The iPad, Re-invented

on September 9, 2015

(Earlier today, we posted an analysis of Apple’s event for Tech.pinions Insiders but we wanted this snippet from our full note to subscribers to be seen by a wider audience. If you’d like to read more or want to become a Tech.pinions Insider, please click here)

Unquestionably, a new era for the iPad has begun. I admit, I was skeptical a larger iPad would do much for sales declines but, after seeing the iPad Pro and experiencing it first hand, I think I’m changing my mind.

The iPad is first and foremost larger. Some may look at it and say, “It’s just a larger iPad!” That is exactly the point. Larger means you can do more with it, plain and simple. What strikes me as monumental with the iPad Pro is the new A9X processor. Apple spent ample time explaining how the new A9X was designed specifically for iPad making it more powerful than most PCs on the market. This statement of processor performance is extremely telling about the iPad Pro’s positioning and upside. It is, in fact, a full-blown personal computer. If there was every any doubt the iPad was a PC, the iPad Pro puts that to rest. Let this statement sink in: The iPad Pro is more powerful than most PCs, yet as easy to use as an iPad.

That statement encompasses what I feel is Apple’s vision for the future of personal computing. PCs are hard to use. They have a learning curve. Smartphones are easy to use, but limited in screen size. Steve Jobs positioned the iPad best when he first announced it. He said:

“The iPad is more intimate than a notebook and more capable than a smartphone.”

I fully believe the iPad Pro is the manifestation of that vision. Here is where this gets interesting. There has been a great deal of consumer software innovation in mobile phones. There has not been much consumer software innovation in PCs. Windows simply doesn’t have a robust consumer thinking/focused developer community. Apple, on the other hand, does. Ask any developer and they will never tell you they have enough performance. They always want more. This is why Apple’s positioning of the iPad Pro as having as much and, in many cases, more performance than many PCs is key. They are hoping to get developers to re-think personal computing software and create software experiences for the iPad not found anywhere else.

The keyboard cover is a natural accessory. Keyboards have high attach rates to larger iPad sales. The new Pencil is interesting. I was able to try it and it was by far the most accurate and natural feeling stylus solution I’ve ever used. It will be very interesting to see where developers go with Pencil integration.

Overall, the iPad was a cornerstone of this event. After spending time with it, I’m extremely optimistic there is something here but it really does depend on developers to carry it forward and break new ground.