Before I begin this piece, I must admit that I have been a big proponent of hybrid notebooks, like the Microsoft Surface and have wanted Apple to take this direction with iPads for the longest time. The iPad Pro which Apple launched a couple of years ago was a case of Apple listening to its long-time users who longed for a more functional experience allowing the iPad to be used in a work space, managing heavy duty workloads. The keyboard, and the larger canvas made things more palatable for such users, however, the consensus was that Apple hadn’t done enough to iOS, the operating system underpinning the tablet, to make it an ideal fit for a workspace environment. But that’s not the case anymore after having used iOS 11, in a beta state albeit, for the last week or so on my iPad Pro. It closes the gap between what one can achieve on macOS, while offering the portability and straight forward no-nonsense usability of the iPad. For a journalist like me, this truly makes the iPad Pro a legit ultrabook replacement as I haven’t lugged around my MacBook Pro in the last week or so, for work. Let me explain this in greater detail.

Powerful AF

1/5Powerful AF
Powerful AF
One of the beauties of Apple’s mobile products that are based on iOS is that they powerful as f**k. These bad boys are the fastest mobile devices in the world, bar none. And while this has always been true of the iPad Pro, the fact was that one couldn’t harness its full power since iOS 10 and its earlier incarnations were pretty limiting. That’s not the case anymore. Underlying technologies like Metal 2 boost graphics performance by leaps and bounds allowing for desktop class applications. There’s the new Apple file system which makes things even more faster and lastly there is AR kit which will enable amazing augmented reality applications.

Almost PC like

2/5Almost PC like
Almost PC like
You get a Mac like dock on the bottom end, which can be summoned with a simple swipe and multitasking has been super-charged. While it does retain the simplicity of an iPad, iOS 11 adds a dimension to the device which makes it almost PC like. Besides the dock on the bottom, you can drag and drop files, have multiple windows open together and pinned together in the spaces view. It is all very simple and functional.

Files

3/5Files
Files
Perhaps the biggest new addition to iOS 11 is the new files app which is available for both the iPhone and the iPad. This app not only shows what’s there on the iPad - locally, but also plugs into cloud services like Apple’s own iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and even Box. You get nested folders, previews and recents all collated in a very logical manner. This is what makes this a true personal computer.

Screenshots and Notes

4/5Screenshots and Notes
Screenshots and Notes
Screenshots are part and parcel of work, however on the iPad now these screenshots can be coolly annotated, cropped and deleted on the fly. On the notes app, Apple is now using OCR technology to understand what you’re writing and it understands it to the point that it is also surfaced in spotlight search on an operating system level. Apple has also added a Microsoft Office Lens like feature inside the notes app which can scan documents and quickly turn them into PDF allowing for annotation.

What’s missing

5/5What’s missing
What’s missing
If there is one feature that one longs for is support for a mouse. If Apple adds mousing to the iPad, it will become almost the perfect ultrabook replacement. Perhaps, Apple isn’t doing this because the iPad may start eating into Mac sales considering it is very powerful, however that kind of thing has never deterred Apple from adding new features to its products. Regardless, iOS 11 is a transformative update for the iPad which makes it more PC like than ever before and for a writer like me, I seriously don’t need anything more than the iPad Pro now. It’s light, fast, and superbly functional. Yippie, I don’t need to lug around my notebook, because now the iPad Pro can mostly get all my work done, and these days I don’t even miss the accessories as increasingly the world is pivoting to wireless technologies.