Apple have unveiled their new iPad Pro with a larger, higher quality screen along with a faster processor and of course the optional accessories of the Apple Pencil and keyboard case. However one question which could be posed to this new device is: “What market is the company targeting?” I’d argue that by the looks of it, the predominant use for the iPad Pro is for business or actual creative work.
One of the reason for this is that for a general consumption user, why would they want or need a bigger screen? The introduction of the iPad Mini a few years back suggested that Apple thought there was a market for a smaller version of its iconic tablet. So why would they now need to make it bigger? When the iPhone 5 came out, it was the first time the company dared to increase the display size on the phone. The 3.7-inch screen had stuck from the original iPhone but as years went on, competitors’ phones were getting bigger and bigger. Eventually Apple decided that in order to rival these products, they had to increase the size and did so again with the iPhone 6. However there’s a difference between this and the iPad.
From my point of view, I’ve had the original iPad and the iPad Air and the screen size has never been an issue in terms of media consumption. Phil Schiller said in during the keynote that the iPad Pro’s screen will mean movies and TV shows will be “more cinematic”. Yes, but was that totally necessary? If you look at the competitors such as HTC, Samsung and Microsoft- they all have a tablet or tablets around the 10-inch screen size. So there is clearly a large market for it and unlike the iPhone there wasn’t a pressing need to increase the display; unless Apple wanted to branch out the target audience.By increasing the size, there’s more space for writing, creating PowerPoints, doing art work and editing video. Apple also made quite a big deal of the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. Why didn’t they offer these accessories for previous iPads? The Apple Pencil looks good but seems to be only useful for professional or creative work such as UMake for example. The demos at the keynote showed professional applications from Microsoft, Adobe and 3D4Medical being used by the Pencil.
Same must be said for the keyboard in terms of being predominantly for work. If you are a casual user who browses the web, watches films, plays games, would you need either of those accessories? It is interesting that they aren’t included in the box (especially the Pencil) though. I think the main point is that Apple want to keep the Pro available for many different users but there is still a focus on using it for productivity rather than leisure.This point is again emphasised on the iPad Pro section of the Apple website. It reads: “It’s not just larger. It’s an iPad that lets you be more creative and more productive – at a whole new scale.” However under ‘Design’, it highlights that the bigger screen will be better for 3D games so again we see where they are trying to accommodate as many users as possible.
Apple also significantly increased the power of the iPad by using an A9X chip. This will be 1.8X faster than the A8X from the iPad Air 2. Again the information on Apple’s website is telling: “The A9X…gives iPad Pro the power to easily take on tasks that were reserved for workstations and PCs.” That is implying this device has been designed to deal with some of the most intense applications in order for you to get what you want done. Overall there is an implication that the iPad Pro is designed to be more than a casual media device. It’s clearly not meant to be carried around everywhere like previous generations because of the size so is it meant to have a place on your desk at the office or in the studio? Probably so.
One final point to think about is will people have an iPad Pro and a MacBook? I’ve always felt the iPad had a place as a fantastic media device but your laptop would do the ‘real’ work. This latest generation of Apple’s tablet may be the only one you need from the two.