The iPad Pro and why it’s for me


There seem to be two central questions around the recently announced (but long rumored) iPad Pro: Why, and who is it for?

Macworld UK’s review mentioned even the name seemed off; I think however resemblance to other tablets is more coincidental. Apple is bringing consistency in its PC and tablet line-up: the Airs for regular users, the Pros for the ones that need more computing power.

But this parallel goes much beyond the name. We are at a post of close convergence between Apple’s laptop and tablet lineup.

The new iPhone 6S beats the new MacBook in single-core performance on Geekbench, and is within spitting distance in multi-core. That’s astounding. I can’t wait to see the scores for the iPad Pro later this year. — John Gruber, the iPhones 6s

I think the right question in deciding whether you prefer the Macbook or the iPad therefore, is the one posted a few days ago (really sorry I seem to have lost the link): Do you want to touch your screen or not?

I believe there are enough people like me who would love to give up their laptops for the ‘freedom’ of the iPad, not that interested in keeping two major devices in our lives in addition to the iPhone. What I’ve realized though is that since getting the iPhone 6 last year, I find I have transferred a lot of processing to it already — primarily when I’m working through my inbox — without the hassle of pulling out my Macbook each time. I found this particularly true when I traveled.

Rewind about 8 months ago, and I tried using an iPad as my primary device to see if it really did fit into my life. I ran into two major problems:

  1. The screen wasn’t large enough to use without an external monitor (for work). It may be a non-retina Macbook, the 13" works really well.
  2. Working through email while browsing for some information, reviewing code while testing — these were doable, but tedious. Double tap, click app, double tap, you get the drift. More so when you didn’t hit the gesture right.

Both of my primary issues are seemingly addressed by the iPad Pro, with the 12.9" screen that’s twice the resolution I use today and side-by-side views in iOS 9. But there’s more. 95% of my life is within the browser — social life, work web applications and other time beyond just browsing. The same are apps on my iPhone and quite a few of them — Twitter, Facebook, accounting apps — offer a better experience compared to the browser, and the iPad Pro stands to gain again due to its screen size.

I have been considering (and re-considering) upgrading to the new Macbook towards the end of the year. The iPad Pro announcement has made me compare them. They’re both approximately the same screen size (12.9" vs the 12") and weight so it becomes a question of whether I want OS X or iOS to be my primary operating system.

Image courtesy apple.com

I think the iPad can suffice as the primary device and this has been the case since perhaps the iPad 4 or the iPad Air where browsing, email and social media were the primary tasks, such as been the case for my parents, who ditched their PC two years ago. I think with the iPad Pro, we will see the next exodus from the laptop era, with the device definitely targeting a niche — computing power with the freedom of iOS.

Developers will no doubt start to review their apps, and build new ones to further move traditional PC-only tasks to apps, similar to the AutoCAD 360 example. Apple is betting on that.

And I want in.

Chirag Desai @Chirag