The return of the iBook
Apples latest iPad represents the return of the iBook and white MacBook device in the lineup. A solid “current” version that’s easy to recommend without having to attach footnotes or corollaries.
An iPad with trackpad and keyboard
The iPad with keyboard already exists. Visit apple.com/ipad and the third hero image shows an iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard (with multitasking and App switching).
The iPad with trackpad also exists… on software. Use two-finger gestures on the iPad software keyboard and you get a mouse pointer. A way to use this feature with a hardware keyboard is inevitable, at least if Apple expects us to consider the iPad a viable alternative to MacBooks.
A locked-down ARM MacBook
A recent rumor made the rounds about ARM-based MacBook’s with a locked down macOS. This makes little sense to me. You can basically get the macOS mentioned in the rumor with App Store and OS auto-update options already available on macOS.
Locked down macOS vs iOS with mouse support
Both of these are blasphemous on their own way. Diminishing users system access on macOS and adding a mouse pointer to iOS, both break a basic assumption of the platform.
However, both platforms are already going down a slippery slope towards these unnatural features. On macOS, the arrival of the App Store and iCloud Drive started a questionably successful path to lock down the OS and filesystem.
Even on iOS, the all terrible mouse has shown up in disguise since version iOS 9 — with Trackpad Mode — which is useful with the virtual keyboard, and frustratingly missing on hardware ones.
Apple doesn’t need an answer to the Chromebook
A classic error when looking at Apple is to assume they worry about providing an answer to a category: Netbooks, PDAs, wireless speakers, etc.
Apple provides innovative answers to problems with high-margin solutions they can iterate on. Sometimes, these answers overlap what a few of the things the industry was trying to address with a category, but not focus on the one thing Apple set out to.
I do think Apple could benefit from a similar answer to the Chromebooks — and it involvers the iPad with a Smart(er) Keyboard.