When Apple unveiled its 9.7-inch iPad Pro on March 21, the company’s marketing chief Phil Schiller called it “the ultimate PC replacement.” He claimed the majority of people coming to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro were from a Windows PC. The new 9.7-inch iPad is targeting people still using an old PC. Is Apple’s latest iPad a real PC replacement? Can the smaller Pro lure the PC users to switch?
The iPad Pro still can’t do many things
The new device does certain things that you could once do only on Mac or Windows. For instance, you can now perform video editing on the iPad. The new iPad Pro offers support for Apple Pencil and keyboards via the Smart Connector. It feels like you can get the real work done on the new iPad. Microsoft has also created an iPad Office suite that Apple is happily promoting.
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But there are still a lot of things that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro can’t do. You can run Office apps on iOS, but it is far more powerful on Windows devices. Users cannot run Xcode to create and publish an iOS app on an iPad. It is missing a mouse or a trackpad, an essential tool for PC-like work. In 2014, Apple’s head of software engineering Craig Federighi had criticized Microsoft’s move to bring a touchscreen tablet with a keyboard. Now Apple has done the same thing.
Touching screen even for basic functions is clunky and tiresome
Touch screens can be sophisticated and intuitive, says Christopher Mims of the Wall Street Journal. But they are no match for mice and trackpads when you are doing real work. Touching the screen even for the most basic functions is both “clunky and tiresome.” Is a 9.7-inch screen large enough to do the real work? Probably not. Even on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, app developers have been slow to put the extra space to good use.
Even users who want to make the iPad their primary computing device are more likely to go for the 12.9-inch Pro due to more room, 4GB RAM, and faster speed. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro costs $599 for the 32GB storage variant. The storage space is simply not sufficient. In contrast, more affordable laptops are available in the market with up to 1TB hard disks. Storing all the data in the cloud is impractical for many people.