Last week, Apple updated almost its entire product line. Aside from hugely expensive new iMac Pro (US$5000 for an entry level unit), the rest of the Mac range received a speed bump courtesy of a Kaby Lake heart transplant. But it's the iPad Pro I want to chat about.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro, equipped with 512GB of storage will set you back the lazy $1429 - and you can add another $200 if you want cellular comms. And another $145 for the Apple Pencil. Oh, and don't forget your $235 Smart Keyboard as you pass the check-out. That's almost $1800. And you can add another $400 or so to that if you'd prefer the 12.9-inch screen. So, will the iPad Pro give me some buyer's remorse now that I've spent almost $1200 on a Lenovo Miix 500?
The TL;DR - no. Here's why.
In almost every way I can think of, the new iPad Pro is a superior device. I've not had a play with one yet so I'm going with what I've read and what I can glean from the spec sheet but I'm confident is has a better display, particularly now that it has the new-fangled ProMotion 120MhHz refresh rate. It has a seriously fast processor and, once iOS 11 is released, it will even - gasp! - support a file system and drag and drop.
In other words, it will make a fine portable computer.
But, for me, it would always be a second computer. I still need a big-arse screen when I'm in my office. There's nothing wrong with the display on the Miix 500, or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Apple provided to me for review, but there's a lot to be said for being able to have two or three applications open, adjacent to each other, large enough to be able to read easily with my bespectacled, almost 50 year old eyes.
The new iPad Pro simply isn't worth the money to me.
Personal interest aside, does the new iPad Pro change things in the tablet market? What the new iPad Pro does is keep other vendors honest. If Apple keeps raising the performance bar, they will drive the rest of the market to do the same. The tablet market is stagnant at the moment. Even the much anticipated Surface Pro 5 was a fairly minor upgrade in the scheme of things.
When Apple released the iPhone, they showed the market that phones could be better. Most of the smartphones before the iPhone were crap. The same when for tablet. Does anyone remember Windows tablets before the iPad? You needed a wheelbarrow to lug one of those suckers around.
In many ways, the market reacted and created superior, or at least more affordable, smartphones and tablets. To me, Apple was a bit like Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile. Once he did what no-one did before, lots of people did it. The same happened with smartphones and tablets.
The new iPad Pro, both the all-new 10.5-inch model and upgraded 12.9-inch unit show that there is still room for improvement in the tablet platform. I doubt they will give tablet sales a massive shot in the arm. But they will ensure the Windows and Android tablet market won't continue to flag when it comes to building better products.