iPad Pro with "Pro Mode" and/or dual booting Mac OS?

So given the rampant rumors of late of the so-called pro mode for the iPad pro that could be enabled by attachment to a “magic keyboard” and the corresponding discussions I’ve had with some here privately, as well as with some of our customers I thought I’d create a thread to corral them a bit as well as share some thoughts and questions.

  1. How much would you be willing to pay for such a device? Apple has a history of creating "aspirational " devices that serve as “halo” devices for the general line, which in themselves they don’t necessarily expect to sell in large number,s but boost sales across the product line. The iMac G4 Cube is a notable example IMHO.

So with that general intro, my initial thought would be I’d go as high as $3k with the large caveat that it would have to be much more than just the current iPad Pro being able to dual boot Mac OS and IOS.

  1. Crucially related to the above, would you buy it, if it truly REQUIRED the magic keyboard. In other words what if touch wasn’t available when running MacOS ?

I’ve heard repeatedly from multiple sources, what a large undertaking it would be to add real touch functionality to Mac OS not to mention 3rd party apps.

Of course it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple has been doing something similar to what they allegedly did with the M1 which was working on it for nearly a decade prior to actually releasing it. And even if that was the case, great for the OS itself and Apple’s own apps, but what about the whole ecosystem of third party apps?

Ok, enough preamble, lets discuss :slight_smile:


Price - I’d agree with $3000 with following requirements:

Must be REAL MacOS - I would be satisfied with dual boot functionality

Must include touch (don’t care if touch targets are too small, so long as I can scroll and pinch to zoom) - I think it will have that as an offshoot of the first generation mouse support - it was merely replicating touch on the screen elements

Magic Keyboard needs redesign to be less bulky, lighter, and screen leans back more for typing comfort

Minimum 16gb/1tb at that price

Would pay to add 5g, but feel at $3000 they should include that as well (BUT THEY WON’T)

My guess is total out the door, with 5g, keyboard, and pencil, is closer to $3500 :astonished: :scream: :cry:

PS - my guess is it will be limited to the minLED 12.9" model, which at current price with all my other requirements and add ons is $2477. Maybe they could bring it in at $3000… :vb-surrender:

PPS - I’ll even give up my claim to the name “MacPad” for that Timmy… :rofl:


I don’t see why adding touch is a big deal — it’s another cursor/input — when in touch mode, make all the targets obnoxiously large for folks who have trouble w/ it. That said, if you have access to an Apple Pencil, then hitting input elements precisely shouldn’t be an issue.

  1. What I would pay would depend on the specs — I’d certainly be willing to pay more than the $2,495 which was what my 128K Mac cost, and for the right specs, would probably pay more than $COST of current MacBook + $COST of current iPad

  2. I’d be fine if one could just scroll w/ touch and used the Apple Pencil for everything else


One more thought on this. I think it’s extremely unlikely Apple would ever offer a dual boot option because it would create what is many Apple engineer’s favorite word right now which is “friction”.

In other words, what it you power up the device with the keyboard attached but intend to use it in tablet mode, or vice versa. Even "switching " the OS on the fly wouldn’t work as both take a significant amount of time to load, though they have improved that generally of late.

So to that end, It would seem to me that the answer they would pursue is to unify the OS and make them one and the same on mac and iPad. And that would seem to be a huge undertaking given things like rosetta and so forth. Not impossible of course, and by using the same processors. they have already cleared a major hurdle.

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But look how that turned out for Wallace in the end…

Since M1 Macs are supposed to be able to run iPad apps native, why not just demand developers enable that for all their apps?

Some but far from all. And those that require touch? I know some don’t believe it, but there is more to it than just “won’t”.

Plus I’d bet money that the bigger challenge would be all the Mac stuff that couldn’t run on IOS without a major overhaul, and I’d also bet money that a “one OS” solution would have a lot more in common with IOS.

Legacy is a PITA, just ask Microsoft.


Given the iPad Pro 12.9 and the Macbook Air both command the same $999-ish price point, Pricing a Dual Booting iPad past 2K would be a mistake. It would be the better purchase to just get Both the Mac Air and the iPad Pro since for the purpose of the Mac you could at least use the iPad in Sidecar and have some dual monitor action.

Maybe if they could cram a M1 Max or Ultra that could command a higher then 2K price point, but with the iPads form factor it will likely always be low-end/air Mac level.

However if it could only be used exclusively with a Magic keyboard that would be a deal breaker. Magic keyboards ok, but I rather have the freedom to use what ever keyboard I want. And if we are talking an approximation of M1 level, there would be no reason they can’t scale the access down as far as the iPad Mini 6. Granted thats not M1 (not yet), but from what I’ve been able to gather it should perform close enough. I use both the iPad Pro 12.9 and Mini 6 for sidecar purposes already, so If I could load full MacOS, I’d want that on my Mini just as bad as my 12.9 Pro.

Pen and Touch support would also need to be enabled. Apple has had more then enough time to figure that out for the MacOS side and its the one area is trailing behind Windows In. That would be a step they need to take.

Also, it would need external Monitor Support beyond Sidecar. At least 1 proper external monitor. If they do limit this to the Magic Keyboard where the keyboard would act as a Dock of sorts, it would need 2-4 USB-C thunderbolt ports.


Why not try something simple and yet inobvious?

Since the iPod Touch is gone, go all in on my idea of using the iOS device for input — make a MacBook which is in two parts, like to the previous generation Surface Book:

  • screen unit contains CPU and storage and memory and half the battery
  • keyboard unit contains GPU and lots of ports and half the battery

Market an optional connector which allows replacing the keyboard unit w/ an iPad — SideCar and so forth should then really make sense and be ripe for expansion — add an on-screen keyboard utility which will load automatically when coupled, but which can bet set to use only half the screen (allowing the other half for iOS apps) or easily hidden.

Mac screen supports Apple Pencil (as cursor input, and for handwriting) and allows touch for scrolling.

The brutal fact of the matter is that Apple will make more selling pairs of MacBooks and iPads — it makes for a more appealing usage for most folks —it just kills me that it’s so awkward compared to what some sort of all-in-one unit could be like.

All I want is a full-fledged computer I can draw on, and (hand)write w/, which has a UI which isn’t crippled by aligning w/ the lowest common denominator (Windows 10 since Fall Creators Update) and which allows a reasonable level of touch interaction (mostly scrolling, since that feels natural and obvious). I need a second device and battery to manage like I need another hole in my head.

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I don’t know how to start a poll, but let’s vote anyway

  1. iPad Pro Mode (melding of iPadOS and MacOS)

  2. iPad Pro “DeX Mode” (a modified desktop version of iPad OS when docked)

  3. Dual Boot iPadOS and MacOS

My vote is for number 3. When I want to use my iPad Pro as a “real” laptop, I want a REAL operating system, not a desktop mimic that is defined by Apple’s decisions on what I can and cannot do inn that mode. I don’t care if the touch experience is inferior - just do not block touch and pencil use when in MacOS on my iPad Pro.

[Edit by @Hifihedgehog] Here is your poll, better late than never. :wink:

  • iPad Pro Mode (melding of iPadOS and MacOS)
  • iPad Pro “DeX Mode” (a modified desktop version of iPad OS when docked)
  • Dual Boot iPadOS and MacOS

0 voters

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I’ll abstain for the time being because I need to receive my M1 iPad Pro first and explore its limitations. I’m thinking that dual-booting into MacOS —> Parallels —> WOA —> Steam would be unlikely to be stable/dependable since that was the case even with my M1 Mac Mini. So if I discard the hope to run Windows games I have no particular use for the iPP to run MacOS.

Anyway, we’ll see.

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I’m between 1 and 3. Probably 3.

I have an Intel MBP, haven’t tried an M1 version so IDK how well it would work for me to develop apps with anyway. If option 1 could be created with terminal access and support for developer tools, I think I would like that better, but I highly doubt that would ever be a thing.

3 is never going to happen.

2 seems to be evolving naturally

1 is the big reach, but I don’t know that it’s far enough, and moreover, I think it’s the wrong direction to reach.

What I want is a tablet which runs MacOS and has touch, at least for scrolling, and a stylus (which is a mouse replacement) — but Apple will want iOS apps integrated far more than I find a need for, and will want touch to work much as it does on an iOS device, w/ the text cursor overloaded for the nifty press-hold functionality for example, so I’d argue what we want is:

4 MacOS w/ touch support running on a tablet which supports an Apple Pencil — the existing support for running iOS apps ought to suffice.


@WillAdams, While I hope you are wrong about 3 never happening, I have to admit your opinion is in the majority. Just like I wanted a WinPad when Windows 10 dropped, I find I want a MacPad now that I am in the walled garden. Needless to say, I’ll probably strike out here as well, but all of the integration and system level enhancements make the strike out more bearable.

Still, I feel dual booting would be far more valuable than MacDeX, but would deny Apple two sales, so not likely to happen…

I’d love to see 3, but as noted, I just don’t see it — why sell a dual-function device which is more complex tech support-wise (and possibly a security issue for the iOS side of things) when you can sell two devices.

That said, I have great hopes for 4, though I wouldn’t describe it as “MacDex” (which would more be iOS getting the ability to run MacOS apps in a penalty box).

I keep thinking I should try installing Mac OS X on a tablet — apparently this is workable on a Cintiq Companion or ThinkPad X230T — but it seems like a lot of bother, and I haven’t really liked Mac OS X since 10.6.8. Somehow it just doesn’t look or feel right. Really wish I’d lucked into an Axiotron ModBook.

That said, if running Android or Linux on a tablet doesn’t work out, I’m probably going to just buy a Mac Mini and Wacom Cintiq and be done w/ it.

$3,000 for a tablet is insanity. I’d certainly be having no part in it.

But it wouldn’t be just a tablet anymore - see how easily I rationalized that… :woozy_face:

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yes I put some pretty strict qualifiers to that .eg. we are talking a high end device spec wise and it would have to be at least as good as of a tablet as the iPad Pro AND at least as good a laptop as a MacBook Pro.

And thus why I really doubt it would ever happen. :slight_smile:

And seriously for a moment, I think the at least midrange outcome is a combined OS that runs both Mac OS and IOS apps. And getting IOS to run any Mac native apps is huge challenge even to a company as big as Apple.

This is where I think we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope - it needs to be an iPad running native MacOS, that can also run iPadOS apps as well. It is Apple that is hanging up (or excusing itself in order to create two sales) when they claim MacOS shouldn’t be a touch enabled OS because it’s not optimized. They need to quit thinking of a wholesale change in MacOS and instead think of touch in the MacOS world as just another “input” like a mouse or trackpad - use it to select items, scroll, pinch to zoom - replace the gawdawful 5000 gestures on the trackpad users need to memorize with a simple finger stroke…

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Yes but besides the processor, the hardware is very different between the two. And to name one thing that’s a hurdle, Apple would have to yet again, redefine the canvas, eg. how the display appears to apps.

Right now with the various IOS Apps that do run on Mac OS (and it’s not a large number percentage wise), they run essentially in windows that mimic either the standard iPad or in a very few cases, the Pro 12.9

PS: I know I get razzed when i point it out, but that Apple mantra seems to be that IOS is the longer term future for Apple devices

I wouldn’t razz this - in fact it is true. I’m brand new to the Mac side of the world, but have been forced to read a lot of posts to find answers for this new left-handedness I have bestowed on myself, and I see MANY Mac veterans bemoaning the “iPadification” of MacOS.