The world’s largest company by market cap is thinking small. Not in terms of strategy (it’s really big on that), but in terms of devices.
Little wonder, then, that it yesterday unveiled a smaller iPhone (the 4-inch iPhone SE) and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro (compared with the expansive 12.9-inch flagship).
The smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, in a nutshell (no pun intended), weighs just under one pound (437 grammes), features a new pro Retina display with lower reflectivity, Night Shift mode and introduces new True Tone display technology which dynamically adjust white balance.
Apple says that it went small with the devices because its customers asked for it.
The real reason why Apple went cheaper, smaller
While that is indeed true in part, but there is a more fundamental reason why Apple is launching smaller and cheaper devices – to hit rivals where it hurts the most.
Apple is clearly the king of premium smartphones – the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus own the space that rival Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are trying really hard to wrest back.
But where Samsung clearly beats Apple hands-down is the mid-segment range where Apple doesn’t have any offering (not counting the second-hand iPhone market).
Even as Samsung tries to pay catch-up with Apple in the premium domain, the Cupertino-based tech giant seems to have now – in a marked change of tactics – decided to take the fight to Samsung’s turf by launching a mid-range mobile to hit at the rival’s bread-and-butter segment.
In addition, with the iPad Pro, Apple is now targeting offerings from rivals. The smaller iPad Pro sports the 64-bit A9X chip – and Apple says the performance of this chip “rivals most portable PCs”.
That statement suggests the segment Apple is targeting – Microsoft (Surface Pro 4), Google (Pixel C) and, of course, Samsung (Galaxy TabPro S).
“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel Front HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users.”
Designers, illustrators and businesses have quickly adopted iPad Pro and it’s changing the way they work, claims Apple.
“People don’t realise how much hand drawing is needed to produce computer animation,” said John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are the closest we’ve ever been able to get in the digital world to actually drawing on paper.”
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in silver, space grey, gold and a new rose gold metallic finish, and starts at Dh2,299 for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and Dh2,799 for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
Both iPad Pro sizes are available in offerings of 32GB, 128GB and a new 256GB capacity.