Touchscreen Macs could mark the end of iPad – so what could it use for macOS?

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In what could be a major reversal of separating the two platforms, Apple could be releasing a touchscreen MacBook in 2025 – which could be a sign to me that the iPad’s retirement has been set.

It’s not a stretch to assume that iPadOS hasn’t become the replacement for most laptops and PCs in recent years, with Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 being confusing and buggy when trying to multitask up to six different apps at once for example.

However, Apple has had a history of denying certain products, such as the iPhone in 2005 when Steve Jobs said that it would be a hassle with the carriers to even make one, but in actual fact, the device was halfway done by that point.

If this is true though, it could mean that macOS is in line for a major redesign to cater to your fingers. So, what could it borrow from iPadOS as it potentially rides into the tablet sunset?


iPad home screen with widgets in iPadOS 15

(Image credit: Future)

It’s 2023 and macOS still has widgets locked to a sidebar that’s coupled with the Notification Center – it’s time to have the same ability on iPadOS but on the Mac.

Being able to use widgets on the desktop, similar to the home screen on an iPad would work well, especially when a Mac is a touchscreen. If you combine this with lock screen widgets from iOS 16, you’ve already got a major change in macOS.


Slideover on an iPad

(Image credit: Apple)

While you’ve been able to have two apps in split-view on macOS, there’s not been a way to slideover an additional app to quickly check something as you can in iPadOS.

It’s something you can still enable on iPad as long as Stage Manager is disabled, and it’s always been a useful remnant of multitasking on the tablet, as it’s a way of quickly checking email or some Notes for example.

Apple Pencil

Digital artwork being worked on on a iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil 2

(Image credit: Future / Josephine Watson)

This feels like the most obvious feature to crossover to the Mac. With apps such as Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on macOS, using the Apple Pencil would help to scrub those timelines on a 4K video, or highlight certain backgrounds when editing a photo.

Even Freeform, Apple’s new collaboration app where you can place images and ideas onto a blank canvas, would work exactly the same as it does on iPad currently so the justification is there.

Is the writing on the wall?

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) being used with a Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil

(Image credit: Future)

iPad has had a rocky time of it in recent years. While Apple declared iPadOS as a way of separating the platform from iOS to distinguish it better, there’s only been a handful of features that are still exclusive to the platform.

And even then, home screen widgets took another year to arrive on iPad, while Lock Screen widgets from iOS 16 are nowhere to be seen on the tablet.

For a consumption device, iPad is perfect, but when it comes to creating content that’s not with an Apple Pencil, it can be hard to justify an iPad Pro when a MacBook could do the job just as well, or better.

We’re still ways off from a touchscreen Mac becoming a reality, but if it does get announced, and you put it side by side with an iPad Pro, is there a need for the tablet in its current form from then on?

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