The iPad Pro is Apple’s largest mobile device to date, with a 12.9” screen, and considerably improved specifications.
According to analyst firm Analysys Mason, such specifications are “critical” in the development for the future success of Apple’s own line of tablets, as the tech giant reacts to changing market trends.
‘The iPad Pro will improve the viability of the tablet category more generally, as sales within this market space have struggled because of the long lifespan of these devices,” says Sherrie Huang, Research Programme Head of Asia-Pacific, Analysys Mason.
“In addition, the device launch comes at a time when the market has struggled in the absence of innovation and a subsequent move towards commoditisation by the influx of many low-end options.”
Huang says the iPad Pro takes its design cues from its flagship predecessor - the 9.7” iPad Air 2, but with “considerably improved specifications.”
“This is a positive move, both for Apple and, potentially, for the long-term survival of the product category,” Huang adds.
During the past two years, Huang believes that most vendors, including Apple, have emphasised the advantages of their small-screen (7–8”) tablets in order to make them more accessible to the mass market.
“But more recently,” Huang adds, “consumers have shown a growing preference for smartphones with relatively large screen sizes (for example, phablets).
“This development affected tablet sales in 2014, which led to questions around the product category’s relevance and use cases.”
Furthermore, Huang believes Apple’s decision to include China in the first-wave of the iPad Pro’s launch reaffirms the country’s importance to Apple’s go-to-market strategy, with China offering Apple much-needed volume and growth potential.
For Huang, the iPad Pro’s screen size and improved specifications lead to a better user experience for both entertainment and enterprise usage, but going forward Apple has more to prove in the enterprise domain and needs to encourage ecosystem collaboration.