Apple’s tablet priorities have shifted. Instead of casually updating its 9.7-inch slate with insignificantly improved internals, Apple made the decision to try something new. And it’s something the company needed to do as iPad sales continue to slide. Now, rather than offer two different sizes in its tablet family, customers have a jumbo iPad as the newest option. Is the iPad Pro for you?
That depends. If you’re not a power user who watches Netflix and plays the occasional game or two, then no. You can get that same experience on Apple’s smaller tablets, or even on the iPhone. No matter how much Apple tries to convince you, this thing isn’t really about binge watching shows and playing Angry Birds. It’s the working man’s device. Something you use to create charts and file expense reports.
In a nutshell, this is an entrepreneur’s device, something for a CEO. And it’s why people like you and me should just stay away, no matter how immersive or gorgeous that 12.9-inch screen is. There’s just no good reason to throw down $800 on an enormous iPad. And especially when the most expensive model (with LTE) runs for $1,079, which isn’t cheap. Throw in Apple’s new stylus, called Pencil ($99), and the Smart Keyboard ($169), and you’re looking at $1,347 for the whole package.
That’s for an iOS device, by the way. I hope you have generous relatives, because that’s one expensive gift.
Microsoft’s Surface 3, a clear competitor of the iPad Pro, starts at $699 for the 128GB model, which also comes with 4GB of RAM and LTE. Even bundling in the Type Cover ($129) and Surface Pen ($49), the price doesn’t begin to approach the iPad Pro’s price. And these are very similar devices, with a focus on productivity and content creation. The difference is that the Surface 3 runs a full-blown OS, whereas the iPad Pro comes with iOS 9 and some multitasking capabilities.
The main draw of the iPad Pro is its Force Touch screen and how the Pencil interacts with the display. What Apple showed off onstage was indeed impressive, and there are some truly revolutionary possibilities in the medical space; that anatomy demo shown off was incredible. But as a consumer device, I’m not so sure this thing is worth that astronomical price. You can pick up a 13-inch MacBook Air with 128GB of storage for $999.
I suppose it comes down to what type of customer you are. Apple has some clear goals set for the iPad Pro: replace many PC tasks with a more immersive, intuitive touch experience. Wasn’t that the goal of the iPad all along? This thing will be great for professionals in industries like architecture, medicine and music. The rest of us still have the iPad mini 4, or the medium-size iPad Air 2.
Microsoft has had a heck of a time selling its Surface, and now Apple is ready to go after the kind-of-a-tablet-kind-of-a-laptop category. For a device as expensive as $1,347, it’s hard to imagine this having a significant impact on iPad sales. We’ll find out just how good the device is when it’s available this November.