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January 3rd 2014 6:36 pm

Does an iPad Pro make sense?

There have been a large number of rumors lately about a possible iPad Pro to be released this year. Some say it will be a hybrid, some say it will have a 4K display, but most agree that this could be a great solution for the savvy business user that needs a mix of power and portability.

Me? I am not convinced. Perhaps I am reading into things too much, but these are the main points that make me skeptical. The following is all conjecture, nothing is based on fact

1. Architecture and Multitasking. This thing will probably either run a new Arm processor, or a low voltage intel processor.

If it runs intel, it only makes sense to run Mac OSX on it. As far as I am aware, iOS is not built to run on intel hardware. If this is the case, why not insteal buy an entry level MacBook Air? I fail to see the distinct advantages of a pro iPad that runs OSX over the already great MBA. Also, OSX is not optimized for touch input nearly as much as iOS.

If it runs an ARM processor, then for sure we would be getting iOS (Or some "Windows-RT-esque version of OSX). Okay, but as far as iOS has come, in my opinion the multitasking isn't there yet. Even a feature like Windows' 8.1's snap to have 2 windows open at the same time would come a long way to help with this. Having an email client and a spreadsheet open at the same time? Sadly right now it is not done well.

2. Price. Anyone who has bought an Apple product in the history of time knows that Pro is not synonymous with cheap. The Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Quicktime 7 Pro are all objectively pricey. Taking the $499 iPad air as a price baseline and adding extra cost for the rumored keyboard as well as the powerful internals, you get something that is now arguably in the range of the $999 Macbook Air. Again, putting a theoretical device beside the already great for business MacBook Air, I am not sure what selling points the pro iPad would have.

3. Usefulness I know I hinted at this in 1 and 2, but I just don't see where this would fit in the Apple line. Between the iPad Air and MacBook Air, it would be tough to slot in a compelling device either way, unless they competitively priced it on the low end as an alternative to the iPad Air.



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11 replies

I had an Asus Eee Slate EP121 back a couple years ago. Still use it occasionally. It was a 12.1" screen and it was absolutely glorious. It was a little bit large for most people's standards but as a 6'3 290 lbs. weight lifter with hands according to my size it was incredibly comfortable to hold even one handed.

Only downside was it was slightly weak on specs, but that has nothing to do with size and more just when it was released.

I would kill for Microsoft to make the Surface 3 also in like a 12.6" size or something.
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bigger screen = more room in the chassis for storage (256GB+), and more room for a hopefully longer lasting battery.

i like the 10" tablets, don't really care for the 7/8" models, can't stand tiny phone screens. so would welcome 12+ on an ipad.
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Larger tablets makes sense where there is a need to examine pictures and video, they are also much better for digital subscriptions like news publications and magazines. A larger format would also make sense for the business user, as a smaller screen increases eyestrain and makes for a lot of screen scrolling activity. What is really going to make a difference for large tablets is the software used for business, Microsoft has a small head start with the Surface 2 and it's Office Suite, but needs a larger and more competitive higher density screen. The screen digitizer had been a limitation on the screen image density, but Wacom has recently become better at creating digitizers for screens beyond the current HD standard. I'm looking forward to seeing what is to come.
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For an iPad Pro, at least for me, I'd like to see some improvements other than just a bigger screen:
  1. real stylus functionality. I don't want to fingpaint and I don't want to use a cigarette butt. I want small-point pressure sensitive stylus support if I'm going to do graphics
  2. an actual virtual keyboard. With increased acreage I want to be liberated from a scaled-up iPhone keyboard. A line of numbers up top rather than a separate keyboard page, non click-and-hold keys for quotation marks and apostrophes--and arrow keys!
  3. something like a file system. I want libraries of fonts, clips, photos, documents, sounds that I can inspect when I want--not just when the machine thinks I should be able to. I want to see resources organized by date and size as well as by name.
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I long for more real estate to work on artsy-fartsy stuff, and the existing tablets just don't cut it for my big paws. I've been pondering a large touch screen that I can lay in my lap to achieve this. Samsung has drawn my interest with this new tablet.
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I'd be interested in a desktop-replacement tablet with an even bigger screen! Place it on a dock to use a keyboard and mouse, or cradle it on your lap (or flat on a table) for light browsing and media consumption. We will still use computing devices the way we currently use desktops and laptops, even of the form changes. The desktop isn't dying, it is just transforming as thin laptops and tablets finally have the same power as a desktop. The form was an artificial distinction in the past while the real difference was the guts of the machine.
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What you're describing is a Surface
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An iPad Pro doesn't make sense to me unless the iPad 2nd-generation goes away. Traditionally Apple has always had two models (like you pointed out) and by having the Air & 2nd-gen for sale that gives them their two models. I just don't know how you would even make a "Pro" model for the iPad. Apple is good at optimizing their operating systems for their hardware and with iOS being a mobile OS I don't know how much more they can do.

Ideally what I would love for them to do is make a keyboard/dock/case combo to try and build a better portable solution.
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I don't think they will release anything like iPad Pro. Steve Jobs never allowed more than 1 product (like 1 iPhone introducing per year). Now we have iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad Mini, ...
So I think they will just develop what they have and they won't introduce anything like i pad Pro
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powerbook 13, 15, 17 comes to mind. They will sell whatever size they think is appropriate and don't have any arbitrary limitations. People said they would never do an iPad Mini, too. I would totally get a large iPad. I do a lot of stuff on my full-size one, but would LOVE more real estate. I could likely go all the way to a 17" if they made it. No bigger than the largest MBP that they made and a LOT lighter!
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No, because an IPad is not pro.....
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