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Why the iPad Pro may, or may not, work at work

Ryan Faas | March 24, 2016
Factors to consider when deciding whether to use an iPad Pro as your main work computer

From either a business or consumer perspective, the big news about this week's announcement is as much about the broader iPad lineup as it is about the new iPad Pro itself.

There are definitely some apps, tasks and business processes that can benefit from the power of either new or old iPad Pro. These include handling complex Office files like large spreadsheets and large embellished PowerPoint presentations, 3D modeling, graphics or video work for example.

Some of those may also benefit from the screen real estate of the larger model, but many may simply benefit from its sheer processing and graphics capabilities. Some may even benefit from the performance but also be more well-suited to a smaller and easier-to-carry form factor. Indeed, the portability of the 9.7-inch form factor has been one reason the iPad has been a popular choice among business travelers over a laptop or even a larger tablet like the Surface or larger iPad Pro. As I and several of my colleagues have noticed, a 9.7-inch iPad with a keyboard case — or now a Smart Keyboard — is a lot easier to use when working on a plane, and it fits much more easily on a seat-back table.

The smaller iPad Pro's combination of portability and performance do make it a serious contender for many mobile professionals.

The price point also offers its own advantages. For tasks that need the added performance but may not need the extra size, the new iPad Pro allows for notable cost savings over the larger model. This is particularly true in the enterprise space where devices are often bought in bulk and where that $200 price difference can add up very quickly.

At the same time, there are many business tasks and apps that won't benefit from the added performance of the iPad Pro. Light editing of Word documents, submitting/processing expense reports, booking business travel, email, accessing corporate cloud services, and even running Windows apps through VDI are all common business activities that don't require significant processing power and/or where connectivity and not the device's raw processing capacity is the arbiter of performance. In these cases, the iPad Air 2 can easily suffice and offer additional cost savings.

This extended range of options in terms of form factor, performance and pricing is good news for organizations deploying iPads. It allows tailoring purchases to the needs of specific departments, job roles, individual users and budgets.

It's also about the camera and the display

While the major differences between the larger and new smaller iPad Pros are the form factors and the price points, it's also worth noting that the new iPad Pro actually offers some features that its larger sibling doesn't.

 

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