Will Apple's 9.7" iPad Pro take a chunk out of Microsoft Windows?

Posted:
in iPad edited March 2016
During its March 21 press event, Apple was keen to market the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro as a Windows PC replacement, pointing out that most 12.9-inch Pro buyers are switchers. But does the smaller Pro stand a chance of luring more converts?




Pros



First, let's look at the factors in Apple's favor. The iPad is, for one, far and away the best-selling tablet on the market, even if its marketshare has eroded. Its popularity has led businesses, developers, and accessory makers to support it en masse, giving the platform the apps and other kinds of support it needs to be a plausible alternative to a laptop or a desktop. Many tasks that were once the province of Mac and Windows PCs, like video editing, can now be performed on an iPad. Microsoft even has an iPad Office suite, something Apple is happy to promote.




With support for the Apple Pencil, and more convenient keyboards thanks to the Smart Connector, the iPad Pro does begin to feel like a more flexible device on which you can get "real" work done.

The simplicity of an iOS device likely has an inherent appeal. There are no video card drivers to worry about, no complex filesystems, and far fewer malware threats. An iPad, particularly the 9.7-inch Pro, is light and compact enough to fit into a satchel or purse. It seems like the sort of no-nonsense science-fiction technology we've been promised since tablets popped up in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Apple has also integrated cloud services more thoroughly into iOS than Microsoft has into Windows. With everything configured properly, books, music, photos, documents, and even video can be readily accessible.

Microsoft's efforts at evolving Windows for tablets have had mixed results, to put it mildly. The touch interfaces in Windows 8 and 10 are functional, but divisive, and clearly weren't designed with mobile in mind -- unlike iOS. Microsoft's first-party Surface tablets have their fans, but haven't exactly set the world on fire.

Cons



One of Apple's fundamental problems is that there's still a lot the iPad can't do, or at least can't do well. There are games it can't play, productivity apps it can't run. You can't run Xcode to make and publish an iOS app on an iPad, ironically, and while you can load Office on iOS, the suite's much more powerful on Windows -- including Surface. Many Windows apps are by necessity scaled back for iOS.




Often these limits are attributable to the walls built into the operating system. There's no open filesystem, which restricts how you and/or apps can move files around. Apps in fact have to communicate with each other through very specific channels, and options for customizing the look and feel of the OS are likewise narrow. This is all in the name of security, which might seem essential if Apple didn't have the Mac for comparison.

In other cases, the very nature of the hardware is restrictive. A 9.7-inch screen doesn't present much room for an interface, for example, and even on 12.9-inch models, developers have been slow to exploit the extra space. Because Apple insists on using proprietary connectors, and serves as the gatekeeper for accessory support, there are only so many peripherals you can connect. Forget about mice entirely.

Apple might be loathe to admit it, but storage is a huge problem as well. A $599 Pro comes with just 32 gigabytes -- how is that supposed to replace a Windows PC, when many cheaper laptops come with terabyte hard disks, or 128-gigabyte SSDs? The company would like you to store as much as you can in the cloud, but for many people that's impractical or undesirable.

Final thoughts



Apple will no doubt pick up some new iPad-only converts with the 9.7-inch Pro, but probably only people for whom their demands aren't heavy and portability is crucial. An iPad can be a traveler's best friend.

Even people willing to make an iPad their main computing device will probably gravitate towards the 12.9-inch Pro, however. Not only is there more room for apps to breathe, especially when multitasking, but it's slightly faster and has 4 gigabytes of RAM to work with, not just 2 gigabytes.

More probable is what a lot of people already do: keep an iPad as a secondary device. Tablets, from Apple or otherwise, still have some work to do before they can be considered true laptop and desktop replacements.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 87
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    "Will Apple's 9.7" iPad Pro take a chunk out of Microsoft Windows?"

    No way. For that Apple needs a Mac tablet.
    edited March 2016 sirlance99lattermanstudiodacloocnocbuiroger wade
  • Reply 2 of 87
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    Has MS's Surface endeavour turned a net profit after all the R&D and engineering they've put into that brand name?

    brakkenpscooter63redgeminipajensonbpatchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 87
    irelandireland Posts: 17,295member
    If I were Apple I'd pay $1B if necessary to Adobe to persuade them to bring PS-proper to iPad.

    And I'd send Autodesk a few hundred million to bring AutoCAD over.

    Apple has all the money in the world, they can use some here to achieve their goals for iPad. AutoCAD  Photoshop and a few apps such as these created for touch would make all the difference in the world to how the iPad is perceived for professional work. And once these apps happen most every other pro app will want to follow.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 4 of 87
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 599member
    The iPad is a really nice thing.  We've got 3 in the house right now.  Still using the Macbook Pro for most things.   None of the features of the new iPad would change that for me.  My wife, on the other hand, switched from a Macbook Air 11" to an iPad Mini a while ago, and mostly she just uses her iPhone 6+.  She's the exception though.  For most people who are accustomed to using a Mac or Windows laptop to do lots of things, the iPad simply won't replace it.  I don't think it's simply a matter of habit.  I prefer using the laptop.
    redgeminipalattermanstudioneilbilly
  • Reply 5 of 87
    It's funny because I work on an iMac and I also needed a portable device, other than the iPhone, that I could work out of the office. I was seriously considering buying a second hand Macbook Pro, but then I realized I could have all of the apps I needed downloaded to my iPad 4 Retina. A pretty outdated iPad but with the addition of outstanding Logitech keyboard/case, I sort of turned the tablet into a mini laptop, lol. 

    I still love my Mac and that is my bulk machine for work, but I can tell you I'm pretty surprised how well this old iPad can take care of a lot of stuff on the go.
    brakkenredgeminipajensonb
  • Reply 6 of 87
    ireland said:
    If I were Apple I'd pay $1B if necessary to Adobe to persuade them to bring PS-proper to iPad.

    And I'd send Autodesk a few hundred million to bring AutoCAD over.

    Apple has all the money in the world, they can use some here to achieve their goals for iPad. AutoCAD  Photoshop and a few apps such as these created for touch would make all the difference in the world to how the iPad is perceived for professional work. And once these apps happen most every other pro app will want to follow.
    Would you even want them on an iPad, even the 12"? My Mac (rMBP 15") has a 1920x1200 equivalent views pace while my Air2 has a 1024x768 equivalent view space. I know which id rather use for PS.
    edited March 2016 fotoformat
  • Reply 7 of 87
    irelandireland Posts: 17,295member
    staticx57 said:

    Would you even want them on an iPad, even the 12"? My Mac (rMBP 15") has a 1920x1200 equivalent views pace while my Air2 has a 1024x768 equivalent view space. I know which id rather use for PS.
    iPad Air 2 has a res of 2048x1536 (~13 rMBA) and iPad Pro 12.9" has a res of 2732x2048 (~15 rMBA).

    But more crucially PS and autoCAD would lend themselves very well to a touch-first UI. Both companies would sell a ton of subscriptions having this in their arsenal.
    edited March 2016 redgeminipa
  • Reply 8 of 87
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    staticx57 said:
    ireland said:
    If I were Apple I'd pay $1B if necessary to Adobe to persuade them to bring PS-proper to iPad.

    And I'd send Autodesk a few hundred million to bring AutoCAD over.

    Apple has all the money in the world, they can use some here to achieve their goals for iPad. AutoCAD  Photoshop and a few apps such as these created for touch would make all the difference in the world to how the iPad is perceived for professional work. And once these apps happen most every other pro app will want to follow.
    Would you even want them on an iPad, even the 12"? My Mac (rMBP 15") has a 1920x1200 equivalent views pace while my Air2 has a 1024x768 equivalent view space. I know which id rather use for PS.
    I don't see that as a big deal. At this point Adobe could support on Retina displays on the iPad and then make an app that takes advantage of the actual resolution.


    ireland said:
    staticx57 said:

    Would you even want them on an iPad, even the 12"? My Mac (rMBP 15") has a 1920x1200 equivalent views pace while my Air2 has a 1024x768 equivalent view space. I know which id rather use for PS.
    iPad Air 2 has a res of 2048x1536 (~13 rMBA) and iPad Pro 12.9" has a res of 2732x2048 (~15 rMBA).

    But more crucially PS and autoCAD would lend themselves very well to a touch-first UI. Both companies would sell a ton of subscriptions having this in their arsenal.
    Hence his use of "equivalent views."
  • Reply 9 of 87
    I have now used the iPad Pro for three months, as a major device for a significant piece of my work. The ability to switch amongst Keynote, MS Excel, PDF tools, and writing is crucial to what I do, and the iPP has been absolutely FANTASTIC for that. The pencil is amazing.

    That said, the file transfer process from the Mac (on which I do a lot of basic work, and in which most of the files that I need reside) is still clunky. Working with Microsoft cloud alongside iCloud has been a revelation: MS's cloud services are excellent, as good as iCloud -- I had expected something clunky and ponderous. While the iPP Keyboard is solid, there are three -- no, make it four -- things that are minor annoyances, for the $150 price: (i) I wish there was a 'writing position setting' (i.e., where the screen lies relatively flatter compared to the more upright setting); (ii) I wish the Keyboard was backlit; (iii) the keys are not very springy, and sometimes I feel like I am tapping my fingers on a hard surface; (iv) I am not a huge fan of the dull, dark grey color.

    In sum, am I happy with the iPP? Absolutely. I'd give it a 9/10. I have no doubt that it significantly slows any momentum that Surface might have had.
    edited March 2016 ericthehalfbeefruitstandninjairelandmessagepad2100ai46drewys808
  • Reply 10 of 87
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,273member
    Good opinion but totally irrelevant. You're reading it all wrong.

    Apple did not position the iPad Pro as a Windows PC replacement.

    There was a slide saying "Ultimate PC replacement" but prior to that slide Phil Schiller said "...many of them [windows users] will find that it's their ultimate PC replacement". See the keynote movie at 46:30.

    What is wrong with that?

    Many of them... If you knowingly or unknowingly disregard that "many of them" part, you're just mixing-up everything.
    edited March 2016 appex
  • Reply 11 of 87
    koopkoop Posts: 337member
    Most people are probably still better serviced with a phablet phone, and a Macbook Air/Pro at this point. Seems to cover everything most people need. Even though some companies are viewing the Mac lineup as an overkill compliment to the phone, and with intel slowing down massive architectural leaps it may be true. I just don't believe the iPad is there yet.

    So the phone is the essential component to every day consumers, and the most important. But what is the second component people need? 

    Chromebooks
    iPads
    Surfaces
    Macbooks
    Macs
    PCs

    Companies are trying to figure out what the "step up" device is going to be. The days of the hulking PC towers are numbered (outside of gamers like myself). I would rather see Apple revamp their 13" Macbook Air lineup with an $800 starting price point. Seems like the sweet spot for most people. I have the 2014 MBP but have no desire to spend $1300 on a laptop replacement in a few years. I only wanted it for the retina display and have rarely used it for heavy duty work.
  • Reply 12 of 87
    Soli said:
    staticx57 said:
    Would you even want them on an iPad, even the 12"? My Mac (rMBP 15") has a 1920x1200 equivalent views pace while my Air2 has a 1024x768 equivalent view space. I know which id rather use for PS.
    I don't see that as a big deal. At this point Adobe could support on Retina displays on the iPad and then make an app that takes advantage of the actual resolution.
    Does Apple allow that? I am ignorant on the development side.

     It was the first thing I did when I got my Mac, scale the display away from pixel doubling to a non-integer scale. Lose a bit of sharpness but gain a lot more on screen.
  • Reply 13 of 87
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,781member
    I think it can be a pc replacement for some people.  Not me,: have my Windows desktop for a number of reasons.  

    I don't really see iPads used for Photoshop or AudoCAD on such a small size screen!!! Normally you want a nice large screen.   I use my iPad while sitting orb the sofa or in bed, or at work for things like pdf manuals, or watching something while at lunch.  Sometimes other things.  

    If all you do is media consumption and some lite work, a iPad works just fine.  I think the mini it's pointless these days with big screen iPhone's!!! 

    roger wade
  • Reply 14 of 87
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    staticx57 said:
    Soli said:
    I don't see that as a big deal. At this point Adobe could support on Retina displays on the iPad and then make an app that takes advantage of the actual resolution.
    Does Apple allow that? I am ignorant on the development side.

     It was the first thing I did when I got my Mac, scale the display away from pixel doubling to a non-integer scale. Lose a bit of sharpness but gain a lot more on screen.
    Sure, you can cater to whatever set of device you wish. What have a problem with is not updating your apps to support the latest HW.
    staticx57
  • Reply 15 of 87
    iOS on the iPad is the problem. It makes the iPad feel like an stretched out iPhone. A lot of wasted space and apps are watered down and not very well optimized for bigger screen especially Apple's own apps. Apple should also port more pro apps like Final Cut X an Logic Pro.
    roger wade
  • Reply 16 of 87
    jbdragon said:

    If all you do is media consumption and some lite work, a iPad works just fine.  
    Utterly clueless post.
    ericthehalfbeeSolipscooter63revenantmagman1979
  • Reply 17 of 87
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,273member
    jbdragon said:

    If all you do is media consumption and some lite work, a iPad works just fine.  
    Utterly clueless post.
    Exactly. With just Filemaker Pro it is possible to build half of the AppStore... 
    magman1979
  • Reply 18 of 87
    When it comes to being productive and having access to software Windows is twice as good as osx and ten times ios.   The iPad will have no impact on Windows 
    roger wade
  • Reply 19 of 87
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,725member
    When it comes to being productive and having access to software Windows is twice as good as osx and ten times ios.   The iPad will have no impact on Windows 
    This is basically a zero content post, 10 times 0 would still make it zero so I guess you must have been using Windows...
    jensonbmagman1979JanNLai46
  • Reply 20 of 87
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,471moderator
    The simplicity of an iOS device likely has an inherent appeal. There are no video card drivers to worry about, no complex filesystems, and far fewer malware threats. An iPad, particularly the 9.7-inch Pro, is light and compact enough to fit into a satchel or purse. It seems like the sort of no-nonsense science-fiction technology we've been promised since tablets popped up in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    This says it all to me.  I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, living in that imagined future.  Retired four years ago at age 49 after 26 years of building software companies, these days I live in my iPad.  It's the only tool I need to manage my seven-figure investment portfolio, trade options, do my research, manage an online investment group, and run analysis.

    I use most of Apple's built-in apps.  I love Numbers, and that's saying something as I've been a heavy spreadsheet jock from all the way back to the days when my first company was building and selling 1-2-3 and Symphony add-ins.  (Anyone remember SmartNotes, SeeMORE, @BASE, UltraVision?  Long time ago.)
    edited March 2016 pscooter63lattermanstudiobb-15
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