In September of 2015, Apple announced the iPad Pro. Rumours were rampant in the lead up to the event, and expectations were through the roof. But it would take another two months before fans could get their hands on the product. And despite being released half-way through the quarter, the iPad Pro managed to outsell its closest competitor, the Mircosoft Surface, with an estimated 2 million units sold. Having been one of those early adopters and working off my iPad Pro primarily for the last four months, I have no doubts in saying the majority of personal computing in the future will take place on large slates of glass like the this.
As soon as Apple adds the "Pro" to a product, you know it's something worth paying attention to
Given that most Apple announcements are pretty accurately predicted in advance of the event taking place, I had some time to think on why I would invest in a tablet-based computing device. The last laptop I purchased was the original 15" MacBook Pro with Retina display in 2012. And while it still works wonderfully to this day, it is a bit of burden to carry around. I would often carry an iPad Air instead, but the drawback here was the limitations of the software. Although iOS 9 brought a host of new features, some of the best tricks (like split-screen multitasking) were reserved for newer tablets. So I found myself at a crossroad. I wanted a new machine that was portable, powerful, and not handicapped by the operating system. Enter the iPad Pro.
As soon as Apple adds the "Pro" to a product, you know it's something worth paying attention to. The iPad Pro, like the MacBook Pro with Retina display in 2012, hit everything that I wanted in a portable machine. It was light, speedy, and had several unique software features that would make it a worthwhile machine for 90% of the work I did. And while a lot of my reasoning is anecdotal, I wanted to use the my personal experiences to highlight why I believe this type of computing is the way of the future.
What I really love about the iPad Pro...
Coming in at 12.9" diagonal, with four individual speakers, this take on tablet computing is an entertainment monster. Movies look phenomenal and sound even better. It's a great companion when I'm doing other tasks, like cooking. I can have the water running or meat frying, and Pro will still overpower them in sound. Furthermore, I find myself blasting music on the iPad Pro, as opposed to my bluetooth speakers, given how loud and rich the audio flows out of it. Add to this the fact that the iPad is always on and ready to go at a tap, it's hard to argue that a laptop would be better a investment from a personal entertainment perspective. Unless of course you're a pirate.
The ability to to have two iPad Air-sized apps, side-by-side, makes working on the iPad Pro a worthwhile endeavour. I find myself being just as, if not more, productive than I would be on a laptop stabbing alt-tab every 30 seconds. And in case I find myself being too productive, the ability to pop out a video in picture-in-picture mode is a fantastic inclusion that many didn't see coming so soon to iOS. Before, it felt like it took work to get work done on an iPad. Now, multitasking, keyboard shortcuts, and the Apple Pencil integration have all made getting work done on an iPad frictionless. And that's something that translates well with mainstream consumers.
The x-factor that really won me over was the creation of the Apple Pencil. Personally, I love to sketch and map out ideas. To have a stylus that is tightly integrated with the machine I'm working on, and function as well as it does, practically shuts the door on carrying a laptop for day-to-day work. Many have reviewed the Apple Pencil and they all seem to agree, it's the best stylus you can get. Period. It's incredibly accurate and feels great in the hand. And though some may laugh at the idea of a stylus sticking out of an iPad to charge, I find this feature invaluable. Just last week, I was in a coffee shop sketching ideas in the Notes app, when the Pencil died on me. I took off the cap, plugged it into the iPad Pro, and 15 seconds later, I was ready to continue working. No extra dongles or cables necessary. It's this type of foresight that not only makes the Apple Pencil a fantastic peripheral to own, but a product-seller as well.
Using an iPad is both fun and empowering
As laptops continue to age, many will face the same dilemma of deciding what machine to replace it with. And though I mentioned specific features that won me over, all in all, using an iPad is both fun and empowering, and that is what will really win over users. At the time of writing this, both my mother and mother-in-law use their iPads daily. Whether it's catching up with their soaps or staying in touch with their kids, iPads have empowered them to do more, and do it enjoyably. There isn't a tangible way to measure this, but the productivity attained on the iPad Pro just feels more enjoyable to work through. And I'm definitely not the first to say this. iPad afficianado, Federico Viticci, asserts the same case when he talks about his experiences with the iPad Pro. Ultimately, it's stories like these that will push more and more people to adopt glass slates to replace their folding, metal books.
Anyone familiar with the tablet market will be quick to point out that iPad shipments, as a whole, have been tumbling. This is no secret, but the crux of this article is that most consumers will be doing the bulk of their computing on glass screens, not laptops, in the future. And if you look at current projections, the laptop market isn't about to see growth anytime soon. With the advent of new features, and as more of them bleed across product lines, more and more consumers will entertain the idea using a tablet as their primary computing device. And if you find this hard to believe, expand the "piece of glass" analogy to include mobile phones, and it shouldn't be difficult to imagine the growing populous seeing laptops and desktops as archaic and ancestral.