Android faced many issues when it came to market -- ranging from uneven quality to security to who actually owned the underlying technology. Systematically over time many of these individual issues have been corrected, but another more interesting problem has emerged: the question of Android’s future.
For the most part Android, like iOS, was conceived to be a mobile operating system for small devices. However, as we move to capabilities that allow us to take a mobile device and scale it up to a larger screen and provide the potential for a pocketable device to become our only device, Android’s shortcomings are limiting its growth.
Now Google has another platform, Chrome, to address this larger growth opportunity, but it isn’t similar to Android and the market appears to want a device that starts small and moves up not one that starts large and moves down. This is likely because adding screen real estate to something is pretty easy, but taking it away can dramatically reduce the functionality of the device.
iOS is trying to grow up with the iPad Pro, but is being limited by the conflict with the MacOS in the professional space. Apple’s desire for people to buy three devices from them (a phone, a tablet and a PC) when customers really only want two or even one is a big problem.
Let’s talk about the future in the context of iOS and Android weaknesses.
The reason I’m picking this product is that it really is the first product that has, at scale, taken a mobile operating system that was founded in smartphones and tried to move it to a form factor consistent with mainstream notebook computers for business. It isn’t an ideal product yet, but it is closer than anything else currently in market that started out small, a decent first attempt, and it is moving Apple closer to a one device solution.
In Silicon Valley we have entire schools that were operating off of iPads long before the iPad Pro came to market. This showcases the potential for a focused product and Apple’s partnerships with Cisco and IBM form the backbone for testing how far this initiative can go.
It is too early to tell whether the iPad Pro will ultimately be successful, but the foundation for it appears to be solid. The limiting factor here is the desire for Apple to assure both the MacBook and the iPad market not collapse either into the other. Or, put more accurately, it is clear Apple wants customers to buy both products not collapse into one. In addition, Apple does not want the ultimate collapse the market seems to want, which is create a smartphone that could replace all three devices even though, you could argue, that an accessorized iPhone 6s likely could.
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