When Apple updated the iPad Pro and iOS earlier this week it was driven by a need to make its tablet into the desktop replacement it was originally envisaged to be. After more than three years of sales decline it seems to have finally dawned on Apple that it needed to start reacting to what was happening in the rest of the technology world.
The old adage goes "insanity is repeating the same thing, whilst expecting different results" and that certainly rings true when looking at Apple's updates to the iPad from iPad 2 to iPad Pro.
With the launch of the first iPad Pro Apple finally acknowledged that if it wanted the iPad to be a computer it had to make it more flexible and more computer like. The original iPad Pro was little more than a hasty crib of Microsoft's Surface design. The iPad Pro went back to the old habit of tweaking screen size and adding unnecessary performance tweaks.
However iOS 11 showed that Apple knows where it wants the iPad to go, and is starting to move in that direction. The arrival of iOS 11 immediately makes the iPad a better computer replacement, for a minority of users.
I still guarantee that without access to a mouse and multi monitor support an iPad can never become a computer for more than a minority of users. Fortunately I think Apple knows this too and will add these features to future iPads.
On the other side of the fence Microsoft is just a few months away from bringing its 'A' game to the battle for the future of computing: Windows 10 ARM.
The arrival of ARM support for Windows allows Microsoft and its OEMs to bring more portable and less power hungry devices to market for the first time since Intel canned the Atom processor. Add in the likely improvements in Windows Store application availability and you have a solid base for building a competitive tablet offering.
Windows 10 has the advantage of already offering full desktop features - multiple screens, mouse and keyboard support; and, of course, every USB device is fully supported.
With both Microsoft and Apple converging to the same place but from different starting points we can start to see where the future of computing really lies. A lightweight portable with the power to do real computing and able to switch between tablet, laptop and desktop modes depending on what you plug them into.
For MacOS and traditional Windows 10 the future will be that of desktops today. Niche products used only by the few with a specific need for the additional power of a desktop class processor.