Apple Inc. WWDC 2017 has come and gone but we are left with the task of identifying and understanding the salient points of Apple’s presentations. The media has focused on many interesting bits of the WWDC such as the HomePod (dead on arrival), macOS, new storage plans, and new Siri voice among others. However, I am more interested in the work that Apple is doing to convert the iPad into a legitimate PC replacement. Last year, Apple rolled out some ads to lay claim to the idea that the iPad is the ultimate PC replacement. We mostly rolled our eyes because the claim didn’t hold much water and Microsoft had a field day taking Apple to the cleaners. Now, Tim Cook isn’t saying that the iPad replace your PC but he is upgrading the iPad Pro with a new iOS could as well make it a full-fledged PC.
Meet Apple’s new 10.5″ iPad Pro
Apple unveiled a new 10.5″ iPad Pro to replace the 9.7″inch model. The new iPad boasts about 20% more screen real estate than its predecessor. With a bigger screen, it can conveniently make room for a full-size onscreen keyboard; yet, its weight remains unchanged at 477g.
The new iPad Pro also debuts the firm’s ProMotion technology that doubles the maximum refresh rate to 120Hz. The firm says you can now expect, “smoother, cripser, and more responsive” on-screen views. The new iPad Pro is also coming to the market with the new A10X Fusion chip, an upgrade over the A9X chip. The new iPad sports a 6-core CPU that comes with an inbuilt 12-core GPU to make it 30% faster than the A9X chip.
The more interesting features of the new iPad Pro are found under the hood with the new iOS 11. For instance, there’s a drag and drop feature that used to be the exclusive domain of PCs. The new iPad Pro has “Files” a File Explorer or Finder of sort. The iPad Pro also has a Dock at the bottom of the screen and you could mistake the screen of the new iPad Pro for a Mac on your first glance.
How far should Apple push its PC replacement?
The iPad is slowly “coming of age” to become a device for getting serious and creative work done. Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of Product Marketing observes that “together with iOS 11 these new iPad Pro models will radically change what users can do with iPad.” However, analysts think that Apple might need to slow down on its branding of the iPad Pro as a PC replacement.
Jan Dawson, principal analyst with Jackdaw Research notes that Apple made a mistake pitching the iPad as a replacement for the PC last year. Apple is still very much in the Mac and MacBook market; hence, calling the iPad a PC replacement is akin to shooting Macs in the leg. In Dawson’s words, “You’ll never see [Apple] use the argument that [the iPad Pro is] the end all and the be all. Instead, they’ll keep improving each device [Mac and iPad].”
Frank Gillett of Forrester Research also agrees that the firm needs to slow down on the hype of the new iPad Pro. In his words, “if Apple pushed the idea of iPad Pro as PC replacement too aggressively, it would implicitly disparage the Mac.”