Apple got it wrong with the iPad Pro
I’m not going to go into a review of the iPad Pro which will be available tomorrow 11/12/2015 as there are all of the tech sites that have done that with or without their bias.
I’m a 28 year IT veteran who has seen a lot of tech, different work environments, needs and opinions. I’m not the greatest Apple fan but have owned and used iPads, iPhones and Macbooks. I don’t consider myself completely biased! Currently I use a Surface Pro 3, Lumia 640, Microsoft Band and Fitbit Charge – I still have a Galaxy 3, Kindle Fire (original!), Nook, Google TV, home built PC, etc. I guess my point is I have played with a lot of platforms, server, workstation, phone, laptop, tablet, etc. I don’t see myself as biased.
A new niche
For better or worse Microsoft has defined a new niche – the hybrid laptop/tablet. Their refined designs of the Surface platform has pushed design and engineering to the limit and challenged OEM manufacturers to up their game and introduce, better yet try and improve in this new arena.
Lenovo, Dell, HP now all have Surface look-a-like devices with subtle improvements or differences on the theme of the Surface tablets. This is validation of Microsoft’s design and direction. A convertible laptop/tablet is a great form factor. Windows 8 through Windows 10 has worked towards solidifying a common platform for devices and the convergence of the operating system across all devices. A common platform supporting all input methods.
Apple has two platforms and 4 screens – iPhone and iPad covering mobile under iOS, and MacBook and iMac running OSX covering desktop/laptop arena. Apple is very clear that the two operating systems are here to stay so we have two platforms with different input options – iOS is touch, keyboard and pen(cil) and OSX is your traditional keyboard and mouse. Touch as often said by Apple is not an option for Mac / OSX. The late Steve Jobs made several references and inferences about the use of touch on a desktop/laptop, the use of stylus and more. There seems to be strong indications that this will not change BUT we do now have an Apple Pencil so who knows times could be changing.
Apple has it all wrong
The Surface and it’s complimentary or rival systems have defined a desktop replacement scenario with the flexibility and power to be your one and only device. They offer options for external displays, expansion docks, portability, connectivity with LTE, USB ports, expandable storage. All day usage is real on the Windows 10 platform and these new devices. The flexibility of touch, tablet vs laptop vs desktop configuration means you have the best of all usage scenarios. Docked or connected these workhorses run all Windows 32/64bit applications, drive big screens, all input options are available.
The iPad Pro tries to fit into this niche as a PC replacement – the only device you will ever need.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Cook said, “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”
He continued: “Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.”
The Apple distortion field is well in force here. I challenge anyone to show me, heck I even asked Tim Cook to send me one to prove me wrong, how this could be the case?
So what did Apple do wrong?
Look at the compromises:
- To meet the need to compete with the Surface platform Apple had to do something to compete in this arena.
- iOS does not have the applications to work within an Enterprise environment
- Windows domain integration or functionality
- Able to work within networked environments no matter what the server platform
- No integration with authentication systems
- The iPad Pro screen/keyboard solution is not flexible or ergonomic
- Screen angle not adjustable
- keyboard is compressed
- no mouse or trackpad so there is constant fingers to screen, fingers to keyboard action
- no connectivity options for screens – long term use of a 12″ screen at a low angle is going to break your neck and strain your eyes.
- Desktop replacement capability
- No external display support
- Limited input – keyboard, touch and pencil
- No memory expansion options
- No USB/expansion/device ports
- Design Issues
- Screen not adjustable
- Pencil charging connector
- Keyboard and Pencil not included
The iPad Pro simply is not a device replacement option. There are too many compromises in the design of the hardware and the fact that iOS and OSX remain as separate systems. I believe either touch needs to come to OSX or there needs to be a new form factor from Apple to challenge Microsoft and the OEMS as Windows 10 as the consolidation of platforms is a strong market contender and will keep Apple at its current market share within the traditional PC/Desktop market and within the Enterprise for business users.
No matter how many layers of AutoCAD the iPad Pro can display, no matter the PPI of the screen, I cannot find a usage case where the iPad Pro applies as a replacement for a PC/Laptop form factor – no-one could sit in front of or operate an iPad Pro all day every day as their one and only device.
If you have such a scenario I would love for you to share – let me know!
I wonder what Tim Cook has on his desk?