Nowhere is that more apparent than in any discussion surrounding an iPad Pro.
When Apple launched the iPad Air last year, the company tried to focus the announcement on its slim, lightweight design and how it enhanced the tablet experience for users. The subtext, however, suggested that Apple would deliver a new tablet at some point in the near future that would be known as the iPad Pro.
The reasoning behind the claim comes from the company’s MacBook line. Apple offers both a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro, with the latter offering enhanced components. The MacBook Air is generally cheaper, while the MacBook Pro will set customers back a bit more, depending on their device choice.
Although Apple hasn’t confirmed this is the case, it appears possible that the company could unveil an iPad Pro this year. After all, Apple doesn’t simply throw around branding terms for no reason, and it’s safe to say that the iPad Air was a small, iterative update over its predecessor, and not a groundbreaking addition to the tablet market. The iPad Pro, therefore, might take that crown and lead Apple’s tablet effort into the next year.
Assuming that’s the case, I thought it a good idea to share some thoughts on what I’d like to see from Apple if and when the iPad Pro is announced. From a bigger display to additional features, if Apple can follow my plan, the iPad Pro could be the device we’ve all been seeking all these years.
1. A bigger screen, please
If Mobile World Congress taught us anything last month, it’s that Apple’s competitors see a possible opportunity in bigger screen sizes. Nearly all of the company’s competitors, most notably Samsung, offer devices that come with displays that dwarf the 9.7-inch offering found in Apple’s iPad.
Since the iPad’s launch, Apple has consistently said that 9.7 inches is a perfect size for consumers. But as more people find value in bigger devices, I’m starting to wonder if it’s time for Apple to change its stance on that issue. Is a 9.7-inch screen nice? Sure. But to say that it’s the right size is plain nonsense when other products feature 10-, 11-, and 12-inch screens.
If Apple wants to follow the naming convention it created on the MacBook side, the company should offer larger screen sizes in the iPad Pro. I’d be fine with a true 10-inch screen, but I’d really like to see Apple push the envelope a bit and offer an 11-inch display in the iPad Pro. More screen size makes for a better overall experience surfing the Web, viewing videos, and getting work done. In other words, the iPad Pro could scratch the itch of both consumers and enterprise customers.
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2. All those features we don’t have yet
Any discussion on the iPad needs at least one catch-all category and this one is it. I want the iPad Pro to come with all of the features we haven’t been allowed to have in the iPad and iPad Air.
So, what exactly am I looking for? Give me a Thunderbolt port and near-field communication, Apple. It’d also be nice to have some stylus support, and having a processor that could match lightweight notebooks is always appreciated.
Apple has always been loath to provide every single feature we want in new products for fear of us not buying its new devices next year. So, the company leaves key features out in each new installment. With the iPad Pro, Apple can address that problem and provide the components and features that would put its competitors back on their heels.
Quite frankly, if all I get in the iPad Pro is a Thunderbolt port that works with displays, external storage, and other products, I’ll be extremely pleased.
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3. A stretch: Dual-Boot iOS and OS X
Although there are myriad things we’d like to see in the iPad Pro, why not finish this one off with a bit of a stretch: a dual-boot iPad Pro.
It seems increasingly clear that Apple is unwilling to ditch OS X and use iOS across its product line, but the company could potentially build a product in the iPad Pro that could work with existing desktop applications, as well as mobile apps.
The “Pro” name should mean something; it should say to the world that Apple is willing to provide the featureset today’s power users want to get their work done. Furthermore, it can signify just how far tablets have come and how well they’ve performed at replacing lightweight notebooks as computing products of choice.
A dual-boot iPad Pro would satisfy those who want the mobile experience, but could also offer a wealth of opportunities for customers who want more functionality. It might also open a new world for developers to capitalize on.
Overall, I’d say the chances of a dual-boot iPad Pro hitting store shelves are slim. But at this point, who’s to say an iPad Pro will even hit store shelves? We’re all going on speculation and desire right now. And if you ask me, having a dual-boot iPad Pro would be highly desirable to many, many people.
(Can tablets replace notebooks for real work? That's one of the key sessions at the upcoming Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6. This event will sell out in advance, register today.)