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Apple iPad Pro: What businesses need to know

After an abundance of rumours and leaks, Apple finally released the iPad Pro at its 2015 September launch event in San Francisco.

Although the new iPhones generally received most of the attention at the event, the iPad Pro also garnered a lot of interest since the launch and, as of 11 November, 2015 was available in over 40 countries including the US, UK, China and Japan.

At launch prices started at £679 for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and £899 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB model. Users can also purchase Apple’s new stylus, the Apple Pencil, for $99 and the Smart Keyboard for $169.

But enough about prices, it’s time for us to take a closer look at Apple’s newest tablet and answer any questions you may have.

Specs, specs, specs

From a specifications point of view, the iPad Pro certainly is a top-of-the-range device. It is Apple’s largest tablet ever, featuring a 12.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048×1536. A total of 5.6 million pixels will fit on that screen.

As you would expect, performance is a key issue for consumers and business-users alike and the iPad Pro doesn’t disappoint. It' said to be “22x faster than the original iPad in CPU – it’s GPU is 360x“, and it uses the A9X processor which is 1.8 times faster than the previous A8.

iPad Pro 800x450

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said at the launch: “The early response to iPad Pro from app developers and our customers has been incredible, and we’re excited to get iPad Pro into the hands of customers around the world this week.

"iPad Pro is the most powerful iPad we’ve ever made, giving users the ability to be even more creative and more productive with the epic 12.9-inch Retina display, powerful 64-bit A9X chip and groundbreaking Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard. We can’t wait to see what they do with iPad Pro.”

At 6.9mm it’s also pretty thick – 0.8mm thicker than the iPad Air, in fact – and weighs in at 713g, which isn’t exactly lightweight and could present a problem if anyone wants to use it in one hand for any considerable length of time.

Business or pleasure?

One of the slightly confusing aspects of the iPad Pro is that no-one is quite sure which angle Apple is approaching it from. Is seems to be targeting enterprise and business users but it could be argued that many aspects of it are more suitable for consumers.

Even with the add-on keyboard it’s not a laptop replacement in the way many users will hope, but it still has the capabilities to be a lot of things to a lot of people. The larger screen lends itself well to creative and design, especially when combined with the stylus which is designed to make drawing and sketching feel as natural as using the traditional pen and paper.

iPad Pro

There isn’t, however, a whole lot to make it stand out for straight business users when compared to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, or the more recent and more powerful Surface Pro 4, for example.

But that’s not to say it doesn't have merit as a business tool, the Smart Keyboard add on of course enables users to write documents and send emails on the go and the quality user experience that Apple always strives makes the device easy to use in any situation.

The reaction to tablets such as the iPad Pro in general has been that they will not be replacing laptops any time soon, but now that its established on the market the iPad Pro has certainly carved out a niche for itself. Add in growing competition in this sector from Microsoft, Lenovo and others and business users should be taking a serious look at how tablets can help their productivity.