Six months on, I don't regret switching from an iPad to an M1 MacBook Pro

Macbook Pro 14-inch
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Back in June 2021, I mentioned that after the announcement of iPadOS 15, I was ready to move on from the iPad-only lifestyle. The workflow that I had for the previous five years had changed so much, that iPadOS had outgrown me.

Because of this, I was waiting for a Mac that not only offered a faster M1 chip that was rumored at the time, but a better keyboard. This finally arrived in October 2021 with the arrival of the MacBook Pro 14-inch, and my iPad Pro was sold.

However, as we're approaching WWDC, Apple's yearly conference where new software updates are usually announced, it's caused to reflect on the areas that could make macOS, and the Mac as a whole, more appealing to gamers and streamers.

A little history

iTunes in June 2009

(Image credit: TechRadar)

I've been a Mac user since August 2006, ever since I carried back an Intel 24-inch iMac from the store, in the white acrylic design that was common across most of Apple's products during that era. Loading up Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which was the naming style at the time, it was worlds apart from what Windows XP offered in the same year.

Eventually, I'd switch to a MacBook Pro, then a MacBook Air, but Intel chips started to feel like a bottleneck to what the Macs were capable of, so I decided to use an iPad full-time between 2015 and 2021.

But with iPadOS 15, there were no major features that offered to help the workflow that I had grown accustomed to, and I didn't have the patience to wait another year to see what iPadOS 16 offered.

Being able to use apps that are barred from the App Store felt freeing - Parallels Desktop, Steam, and apps by developers that would be made available to use in GitHub felt like a breath of fresh air on the Mac, and six months on, it still does.

However, having this coupled with the return of a reliable keyboard, more ports, and ProMotion, which allows the MacBook display to run at 120Hz, makes this one of the best Macs I've owned. But macOS could go further.

Gaming - the next frontier for macOS?

Sonic Generations running in Parallels Desktop 17 on an M1 Pro MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Being able to run a game within Steam, in Windows 11, within Parallels Desktop, a popular virtualization software, has not gotten old for me since I first tried it out in December 2021.

Running Sonic Generations and Metal Gear Solid V, both exclusive to Windows, but at full speed on a Mac is impressive, but shows where Apple is lacking for macOS.

Apple Arcade satisfies a casual gaming audience, where Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are seeing revivals through this subscription service. But if you want to play something more substantial, such as Elden Ring on a Mac, you're out of luck, unless you look into Parallels, Crossover, or other virtualized software.

It may be a wild concept to consider, but Halo was first publicly shown at an Apple event, back in 1999. Even though there were moments like this that showed hope of gaming being a priority for the company on the Mac, it would constantly be forgotten about.

John Carmack, a co-creator of DOOM, spoke about a time when he would chat to Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and ex-CEO, several times about games and the graphics package that was used on Macs for developers, only for it to fizzle out.

With rumors of an Apple headset arriving soon, the time is now to see gaming be as important as productivity and speed that the company has always strived for on macOS. It should be easier to stream games on a Mac. It should be easier for developers to port their games to the Mac.

Oddly, gaming controllers are easier than ever to be used on a Mac, but if the only available games are Angry Birds and Lego Star Wars, there won't be a major uptake of this to users who want to pass the time on a commute for example.

The Mac is seeing one of its biggest resurgences in years, thanks to the move to Apple Silicon, and a better focus on the Mac hardware. It's now time for gamers to reap the benefits of this moment, and save some of the bother of using virtualization to play our favorite games.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.