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Poll of the week: Can iPads replace laptops?

Screenshot 2021 04 20 at 19.58.10
© Apple; Screenshot: nextpit

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No, no, no and no. In our survey last week, readers from the 4 regions in which NextPit is published unanimously stated that an iPad still cannot completely replace a laptop PC.

Like every Monday, it's time to find out and analyze the results of our survey last week. Whether it concerns our French, German, Brazilian or "international" readers (US, UK & India), you have all mainly considered the iPad as a secondary device, incapable of being a complete alternative to laptops.

Poll Ipad laptop 01
iPad cannot replace a laptop in your opinion / © NextPit

At the most, you could consider an iPad as an accessory or as an addition to your primary laptop. But even there, this scenario is not unanimous, except among our German readers, the majority of whom are in favor of a notebook / tablet combo. One of them has made an interesting nuance to the debate:

A new chip is not going to make the necessary changes at the software level. It would be the same for Android tablets, if a new ultra-fast processor landed. Whether it is an Android tablet or an iPad, it is not with a new chip that we will replace laptops.

The question whether an iPad can be a full-fledged laptop PC is far from new. But it was revived by the release of the iPad Pro 2021 with its M1 chip, the same as on the latest iMac or recent Macbooks. It is therefore good to remember that computing power is not everything.

Poll Ipad laptop 02
3/4 of German respondents would consider an iPad as a complement to their laptops / © NextPit

Especially since the iPad remains a less versatile tool than laptops and more used for the consumption of multimedia content. 

The main use cases highlighted by our survey are obviously video and music streaming, light office automation and nomadic use when traveling or on the move. Basically the same use cases since the tablet market was created. 

For an average user who does not have specific software needs, the iPad may actually suffice. And in some cases, it can even replace certain tech products as pointed out by one of our French readers:

[If he had had] a PC with a Wacom graphics table for drawing, there on the other hand, I could have replace it with an iPad and its Pencil, because the App Store is teeming with drawing apps, like ProCreate to name just one.

But we still have fairly niche needs. For the most important use, that of advanced office automation, the iPad still lacks software for the majority of you.

Poll Ipad laptop 03
iPad use cases haven't changed much / © NextPit


I'm almost fed up with repeating the same status quo an umpteenth time that didn't really require debate. The iPad is a good alternative for very basic use but at best a back-up solution for certain very targeted needs.

In most cases, this is a less complete and less versatile solution than a laptop PC, while often being much more expensive. Its main flaw is its mobile OS but especially the mobile versions of certain software and tools which are too limited compared to their PC counterparts.

In fact, it is even quite paradoxical. Why would a person with undemanding use and very few needs want to buy a luxury tablet at $1.100 like the iPad Pro 2021?

A 2019 iPad at $300 is enough for most of those who might consider an iPad as an alternative to their PC. And the limitation of the mobile OS is an issue for more advanced users who want to keep their PC, no matter how powerful the M1 chip is.

However, it is these potential customers that Apple must convert. So maybe Apple's headlong race for power in a market it already dominates isn't the best direction to take.

Thank you again to everyone for participating in this survey. Thank you also to all the readers who expanded their opinion in the comments. I want to thank even (and especially) to those who raised their annoyance at this debate or the problem of the single answer imposed on the last question of the poll (error on my part), I will take your remarks into account for the next times.

Do not hesitate to give me feedback on my analysis of the results or to suggest other topics that could be the subject of a survey!

Original Article

Apple, last week, announced the launch of the new 2021 iPad Pro last week as part of its "Spring Loaded" event. Powered by the new, powerful M1 processor - the same chip used on the 2021 Macbooks. With the hardware of these seemingly different machines coming closer than ever before, it's time to ask you, our readers this question.

Have iPads become capable enough to become laptop replacements? 

Yes, I know, I can hear you telling me how fed up you are with this debate. Ben and I recently had yet another Slack Fight on this subject, where I tried my best to champion the cause of the iPad and project them as a viable alternative to full-fledged laptops.

I could consider an iPad as an accessory to my laptop PC for ...
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le laptop/notebook replacements. 

But I couldn't help but notice that many of you had some very interesting opinions and thoughts in the comments about this contentious question. So, in this weekly poll, we ask you what you think of the new iPad models as laptop replacements.

Do you think an iPad can completely replace a laptop PC?
View results

Short of totally replacing your laptop, I would still like to know how many of you would consider an iPad as an accessory to your laptop? I'm not talking about making it a 100% alternative, but simply a backup device for certain specific uses.

Would you consider the iPad as an accessory to your laptop?
View results

Logically, each user has a specific use that is more or less adapted to one or the other of these platforms. If you think that an iPad cannot totally replace a laptop, I would like to know in what scenarios an iPad would be beneficial to your user experience, without totally replacing your PC.


Thanks in advance to everyone who participates in the survey. As always, I really invite you to explain your choices and develop your reasoning in the comments. It's the debate that's interesting, more than the statistics. And finally, I wish you a good weekend and hope to see you next Monday to discuss the results.

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Antoine Engels

Antoine Engels
Senior Editor

Black belt in specs sheet analysis. OnePlus fanboy in (slow) remission. Average estimated reading time of my articles: 48 minutes. Tech deals fact-checker in my spare time. Hates talking about himself in the 3rd person. Dreams he was a gaming journalist in another life. Doesn't get the concept of irony. Head of editorial for NextPit France.

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  • 49
    storm May 1, 2021 Link to comment

    I have a desktop and a tablet. No notebook at all. But I don't use mainstream office tools for my productivity. Desktop is Linux and I'll degoogle my tablet soon.


  • 11
    Chris Laarman May 1, 2021 Link to comment

    Can a car replace horses? (For travel: yes. For plowing: no.)

    Or let me tell you: I have been using notebooks as accessories to my tablets for years, rather than the other way around.