Apple's iPad Pro: Will enterprises bite?

Apple is reportedly plotting the launch of the iPad Pro, but it's not even clear the device can compete with its sibling Macbook in corporations.

Apple's iPhone 6s will take the center stage this week and keep a massive upgrade cycle running, but the iPad Pro, a large screen tablet designed for the enterprise, may be more important for a product diversification perspective.

The big question is whether enterprises will bite on the iPad Pro, which will be designed to be as nimble as a tablet and replace a laptop.

One reason that 2-in-1 devices are posting strong growthis that tablets appear to be tweener devices. For companies, tablets represent yet another buying cycle. Companies don't want to put PCs and tablets on a replacement cycle.

That reality is why Microsoft's Surface Pro has resonated. Two-in-one convertibles are finally being designed well enough to attract buyers who create content, work and use a tablet to consume entertainment and data.

But it's unclear whether the iPad Pro is going to resonate with a big bang. The large iPad will certainly find an audience, but enterprise adoption isn't guaranteed.

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Why? Apple's iOS is great for mobility and can multitask now, but it's not a slam dunk for work purposes and creating content. The cloud and Office apps from Microsoft make iOS more appealing, but OS X is probably a better option.

Microsoft has used Windows 10 to unify various screen sizes and that move will alleviate enterprise concerns. Apple has moved closer to integrating OS X and iOS, but the two platforms aren't unified. Consider two recent takes on the iPad Pro:

Both views touch on a key theme. An iPad Pro isn't likely to be as useful as a MacBook from a corporate perspective. In other words, the iPad Pro may not be able to compete with its sibling---the MacBook.

When you look at the lightweight MacBook, the 12-inch one is sleek, light and useful, I'm still not sure I'd give the iPad Pro much consideration. There's an assumption among analysts that the iPad Pro will cannibalize MacBook sales. I'm willing to bet that it won't. When it comes to mobility, the MacBook is likely to be as light if not lighter than an iPad Pro with arguably more features.

Apple has stepped up its enterprise game significantly, but the appeal to companies will come from differentiated apps that will likely be delivered via an iPhone. The iPad Pro won't be shunned, but you'll have to curb your enthusiasm if you're expecting to give the iPad product line a massive boost.

ZDNet's Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. As a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US.

Previously on Monday Morning Opener:

  • Smartphones have got boring? Don't believe it
  • Intel's next frontier: Powering robots
  • An extended winter looming for OEMs
  • When robots eliminate jobs, humans will find better things to do
  • Microsoft and mobile: Searching for a way forward
  • Who will have the courage to build the future again?
  • Apple Watch: Now the hard work really begins
  • BlackBerry has nothing to lose, so why not try out Android?
  • Can Windows 10 save the PC?