by Matt Kapko

Apple says the iPad Pro is built for business

Nov 13, 2015
CareersiPadTablets Senior Writer Matt Kapko visited Apple headquarters yesterday to talk about the iPad Pro and the company’s strategy for positioning it as a tool for business.

Editor’s Note: Apple invited’s Matt Kapko to Cupertino to offer him details about its plans for the iPad Pro — specifically Apple wanted to share background on why the new tablet is well-suited for the enterprise. As a condition of the interview, all comments are attributed only to an unidentified Apple spokesman.

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple isn’t trying to rewrite the script of the iPad with its release this week of the iPad Pro. Rather it’s adding a new chapter. The device’s 12.9-inch screen provides a much larger touch-enabled window to view content and engage in rich media. However, Apple says its new tablet is more than a pretty interface and it is also positioning the iPad Pro as a tool capable of getting work done.

Business and creative functions such as graphics design and photo and video editing aren’t exactly foreign to Apple’s tablet, but new accessories, apps and the additional data the iPad Pro’s larger screen accommodates, enable you to accomplish more of the work you’re likely to be conducting on computers today.

The iPad Pro is a bridge into a new way of operating, says an Apple spokesman. The company tells its goal is to give you tools that cause you to rethink how a touch-enabled environment might apply to you and the way you work.

[ Related News Analysis: 3 telltale signs Apple is changing its enterprise tune ]

The device won’t meet the needs of all businesses and their respective employees’ preferences, of course, but the company says advancements in the iPad Pro will give workers a new opportunity to reflect on what they use for work and whether the new iPad is a fit for their work life.

iPad Pro reduces barriers to productivity

With the iPad Pro, Apple says it wants to reduce the barriers many business users face in a tablet form factor: processing, user interfaces and mechanisms for input. If the iPad Pro is Apple’s next step in its vision of the future of computing, it knows that it has to fulfill those needs in a better manner than the computers worker use today.

The post-PC era, according to Apple, requires a more personal experience between you and your devices. Touch — finger to glass and now Apple Pencil to glass — is what makes it personal, the Apple spokesman says. Accomplishing business tasks that you would typically gravitate to a laptop or desktop for can now also be enabled by the aid of Apple’s Smart Keyboard or third-party products such as the Logitech Create keyboard.

Apple says one of the biggest benefits of the iPad in a business setting is that it allows — actually, forces — you to focus on the task at hand. Many tasks require multiple apps running simultaneously though, and the company says it is trying to rectify that through its new multitasking features.

ipadpro 1 Matt Kapko

The iPad Pro’s multitasking features let you enter a split-screen mode with two applications running concurrently.

Apple claims that it’s this determined workflow process that sets the iPad Pro apart from laptops, desktops and other tablets. However, the company acknowledges that it has to convince enterprises that the iPad Pro can bridge the gap between how employees use computers and what’s possible on tablets.

Fortune 500 companies investigating iPad Pro

Apple is highlighting an array of new apps for business, medical education and bedside consults, three-dimensional graphics design and drawing to convey not only the capabilities of its hardware but also the way the iPad Pro can be transformed into a business tool. According to Apple, almost every Fortune 500 company is already investigating the iPad Pro.

ipadpro 2 Matt Kapko

Apple’s Smart Keyboard and multitasking features provide a glimpse of Apple’s vision for the future of iPad and workplace computing.

Despite its early adoption at Fortune 500 firms, some businesses will see the absence of a trackpad on the Smart Keyboard as a user interface challenge, because even some of the simplest tasks require you to repeatedly lift your hand off the keyboard and reach up to touch the screen. It can, at times, feel like more of a burden or interruption than a feature.

 [ Related Feature: iPad Pro’s potential as a laptop replacement excites CIOs]

Likewise, while some processes are improved by a reduction in steps, other tasks such as content manipulation and scrolling through media require that you decide between work mode with the keyboard on or play mode without it. Otherwise, you are going to have to deal with a lot of back-and-forth movement between the keyboard and touchscreen.

[ Related News Analysis: Apple’s Cook looks to grow its $25 billion enterprise business  ]

Until recently, the iPad was largely positioned as an in-between device — a tool that blended many of the capabilities of a PC with the versatility and mobility of a smartphone. The iPad Pro is Apple’s attempt to show that tablets don’t have to be less powerful or offer weaker displays than a computer, so those “conceptual barriers,” as Apple puts it, are gone now.