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Why the iPad Pro will be my laptop of choice: Accessibility

Steven Aquino | Sept. 22, 2015
Steven Aquino wants an iPad Pro for two reasons: touch input and a huge screen.

el capitan apple mail tabbed compose macbook
The 12-inch MacBook is intriguing for its light weight, but I would find it harder to get close enough to the screen and still use the laptop.

Therein lies the rub. For as much as I adore the MacBook, the problem is that it’s still a laptop. In my experiences with laptops, I’ve found that their form factor works against me, accessibility-wise. As someone with low vision, I often need to get super close to the screen in order to see it. The issue, though, is that I find a laptop’s screen to be too “far away” to see comfortably. I have to lean in to see, almost to the point where my nose is touching the glass. Adjusting the screen’s position does help a bit, but it’s still too far away to be comfortable. There are things I could do on the software side to compensate for this, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the device’s form is less than ideal. To again paraphrase Jony Ive, with a laptop, I feel like I have to fit the device.

Does this mean I’m anti-MacBook or I can’t use a laptop? No, of course not. It simply means that, for me, I find the iPad’s mix of hardware and software strikes a perfect balance for my computing needs. A “home base” Mac such as a Retina iMac would be nice, but only because an iMac is decidedly not a laptop.

Enter the iPad Pro

Despite not having seen it yet in person, I find the iPad Pro compelling for two reasons: It runs iOS, and the screen is really big. In essence, the Pro is a super-sized version of what I’m used to with my current iPad. I can still hold it close and it runs an operating system that I interact with by touch. The multitasking features in iOS 9, which Apple said were built for this device, should even help me be more productive.

ipad pro microsoft office
The iPad Pro plus the keyboard is nearly the same price as a 12-inch MacBook. But apps for the iPad tend to be cheaper. Credit: Matt Kapko

Then there’s the cost factor. The Retina MacBook starts at $1299, whereas a fully-loaded iPad Pro (with 128GB storage and cellular connectivity) is $1079. Throw in the $169 Smart Keyboard, and you’re at $1248. That’s MacBook territory. My point is, given the accessibility gains that an iPad affords me, it actually makes more sense to go iPad Pro over the MacBook. The latter may be able to do more in raw terms, but for my needs, both physically and technologically, the iPad is a far more powerful computer. Granted, $1200 is a lot to spend on an iPad, but in my case, it’s a more practical choice.

 

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