iPad Pro: It's just a big iPad

With Apple poised to bring its newest iPad to market, pundits are busily comparing it to the competition for the enterprise market. Truth is, the iPad Pro isn't radically different than existing iPads.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
iPad Pro, iPad Air 2
Image: Apple

Apple proudly showed off the iPad Pro at the launch event a few weeks ago, and how it could be a creative canvas for artists. By using it with the Apple Pencil, the larger iPad made art come to life.

What Apple didn't show -- in fact it was strangely Microsoft that did -- was how the iPad Pro could be a good fit for enterprise workers. Microsoft demonstrated how well Office takes advantage of the large display and new Smart Keyboard from Apple, while the latter showed off the Pencil and what it means for artists using the new iPad.

Take a tour through the iPad Pro section on Apple's web site and you'll learn how creative and expressive you can be with it. What you won't see is how good it is for work, even with the new keyboard.

See related: 5 keyboards for the iPad Pro, Bluetooth still rules| iPad Pro: The high price of LTE| Two simple tips to make iPad multitasking work better in iOS 9

The fact is, apart from the larger display and faster performance, the iPad Pro doesn't bring anything new for the enterprise. Sure those two improvements will make the new iPad a good option for some niche markets, but it's not a big change for most office work uses over existing (smaller) iPads. Bigger is not always better, and that's the hurdle facing Apple to get the iPad Pro into the enterprise in numbers.

When you look at the iPad Pro carefully you realize that it runs the same apps as smaller iPads. The app(s) for artists to take advantage of the new Pencil are the exception, but all the other apps on today's iPad will be the ones workers will use on the iPad Pro. There will be no app advantage for the entrprise over existing iPads.

While the iPad Pro looks like a nice system when used with the keyboard from Apple, this is nothing new. There has been a healthy third-party ecosystem for years, offering dozens of keyboards for iPads. While not as innovative as the Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro, they work well and have been filling the needs of those using a keyboard for years.

Those whose work benefits from a larger display will like the iPad Pro, but how much of an advantage over existing iPads that might be remains to be seen. Office work tasks requiring a lot of processing horsepower will definitely be better served by the iPad Pro, but that's not a large percentage of the enterprise market I'm willing to bet.

In some enterprise settings the larger tablet mey even be a negative. Field workers may find a smaller iPad to be more practical than the comparatively giant iPad Pro, even with a keyboard in place.

The new iPad is in some ways the best Apple has produced, but how impactful that is will be determined by the market. In spite of what the pundits think, it's not tailor-made for the enterpise. For most of that market it's just a bigger iPad.

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