None of this is to call the 9.7″ iPad Pro a bad machine — on the contrary it is a great machine for many people. My argument against the 9.7″ model is predicated on the it being your only computer and the fact is: people who only use iPads for their computing are rare, to say the least. Which means the 9.7″ iPad Pro is perfect for everyone who doesn’t want the iPad Pro to be their main computer — in that sense it is the perfect second computer.
I look at the iPad Pro as a bit of a Trojan horse for Apple. Whereas the MacBook Air is a great tool for getting people into a Mac, the iPad Pro 9.7″ is a fantastic tool for getting people used to working on iOS as a primary computing operating system. It gives people a great way to get started with an iPad as a computer.
This is an excellent way to look at the Pro lineup.
Get the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and try using it as your primary (not only) computer and see if you can get by. I say ‘get by’ because there are trade-offs and/or learning curves in using iOS as your primary computer; specially if you’re used to a traditional, ‘desktop’ OS. The payoff is tangible and rewarding1.
If it doesn’t work for you, you can always use the Pro as a consumption device. If it does, you should, ideally, end up using the 13-inch Pro.
I personally will not be buying one — I have no idea when I would prefer it over the 12.9″ model. I am, though, holding out all hope for an iPad mini with Apple Pencil support — that I would line up to buy.
I’m holding my breath.
- I sit here writing this article on my iPad Air 2 at Starbucks. My girlfriend is seated across me with her 15″ laptop. The table at our disposal is circular with a diameter just short of ‘right’. I’ve been gliding away with at work, bringing the iPad in my field of view whichever way I want to. Her laptop, inherently, keeps her glued in one position — I can feel the exasperation. ↩︎