One of the frequently rumored device releases from Apple in recent years has been the so-called iPad Pro. The idea of a particularly high spec version of the flagship Apple tablet has been seemingly on the cards for sometime. And it would seem to make obvious sense for Apple, as the corporation updated its range of tablets just last year, in an attempt to revitalize what is a stalling niche.
iPad Pro to kickstart tablet technology
During 2014, there was growing evidence that the tablet marketplace had perhaps already reached its apex. This may seem odd for a technology which proclaimed to be the fastest growing in consumer electronics history fairly recently, But in the fast-moving technology space seemingly critical products come and go extremely quickly.
Although tablets should not in any way be considered obsolete, and the sales figures for the iPad series in particular are still pretty strong, there is always the possibility that the iPad has declined in popularity owing to having lost its novelty value. This is a key aspect of any consumer electronics niche, and something that often attracts new consumers to a particular product. While Apple is still looking to penetrate developing economies with the iPad, in the Western world the rapid ascent of the tablet computer may already have stalled for good.
In this context, the iPad Pro is seen as a concept very much intended to catalyze tablet sales in the Western world. Releasing a tablet which provides particularly high specifications into the established Western marketplace was considered a sensible strategy for a company attempting to bring something completely new to the tablet genre. The idea behind it is to offer true multitasking, and provide what some people would describe as a true computing experience to the tablet niche, while still retaining all of the convenience of the iPad which has made it such a successful device in the first place.
iPad Pro facing delays
But although many consumers are crying out for the release of the iPad Pro, it seems that we may have to wait a little while longer than was in fact anticipated.
Apple is always a company that likes to provide design parameters that really make a new product stand out. And these can differ significantly among each of its product ranges. For example, the market-leading iPhone range has lagged behind the Samsung Galaxy smartphone for quite some time in terms of screen resolution. Apple has instead decided to concentrate on other attractive aspects of the iPhone, and it would be extremely difficult to argue that this has been a mistake. However, Apple recently released the first 5K resolution desktop computer with its 27 inch Retina iMac, underscoring the fact that Apple does not have a ubiquitous approach to all product lines.
So if the iPad Pro is to be considered a premium device, as indeed all analysts expected to be, it won’t be enough for its upgrades to be based on superior specifications from previous iterations. Apple will want to deliver an iPad Pro that truly offers something unique; a selling point and particularly a notable physical aspect that sets it apart from other existing iPads.
It is thought that the answer to this particular desire might be the micro-LED display. Apple has already investigated this possibility diligently, and last year they bought LuxVue; a startup focused on micro-LED displays. The LuxVue display substitutes three colored LEDs for each screen pixel that blast light directly to your eyes, and this provides a very nifty two-fold advantage. On the one hand, this technology delivers outstanding color realisation and clarity. But perhaps more importantly, it is stated that LuxVue ensures 95 percent less power consumption.
This doesn’t mean that the iPad could suddenly run for 19 times longer than previous devices, but it does mean that the battery size and weight of the device could be cut significantly without damaging battery life. Indeed, we could see an incredibly slim and light iPad, which is significantly different physically from previous devices, which nonetheless delivers a superior battery life to existing units.
This would be a fantastic achievement for Apple, and one that the corporation would clearly welcome considering it has been criticized for manufacturing products with disappointing battery lives recently. But predictably there is a catch to this marvellous sounding technology.
Although Apple already has an outstanding supply chain in place, it will be faced with a severe challenge in producing millions of Retina displays a year at acceptable yields. There could also be cost issues for the corporation to circumnavigate as well. Reliability and long lives for devices could also pose serious conundrums for Apple, and overall if the consumer electronics giant is intending to include this new technology in the iPad Pro, then we can certainly expect a significant delay until it is released.
So don’t hold your breath for an iPad Pro, as we are unlikely to see it in 2015 based on this evidence.