Apple unveiled the giant 12.9-inch iPad Pro at its keynote event on Wednesday, which is only marginally smaller than the 13-inch MacBook. It blurs the line between a tablet and a laptop (an iPad and a Mac in this case), and is targeted at business users. The two most notable accessories of the iPad Pro are a stylus and a keyboard. The device transforms to use touch, stylus, and keyboard.
Microsoft pioneered the business tablet category
The fact that Apple believes in hybrid devices is proof that Microsoft has been right in its tablet strategy all along. The Redmond-based company launched its productivity-focused Surface tablet three years ago. But the Surface line didn’t taste success until Surface Pro 3 became wildly popular among business users. The Surface line comes with a keyboard and stylus, runs Microsoft Office, and offers the split-screen mode for multi-tasking. The iPad Pro comes with the same accessories and brings same productivity features, though it has better specs.
It means Apple is now adopting Microsoft’s core message for its own post-PC future. Does iPad Pro pose a serious threat to Microsoft? Maybe, but the software giant isn’t concerned, primarily because it is focusing on software and services. Microsoft would be concerned if iPad Pro users don’t use Office and other productivity products offered by Redmond. That’s why Microsoft’s Office chief Kirk Koenigsbauer took to stage at Apple’s keynote event to demonstrate how Office works on the iPad Pro.
iPad Pro to replace laptops?
Going on sale in November, the iPad Pro aims to be the ultimate productivity device. It weighs only half as much as 13-inch MacBook Pro. When introducing the jumbo tablet, Apple said the iPad Pro’s display and processor were superior to many popular laptops. In the past, the iPad launch demos would focus on reading, watching videos, and listening. But the iPad Pro demo focused on creating and editing documents, calculations, etc.
When Microsoft first unveiled the Surface line, they were not meant to rival tablets. They were meant to challenge MacBooks. Some Apple fans may think that the iPad Pro goes against the will of Steve Jobs, who never liked the idea of stylus and multi-tasking capabilities. But it may help revive Apple’s falling tablet sales.