iPad change could flip everything you know about Apple's tablet on its side

iPad Pro adjusted to horizontal/landscape orientation with rotated Apple logo, text, and smart connector.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

A recent interview with Apple designers Molly Anderson, Steve Lemay, and Scott Brodrick points to the possibility of a small change heading to iPad that could have far wider implications.

There's no question about it, Apple's iPads are the best tablets on the market for those looking to make the biggest impact in creativity and productivity in this form factor. Still, they're often overlooked as one-to-one replacements for their MacBook counterparts.

The change hinted at by Apple's designers would be subtle, but it would also be further evidence of Apple's desire to push its tablet as a more viable laptop replacement.

What's on the horizon for Apple's iPad?

Speaking to the French outlet Numerama, the iPad's slow transition to becoming a horizontally aligned device is brought up, with the designers then asked if Apple could make it official by switching the orientation of its logo on the rear of the device from portrait to landscape.

Anderson, an industrial designer and key influence in the design of Apple's new seventh-generation iPad Pro M4, responds: “We are thinking about it. The iPad has long been a product that is used in portrait mode, but we are using it more and more in landscape mode. We cannot say that it is fixed."

iPad marketing manager Scott Broderick suggests the angle of Apple's logo isn't so important, adding "The iPad is used in all directions, we use it vertically for FaceTime calls." However, while that might be true for the majority of iPad devices to date, Apple's latest batch of tablets says otherwise.

In the words of Apple's founder, Steve Jobs: "Details matter."

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Blurring the lines between iPad and MacBook

On the face of things, a switch in official orientation for the iPad means very little. However, when you factor in other adjustments to Apple's catalog of tablets with the new iPad Air and iPad Pro, a clearer picture could begin to form.

For starters, both of Apple's latest iPads have switched the position of their front-facing camera from the "top" edge of the device when positioned in portrait, to the "top" edge when placed in landscape — more closely mirroring the display of a traditional clamshell laptop.

The desire to replicate the laptop experience continues with the new Magic Keyboard, which more accurately emulates the deck of a MacBook Pro with function keys and a larger trackpad.

Finally, the new iPad Pro is the first Apple device to be outfitted with the company's latest and most powerful M4 silicon chipset, offering the potential for MacBook rivaling performance across a growing suite of desktop-level apps making their way to the iPadOS platform.

If Apple has no intentions of positioning the iPad Pro as a potential MacBook replacement, they're unintentionally making a great case for it.

(Image credit: Apple)

Is the iPad a good laptop replacement?

Interestingly, while it would appear that Apple is presenting the iPad as a laptop replacement, under the radar or otherwise, the question of whether or not it makes for a good alternative remains.

Can you replace your MacBook with an iPad? That's a question asked almost every time Apple releases a new wave of iPads and one that is often decided on a person-by-person basis. Some, like Laptop Mag editor Rami Tabari would answer with a resounding "No." However, others, like myself, would say "Yes" — when paired with the right accessory, anyway.

However, for the most part, modern iPads are more than capable of satisfying the needs of the average MacBook or Windows laptop user. Though the experience might not be as satisfying for more advanced users who require access to a wider selection of apps or control over their system.


It's probably fair to say that the iPad Pro has outgrown iPadOS. However, without a tablet-friendly version of macOS to fall back on, this is all iPad users have to work with — and it's likely one of the last remaining roadblocks to many adopting the iPad as an actual day-to-day laptop replacement.

There have been plenty of rumors in the past about a macOS "lite" variant making its way to iPads in the past, but we've yet to see Apple make any considerable moves in that direction.

However, if we were to see something like that revealed, it would most likely take place during Apple's upcoming WWDC, scheduled to take place from June 10-14, 2024. Are we likely to see this happen? Not really. But we will get to see iPadOS 18, which may be much more accommodating to users looking to adopt the iPad Pro as their daily driver.

In the meantime, for news, rumors, and how-tos on everything iPad related, and all things tech, follow Laptop Mag on TwitterFacebook, and Flipboard for the latest word as it arrives.

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Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.