So Apple went and announced Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro to the iPad. Finally, Pro Apps on the iPad, I hear you say, and all announced ahead of WWDC, which is interesting in itself.
In previous years, bringing Final Cut and Logic Pro to the iPad would be reserved for WWDC, so this begs the question: What else could we be seeing coming our way? Will the focus firmly be shifted to the impending introduction of VR?
There is also the bigger question for me which is, does this then mean that we are one step closer to the iPad replacing your MacBook? We are indeed one step closer, and for some people, the answer will be Yes. In this post, I want to look.
- The Introduction of FCP
- The reason why it could replace a Laptop
- Why it may not be quite there yet
So let’s look into each of these in a bit more detail.
Final Cut Pro introduced to iPad:
First up, what iPads will be compatible with Final Cut? Well, you will need to have an iPad that is packing at least an M1 chip. So that would be the iPad Pro (M1 & M2 in both sixes) and the 5th generation iPad Air. So if you don’t have one of these and want to have Final Cut Pro on your iPad, it might be time to look at upgrading.
In terms of pricing, you have two options.
- Monthly Subscription (£4.99)
- Pay Yearly (£49)
As with Final Cut Pro on the Mac, you will also get the option to have a one-month free trial and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you? It would be nice to have access to Final Cut on the iPad for free if you already have the Mac version, but alas, that is not for the moment and will probably not be something we will see anytime soon.
It’s pretty clever, to be fair, as Apple knows that users of Final Cut have been crying out for it to be on their iPads. The pricing is also not too expensive, so all in all, the pricing is not too bad.
You will be able to do all of what you can on the Mac version of FCP. In fact that there is a new interface that has been reimagined for the iPad to bring the ease of the touch screen and the Apple Pencil to the table as well.
You will also be able to use your iPad camera, so there will be no need to transfer videos from your camera if you want to use just your iPad. Effectively shoot and edit with when and where you want with just one device sounds appealing.
There also seems to be a leaning toward short-form content, but this is another marketing angle for driving more content creators to FCP.
Can we start thinking of the iPad as a real replacement for our laptops? There are certainly enough reasons to suggest that it could, for instance
Apple Magic Keyboard
The fact that you can get a great keyboard that you can attach to your iPad really does change the way in which it can be used. Rather than just using your iPad for consuming content such as Netflix or YouTube a keyboard can turn your iPad into a great writing tool. I use it to journal as well as write my blog posts.
External monitor support
With iOS16 came external monitor support, which is excellent if you like to work on a larger monitor. You can now hook up your iPad to your monitor and work away. You can also use your iPad as a second monitor in this instance without having to use universal control.
The battery life on the iPad is good. I am not sure that it can rival the battery life of the MacBook Pro, but it’s still going to last for most of the things you are going to want to do. Another benefit is that if you need to charge your iPad when you are out and about, you will not have to carry a big charging brick with you, making it more portable. Leading is into the next Pro.
A big selling point for laptops is the portability. However, in recent years the size and weight of laptops have increased if I look at the 16in MacBook Pro, it’s a bit of a beast. Granted, you can invest in smaller laptops, such as the MacBook Air or something like a Chromebook.
The iPad, therefore, gives you the ultimate portability. It’s small and lightweight and can easily fit into your bag without breaking your back if you are walking around a lot. I would say, though, If you are looking at replacing your laptop with an iPad, go for the 12.9-inch rather than the 11-inch version. This will give you that bit more screen real estate.
Why it’s not quite there yet
Although there are many points to suggest that the iPad is capable, there are still points to suggest that it’s not quite there yet and may prevent some laptop users from taking the plunge and going iPad only.
File Management has come a long way with updates to iSO, but it’s still not as robust and easy to use as file management on a laptop. I miss how much easier it is to organise your files on a laptop, and I will very rarely use files on my iPad.
With the introduction of Stage Manager in iOS 16, I was really hopeful that we would have true multitasking on the iPad. Personally, I haven’t taken to Stage Manager and find it awkward to use to the point where I actually have turned it off. The only thing that I can say I enjoyed with its introduction is that you have the more space option in your display settings; you could make your text a bit smaller, like on your MacBook. Resizing Apps and Windows on a MacBook is so easy, and you can also get apps like Magnet that can make it even easier.
I don’t know how valid this is now with Cloud Storage and being able to use an external hard drive with your iPad. But of course, you will get more build storage with a Laptop than you are going to get with iPad. Who knows, the storage options on new iPads may increase to cater for Pro Apps starting to make an appearance.
It’s exciting that we are finally seeing Pro Apps that move us one step closer to having your iPad as your main device rather than supplementing your Laptop. I will undoubtedly be giving Final Cut Pro on iPad a go with the free month’s trial to see if it benefits my workflow.
In terms of going to iPad only, I don’t know. I think that it is still very much based on your use case. If you mainly stream content, journal and use the occasional app like Google Sheets etc., then yes, I think you can. If you need to do anything more extensive, it is possible, but it’s not as easy and frictionless as using a laptop. I try and use my iPad as much as I can, but for things like uploading blogs and making digital templates then, I go to my Laptop. Maybe this will change in the not-so-distant future. Watch this space!