Apple has for some time now been touting the iPad as a PC replacement device for many people. Steve Jobs way back in 2010 used the cars and trucks analogy, arguing that while some would always need the power of a Mac, many would be able to do everything they needed on an iPad.

Tim Cook suggested that day had arrived in 2015, asking ‘why would you buy a PC any more’ – before clarifying that he meant Windows PCs, not Macs. He also said that when he travels, he takes only an iPhone and an iPad Pro, not a Mac. An ad campaign last year further promoted the idea of an iPad as a fully-fledged computer.

Several new features in iOS 11 were clearly aimed at making an iPad more of a Mac substitute …

The most immediately visually obvious one of these is the new app dock, looking extremely Mac-like. iOS 11 also introduces the ability to drag-and-drop content between apps, and much slicker split-screen multi-tasking.

More fundamentally, iOS 11 also gives us the Files app. Essentially, Apple is – for the first time – giving us a visible filesystem, something it had always previously argued was unnecessary.

Apple has also made it easier to annotate documents using the Apple Pencil, and Control Centre gives a more Mac-like view of our open apps and documents.

You can take a quick look at the new features in our video below, as well as checking out our screenshot gallery of additional new features.

Do these changes impact your view of the suitability of an iPad as a laptop replacement for at least some people? Or do you think they remain fundamentally different devices? Please take our polls and share the reasons for your view in the comments.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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