An iPad could finally replace my MacBook thanks to iPadOS 16

The iPad's OS is due a major change at WWDC 2022 next week that could let it operate more like a laptop

Apple iPad Pro 2021 12.9 review
(Image credit: Apple)

This year at Apple's WWDC, all eyes could be on the iPad version of iOS16 as it looks to deviate even more from the original phone OS to something that behaves much more like MacOS. 

The latest iPad Pro models included the same Apple M1 chips as just in the MacBook Pro 13 and MacBook Air models but were largely held back by the OS. When paired with a Magic Keyboard the tablet looks like many of the hybrid laptops and has an impressive touchscreen Mini-LED display, too. 

While iPads – and tablets generally – can be used for a wide range of tasks, having them fill in for a laptop is a huge advantage. They are smaller, lighter and often cheaper (though not so much with the iPad Pro). So why not allow them to work a bit more like a MacBook?

I've written before about the idea for a more tablet-friendly version of MacOS that could run on an iPad but it looks like Apple may instead move the current iPadOS into a more hybrid operating system itself. 

iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2021 review

Paired with a Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro is every bit a MacBook

(Image credit: Future)

According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), there are 'significant changes' coming to iPadOS including a new multitasking interface and the ability to resize app windows rather than just have them fill the screen.  

Allowing the iPad to essentially have two windows showing on the screen at the same time would be a game-changer for many users. I'd also like to see something closer to the Mac's Launchpad for app listing and some form of emulator to allow native Mac programs on the tablet (though this is unlikely to happen from Apple). 

There's some talk that these Pro features could be limited to just the top-end iPad Pro models rather than across the range, but I hope that they bring these to the iPad Air and the regular iPad too. While on the top models this will make the tablets an alternative to a MacBook, the more entry-level models could offer a real alternative to a Chromebook. I'm also really looking forward to seeing how it would stand up to the Microsoft Surface Pro models. 

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.