The last time I bought a new iPad Pro was at the end of 2018, and I have been patiently waiting to order the new model with the M1 chip. Despite waking up very early on the April 30th morning to buy one from Apple’s website, I will still have to wait a few months to actually hold my new device. It looks like delivery is going to be sometime in late June 2021 or early July 2021. Whether it be for work or entertainment, I almost always prefer to use an iPad, so the wait is going to feel agonizingly long.

By the way, while shopping around, I noticed something a bit surprising about my new purchase. It turns out that the fully loaded 12.9-inch iPad Pro is currently the most expensive M1 portable computer you can buy. You pay more for the fully specked out 12.9-inch screen iPad Pro than you do for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Both have the 8-core M1 chip with 16 GB memory and 2 TB of storage, but with the iPad you get a 5G modem and an XDR display. And a much better camera for Zoom calls.

The MacBook Pro is $2,299. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro is going to cost you $2,399 — and that’s before you shell out about $450 for a keyboard and a pencil.

If you include those additional (and necessary, I would argue) items, then the iPad Pro’s final price tag — $2,877 — is higher than any other M1 machine. It’s more expensive than even the new iMac, the fully loaded Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. The Mac mini with the same M1 chip and specs (and 10 Gb Ethernet) costs $1,799. The new iMac is going to set you back $2,499, but that includes a keyboard and a mouse.

iPad, sure has come a long way! 


This got me thinking about the day Steve Jobs first showed off the iPad on stage. I was deeply impacted by the release of the iPad. It brought up fond memories. My first aha moment with the iPad was when I gave one to my mother, nearly a decade ago. It made me realize that for once we had a device that delighted grandparents as much as their grandkids. And that’s what made the iPad special. It has been more than a decade and my iPad has been a constant companion through the years.

For some odd reason, there is a perception that, when it comes to Apple’s line-up of products, the iPad is the runt of the litter. This may not come as a surprise at this point, but I think this line of thinking is incorrect.

Just take a look at the numbers! 

Earlier this week, Apple reported earnings for its quarter ending March 31, 2021. The iPad brought in a revenue of $7.8 billion, up 79% versus the same quarter in 2020. In comparison, the Mac division (which benefited from a new M1 chip launch) saw revenues of $9.1 billion, up 70% over the same three months in 2020. The iPad is inching up on the Mac!

Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, noted in a recent research report that Apple’s share of the tablet market during the first three months of 2021 was 36.7%, up 6.6% compared to the first three months of 2020. During the same period, it shipped 17.8 million units, a jump of 75% from 9.6 million units in the first quarter of 2020. 

That means iPad took market share from both Android and Windows-based tablets during the first three months of the year. Researchers from Strategy Analytics seem to suggest that this demand for tablets could be more sustainable. They seem to believe that tablets are a beneficiary of the shift towards working-from-home, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. 

Another factor working in favor of tablets in general, and iPads specifically, is how quickly and seamlessly they can go from being a device for work to a device for fun. 

I use my iPad to watch baseball, cricket, and Formula 1 races. I use it to read long articles and even Kindle books.  And nothing compares to watching YouTube on my iPad. As someone who uses Adobe Lightroom Cloud to store his raw photos, I use the iPad for most of the cataloging work — from rating photos to deleting the ones that don’t make the cut. And I do that while streaming music to my home music system.  

Could I do all of these things on my laptop? Of course, I could. But the iPad has a better screen, better audio, and — most importantly — an easily detachable keyboard that lets you literally cut loose and leave work mode behind. 

So, while I may have been a bit surprised to find myself buying the priciest M1 computer available when I went to upgrade my iPad, I can confidently say that it was money well spent. If only it would get here already!

MacBook Pro
Photo by Mikaela Shannon on Unsplash

From the day I first laid eyes on the M1-based Apple’s MacBook Pro, I have been a massive fan of the machine. It is fast. It is powerful. It runs cool. And most importantly, it has excellent battery life. It will be a huge boost for desktop computing, which remains stuck in the past when it comes to applications. And one of those applications from the past I absolutely can’t live without is Adobe’s Photoshop. 

Barring minor adjustments to fix the vagaries of the lenses, I don’t use Lightroom. I was an early convert to the cloud variant of the Adobe Lightroom photo library tool. It offered easy access to all my digital negatives and edited files anywhere, anytime. It didn’t have the bells and whistles of its desktop-based big brother — and since I didn’t need them, I don’t miss them. 

I prefer Photoshop for everything. I like the layer-based approach to editing photos. It gives me much better (and granular) control over my edits. Photoshop was the solitary reason I owned an iMac Pro and a MacBook Pro. My models were packed with memory and top-of-the-line graphic processors, and as a result, I could breeze through my photo edits. 

With Apple ready to switch to its silicon, I decided it was time to sell those machines. What made my decision easier was that Adobe’s Photoshop Beta was spectacularly fast. Even the Intel-based Photoshop performed well on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 processor. Adobe promised a brand new M1-version of Photoshop in March 2021. And they delivered. The application has garnered gushing reviews across the board. Many have been gobsmacked by the software’s performance on M1 machines. I am no different. I love the performance of M1-Photoshop. 

Except for one small thing. 

The M1-Photoshop is pretty useless for those — like me — who use third-party extensions as part of their editing workflow. For instance, I use some extensions that allow me to pursue highly granular masking via luminosity masks. Other extensions for color grading (including Adobe’s own Color Themes) and additional tune-ups are also part of my flow. And none of them work with the new Photoshop. 

Extensions are not working because Adobe has shifted to a new way of writing extensions — specifically, using UXP. According to Adobe, “UXP provides modern JavaScript, a curated selection of UI components, and a more streamlined workflow for plugin developers.” In the past, Adobe used CEP (Common Extensibility Platform), which used web-based technologies like CSS to make the extensions work. The shift to UXP is visible with the M1-Mac version of Photoshop. 

In its breathless blog post and news releases around the new M1-Photoshop, Adobe (intentionally, I suspect) failed to mention that extensions weren’t working. Like many, I was forced to re-install those extensions, only to find them absent. After a few tries at rebooting the software and the computer, I was perplexed. I ended up on their support website to get the answers. Adobe wants us to get in touch with the extension developers to see if they are offering upgrades. 

They aren’t. 

For me, this has meant going back to the Intel version (via Rosetta). It is frustrating because I can switch to the M1-version and see how good Photoshop could be on the new platform. Mostly, I am disappointed in Adobe’s communications (or lack thereof). 

Of course, developers will come out with updates at some point, but exactly when is anybody’s guess. If you are like me and use extensions and external add-ons for Photoshop that you can’t live without, it might be a good idea to wait. 

Updated March 29, 2021. Adobe Photoshop team posted a long article about the changes in Photoshop, how extensions and plugins work, and the underlying new technologies. While it is a good explainer and removes the opaqueness around the issue, it doesn’t take away from my original argument — you are stuck using Rosetta unless extension developers rollout the upgrades.


“In 2005, Apple moved to Intel to gain equality. In 2020, it’s moved away from Intel to gain superiority,” writes Ken Segall. He worked for Apple and was also part of Intel’s advertising agency team, so he knows a thing or two about the two companies. “By unveiling the M1 processor, Apple has exposed its Moon Monolith to the sun, marking a major inflection point in its existence. ” A fun piece to read, especially if, like me, you are gobsmacked by the audacity of Apple’s chip ambitions

Read article on Ken Segall