On the one hand, this year, Apple released the MacBook – a 13” Retina laptop that’s 0.35″ thick, with a keyboard and trackpad that features a retina display and runs Apple’s desktop operating system, OS X. Though the first generation of the device has come under some criticism for being underpowered for a device with its price tag, if Apple’s history is anything to go by, next year it will see a huge speed bump.
On the other hand, the iPad Pro is a 12.9” tablet that is 0.27″ thick, that can be paired with a Smart Keyboard case accessory, that runs iOS 9.1. It’s a device that can edit three 4K video streams at the same time and has more pixels on it than at 15″ Retina MacBook Pro. It’s a powerhouse tablet, that once a keyboard and the Apple Pencil is added, will cost the same, or more than the 2015 MacBook.
Here’s the thing though, there are plenty of people who spend the majority of their working day out in the field or moving about. Their job may mean that they spend 70% of their time using an iPad, but still need a computer for 30% of the time to do tasks which require multitasking. On the flipside, there are people who may spend 30% of their day using a tablet and 70% of their day using a laptop, or desktop.
Apple has spent the past few years forming closer relationships with enterprise customers and forming recent partnerships with the likes of IBM and Cisco. From doing this work, Apple has developed insight into what companies need out of computing devices today. It’s clear that the company believes that both devices have a role to play.
One market we see the iPad Pro potentially appealing to is a market Apple has always held close: the design community. Seeing as we have several designers in-house, we decided to ask them their thoughts on the new iPad and whether they could envisage using it.
Hemel Dave, Senior UI/UX designer:
“To me, the iPad Pro seems to be more of a tool for illustrators. The Pencil really looks great, but as a device it would be too big for me to lug around. I’m a fan of the iPad Mini because it’s more of a notebook/sketchbook. It’s easy to use on the go.
When it comes to my workflow, I need larger screens and as I’m mainly based in the office, using desktop publishing and design tools, with a Wacom Cintiq gives me what I need. There is definitely lots of potential for the iPad Pro though, Paper by 53 has shown that people can do amazing things with iPad and its Pencil. With Apple creating Apple Pencil, we can expect incredible things in the near future.
The multitasking on it will be killer though. I imagine being able to view PDFs and spreadsheets at the same time for traditional business users would be great. It’s nice that you can quickly annotate with the Pencil, helping to save on printing documents out.
I wonder if it’s also going for the same market as the MacBook Air. People who don’t need process heavy applications (like PS) and use it more on the fly or who commute lots. I imagine it would be easy to knock up a a quick presentation using it or view a spreadsheet.”
Eli Newman, Senior UX Designer
“I think as professional designers, you tend not to use cut down tools in apps, as you have the real tools on your computer/laptop. I’d agree with Hemel that it is likely better suited to illustrators than digital or app designers.
My husband commented that for someone like him, who manages designers in the publishing and media industry, it would be very useful to quickly mock up concepts and ideas and then pass on to designers to realise. This is especially as he doesn’t necessarily have all the industry tools and isn’t a designer himself.
I can also see it being good for people who only use their laptops for emails, messages, internet etc., with this, they could get rid of the laptop all together.
Ellis Reed, UX designer
“In my opinion, the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil is really aimed at all types of designers and illustrators. As to whether I’d use the Pencil? I’d probably need more of a reason to buy it, as it is expensive, but I like the idea of it.
In my mind it is a more portable version of a laptop which is what an iPad is anyway, but on a larger scale. My current iPad is useful for doing some things on the go, but because of the screen size and software limitations, I don’t use it as much as I’d like.
With the iPadPro, I can envisage doing more on there, however I’d still need to have my MacBook for work. With the iPad Pro, I like the idea of split screen and some of the other features. At work, it would be extremely useful going from meeting to meeting. At home, if I’m feeling really creative I could envisage mocking something up quickly for a work project so I can crack on when I get into the office.
I think it aims at people who are constantly going to different places and need a lot of power and versatility on the go, as well as using it for large scale browsing etc.
Overall, I’ve been looking for something slightly bigger and better to use for work and other activity. I’d been looking at a new MacBook, but I think I may be tempted to get this instead. It’s great for quick productivity and great for designers or illustrators. I can see a big opportunity for enterprise, especially with split screen multitasking. However, I’d want to see more of a use for the pencil other than designers and illustrator tools.”