Apple May Have Chosen The Wrong OS For Its Big iPad
Now that the dust has settled down and we've got over the fact that Apple was undertaking a brief stint as the world's biggest Microsoft cover band, there's an opportunity to review what Apple did with the new iPad Pro.
First of all it validated the efforts of Microsoft and Samsung in bringing the stylus back into the mainstream. Apple may call its stylus a pencil, but it's a stylus all the same. Albeit a clever one.
The keyboard cover showed that Apple's design bods don't always get things right. It's ugly and clumsy when compared to the Surfaces Type Cover. The quick availability of third party keyboard covers suggests Apple was aware that it had issues with its design.
All those comments not withstanding, viewed as a whole the iPad Pro stands up as a product. It will take sales from the top of the tablet market and from the bottom end of the Macbook market. It fits a niche for Apple owners who want more than an iPad but already have a laptop.
In that respect, I don't believe that it will compete with the Surface Pro 3, which is a device that stands on its own, as the only computing device you'll need.
Maybe this represents a mistake by Apple. If the iPad Pro had been the MacBook Tablet and been powered by OS X it could have been both more expensive/profitable and infinitely more desirable. For all Apple's promises of performance gains with its new hardware a powerful iPad remains an iPad at heart. It could have been much more than that.
No desktop class applications means the professionals who Apple were targeting will be less likely to bite. The arrival of those desktop class applications on the iPad isn't guaranteed either. The App Store has pushed software prices to the floor and with no guarantee of large sales numbers the cost of re-writing those apps for the Pro may never be recouped.
Therefore I believe that iPad Pro sales will come from two specific markets. Those who just want a bigger iPad and those prosumer artists and designers who see the stylus and big screen as a better canvas.
There's no question that the iPad Pro will sell well. And ultimately that's all that Apple cares about. But will it bring Apple customers who are currently outside of its ecosystem?
Of that I'm less convinced.