iPad Pro ad gets people asking what a computer really is

As we've said before, mobile devices, smartphones and especially tablets, have redefined what personal computing is for people. Before, computers, specifically PCs, were associated with barely movable contraptions with a display, keyboard, and pointing device, usually a mouse. Today, however, almost everyone has a computer in their pocket or bag. Apple provokes that very same shift in thinking in its latest iPad Pro, practically equating the iPad Pro with the common notion of a computer. In other words, the "ultimate PC replacement", as it claimed before.

To be fair, Apple isn't exactly the first to make such a bold claim for a tablet. Microsoft has been trying to sell that idea with every Surface tablet iteration. Arguably, Apple's take with the iPad Pro is different in that this is a really portable tablet and one that ran, and is limited by, a mobile tablet operating system.

In its newest iPad Pro ad, Apple equates a computer with a device that has a keyboard and a display. Both conditions are met by the iPad Pro, albeit only with an accessory. But unlike a conventional computer, Apple shows how the keyboard gets out of the way and the display can be touched or written on, implying how the iPad Pro surpasses computers.

The ad ends by asking what a computer would be capable of if it were an iPad Pro. By now, most probably know the answer to that already. Depending on your exact use cases or need, the pendulum swings between "Not Much" and "Everything". iOS has matured to a point where doing common productive and creative tasks is not only possible but sometimes even pleasant. There are even ways to go around iOS' limitations to do rather crazy things, like creating games with Codea or writing programs with Pythonista.

Still, the iPad Pro and iOS won't be everything to everyone, which is probably where it fails the computer litmus tests. Portability and size considerations aside, a convetional computer, like a desktop or laptop, is a general purpose machine that can handle any task you throw at it. It might not be a fair comparison, considering the difference in specs and price between a desktop and tablet. But when you start comparing a tablet to a computer, you're bound to hit that wall sooner or later.

Still, it would defintely be interesting if, in the future, a tablet as thin and light as an iPad Pro could really do everything.