux operating system I want on it. I’ll be able to run a web server and program anything I want. I’ll be able to pull out the SSD in it and swap in a new one if I need more storage.

I love the form factor of the iPad Pro, I just don’t think Apple has the right idea on how the operating system works for my use case.

  1. For that you need to head to Linux and see all the options that are available. macOS doesn’t hold a candle either to what can be done on Linux. ↩︎