When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010, he made a rather bold statement: the iPad will become the mobile computer of tomorrow.
I talked to Jobs right after the iPad launch, and he said the iPad had the potential to replace one's laptop, but I wondered if that approach would cannibalize Apple's laptop business.
I saw some early glimpses of how Jobs's vision could someday become a reality. Seven years later, it hasn't quite come to fruition, but there are exceptions. For some business travel, I leave the laptop behind in favor of the smaller iPad Pro; many friends and colleagues do the same.
I find the iPad handles most of my productivity needs when traveling, but not all. I need a Mac or PC to write complex documents or work on large spreadsheets, so the laptop still plays a major role in my digital life. When I know I'll need to complete certain tasks while traveling, I bring a 12-inch MacBook and an iPad Pro, although I use the iPad about 70 percent of the time while on the road.
But three features coming in iOS 11 could change the way I work on the road. Drag and drop, for example, moves the iPad into the arena of being the dominant mobile computing tool everyone can use.
The new mobile OS also brings the file format used on the Mac to the iPad, making a file you create on iOS compatible with any macOS device. Also, the folder structure is the same, so the look and feel is very familiar to anyone who already uses the Mac.
The third notable addition to iOS 11 is the Mac-like Dock, making it easy to work between apps.
This does not mean Apple will kill the Mac line. From that I have seen in macOS High Sierra, Apple continues to make macOS even more powerful, which in turn makes its desktops and laptops richer tools for those who need a lot of computing power. But you do see Apple moving the Mac to the upper-end of the productivity scale while making the iPad a more powerful tool for personal and business use.
With the launch of iOS 11 this fall, Steve Jobs's vision might finally become a reality.