Home / iPad / Can you really run the iPad Pro as a full desk setup — mouse, monitor, SD/USB hub, and all? This guy did

Can you really run the iPad Pro as a full desk setup — mouse, monitor, SD/USB hub, and all? This guy did

Apple has streamlined its entire iPad lineup to replace your laptop
ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani tells Karen Roby that the base-model iPad is more capable than ever thanks to a recent update. Read more: https://zd.net/2NdaomS

The iPad has had a long and winding road since it was first released almost 10 years ago on April 3, 2010. Although much less capable than today’s iPad, even that very first iPad was a workable media consumption machine.

But the iPad and iOS have grown considerably over the years. By 2014, we started to talk about iPads replacing traditional Mac and Windows laptops. Both the iPad and the Chromebook (introduced in 2011) solved some of the bigger deployment challenges of traditional laptops, particularly the need to protect machines against malware and the difficulty in user-level provisioning.

In 2014, though, the iPad wasn’t quite up to laptop standards. It would take another five years before the iPad became a true substitute solution for many traditional laptop uses:

2015: The first 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which provided enough screen real estate for active work solely on the tablet, were released. This was also when the iPad first got rudimentary multi-tasking and side-by-side windows.

2016: Apple started promoting the iPad Pro models as replacements for the 600 million five-year and older PCs that were retiring that year.

2017: Apple introduced its seventh-generation iPad models and second-generation iPad Pro, providing a more professional screen for theatre-grade color matching.

2018: All new iPad models gain support for the Apple Pencil. Apple also removes the lightning port from iPad Pro and replaces it with a far more standard USB-C.

2019: iPadOS is announced and delivered, with more advanced file management, dock management, mouse support, external screen capability, and split-screen control. Despite performance issues, iPadOS finally delivers many of the features desired by laptop users.

Also: 5 reasons I’m not sorry I bought my Mac Mini and didn’t wait for the new Mac Pro

Turning the iPad into a desktop computer

Even with all these innovations, the iPad isn’t a substitute solution for all laptop and desktop users. I run a number of development systems and local Linux stacks on my Macs, and that’s just not possible on an iPad. I also value the screen real estate my dual 38-inch and 27-inch display array provides, especially for editing in Final Cut Pro X — also not available on the iPad.

But for writers and many creatives, the iPad has come a long way. As far back as 2011, I postulated the idea of an iPad desktop. But the iPad of that time lacked expansion capability. Today’s iPads do not. That single USB-C port can open a lot of capabilities.

That’s what Isaac Mosna, an advertising student at Ontario College of Art and Design University and YouTube content producer, set out to show off. He put together an iPad desktop build that accomplishes many of the goals we outlined back in 2011: