Apple’s About-Face: New Productivity Oriented iPad Steals Microsoft’s Surface Thunder

by Matt Klassen on September 11, 2015

In the collective mind of Apple, its competition in the tablet market has always been confused, trying to shove productivity into a device that is clearly made for consumption. In fact, company CEO Tim Cook famously quipped,  “Our competition is confused. They’re turning tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets.”  As the late Steve Jobs always alluded to, the appeal of the tablet, more so than the smartphone, is to consumer hearts, not their heads.

So the unveiling of Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro earlier this week marks a significant departure from the way things are usually done at the company, as this stands as the first device geared specifically towards business, as opposed to the consumer oriented products Jobs originally envisioned.

While Cook was undoubtedly referring to Microsoft when he noted the tablet market was “confused,” consider Apple to be fully apart of that confusion now, or as the company will likely explain it, consider this to be clarity among the confusion; Apple’s take on how Microsoft has done things in the tablet market for years. Let’s just hope for Microsoft’s sake that Apple knows nothing about how to reach the hearts of the business world.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, the great irony here is that Apple has juxtaposed itself to Microsoft for years, constantly pointing out that the stuffed shirts in Redmond have nothing on the savvy coolness of Cupertino. Sure Microsoft had virtually cornered the tablet productivity segment, but Apple seemed so cocksure that productivity wouldn’t really matter anyways, not when the iPad could be everything people desired in a pointless tablet device.

But now Apple has become Microsoft. Heck, Apple even got Microsoft exec Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Office division, on stage to advertise Office compatibility with Apple’s new tablet. This is Apple’s take on business, and while it looks on awful lot like Microsoft’s approach, it sure feels different.

A productive tablet aside, though, the really crazy thing is that along with its tablet Apple produced a stylus…yes, a stylus. “Who wants a stylus?” Jobs famously said at Macworld in 2007. “You have to get them and put them away and you lose them. Yeuch. Nobody wants a stylus.”

But even when mimicking its stuff-shirt rival, Apple is still able to bring that sense of cool, that sense of integration with our needs and wants, that has eluded Microsoft (and everyone else for that matter) for years. That stylus Jobs thought was crazy, well don’t worry, for you see Apple has produced the Apple Pencil (sleek, comfortable, familiar), not a stylus (cold, nerdy, and awkward).

All that to say, with the release of the iPad Pro Apple is invading territory it promised it would never want any part of, the cold and undesirable world of business. But in classic Apple style, not only has it avoided addressing this radical about-face, or the fact it has stolen everything from Microsoft, but it has dressed it up in the company’s ethos of cool, allowing everyone to forget what came before and embrace what Apple is selling as if it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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