I hadn’t intended to write about The rumored Apple iPad Pro two weeks in a row, but speculation about such a machine seems to be catching a lot of interest, so why not? It’s certainly got my attention. I thought I had my own hardware upgrade roadmap pretty well plotted for the foreseeable future. I bought a 13-inch MacBook Air to serve as my anchor Mac for the next few years on Apple’s Black Friday sale! and planned to use the $150 Apple gift card I received as a discount toward the purchase of an iPad Air in 2014 — perhaps around the time my current iPad 2 turns three years old in June.
However, with rumors building that an iPad Pro is on the way, most likely for release next fall, ambiguity has set in again. The MacBook Air is a great machine — the best iPad yet in my estimation — but for the sort of use I put it to, a Pro-spec. iPad sounds like it would be way better for my purposes, and I may be persuaded to soldier on with the old iPad 2 for a while yet. That wouldn’t be so bad if I had stuck with iOS 6, but the old A5 SoC hasn,t got quite the muscle it needs to cope with the demands of iOS 7, and the latter has transformed it from a smooth and slick performer to a just OK (mostly) one. Oh well.
Last week MacRumors’ Eric Slivka was one of several pundits who cited a research report by Evercore analyst Patrick Wang affirming that his insider supply chain sources are telling him that a larger display iPad is indeed in the works for a 2014 fall release and targeting on enterprise users especially. However, Mr. Wang believes that it won’t just be a larger-screen iPad Air, but a “hybrid” device intended to fill the divide between tablets and notebooks, to be powered by an Apple A8 SoC (possibly quad-core), and with more storage capacity, which implies greater than the current maximum 128 GB available with the Air.
Of course, that implies that such a device would likely be priced a full tier up from the current iPad Air range, and possibly as high as the current 12-inch MacBook Air, which one can reasonably deduce might be completely replaced by it.
In his report, Mr. Wang estimates that the Intel Haswell Core i processors used in the MacBook Air represent 22 percent of the machine’s cost, while the ARM processors used in the iPad account for only about four percent of materials cost for the high storage capacity (64 GB, 128 GB) models, and therefore the much lower cost for Apple’s A-series chips could enable Apple to mount a serious, price-competitive challenge in the light enterprise notebook market.
Barrons’ Tiernan Ray thinks a challenge from a 12-inch iPad/hybrid computer could be a significant setback for Intel dominance in enterprise notebooks,and once again transform the traditional notebook market, noting Evercore’s Patrick Wang suggests only two potential obstacles to Apple success with an iPad Pro: no Microsoft Office and inadequate local storage. Apple has no control over the first, but the storage matter should be no big problem other than cost. A 256 GB SSD for the MacBook Air is a $200 option.
Why Apple needs an iPad Pro
BetaNews’s Sameer Singh contends that Apple needs an iPad Pro in order to add diversity to its offerings in the tablet market as it inevitably matures and becomes saturated, citing data metrics indicating that while iPad sales are being driven largely by repeat buyers, with even the lower-priced iPad mini primarily being sold to repeat buyers and cannibalizing full sized iPad sales rather than increasing the size of Apple’s potential market. Android tablet sales, on the other hand, are being principally driven by first time buyers, these observations explaining the rapid drop in iPad shipment growth over the past year. Consequently, Singh predicts that an Apple move to aggressively target the only market tier remaining above its current high end iPad Air configurations — the enterprise.
Hey, makes sense to me.
Businessinsider’s Jay Yarow declares that if there’s one new product from Apple he feels most confident of seeing in 2014, it’s the iPad Pro, which he also thinks could turn out to be A Hybrid Tablet-Laptop that will change our perception of laptops forever. However Yarow says he’s especially intrigued by the notion of a hybrid from Apple what with CEO Tim Cook having been loudly dismissive of Microsoft’s Surface tablet computer since it arrived on the scene in 2012, for example commenting at Apple’s recent iPad event: ” Our competition is confused. They’re turning tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets. Who knows what they’re going to do next?”, and in October 2012, dissingk the Surface as a “fairly compromised, confusing product… I supposed you could design a car that flies and floats, but it wouldn’t do those things very well”, or quipping in April 2012: “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator,” but it won’t please anyone.”
Of course, Steve Jobs heaped scorn on smaller tablet size configurations in his remarks at the 2010 original iPad announcement, but W&W Mr. Cook will presumably still be around next fall, which would make a flip-flop awkward. personally, despite the slow start for the Surface, I find the concept of hybrids appealing, and evidently so do many others. It cant’ve escaped Apple’s notice that the second best selling laptop at Amazon.com over the 2013 holiday season was Asus’s hybrid Transformer Book T100 tablet/laptop bracketed by two Chromebooks.
Samsung Announces Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 And TabPRO (12.2, 10.1, 8.4-inch) Productivity Tablets
Meanwhile, Samsung has raised the ante, beating Apple to market with “Pro” tablets — the new Galaxy NotePRO (12.2-inch), and TabPRO (12.2, 10.1, 8.4-inch). And not by a little if the rumoristas are correct about a fall release for an Apple machine. Samsung unveiled its Pro tablet lines at the CES in Las Vegas on Monday, with shipping slated to begin sometime this quarter in various parts of the world.
“We created the Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO series to kick-off a year in which Samsung truly establishes its leadership in the tablet market,” says JK Shin, Samsung Electronics CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division, in a release. “This new line offers the best-in-class content consumption and productivity, combining a stunning viewing experience with Samsung s design legacy. The Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO truly demonstrate our commitment to providing our customers with extraordinarily versatile product offerings, tailored to tablet users of every description.”
The Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO present the world s first 12.2-inch WQXGA Widescreen (16:10) display, offering a 2560 x 1600 WQXGA LCD resolution panel with a 247 ppi pixel density and more than 4 million pixels, supporting full HD video play. One of the NotePRO/TabPRO 12.2’s marquee features is Multi-Window, which allows not just two windows open to manage simultaneous tasks, but supporting up to four at a time — not counting the ability to add pop-up windows on top of that. If Apple is serious about flogging iPads to productivity users, one of the iOS’s major deficiencies that needs address is adding the ability to support at least two simultaneously open windows side-by-side, although up to now requests for such a feature have fallen on deaf ears. True multitasking worthy of the name means having multiple windows open.
The Samsung PRO tablets’ virtual keyboard leverages haptic feedback to produce a more realistic typing experience, and the Samsung S Pen is included with the Galaxy NotePRO with access to features such as Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write and S Finder. In addition, Pen Window enables users to simply draw a window of any size on the screen, and instantly access unique in-application features such as YouTube or a calculator.
The Android 4.4 KitKat – running Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 weighing in at 1.66 lb. (750 grams) and 7.95 millimeters thick, features dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO, USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 4.0. The NotePRO and TabPRO line will come in various connectivity options: WiFi Only, WiFi and 3G, or WiFi and LTE. Users can choose between the 12.2-inch Galaxy NotePRO that comes with an included S Pen, and the 12.2-inch Galaxy TabPRO, Galaxy TabPRO 10.1-inch, and 8.4-inch without the S Pen.
The Galaxy PRO WiFi and 3G models will be powered by Samsung’s in-house Exynos 5 Octa (1.9 GHz QuadCore 1.3 GHz Quadcore) SoCs, and the LTE variant a Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz Quad. Either chip comes with 3GB RAM. A 32GB SSD drive is standard and 64 GB optional. The 12.2-inchers have a 9,500mAh
“What we always hear consistently is that people want to do more with their tablets,” The Register’s Rik Myslewski cites Samsung Telecommunications America VP for tablets and emerging business Nanda Ramachandrar telling a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon.
Another Samsung PRO tablet ability is multiple workspaces, which sounds like a sort of lite version of OS X’s Spaces/Mission Control, and there’s a built-in Remote PC UI that allows dragging and dropping files between a PC and the PRO tablet; yet another productivity enhancer.
No price information for the Samsung PRO tablets was released at CES
Aside from those interface tweaks, however, the NotePRO 12.2 both by description and in photos appears to be essentially a scaled-up version of the Note 10.1, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but my hope would be that Apple will make their Pro tablet even more worth the wait by making it more than just a scaled-up iPad PPP Air. Again I’m thinking something hybridish here. However, I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at a big iPad Air that offered the true multitasking and productivity features incorporated into Samsung’s PRO tablet family,or for that matter having them available in the 9.7-inch iPad as well while they’re at it. But a detachable keyboard and trackpad/mouse support would be so much better.