One aspect of the Apple iPad Pro launch that caught the eye is Apple’s use of the M1 chip in the new 11-inch and 12.9-inch models. Naturally, this got tongues wagging about whether Apple was planning on bringing Mac apps to the iPad or whether, in fact, it is planning on merging the two operating systems. Apple’s Greg Joswiak says the answer is a firm ‘No’ to the latter.
Apple was always going to put in a chip with higher performance in the new iPad Pro models than the A14 SoC found in the iPhone 12 range. If Apple had followed its past practice, this chip would have been expected to be called the A14X. It was clear that the Apple M1 SoC that recently found its way into Apple’s new Arm-based Macs was a more powerful variant of the iPhone 12 A14 chip. The only surprise was that Apple decided to give the iPad Pro chip the same name as the M1 which it had previously claimed was Mac-optimized — hence the switch from the ‘A’ naming scheme to the ‘M’ naming scheme.
Why Apple decided to opt for the M1 name over the A14X name is anyone’s guess, but it is probably marketing driven and borne out of a desire to leverage the wide acclaim that has been justifiably heaped on its M1 silicon. However, Apple’s decision has created speculation that Apple could be planning on bringing Mac apps to the iPad Pro models, or is in fact planning on merging iOS with macOS. According to a new interview with Apple’s Greg Joswiak, Apple’s relatively new SVP of Worldwide Marketing, the latter is definitely not the case.
Joswiak had this to say on the matter in an interview with The Independent:
There’s two conflicting stories people like to tell about the iPad and Mac. On the one hand, people say that they are in conflict with each other. That somebody has to decide whether they want a Mac, or they want an iPad. Or people say that we’re merging them into one: that there’s really this grand conspiracy we have, to eliminate the two categories and make them one. And the reality is neither is true. We’re quite proud of the fact that we work really, really hard to create the best products in their respective category.
On the question of the capability of the new iPad Pro models to run pro Mac apps like Final Cut Pro, Joswiak (who was also joined by Apple’s SVP of Hardware Engineering, John Ternus for the interview) declined to outline any plans in that regard. However, both he and Ternus expected developers to quickly tap into the new power on offer to them — which is considerable. Not only are the new iPad Pro models fitted with the M1 chip, they are also fitted with either 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM. This is considerably more RAM than has ever been fitted to an iPad Pro and not a single current app written for iPad OS right now that would be able to take full advantage of the M1 chip and 16 GB of RAM.
The full review is linked below and is worth a read. Apple is an enviable position with its Apple silicon and from an end-user perspective, and it is certainly going to be very interesting to see how developers go about maximizing the potential of Apple’s incredibly powerful new tablets.
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2021-04-23 (Update: 2021-04-23)