To Laptop or Not to Laptop

I'm now two versions behind on the iPad Pro, so today's announcement was of interest to me in a big way. All my current machines are on the same M1 processor - a 2021 iMac, 2020 MacBook Pro, and 2021 (5th gen) iPad Pro.[1]

I would love love love to upgrade. The new Pencil - with pinch! and twist! - would be so spectacular. Truthfully, my desire for an upgraded machine is largely driven by the desire for the upgraded Pencil. New processor, great - better display, cool - but give me more freedom of expression with the stylus and I might just have to upgrade all the things to have it.

It looks to me, on the face of it, that I could potentially ditch the laptop given the specs of this new iPad. I'm close to doing that already - I use the iPad for a lot of things. Most likely, I'd keep the laptop (for special occasions?) and just not upgrade it further. My only hesitancy is the coding stuff I like to dabble in - that still seems like it's better done on a laptop/desktop.[2]

What's painful is having to upgrade the peripherals if I upgrade. New Magic Keyboard. New Pencil. Plus, when it eventually comes out, a new Darkboard. (I absolutely adore my Darkboard - it's a large "holder" for the iPad and makes sketching and drawing so so so much easier.)[3] Going on $2400. Ouch.

Down the road, I'd really like to ditch the iMac and get a Mac Studio plus a nice monitor. Some of the things I want to do artistically require lots of computational power. When I do blends of complex shapes in Illustrator, for example, my poor processor works its little heart out, but sometimes it literally takes hours to render an image. But that's down the road - and who knows? Maybe Illustrator on an M4 iPad will be able to do things that my current desktop can't do?[4]

I'll try using the iPad this week as if it were my main portable machine. Figure out if there are holes in this plan. I'm kind of glad I'm traveling next week - that'll give me a good excuse to sleep on the decision. But I'm still taking the laptop to PyCon.

  1. Which is kind of mind-blowing in and of itself. ↩︎

  2. Which I would still have, and given my dabbling status, doesn't really need the latest greatest super speedy processor. ↩︎

  3. In fact, being without the Darkboard for a while is a significant downside. Maybe I should put off an upgrade until that's available. ↩︎

  4. Also mind-blowing to even have that as a thought - for much of my computing life, it would have been ridiculous for a portable to be more powerful than a desktop. ↩︎