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Apple WWDC 2015: iOS 9 updates for iPad set stage for business pro version

Apple's iPad franchise gets better multitasking and text management. Why? The iPad needs to be more of a business friendly laptop replacement. Time for an iPad Pro.

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James Martin, CNET

Apple on Monday moved to make the iPad more enterprise friendly with multitasking improvements as well as text management. The upshot, Apple is pitching the iPad as more of a laptop replacement.

The big question is whether the iOS additions to the iPad set the stage for an iPad Pro designed for the enterprise. Another big question: When does the MacBook and iPad blend into one?

According to Apple, the iPad Air 2 will get all of the new features---including split screen view, picture in picture as well as the text management. Multitasking has been something trumpeted by Samsung in its tablets for years.

What's notable about the iOS 9 updates designed for the iPad is that the features could set the stage for an iPad Pro. At the very least, Apple used its WWDC 2015 spotlight to highlight that the iPad isn't a dead product.

Key points:

  • The iPad gets better text management;
  • Virtual keyboard improvements and the ability to use the iPad as a trackpad;
  • Split screen views.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, said:

The iPad is a transformation device. For users at business, education and at home, for many, iPad is the primary computer.

While that's true, iPad sales have stalled due to the popularity of phablets and cheaper tablets.

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By adding the features businesses need more of, Apple appears to be pushing the enterprise theme more with the simple things.

Federighi quotes that highlight the iPad business theme:

  • "It starts with something simple like how you work with text."
  • "What makes a multitouch keyboard so special is it can be anything you want."
  • "If you want to hook a physical keyboard to your iPad, we've made that easier than ever."
  • "See the new task switcher with big, full screen previews of all the apps.

In the big picture, you can see how Apple is readying its iPad for more of a business tool. Why? Apple has to extend the iPad experience to land laptop replacement budgets. Businesses don't want to buy laptops and tablets. Today it's one or the other with a few 2-in-1 devices. Apple wants to change that equation.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

I'm excited about how far it extends the iPad experience as we continue to lead in the post PC era.