What it is: The iPad Pro is Apple’s latest iPad model that sports a bigger screen along with the ability to use the Apple Pencil.
When Apple increased the size of the iPhone screen, sales jumped. What people wanted was a larger screen smartphone. When you look at the tiny screens of the iPhone 4S, it’s hard to believe people found this screen size adequate.
Now the same question surrounds the iPad Pro. Can a larger tablet size screen boost sales of iPads? While other companies have introduced larger size tablets, everyone’s watching the iPad Pro to see how it does in the market.
Microsoft and Apple are taking two different approaches to tablets. Microsoft is trying to shoe horn a desktop operating system into a tablet form with their Surface Pro and Surface Book. The Surface Pro is a tablet that can sort of work as a laptop while the Surface Book is a laptop that can sort of work as a tablet. The biggest drawback with Windows 10 is that it needs to work as both a laptop and a tablet operating system. While Windows 10 has plenty of desktop applications, it has far fewer dedicated tablet apps.
Apple is trying to boost the size and power of the iPad into a larger form factor. By adding the Apple Pencil, Apple hopes to make the iPad Pro indispensable for professionals such s graphic artists. The larger screen size and Apple Pencil will definitely keep artists happy. The big question is whether it can boost sales among the general public as well.
Tablets are getting squeezed by larger screen smartphones and lighter and thinner laptops. The future isn’t smaller tablets (like the iPad mini) but larger tablets (like the iPad Pro). Beyond drawing apps, the Apple Pencil will need to prove itself as a general purpose input device. With Microsoft’s Windows 10, you can draw and annotate on documents, but how critical will that be for everyday use? The Apple Pencil looks like a great niche product for artists, but a less than necessary accessory for everyone else.
The real power of the iPad Pro won’t be the Apple Pencil or the larger screen, but apps specially designed to take advantage of the larger screen of the iPad Pro along with the latest features that can only be used on the iPad Pro such as split screen viewing.
Just as in the early days when people bought Apple II computers just to run VisiCalc, so will people buy the iPad Pro if they see an app they absolutely must have. Beyond drawing apps, the iPad Pro needs a killer app that takes full advantage of the larger screen and Apple Pencil that the ordinary consumer will find critical.
If you’re not a graphic artist, you could probably wait for the second generation of the iPad Pro that will come with Force Touch haptic feedback like the iPhone 6s. Graphic artists should get the iPad Pro because it will provide immediate benefits. Everyone else can probably afford to wait at least a year.
In the meantime, wait for the software to catch up to the iPad Pro. Hardware features are nice, but it’s the combination of hardware and software that will make the difference, and that’s why you should wait and see what the iPad Pro can do for you before buying it sight unseen.