An iPad Pro Seems Likely, but Expect Limited Availability

A larger iPad, dubbed iPad Pro, has been rumored for years, as iPads take market share away from small laptops. More powerful apps have made it increasingly plausible to replace a laptop with an iPad and they are a lot easier to travel with. Apple has built hooks in to iOS to accommodate a variety of screen sizes and to allow for a multi-window environment, where two different apps could be on screen at the same time. The signs are right and the timing is right to see a new iPad Pro in the fall.

Apple Insider is reporting that such a product is being built, but that suppliers are using "cautious" sales forecasts. The current iPad has seen a slowdown in sales but that is easily attributed to how long an iPad can last. Unless the screen is cracked, there are not a lot of compelling reasons to get rid of an iPad for a newer model. The latest upgrades, besides having faster CPUs, have included things like a gold color option and Touch ID, which are useful but not a reason to upgrade for most. A larger screen size could be what the doctor ordered for those looking to replace a MacBook Air for example.

iPads

A stylus might also be a part of the offering. While adding a stylus goes against Steve Jobs's proclamation that a finger is the only stylus you need, Apple has often made statements it later backtracked on. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is such an example, since Apple earlier decried such large "phablets." And Jobs was really saying that if the product needed  a stylus, then they've done it wrong. As long as you can still use your finger, you don't "need" a stylus. But for certain apps, especially artistic ones like Paper by FiftyThree, a stylus can come in handy. Rumor sites suggest Apple might offer a Bluetooth stylus with pressure sensitivity, but the tech giant may be better off using the Force Touch capability found in the Apple Watch and new MacBook. This way, users can use a non-powered stylus and still achieve pressure sensitivity. 

A companion keyboard or perhaps a clamshell keyboard case might be part of the iPad Pro offering, making a "MacBook Air" type device with a touchscreen that is limited to iOS apps. Still, that could be an ideal configuration for many schools, and it could cost less than what a MacBook costs. That could backfire on Apple, as it would be cannibalizing its own market, but that is a strategy Apple has embraced in the past. It is better to cannibalize your own product line than to let a competitor do so with a product like the Microsoft Surface.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.