back to article Apple's 'lappable' iPad Pro concept is far from laughable

“Lapable” is not a word I would ordinarily use, save for the fact that Apple’s applied it to the new iPad Pro nine-incher. The horrid word is an admission that the smaller iPad Pro is not a strong contender as a laptop replacement, but can do the job when required. And in my experience, a very decent job once you take the leap …

  1. Deltics

    "good enough for occasional lap visits, at times when you need to do more than just touch"

    Usually establishments that offer lap visits take a dim view of touching.

    1. Mitoo Bobsworth

      And you know this via....???

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        And you know this via....???

        Why, by the 9" already mentioned!

    2. Desidero

      You're obviously confusing a lap dance with down-on-all-fours-lapping-like-a-dog, the position Apple prefers its customers. Yes, you're there for *their* gratification.

      Obviously most of us can't afford this hardcore dominatrix stuff - that's why they call it "Pro" - so make do with the hands-&-tongues-free version.

  2. Mitoo Bobsworth


    Sounds like a strip joint! Better descriptor needed.

    (Oh, God! I'm getting the images in my head now.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lappable?

      Steve Jobs in gossamere silks & veils, gyrating seductively like a sultan's concubine doing the Dance of a Thousand Veils for her paramour.

      I'll get my coat, it's the one with the barf bag in the pocket...

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Shock Horror - A positive review of an Apple 'thing'

    on El Reg... wonders will never cease.

    The review was good on detail and less of a press release. Can we keep on with articles like this please?

    I own an iPad mini which does the job it was bought for. Isn't this the aim of just about any product we spash the cash for?

    It might not be perfect for everything but for showing off my photos and reading e-Books is is better than anything I've used before and this includes Amazon Kindle-fire and a Samsung Tablet.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Shock Horror - A positive review of an Apple 'thing'

      It wasn't exactly a review, more of an anecdote. I'd think if it was a review there would be more rigor. I was able to do much the same with my playbook and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (or even my 9320 and then Q10) four or five years ago. I was able to create some fairly complex diagrams with an app I bought for it too and type up coursework for the OU on it. Stuff like this useful, but it's not ready to be a primary device for anyone but the most undemanding of users.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Shock Horror - A positive review of an Apple 'thing'

        It wasn't a formal review, as the story was tagged 'Road Test'. It gave one persons view of the iPad Pro for their particular workflow when travelling. It could be a useful accompaniment to the more formal reviews of the iPad that can be found elsewhere on the internet.

        The Reg will occasionally have articles tagged 'Hands On Review', which are first impressions.

        The proper reviews are tagged 'Review'.

        Generally - and feel free to go through past Reg articles to confirm this - the Reg is snarky about Apple when reporting rumours, launch events and the like, but generally gives good reviews of Apple kit itself.

      2. What? Me worry?

        Re: Shock Horror - A positive review of an Apple 'thing'

        Stuff that! :) Go further back - a Palm Vx, the Palm foldable keyboard and a Nokia 6310i. (Gawd I miss that phone! Never failed...) Now there was portable travel kit. A PIA though - PalmOS, I was either connected to the keyboard, or Ir to the phone to send/receive. Ah, good times. Ok, time for the Four Yorkshireman... ;)

  4. getHandle

    "When Apple familiarised me with the iPad Pro..."

    There's the problem for me - none of this is revolutionary so you shouldn't need to learn new tricks to operate it. Just sheer hubris on Apple's part.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: "When Apple familiarised me with the iPad Pro..."

      What's more remarkable is that there seems to have been actual contact between some (possibly distant) representative of Apple and El Reg.

      I wonder if there's been some perturbation in Jobs' posthumous rotational frequency.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "When Apple familiarised me with the iPad Pro..."

      > There's the problem for me - none of this is revolutionary so you shouldn't need to learn new tricks to operate it. Just sheer hubris on Apple's part.

      You're right. I first learned to program in BBC Basic and it's just hubris that keeps making people invent new programming languages, forcing me to learn new stuff.

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: "When Apple familiarised me with the iPad Pro..."

      "none of this is revolutionary so you shouldn't need to learn new tricks to operate it"

      Windows 3.1 forever!!!

      The rest is pure hubris.Although some say that anything beyond DOS is pure hubris.

  5. MatsSvensson

    So its like a laptop, but less useful and more expensive?

    JFC, what kind of fools do they take us for?!

    ...wait, is it from apple?

    Oh, never mind then.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Tools for the job... The iPad Pro wasn't designed to replace the MacBook, which would clearly be a better device for writing lots of text. The iPad Pro has it own strengths, but this article was about using the iPad for MacBook-like tasks 'in a pinch'.

      In short, it sounds like an iPad Pro might suit you if you mainly work with images and graphics away from your desk, and only occasionally need to write a report or use a spreadsheet.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge

      can ipads use Bluetooth keyboards? Ive been doing this for years with my galaxy tab 2, Bluetooth keyboard and polaris office -edits word documents, excel spreadsheet, has internet access and an SD card - allegedly you can plug a mouse in but ive never gotten round to getting a connector for it (the tab2 has a weird cable, not a normal uUSB one). Hell, I remember using a Bluetooth folding keyboard (full springy keys sans numeric keypad) with my old Samsung Omnia (windows 6.1). Why is this revolutionary?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "can ipads use Bluetooth keyboards?"

        Yes they can.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Why is this revolutionary?"

        The only time the word 'revolutionary' appears regarding this article is in your comment and from the other edge-lord above.

        Incidentally nothing you did was new or 'revolutionary' when you did it; Samsung did copy the iPad with the galaxy tab after all, and I suppose you would have been forced to use a Bluetooth keyboard with the Omnia really, considering how shit the Windows Mobile input methods were.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My office would never let a nine inch lappable get past on expenses.

  7. dajames Silver badge

    Control ...

    I found the touch screen is not a precise instrument for selecting an edit point in text and therefore a little frustrating compared to a mouse.

    No shit, Sherlock!

    I've been using one of Asus's Android-based "Transformer" dockable tablets, and have found much the same. You can use the arrow keys to reposition the cursor after the touch-screen has got it nearly right, though, which is a big win compared with working on a keyboardless tablet.

    The big problem with the Transformer is that there isn't much Android software that's written to use a keyboard, and there aren't as many shortcuts as you'd like. I suspect Apple have ensured that their software does fully support the hardware (they should do, they produce both) and the overall experience may be better, albeit at a price.

    Interesting article. Thanks.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Control ...

      The later Asus Win-based Transformers have touch, stylus and mousepad.

      All work very well depending on what you want to do.

      Mine's over 3 years old and still going strong, although a lot less user-friendly since updating to W10.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Control ...

        we have about a dozen of the windows transformers. They are running just fine (trackpad, touch, Bluetooth mouse) but are rarely "undocked" from the keyboards.

      2. David Tallboys

        Re: Control ...

        Asus T100 - decided to use Never 10 to avoid upgrading - I actually like the Win 8.1 touch version of Internet Explorer - which you don't seem to get with Edge on the (albeit cheap) win tablet I bought.

        I've had a Bluetooth keyboard with my Ipad 2 from about 5 years ago - but used it very little anyway.

        Incidentally, latest software had made it like treacle - as has Android on my Nexus; and now Microsoft with win 10. Hate them all now.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Control ...

          Me too with a T100HA. Win8.1 suddenly made sense on a tablet, having been loathsome on the desktop. However, needing to actually do work on it (Son uses it for homework) meant the usual Classic Shell makeover.

          For what the author of TFA was using it for, the T100 would be a better choice - 10", proper keyboard, loads of choice for your writing/drawing apps, all-day battery life. Oh, and a normal charge port. The only downside (for the OTG journo) would be the meh selfie camera.

          Plus, only £150 at eBuyer! Get another as a spare!

  8. tiggity Silver badge


    Author: "On the upside, iOS now has just enough filesystem so it’s easy to save into Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive"

    iPad "Pro" is a joke device for serious work due to lack of local file system access, iPads will remain in the consumer toy category (for me) until user ability to browse local file system, organize data stored there becomes viable (I know people who are patient enough to jump through hoops to save ipad docs in iCloud, dropbox, google drive etc. but its less hassle for them as their work flow is all based around cloud storage & they are signed up to lots of cloudy providers ).

    Friends who use iPad pros do say good things about the dictation capability (though mainly of use in a quite room on your own obviously no use in busy spaces) - letting them dispense with keyboard when writing stuff up in hotel room & just do odd corrections via on screen keyboard.

    BTW, the (ludicrously expensive) pencil might have helped the authors issues with accurate text highlighting for easier edits.

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: file

      Or they could use the keyboard to do text selection

      shift + left or shift+right selects text one character at a time

      command + left or command+right selects from the cursor to the start or end of the line

      option + left or option + right selects the word to the left or right

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: file

      ""On the upside, iOS now has just enough filesystem so it’s easy to save into Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive"

      Er... those are things that work in a browser. Not aspects of a proper filesystem. Anyone using them for other than temporary, non-critical content to collaborate is mad.

      I remove things like that that appear in a file browse GUI. I want to make sure I have EVERYTHING on my local file-system and only upload / download copies as needed, which ONLY when 3rd parties used. I use USB or LAN to synchronise my own files, NEVER the internet. The Internet is insecure and unreliable.

      1. Kaltern

        Re: file

        "I use USB or LAN to synchronise my own files, NEVER the internet. The Internet is insecure and unreliable [citation needed]."

        Sorry, but this is becoming less and less of a reason to hate anything cloud based. When you hear about these 'password leaks' from various accounts, they are invariably from services that are not exactly used for personal, sensitive data. (excluding dating sites. That's a whole kind of different type of sensitive data...).

        AFAIK, the best known cloud storage sites are also the most secure. The only way your data is going to be compromised is down to your own negligence.

        There is also a lot less chance of losing data, like you can 'misplace' that USB key. Or that laptop.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: file

        I use Synology DS File for that sort of thing. The files are saved on a Proliant Microserver located under my desk, not in a cloud, but it does mean I can save things on one device and pick them up on another, same as with cloud storage.

      3. Mellipop

        Re: file

        Hahaha, that's a joke, right?

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: file

      Lack of filesystem is less of an issue than it used to be, and far less a nuisance than I expected. IOS now uses a mechanism called "share sheets" to pass data between apps, and it's almost to the stage where your apps can be thought of as virtual folders.

      However, I agree that iOS still has a long way to go. The lack of plug-ins is a real nuisance for photo and video editing, because it forces you to switch between apps if one doesn't have the function you need, and the intermediate step usually seems to involve recompressing in a lossy format, hence constant degredation throughout the process.

      The pencil might help with highlighting, but it certainly won't help with typing. Mouse/keyboard switching is generally hassle-free because you just do it, but a stylus has to be picked up and put down as you go.

      Anyway, the big limitation with iPads, including the Pro, is the lack of ports. With only one lightning port, you can't plug in a memory expander and an audio interface at once, for example, and that's a serious limitation if you're aiming for high-end video work. (And yes, you can do high-end video work on i-devices, as long as the depth-of-field limitations don't bother you.) IHaving a dedicated interface for the keyboard is a start, but I really think that it will only deserve the "pro" tag when you can attach two or three Lightning and/or USB devices.

  9. Baldrickk Silver badge

    What would you rather have on your lap: The Surface Pro's thin stand or the iPad's Smart Keyboard?


    I'd prefer something with a little more physical stability, a whole lot more grunt, proper multitasking ablitlity and decent storage built in.

    If it gets hot enough to burn my lap, a thin tray to act as an insulator works fine too, so be it.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      The Surface Pro's thin stand or the iPad's Smart Keyboard?

      Horses for courses. :)

      For the needs you have outlined, there are plenty of machines to choose from in the 'mobile workstation' or 'gaming laptop' categories - so happy days! And hey, better stuff is yet to come, with the promise of external GPUs and fast interconnects that blur the line between internal and external storage (if one's data is valuable, then having it stuck on one device is not the greatest idea anyway).

      However, you are a roving tech blogger or journalist and don't need the power, you might be glad for a lighter 'ultrabook' machine.

      I like that there are a few approaches being explored at the moment. Lenovo, MS, Apple, ASUS and others are all trying various form factors. Some people might want one device to do everything and perhaps accept some compromises, others might be happier to carry a couple.

      This was an interesting article because it was assessing a device against tasks which weren't its main focus.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good enough for occasional use

    Like an old Centrino based laptop then?

  11. Indolent Wretch

    Does it work properly though?

    You know things like navigating a document using the arrow keys? page up and page down?

    All those basic things that never seem to work properly on an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard of any description (In my experience natch).

  12. werdsmith Silver badge

    I couldn't bring myself to pay the Apple money for a thing like this. Not an iPad nor a MacBook of any description.

    But a Chromebook that chroots over to Ubuntu for less than £200 is proving to be a brilliant tool and filled that requirement nicely.

    1. Mellipop

      I've had a Mac book Pro. Wonderful machine. iPad is more usable that any other portable device.

      Chromebooks are lovely but I prefer having a touchscreen now.

  13. BazzF

    Did Microsoft finally do something right?

    As a serious amateur photog, I was looking at the iPad Pro for thethering cameras while shooting outside.

    In the end I felt limited by the applications, rather than form factor. Photo software is notable compute-heavy so in the end I went with a maxed-out Surface Pro 4.

    As a long-time rabid anti-microsoft person, I was quite surprised by both Win10 and the Spro 4.

    The pen works fine, accurately, the touch is as responsive as anything out there and the screen is, frankly wonderful.

    even Win10 actually works quite well as a touch OS once you disable all the phone-home stuff that you can.

    And the major benefit for me is all my photo tools run on it. This means I can show my model the proper edited result really quickly, rather than a auto generated jpeg render.

    The 'lapability' thing doesn't come into it, because it either sits in a cradle attached to the tripod or is in my hands.

    Battery life is 'good enough' but not stellar.

  14. Stevie Silver badge


    That's the problem really. The iPad/tablet is a great content consumption device, but a really dubious content creation platform.

  15. SteWard1

    Samsung Galaxy Tabpro S

    Having owned an iPad Pro I was initially impressed with its sized and display vibrancy...however the magic wore off one you start to do simple things such as export a document to a cloud drive only to find that you can't do it because its not enabled.

    I then bought a Samsung Galaxy Tabpro S and for me this is the device that I've been waiting for. No gimmicks... it just works. It may not have all of the fanfare and press that Apple products have....but for me it simply beats the iPad Pro hands down!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My ultimate productivity tool when travelling is the macbook.

    Weighs 920g (vs. 662g for 9in ipad pro with smart keyboard) so barely notice it in my bag, battery lasts all day (albeit an Apple 9 hour day) and it runs a 'proper' OS (plus windows via parallels if needs be).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keyboards for the iPad Pro

    The official iPad keyboard is like typing on wet cardboard - It's not a nice experience. The Logitech one is IMO a better solution. The only problems with the Logitech are:

    a) The original firmware didn't work, so caused lots of lost characters, so had to go back and get replaced.

    b) The magnets don't hold the computer in place particularly well, so the thing ends up detaching uncontrollably and scratching the keyboard when it decides to detach due to touchscreen use.

    I hardly use the keyboard and am waiting for a nicer solution to come out. This is the biggest issue I have with the iPad Pro.

    And fcuking advertising!

  18. David Paul Morgan

    5 word question

    Where is the mouse pad?

    1. Andrew Lobban

      Re: 5 word question

      As a serious answer to this. A seemingly little known feature of iOS these days is that pressing and holding the keyboard turns it into a track pad for moving the cursor around. I wonder if the author of this article was aware of it as it makes positioning the cursor and selecting text an absolute doddle.

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