Fanboys should start worrying. Apple's introduction and spin around the iPad Pro is not a home run hit by any stretch of the imagination. It's fast and quality hardware, but the software to make it a PC replacement isn't there. With Microsoft looming large behind it, Apple is not innovating, but just keeping pace with its own development cycle. You have to wonder how hard the company is looking at what the rest of the world is doing.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has suggested the iPad Pro will replace the laptop, but even hard core Mac media fans have trouble swallowing that argument. For some, the current crop of iOS apps doesn’t deliver the ease of use and productivity you can find on the Mac OS or Windows. There's longing for new apps that take full advantage of iPad Pro's larger real estate and better multi-tasking.
A new touch keyboard to complement the Pro gets dogged out for costing too much at $170 and not having a trackpad. The Surface Pro’s covers cost less and include a trackpad; Apple still hasn't accepted that when people are typing, they don't want to take their hands away from the keyboard to touch the screen and then move their hands back down to get back to typing. Why can't Apple move on with trackpad support for iOS? Third-party keyboard options for iPad Pro seem to be superior.
Everyone loves the precision pointing of the Apple Pencil -- the company can't call it a stylus or Pen like everyone else does. But you have to pay $99 for it, while Microsoft gives you a stylus for free as well as a way to put it onto the Surface, either via loop (Pro 3) or magnetically (Pro 4).
Pundits argue that the iPad Pro is cheaper than a Surface Pro and the tablet apps for the iPad Pro are better than Windows tablet apps, but it misses the point that users get the whole and complete universe of regular Windows PC applications today. And that the Surface family of hardware knows there are pointing devices in the world other than fingers and styluses.
Apple will probably pick up sales in the graphics arts and design world – no big surprise there, since it's always been a strong sector for the company – and some business users because it has bigger real estate and better resolution for presentations .
Microsoft started suggesting the PC could be replaced by the tablet with the Surface Pro 3. It semi-backpedaled on that with the roll out of the Surface Book, but for Apple to adopt the same line of "our device replaces the PC" a couple of years after the Surface Pro 3 smacks of the same revisionism it has practiced when it introduced a large screen iPhone after spending a couple of product cycles saying how everyone didn't really need a big screen phone. For Apple, it's not a real concept until it says so.
It's easy (and long overdue) to see where the next revisionism will take place. Apple is going to have provide touchpad and mouse support to Apple iOS and the iPad family. It doesn't want to because of the established Jobs philosophy that a tablet was a tablet and a PC is a PC and the two will never cross features and functionality. The overwhelming criticism in the lack of touchpad support in the latest Apple iPad keyboard will drive the company to put it in -- something it should have done when it rolled out the iPad Pro.
Apple may think it has the luxury to be behind the curve with a higher quality product, but the problem is that Microsoft and Google get the chance to acquire and build larger market share while stock users and the business world wait for Apple to offer the features that people want -- rather than the features Apple is willing to give them. It may think it can afford to do that over the long run, but the problem is it reduces the company to a niche player like Blackberry, than a standards-setter.
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