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iPad 'Pro' is somewhat of a deal, but doesn't address productivity issues

by David Needle

February 4 2013


"Competition might spur Apple into authentically 'Pro' territory," says Gassée.

Tomorrow Apple will release a new iPad with 128 GB of storage, double the maximum storage it offered in previous models.

Compared to Apple’s typically high prices for extra storage, the new iPad is a deal when you consider the basic iPad ($499) comes with 16GB and the 32G and 64GB models cost $599 and $699 respectively. The new iPad costs $799 with 128GB of storage,

Apple played up the new model’s value to business and professionals in a release announcing the new model, leading some to dub Apple’s latest offering the iPad Pro.

"Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data such as 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals all benefit from having a greater choice of storage options for iPad," Apple said.

But former Apple executive Jean Louis Gassée says offering more storage doesn’t make the iPad all that more useful for business pros. He uses the example of preparing his Monday Note blog where his critique appears.

“Once I start writing, I want to look through the research material I’ve compiled. On a Mac, I simply open an Evernote window, side-by-side with my Pages document: select, drag, drop. I take some partial screenshots, annotate graphs, convert images to the .png format used to put the Monday Note on the Web…

“On the iPad, these tasks are complicated and cumbersome.

“For starters — and to belabor the obvious — I can’t open multiple windows. iOS uses the ‘one thing at a time’ model. I can’t select/drag/drop, I have to switch from Pages to Evernote or Safari, select and copy a quote, and then switch back to the document and paste.”

Gassée adds other examples where the iPad falls short of its Mac counterpart and concludes that “simply throwing storage at the problem is, clearly, not enough to make the iPad a ‘Pro’ device. 

But this could also be only the first of many moves by Apple to improve the iPad’s usefulness as a productivity device versus one primarily designed for consumption.

As Gassée notes, Microsoft is pitching its Surface and other Windows 8 tablets as the ‘best of both worlds’ for both media consumption and serious content creation and productivity. Some Android vendors, notably Samsung, are taking a similar tack.

“This competition might spur Apple to move the already very successful iPad into authentically ‘Pro’ territory,” he adds. 

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