Today, at its annual iPhone event, Apple announced the long awaited iPad Pro. This large screened behemoth is impressive in many ways. Among the worthy iPad Pro features that were revealed are the following:
- 12.9″ Retina display with 2732-by-2048 pixel resolution (264 pixels per inch)
- Touch ID 2.0 fingerprint scanner that is supposed to be much faster than the 1.0 version
- All new Smart Keyboard
- All new Apple Pencil (stylus to everyone else – hey, at least they did not call it an iPencil)
- Updated innards, including a processor faster than that in the iPad Air (the Apple designed A9X chip)
- Ability to run two apps at once
- And, of course, all of the features that you have grown used to on the iPad Air 2, including front and rear cameras, built in speakers, etc.
So the list of new iPad Pro features is definitely impressive. And yet, I maintain that the iPad Pro completely misses the mark. Let me explain.
The iPad Pro is designed to compete with the Microsoft Surface Pro. The addition of a stylus (sorry, I’m having a hard time using the name Apple Pencil) and removable keyboard are dead give-aways. Apple saw that Microsoft was having some significant success with its tablet-laptop hybrid and decided (finally) to release a hybrid of their own. In terms of hardware, the iPad Pro features are dead on. The faster processor, large screen and great battery life, when combined with the aforementioned stylus and keyboard make the iPad Pro a viable alternative for serious work … from a hardware point of view.
Where Apple missed the mark was in the software, or more specifically, the OS. What makes the Microsoft Surface Pro successful is that it can run all of the most popular office software that a laptop can run because it runs the same OS as Microsoft based laptops. Apple has chosen to saddle the iPad Pro with iOS9 and therein lies their mistake. Yes, the iPad can run Microsoft Office and other popular business software. But that software is different. It does not work like the software that I run on my Macbook Pro. In order to make a successful tablet – laptop hybrid, Apple should have allowed the iPad Pro to run OS X Yosemite and to use the Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad just like I do with my Macbook Pro. That way all of my software apps would run the same way and, for short trips, I would be willing to leave my laptop at home and just bring my iPad Pro when I went on the road. I’m sure Apple was concerned about cannibalizing sales of the Macbook Air, but if that is the case, I think they are being short-sighted. I would still want my Macbook Pro for longer trips, as would many others like me. Some users would replace their Air with an iPad Pro, but it would be better for Apple if that is the replacement they made rather than switching to the Microsoft Surface Pro. And because the iPad Pro features clearly missed the mark, that is a real possibility.