Don't Underestimate the iPad Pro

By Mike Elgan  |  Posted 2015-09-28 Print this article Print
iPad Pro

In fact, if you cast your gaze across the industry—at trends in desktops, laptops, tablets and two-in-ones—you'll see that the physical keyboards are still very much in use, but physical mice are being pushed aside by either touch displays or touchpads.

You'll also notice another trend, this one demographic: The youngest users prefer smartphones for all computing, while the oldest prefer desktop PCs with keyboards and mice. And there's a spectrum of correlation between PC and post-PC between the two age extremes.

Of course, one reason why high school and college kids have the luxury of rejecting larger screens is that they may not have jobs yet. But even when they enter the workforce, they'll reject the old desktop PC model. They'll want a phone, or something like it. And that something is a giant tablet.

I think it's clear that the future of computing is something that's a lot like the iPad Pro—a powerful computer running a "mobile" operating system with which most people use a keyboard most of the time, and to which other peripherals (like a stylus) can be added as needed.

If you're thinking that you need more screen real estate than a 12.9-inch display, the good news is that these devices will scale up to massive screens.

At some point, the sweet spot in the desktop tablet market will be just shy of 30 inches, I believe. But some people will go for the bigger-than-40-inch screen size.

The main interface will be touch, but these devices will also support voice, pen and other inputs.

And lots of people will use physical keyboards with them, but not mice.

Why the iPad Pro Is Significant

Apple's iPad Pro is significant because it's the product that will introduce the broader consumer and business and enterprise user public to the concept of desktop tablet computing.

There will be great desktop tablets running Android and Windows 10, to be sure. But Apple has four advantages in changing user culture.

First, Apple has a very large and very rabid fan base that has so much trust in and affinity for Apple that they will buy the iPad Pro sight unseen in large numbers.

Second, Apple makes great tablets. The engineering of the iPad line from top to bottom is best-in-class. So the idea of spending a bundle for a big iPad will feel like a good purchase because of the performance, fit-and-finish and other attributes that the iPad Pro is likely to deliver.

Third, Apple is very good at communicating the benefits of a platform. They're great—great!—at marketing, and I expect them to convincingly explain why everybody needs a giant iPad.

Finally, Apple already has a huge advantage in the enterprise with tablets. And the iPad Pro will be marketed at enterprise users and probably find many willing customers there.

So don't laugh at the new iPad Pro. It's probably going to start a new revolution in personal computing.


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