Why is the iPad Pro a “computer”? Because Apple is courting the enterprise market
The iPad Pro is an interesting device, introduced last year as something more than a tablet, albeit a bit less than a laptop. What do you call such a thing? Apple currently claims that the iPad Pro, which supports a keyboard and stylus, is a “computer”.
There’s a good reason to sell the iPad Pro as a “computer” rather than a tablet. Tablets don’t sell as well as they used to. And while computers are also seeing a drop in sales, there’s growth in the “detachable” category – devices that mix the tablet and the traditional laptop and have, well, a detachable keyboard. Launching the iPad Pro this way is important for Apple to grab the attention of companies and business people, who may want something light but still functional for work.
It’s a bit of a departure from Apple’s past. Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple, didn’t like courting companies. According to ZDNet, in 2010 Jobs told then-Wall Street Journal editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, “What I love about the consumer market, what I’ve always hated about the business market , is that we offer a product, we try to tell everyone about it, and everyone votes for themselves, they say “yes” or “no”, and if enough of them say “yes” , we are coming to work tomorrow. That’s how it works. It’s really simple. With the business market, it’s not that simple. The people who use the products don’t decide for themselves, and the people who make these decisions are sometimes confused.
Given that Jobs founded Apple to make personal computers — a counterbalance to the computing stranglehold IBM and Microsoft had on desktops — his disdain for the industry makes sense.
But the business market has changed in a way that blunts old criticisms of Jobs. He didn’t like that corporate devices weren’t personal. this is no longer the case in a BYOD world. Even when there is a list of workplace-approved devices, it almost always includes an iPhone, iPad, or at least some compatible iOS apps.
And businesses are a big market for the tablet and the “post-PC” vision that Jobs envisioned with the introduction of the iPad. With a more mobile workforce, the iPad and iPad Pro, along with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and other 2-in-1 devices, make a lot of sense for moving from the hotel room to the living room in passing through the conference room.
It should also be said that the corporate market isn’t the only thing that has changed since Jobs vehemently dismissed the sector. Apple too.
Chief Executive Tim Cook has made the company a key focus for Apple. And although consumer enthusiasm for Apple’s products has waned — Target reported that its Apple sales were down 20% overall this quarter — companies are still buying enough to keep the company going. Apple is playing a market of 25 billion dollars (about 166,000 crore rupees).
In her recent interview with The Post’s Jena McGregor, Cook specifically highlighted Apple’s enterprise market, saying:
“We work much better with key partners because it’s important, if you make the decision to use our products or the products of anyone in the business, that they work well together. So we work with Cisco because they are amazing with network infrastructure. We work with IBM, which has written a number of applications. We work with SAP because they own the back of the house, in terms of processing. They own three-quarters of global transactions. , in terms of operating on their products.”
It’s an area, of course, that could spark old rivalries – in fact, Microsoft has already published an ad questioning Apple’s “computer” claim and comparing the iPad Pro unfavorably to its own Surface Pro 4.
The ad raises some good points. The iPad Pro is still functionally a mobile device and lacks features like multiple ports that traditional “computers” (and, of course, the Surface Pro 4) have.
Then again, Apple has a line of laptops that only have one port, so there really isn’t a hard and fast definition of “computer” – and Apple is clearly working hard to extend the definition far enough to hold the iPad Pro under the umbrella.
© 2016 The Washington Post