Is the iPad Pro Ready for Productivity?

One of the great debates for as long as the iPad has been around is whether iOS is professional enough to handle business and productivity. Apple positioned the iPad Pro as a true productivity tool, as the name suggests, but is iOS catching up with the hardware? Do apps for the iPad have what it takes for professionals to get things done? Justin William’s hot take:

There’s been more than enough pixels spilt over how difficult it is to build a sustainable software business in today’s app economy where $4.99 is considered premium, trials are a thing of the past, and Apple keeps printing money off the back of Smurf Berries and other in-app purchases. The iPad Pro is a device that is begging for great third-party software from both large companies like Adobe and Apple, as well as the smaller guys like Gus at Flying Meat. A larger screen, keyboard case, and a Pencil aren’t going to solve those problems. You can’t have a Pro tablet without pro apps to go with it. There are a few great iPad apps out there, but most of them feel like minimum viable products at best.

For many users, whether the iPad Pro will be useful depends more on what they’ll use it for than what it’s capable of. If you are able to get your work done on your iPhone or current iPad Mini or Air, then that’s all that matters. Maybe the iPad Pro will make your work flow with greater ease. If you have a good reason to edit documents and spreadsheets with an iPad rather than a MacBook, then you’ll fair better with the iPad Pro than the iPad Air because of the screen’s real estate, full size on screen keyboard (this should be a good improvement for everyone), and the available keyboard cover.

If you’re an artist, there is no doubt that the Apple Pencil is optimized for the display. It’s a better solution than third party tools like the Adonit Jot Pro. Apple’s advantage for their utensil (avoiding ‘stylus’ at all costs) is that they design the Pencil alongside of the iPad. With a great deal of internal resources, they make the best drawing experience with the Pencil in-house.

Developers have about two months to optimize productivity apps for iPad Pro. It’s not nearly enough time for some. Other developers will pleasantly surprise us with their standards on release day. But ‘pro’ level apps for iPad Pro are still in the making, and it’s anyone’s guess whether developers will offer a wide variety of compelling productivity apps with this device in mind. We could be waiting awhile.

If you’re disappointed that iPad apps available today are essentially iPhone apps with slight changes to their layout, then iPad Pro will be more of a letdown since the apps that waste space on the iPad Air will waste even more screen real estate on the Pro.