The iPad Pro has been a long expected device release from Apple, and rumored features included in the tablet suggests that it will be an ideal educational device. Reports indicate that Apple will particularly concentrate development with the iPad Pro in producing a device that has obvious productivity improvements, and this would also appeal to higher education affiliates in particular.
iPad Pro – Display size
Since the iPad Pro was first floated as a concept, it has been assumed that a central aspect of this tablet will be a significantly increased display size. A 13-inch tablet is expected when the iPad Pro is finally unveiled, and this would be ideal for educational usage. Engaging in academic work with a 10-inch screen is certainly plausible, but it tends to become a little tiring after a period of extended usage. An increased amount of screen real estate can equate to a more comfortable user experience, ensuring that the iPad Pro is on the shopping list of many students in particular.
Another report regarding the iPad Pro suggests that the device will feature considerably improved support for keyboard attachments. It is suggested that Apple wants to significantly improve this element of the iPad with the iPad Pro release, with a view to the tablet being considered a more serious form of computer. This would also be very much in line with a productivity-oriented iPad Pro, and would fit into an ethos that particularly suited students as well.
Another aspect of the iPad Pro which is rumored, and which would which also fit in with this educational aim, is the inclusion of a stylus. The S-Pen offered in the Samsung Galaxy Note range has proved particularly popular, and it is rumored that Apple is working on producing a similar external device that would offer handwriting functionality to students as well as industrial settings.
As students increasingly move to digital textbooks, the ability to highlight, annotate, underline, write in margins, and use other strategies in order to separate particular sections of text, remains important. This technique is often referred to as active reading, and it is an important research and revision strategy utilised by the majority of students. If the iPad Pro intends to appeal to educational users, it must utilize a sophisticated system to deliver this, and consequently the predictive stylus could fit into this overall aim.
While it has been possible to purchase external stylus devices for the iPad range previously, it is believed that Apple is working on producing something extremely sophisticated and revolutionary in order to take the iPad Pro to the next level. An active digitizer has also been suggested in order to aid the active reading process, and with the iPad Pro fitted with all of these individual elements, it would instantly become a very useful device for students when it is released.
At the time of writing, the iPad Pro remains very much a rumored device. Alternatively, it could be looked upon as an extremely poorly kept secret, as the relentlessness of reports on this forthcoming tablet would seem to suggest that it is an inevitability. Apple kept extremely quiet on the subject of an Apple Watch for many years, but the tech community predicted it long before it finally appeared, and thus this would seem to be a likelihood with the iPad Pro as well.
Competing with Surface Pro
If Apple does release a device which is particularly focused on educational needs then it will be competing directly with the already released Surface Pro. This Microsoft device is extremely well aligned to the needs of the students, but the pricetag in excess of $1,000 can be prohibitive for the less well-heeled academic. If Apple could produce a tablet that is considerably more affordable than this Microsoft offering, while delivering similar functionality and specifications, then it could attract a significant number of users from this important niche. It has certainly been asserted in some quarters that the Surface Pro fails to acknowledge the economic realities of the contemporary student and educational establishment.
Multitasking and iOS 9 clues
Another aspect of the iPad Pro which could be particularly useful for students is the expected split-screen multitasking. This would seem to be almost a certainty, as the ability for future tablets to achieve this has already been included in the coding for the mobile operating system iOS 9.
The iOS 9 release has also given clues about keyboard-related functionality, as the iOS 9 beta version has already been discovered to include code which provides provisions for a larger iPad keyboard. Naturally this has already been strongly linked with a future iPad Pro device.
As Apple continues to expand its commercial operation, an iPad Pro that attracts the average student would be a real asset to the corporation.