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What is the iPad Pro for?

Apple’s new iPad Pro isn’t simply a larger iPad. Image Courtesy of Apple.
Since the release of the jumbo iPad Pro, professionals and consumers alike have wondered for what exactly the product was designed. The tablet’s laptop-like price turns away most average consumers, and the lack of a professional app ecosystem breaks the deal for many “creative pros.” Pundits, also not knowing what to make of the iPad Pro’s purpose, tore it to pieces in ridiculous editorials and “analyses” citing the price, products in entirely different product categories, and Apple’s supposed lack of innovative ideas.

They all miss a crucial point, however. Apple never launches new products or services of this magnitude expecting them to wildly succeed. Cupertino is well aware that the cutting-edge products that it releases are not likely to be adopted by the general public in the short term. Instead, it designs new product categories with multiple indirect, long term goals.

For example, the iPod was not the instant revolution that history books claim it to be. The first iteration of the device was fairly popular, though it was not enough to earn to the revolutionary title. It wasn’t until the release of the more portable iPod Mini that Apple dominated the music player industry. Cupertino used the first generation iPod as part of a long-term strategy to build up the company’s presence and reputability in the music industry. This later made the launch of iTunes and Apple’s other content stores possible.

The same is true of the iPad Pro. Because the market has seen little of products like this iPad before, the device is certainly not going to sell as well as the iPhone or Mac. Like all other first generation products, the iPad Pro’s primary purpose is to serve as an icebreaker for future generations. And with further analysis of the “Pro” moniker, Apple’s true reason for introducing the pc-challenging tablet is clear. Although iOS devices are coveted for their content consumption capabilities, they are also widely regarded as inferior productivity machines compared to traditional PCs.

Cupertino seeks to change this perception by using the larger and more powerful iPad to urge its developer community to release more apps for artists and business professionals. The company, hoping to get the ball rolling, collaborated with software makers including Adobe, Autodesk, and Microsoft to increase the number of “serious” creator apps available for the iPad Pro. If this bid succeeds, the prowess of iOS apps in the business area will gradually diffuse to the iPhone and smaller iPads.

It is hard to say what Apple’s ultimate goal is by making its mobile devices more productive. Perhaps it wants to widen its hold on the enormously profitable enterprise market as it has tried to do with its alliances with IBM and Cisco. Perhaps it plans to diversify the App Store to prepare for the launch of a true post-pc device. Regardless of Cupertino’s intentions, its customers and shareholders can be sure that the company still has at least one trick up its sleeve saved for the future.


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