If Your Computer was an iPad Pro: Apple has Come Full Circle

Apple has a new ad for the iPad Pro asking you to “Imagine what your computer could do…if your computer was an iPad Pro.” With this, Apple has come full circle in its positioning of the iPad.

I have argued before that, when Apple brought the iPad to market in 2010, it tried extremely hard to position it as close as possible to the iPhone and as far as possible from the PC. At the time that made perfect sense. Smartphones were still growing in popularity, we were only three years away from the iPhone launch, and the App Store was in full swing. Drawing the parallel to what consumers wanted and loved was bound to generate demand. At the same time, Apple had to make sure consumers did not think the iPad was a tablet PC and so created a clear divide between the larger iPhone cousin and the Microsoft computer world. The easiest way to mark that divide was to concentrate on the fact the iPad was more about entertainment and content consumption – worth remembering that iOS did not have the enterprise presence it has today. While Apple also talked about content creation with the iPad, the underlying theme, especially in the Windows camp, was that tablets were not as powerful as PCs and certainly not up to the job when it came to productivity.

A Different Market

Six years later, the market is quite different. While smartphone sales have considerably slowed, their functionalities and size have only grown, making them perfect for content consumption on the go. This, coupled with the fact smartphones are always with us, has left little room for tablets to become a more sentinel part of an average consumer’s device portfolio. Most consumers also still do not believe a tablet is as capable as a PC neither do they do not think of it as an alternative to a PC when shopping for a new one. According to a recent study we ran at Creative Strategies, less than 5% of our US panel had considered replacing their PC with a tablet. As replacement cycles for iPad lengthen as many consumers see enough value coming from software upgrades alone, the vast number of PC users out there need to be convinced an iPad, and the iPad Pro specifically, could do what a PC does and more.

I advised before that vendors and Microsoft should stop talking about PC replacements because that does not allow consumers to see what an opportunity the new devices running Windows 10 offer. It seems in its latest ad, Apple is doing exactly that — not just implying the iPad Pro can replace your PC but saying it is actually going to do more than your PC.

But What is a PC Today?

While the iPad Pro has everything from a hardware perspective that allows it to compete with a PC, it seems to me the biggest battle Apple has on its hands remains the preconceived idea of what a PC is. Reading comments on Twitter on the new iPad ad, I saw the same points being made as six years ago: iOS is not a “full OS”, there is no file manager structure, there is no access to a disk, multitasking is not comparable, etc., etc. But the world is not the same as six years ago. Why do you need a disk when you have the cloud? Why do you need a file system when you are using different apps and your work is contained within those apps? Granted, not everybody works like that but more and more people do. Our data shows that, in the US, 80% of early adopters have embraced the cloud and about 30% of mainstream consumers have.

Surface Initiated the Change but Legacy is Keeping it Down

The iPad Pro is, of course, not the first tablet trying to convince you it can do what your PC does and more. Microsoft has been trying to do the same with the Surface. As a matter of fact, many think the iPad Pro is nothing but a “Surface wanna-be”. On the surface, these two devices look very similar but the premise that got them to the market is very different.

There is not a question that, when the Surface came to market – way before anyone was ready for it – it started something bigger than even Microsoft realized at the time. While the focus was on Windows 8 and the fact Microsoft vendors were struggling to both compete with the iPad and fuel PC upgrades, the Surface actually started to challenge the idea of what a PC was. In its 4th iteration and with a much better operating system at hand, the Surface could do more than a PC. Except, not many people actually thought of it in a different way. Yes, it has touch. Yes, it has a pen. But ultimately, most people still see it as a PC. The Surface calls itself a PC: “Your PC is restarting”. So it is not surprising the Surface commercials show people using the Surface in their non-conventional businesses and end with “I could not do that with my Mac.” I see this as a burden for the Surface. One that impacts its ability to convert more iPad and Mac users as well as attract developers to the platform so that you would have more use cases beyond traditional productivity to appeal to a younger generation both outside and inside enterprise. Microsoft is doing a great job in creating its own apps and adding functionality to the underlying OS that benefit the Surface – inking being the best example – but more could be done so that the Surface could be whatever one wants it to be.

It is interesting that, as Microsoft and Apple came to one similar product from two very different perspectives, they are now fighting a battle on opposite fronts but with one common interest — changing how people think of a PC. While the task seems more arduous for Apple because of the millions and millions of PC users there are, I actually think it will be harder for the Surface as Microsoft needs to balance its own desires and goals with those of the partners in the Windows ecosystem.

Published by

Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

977 thoughts on “If Your Computer was an iPad Pro: Apple has Come Full Circle”

  1. This is a very confusing article.

    You seem like to be saying that the iPad was originally positioned away from a PC but now it’s not (Apple is positioning it as such in their ads). People still don’t think of it as a PC replacement, but then it might (with the cloud). You end saying the iPad might convince people to think differently about PCs because it works differently from PCs.

    I can’t follow you.

    Interestingly though, this is not unique to you. My impression is that all pundits who predicted that tablets would quickly replace PCs back in 2013 were equally confused, and this caused them to miss the stagnation in tablet sales from 2014 onwards.

    The problem as I see it is pundits tend to see “people” or consumers as a single segment, and fail to realise that total sales are an aggregate of different markets, different decision makers, and different jobs-to-be-done. The “people” that you refer to in the article as a homogenous group, actually consists of kids, students, consumers, small businesses, creative professionals, large corporate IT and verticals. I’m pretty sure that at least dividing up into consumer and corporate would give us a much cleaner view of what’s happening to tablets.

    Additionally, in regard to the cloud, iCloud Drive seems to be a huge admission on Apple’s part that people might need to see the file system after all. Although it lives in the cloud, iCloud Drive is exceedingly close to a regular local file system browser. Ditto with multitasking. By all accounts, Apple seems to have given up thinking differently on these ones (or maybe it was in their plans from the start).

    1. I have always expected Apple to slowly add power and complexity to iOS devices, but in ways that make sense with the touch UI as well as the mobile nature of computing. Tablets were always going to level off and become more of a slow burn (I’m still using my first iPad 2 purchased in 2011, I’m only just now thinking about a new iPad). The initial sales rate wasn’t sustainable, that would have had us at something like three billion iPads sold annually at this point. It was obvious it had to slow down. Even so, the iPad by itself is still one of the top selling PCs in the world.

      1. The majority of PC use is during working hours as a work device. The majority of tablet use is at home as an entertainment and communications device.

        It should be clear that they are currently serving very different markets. Although there is some overlap, it is not large.

        Hence I object to the idea that tablets are PCs as of now.

        Feature-wise, they may be similar. But should we really be looking at the features? I think we should be looking at what purposes they are serving.

        Only by doing this can we derive what a sustainable sales rate for tablets should be.

        1. In your post above, you mentioned that Apple hasn’t failed. Do you feel they’re on the right track with the iPad Pro?

          If you object to the idea that tablets are PCs, how should one view them?

          I always get the feeling given Apple’s push into the enterprise with the iPP, they’re trying to go after the same user base as Surface Pro / Book.

          If all that a tablet is used for is communication / entertainment then it doesn’t really have a long term future since large-screen phones will eventually, and are starting to, cannibalize tablets.

          1. Since PCs aren’t actually used much in the home/consumer space and sales/usage is tanking, I think we should focus on the corporate space for your argument.

            PCs are currently the workhorse of corporate computing, but there are significant areas that are still underserved, and could benefit from new computing paradigms. Vertical markets, like computer use in a hospital/bedside setting is one quick example, but even for a regular sales guy, a better, more mobile friendly way to enter data into SalesForce for example would be valuable.

            In these settings, the work that a computing device needs to do is not just to work on spreadsheets or compose email. There needs to be specialised software that directly interacts with a specialised server, designed/customised for the job.

            That is why I believe that the collaborations between Apple-IBM, Apple-SAP, Apple-Cisco are far more significant than the iPad Pro; these have the potential to move computing beyond what is capable today, into the use-cases where a tablet would shine far beyond a PC.

            Of course though, I do also believe that the availability of MS-Office on tablets sends a pretty strong message to corporates. Even if you are working in verticals, MS-Office is the de-facto document sharing format after PDFs, and having good compatibility is definitely a huge plus.

            If I were to make a guess, I would say that the iPad Pro is probably insignificant except for the enthusiasts which tend to buy the highest prices model.

          2. I couldn’t find the share of Wintel PCs installed in private homes as opposed to Corps or home offices, and even less the “gaming” share of those Consumer PCs.
            I’d guess “consumer – gaming” is mostly up for grabs by Mobile-era computers, except some edge cases (home servers, heavy duty media editing hobbyists…)

        2. PCs in the home were/are also entertainment and communication devices. Computing has now become truly consumer-facing and we’re in a transition phase where computing devices accomplish many jobs-to-be-done. Think of these computing devices as work ‘plus’. I agree that traditional work PCs serve a different market, meaning they were never serving the larger consumer market. Now we have computing devices that do serve the consumer market.

          The question for me is how mobile devices in general evolve and is there a large space left for devices like the iPad Pro. I tend to think the answer is yes. I’ve always said the screen is the computer. The screen is the point of intersection, of interaction, and we choose our devices and govern our actions based on screen size.

          Personally I would like an even larger iPad Pro, and I hope that device is coming soon. But there is also the possibility that an Apple Network of Things enables a computing engine in my pocket connected to a cloud of wearables and accessories, one of which could be a large touchscreen. That’s much farther out though, I’m hoping I get an iPad Pro Plus before that.

          1. I agree that there probably still is a lot of space left in homes, but outside of games and videos, it has not yet been exploited. The opportunities themselves have not yet been clearly defined.

            For example, we once thought that tablets might replace books, magazines and newspapers. It turns out that Facebook on smartphones replaced newspapers and that e-books aren’t gaining much in popularity. Not much need for tablets anymore.

            Steve Jobs, in relation to TVs, said something about places where you want to turn your head on, and places where you want to turn it off. This applies to home tablet use as well. To popularise tablets in the home further, we have to identify the occasions when we turn our heads on in the home. Maybe when children are doing their homework. Maybe when we are thinking about health related stuff. Maybe when you’re doing your taxes. Maybe when you’re fixing your motorbike. Maybe when you’re improving your golf swing.

            There are opportunities I think, and many of them. Many of them are less obvious than games and videos, and it will take a long time for adoption in this sense to kick in.

          2. Yes, it’s going to take years for devices like the iPad to take on many of the jobs-to-be-done you touch on, and in most cases with the right software and services, the iPad is the better more capable device for those jobs-to-be-done. Meanwhile the iPad chugs along as one of the top selling PCs in the world. It was #1 for a while actually, I think it’s #2 now, but still very close to the top spot.

    2. Couple of quick thoughts.

      Firstly, I agree with Carolina about how it started. The primary reason this product was so rapidly adopted was because it ran a mobile OS tied to an already booming mobile ecosystem. If Apple put OS X on the iPad it would have failed miserably.

      The PC evolution is a key part of the discussion here. Also why relating the product more to the mobile ecosystem than desktop paradigm is essential. What we realize when we take a deep look at the consumer PC space is that people don’t actually do that much with their PCs. I’d actually argue consumers do more, achieve more, create more, with their smartphones than they do with their PCs. But the existential question is should that productivity and creativity end with the smartphone or is there still a computing device that can raise the performnace bar/metric for a group who had not had such a performance metric with their PC usage? That is what I think is happening and Apple hopes the iPad Pro, and iPad in general accomplishes. It allows people to do more than their smartphone but in a way that is much closely tied to the ways they produce and create today. The desktop paradigm and smartphone paradigm of software are simply too big of a gap to accomplish this. So a productivity/creativity computing platform born from a mobile ecosystem has a greater potential to let people do more/create more/ produce more than could have happened in a desktop OS paradigm.

      My .2c.

      1. Given how aggressive Apple has been in trying to get enterprise to adopt iPad / iPad Pro, will this approach help it succeed in the enterprise space especially against products like the Surface Pro / Book that can seamlessly switch between mobile / desktop paradigm?

  2. I’d love to use my iPad as a computer replacement. In fact that’s been the goal of many reviewers such as Walt Mossberg in the early days of the iPad. But for those needing to do basic tasks such as creating and editing documents, the iPad is just not up to the task, beginning with its lack of file storage system. It seems this is another area where Apple has failed to grow the platform in a meaningful way. Microsoft’s approach with the Surface looks like a much more viable direction in the long run.

    1. But what about the huge initial spike in sales? Surely Apple was doing something right. The Surface has not yet gotten anywhere near the initial success of the iPad.

      Early reviewers like Walt dreamed of the iPad replacing the PC, saw the initial remarkable sales figures, mistakenly thought that it was proof their dreams, and failed to observe that very few consumers were actually using it as they dreamt (which was actually pretty clear from web usage data), and were completely blind sighted by the drop in sales in 2014,5. They were clueless then, and I suspect they still haven’t gotten it right.

      I don’t think Apple failed at anything at all. It’s just that building up a new platform actually takes a few years. By contrast, the initial spike wasn’t a new platform. Just a new gaming/entertainment device.

  3. Seems to me apple is trying to push iPad Pro sales by making the MacBook so underpowered. I’m guessing this makes sense as people replace their iPads quicker than laptops so it’s more money for Apple. And also more iPad sales will boost the stock price as wall street doesn’t care about PC sales.

  4. “But what is a PC today?”
    Same as “What is arithmetic today?”

    A personal computer, regardless of platform and architecture, minimally needs two important attributes:
    a) Personal ownership
    b) Personal control.

    Anything else cannot truly be personal. You get to do what you’re allowed to do, and fighting that that formed the impetus of the PC Revolution to begin with. Thank you Apple II, Radio Shack, Commodore, and yes, IBM PC and those that followed.

  5. “The majority of PC use is during working hours as a work device. The majority of tablet use is at home as an entertainment and communications device. It should be clear that they are currently serving very different markets.”
    – Naofumi.

    I think Naofumi really nailed it with that explanation, and I agree that Carolina’s long and meandering article is just confusing.

    1. In fact, if I recall correctly, several early reports mentioned that they saw a lot of tablet usage in the bed and in the toilet (I might be making this one up 🙂 ).

      1. There are actually first generation tablets used as a magazine in the bathroom – you are not making it up 🙂

  6. I find it very hard to tease out what is meaningful in inciting/preventing Mobile-as-main-PC use, because of several unrelated parameters to the issue:
    – old apps vs new apps. Some need/prefer one, or the other.
    – lock in. Many people have no choice but to use whatever MS or Apple throw at them, and be delighted with it.
    – I/O. Some people need lots of it for peripherals, some people don’t care. Some people want a desktop dock or a lapdock, some don’t. Some need/want a printer, a mouse…
    – specific features such as storage, pen, touch, size, mobile data, battery life, price… as opposed to old PCs, Mobile devices aren’t very modular or even diverse, in the extreme case of iOS/MacOS you’ve got only Apple’s very few devices to choose from.
    – OS features maybe, though I’m convinced Wintel has been over-serving the average user by a wide margin.

    Also, I would try not to forget ChromeOS+Android, especially now that the two are getting melded together. They’re still lacking legacy apps, but at least they convincingly support tablet, laptop and desktop use cases. I’d say more convincingly than either iOS (lack of support for the xtop scenario, very expensive) or Win10 (no Mobile apps, expensive).

  7. The way I think about it is like this. The Surface Pro is a PC not a tablet. Its a PC with no keyboard attached. It does everything a PC can and run all the same programs. For content creation it can be just as good as any other PC on the market. I count the Surface Pro in my PC estimates not tablets. Its two defining features are a proper file system and proper mouse support. A file system is critical to allow apps to share data between them which is also critical for proper content creation.

    The iPad Pro is a a content consumption device with a bigger screen. It cannot do the stuff that many users really need a PC for. also when I look at how it is being used, its almost ALWAYS being used for content consumption not content creation. A big trigger here would be if Apple adjusted iOS to support a mouse and the functionality of Office for iPad was made much deeper and richer. Then it could really replace a PC but until then its just a way of watching movies on a bigger screen,, YAY!.

    1. I strongly disagree with your definition of “proper” content creation.

      In terms of word count and definitely in terms of bytes, the majority of content creation that an average person will do as a consumer, clearly happens on a smartphone. It’s just that the nature of “content” has shifted.

      In fact in Japan, I have seen multiple articles describing how our students lack PC skills, don’t own a PC, fill forms out on paper with handwriting and sent them in as photos taken on smartphones, and even write their dissertations on a smartphone. Even our normal assumptions about “proper” content creation are not safe.

      The main issue as I see it is the software. In the case of filling out forms, the PC way of doing it was to create an Excel file and to fill in the blanks. The smartphone way would be to add a form entry page to a website, which is getting ridiculously easy now and significantly lightens the load of the poor person who has to compile the entries. The evolution and adoption of similar tools will make it easier to do “proper” content creation on smartphones.

      The issue is not content creation per se, but the software tools we use. We use/abuse Excel as a data entry tool, a project management tool, a calendar, a document tracker, a DTP tool and more. Instead of a generic “digital paper”, smartphones and tablets need more specialised interfaces. That what the IBM/SAP collaborations promise to bring.

      Looking at the new MS Office with AI, we can see the direction towards a more specialised and intelligent tool. Instead of allowing you to write gibberish, the new Word is specialised for writing grammatically correct English. It also has an intelligent lookup tool so that you don’t need to always have a browser window open to look up stuff. This is how software will evolve to lessen the need for multi-windows and multi-tasking.

      To understand the future of tablets, you have to understand trends in productivity software and trends in how our youth creates content (which often isn’t “proper”).

      1. “even write their dissertations on a smartphone.”
        Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!
        But that’s dedication.

        1. I’m teaching my 9 year old, who’s already very familiar with her iPad, to use a PC. She doesn’t know how to use a QWERTY keyboard, a mouse nor multi-windows. She doesn’t yet know what files are. She doesn’t know how to convert Japanese phonetic characters into Chinese symbolic characters (On PCs, you have to use the space and enter keys to trigger the conversion. It is much more intuitive on iOS).

          I’m finding it truly amazing how difficult Mac OS is compared to iOS, and how I didn’t really notice. There is so much to learn, that you don’t need to even think about on iOS.

          So yes, I can believe that some students will prefer to write even long-form documents with their smartphones, and that in the long run, they will end up using non-Surface tablets and not PCs.

          1. No question that non-western alphabets have their own set of issues.

            I was replying specifically on dissertations composed on smartphones. Specifically smartphones. I find even laptops confining, smartphones, forget it.

          2. funny how every graduate of this generation still ends up in an office using a mouse and a PC…. evercool funky start up has one at every desk and one in front of every pair of eyes.

          3. There are a number of competing forces at work. Some forces are on the rise. Some are in there descent. Some are mature. Some are nascent. This makes the dynamics complex to analyse.

            The challenge is to identify the forces that are growing but are still small, and those that are large but shrinking.

          4. As far as I am aware, no. I’m sure that there are some people who use iPads as their main device, especially on the road, but hardly to the extent that the company would ditch their PCs.

            I see it like Adobe Flash vs. Apple. When Apple decided not to put Flash on their iPad, the web world was still very reliant on Flash. Very few people were ditching Flash on their PCs. Flash usage was not declining at all (in fact, it was probably rising), but still, Jobs saw it as a dying technology that was soon to be replaced by HTML5. And he was right.

            Similarly, current usage alone is not a good indicator of the future. You have to look at the underlying forces which have yet to make a significant impact. You have to do real analysis and not just reiterate what you see around you today.

            Going back to the iPad, a recent NYT article suggests that more than half of iPad sales at to corps. This is quite amazing if true. In particular, we should note that most pundits at this point seem totally unaware of this (at least they’re not talking about it).


          5. It’ll be interesting to see if Entreprise duplicates the Consumer behaviour: initial spike in sales, then decrease once buyers realize tablets are an extra device, not a replacement device. Unless Corp manages to create new uses, or, indeed, to replace PCs at least for some positions.
            I’m surprised there’s so little talk of I/O. There’s talk about performance and about apps, both of which are relevant alright, but not about I/O which I think is relevant too: can I connect (and use ^^) a larger screen ? a printer ? a keyboard ? a mouse or trackpad ? more storage ? … ? If as I suspect a lot of jobs require any of those at least some of the time, platforms that are more versatile (both in HW and SW) than iOS might have a big advantage. On the flip side, for single-app devices (room booking, work logs, documentation…) I’d assume cheaper Androids or even Kindles to be suitable ?

          6. I don’t necessarily think that Apple’s approach is the best, but they seem to envision a multi-device future. That is to say, if you really need a multiple screens or a mouse, the you should get a Mac. With copy and paste between devices, I believe that you can get pretty far with this approach, even withou the addition I/O. Of course, Apple sells only to those who can afford such luxuries.

            As for Androids and Kindles being cheaper, that is definitely the case. This applies to Windows tablets too. Android/Windows will eventually benefit from Apple trailblazing corporate tablet use, and Apple will lose market share, as it always does. I think it’s a bit too early to say which (Android/Windows) will win in corporate use though.

          7. Depends on how reliable those cheaper Androids are. Between Android and iPad remote control tasks for entertainment lighting consoles, the people I know using Android are constantly breaking down in the field. The iPads keep working. Maybe in a low usage application, like reading in the toilet, an Android tablet is more than sturdy enough.

            Back in the day MS use to tout Windows as a task oriented OS. With smartphones and tablets we are now looking at task oriented devices, breaking out what device is best for what tasks. Not all tasks need a printer. Not all tasks need a keyboard or a mouse. Not all tasks need the mobility of a tablet or smartphone.

            But it is easier and better for me to have my script for the next play I am lighting, or all my lighting paperwork on an iPad than a PC. Or, it is easier for me to use an iPad to inventory our costume shop, where I can use a Filemaker Pro database, take a picture of the costume, and enter in the data all centrally in this one device without the clumsiness of a laptop or running back to the desktop with a camera and handwritten note pad of information and transfer the data.

            In that light what I find interesting is that for many tasks people are using tablets, the latest, greatest hardware is rarely needed. More important is connectivity. My iPad needs to talk to the network my lighting console is connected to or the network my server or even desktop is connected to in order to transfer all the field notes from the costume inventory.

            So the iPad does not need additional IO. There are already devices that have that, which are better for those purposes anyway.


    2. A file system is critical to allow apps to share data between them which is also critical for proper content creation.

      iOS 8. The document picker feature lets users select documents from outside your app’s sandbox. These include documents stored in iCloud Drive and documents provided by a third-party extension.

      A big trigger here would be if Apple adjusted iOS to support a mouse

      Mousecursor – pointer to ui element wich need to do action. Is finger replacement for this task?

      functionality of Office for iPad

      Words to MS. On Lumia with 512MB Ram and 1GHz CPU MS Excel dont have lags on internal template(mortage calculator). On iPhone 5 with 1GB Ram and 1 GHz CPU MS Excel have lags on same template.

      1. this data shareing between apps is EXTREMELY limited and very far away from what a current content creator on PC needs.

        Nothing matches the accuracy of a mouse not even a trackpad.

        Office for iPad you are making my argument for me.

        1. What you fail to realise is that the current jobs of a “content creator” (I learnt a new word today!) were optimised for the old PC paradigm. The jobs for a “content creator” in the new world will be different.

          For example, take the job of taking reservations at a restaurant. In the PC era, you would take phone calls from customers and enter into Excel (content creation?). If you needed to share it with other people, maybe you’d put it on a shared drive. This is the old way.

          The new way, you would have a custom app designed from the ground up specifically for managing reservations, to be used on smartphones. This would need to be custom built, but would be far easier to use on a small screen, real-time, and maybe even connected to an online reservation system.

          Maybe this is not “proper” content creation in your mind. Specialised cloud apps are however, rapidly rising in use. A lot of what we use Word, Excel and PowerPoint for, is going to be consumed by this trend.

          Also realise that Excel was optimised for PCs. However, we will surely see smartphone oriented optimisations in Office. These are coming, but aren’t here yet. Take the responsive layout feature in Word that allows you to easily read documents on a smartphone, for example. That’s pretty neat.

  8. Every musician I’ve met and know since the iPad Pro came out owns an iPad Pro, from classical musicians to jazz, for organizing and using their sheet music library and lead sheets, to SFX for their instruments, as well as remote recording. My audio tech at the festival I am working on right now uses a iPad mini to wander the ampi-theatre and grounds to constantly tweak the mix, live.

    Could they do this on a laptop? Probably. As easily and with the same mobility? Not likely.

    Obviously a niche market. But it shows that there are things possible beyond being tied to a keyboard and mouse.


  9. There are still not any definitive apps for website building. Until there is, the iPad Pro is just another iPad.

    1. Depends on your definition of “website building”. If you’re old school then that is difficult on the iPad (although not impossible). But if you see the future of websites as services and turnkey platforms like The Grid or Squarespace (and I do think that is the future of website creation, just as nobody rolls their own email newsletter back end anymore), then yes, you can build websites on an iPad.

    2. I’m curious. By “definitive”, what apps are you referring to?

      My understanding is that DreamWeaver is for dinosaurs, and FrontPage users are even before that. Many people still use NotePad on Windows. Otherwise, you can use basically any text editor out there. I use Sublime Text, but you can also use NotePad++. Some hard-core techies still use emacs or vim.

      Coda has a nice looking app for web development, that runs on iPad and iPhone.

      What exactly do you mean by “definitive”? Or are you just joking?

        1. If you like tools like RapidWeaver you might like Squarespace, it’s somewhat similar but web-based, no need for any desktop software, other than a web browser (and you need to prep images or other files of course).

          I use Squarespace for all small projects now, unless a client needs a custom solution, something we have to build from scratch. Custom work is done with text editors, hand coding, programmers with degrees in Comp Sci, and that is not cheap. But that is what custom work requires. That said, most small to mid-size businesses don’t need custom work, and turnkey platforms like Squarespace can be customized to a great degree, you just have to work within the limitations of the platform. Heh, I sound like an ad for Squarespace, but I really dig it. I think services like that are the future of web development.

          1. That is why I use the aforementioned applications. I am a novice when ti comes to web page design and rely on drag and drop to do most of my pages, which are all done for free I might add, primarily for churches, and not for profits. Thanks for the information I’ll look into it.

  10. i was wondering if folks went through the same pain points when they transitioned from DOS to Windows. Obviously, the install base must have a tiny fraction of what it is today but I am wondering if the emotions were similar when they discussed switching from prompts to cursors