Will iPad Pro really replace computers?

iPad Pro is evidence that Apple has not given up on the tablet market, as some have. Steve Jobs boldly declared a post-PC world. It hasn’t happened yet, despite Apple and others selling millions of devices. The fact is most consumers are happy with what a simple tablet or phablet does, and they don’t take any of this very seriously. That’s why sales have slowed. If all you do is surf the web and play games, who needs more than a $50 Kindle Fire? Why spend $1000 for an iPad Pro?

Apple’s not worried. They’ve never been known to strive for market share at the low-end. They are turning their attention toward developing tablets that are as powerful as laptops. iPad Pro is just the start. Next year, the iPad Air will be just as powerful as today’s Pro, and iPad mini will follow suit in time.

What we need now are apps that take full advantage of that powerful hardware. I think Apple still believes tablets will replace most computers (laptops anyway). And so does Microsoft. Both are aiming tablets for the high-end and corporate market. However one feels about Microsoft’s involvement, I think it helps. It lends legitimacy and a certain competive atmosphere that’s good for this segment of the market.

People wonder if Apple will combine OS X and iOS the way Microsoft combined their computer & mobile operating systems. I doubt it. Microsoft has had trouble convincing developers to go along with that, and an interface developed for mice and keyboards doesn’t really transition to touch very well (and vice versa).

I think Apple’s long-term strategy is to completely replace the Mac with iOS. The way Macintosh replaced Apple II. Once Apple and its third-party developers successfully push the iOS platform into true computer territory, Mac will slowly shrink away on its own. Just look at where Apple has been putting all its innovation for years. It’s iOS first, then Mac.

How long will this transition take? Who knows? It depends as much on third-party developers and users as it does on Apple and Microsoft. But until then, it’s going to be an interesting show. Why sit on the sidelines when you can be part of it all?

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