Home / Opinions / Week in Tech: iPad Pro is the least ‘Apple’ product ever

Week in Tech: iPad Pro is the least ‘Apple’ product ever

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iPad Pro 7

OPINION: Following one of the biggest weeks in the tech calendar, our US correspondent Chris Smith sticks it to the iPad Pro, picks a bone with Jawbone and explains why a $50 Amazon tablet would sell like hot cakes.

iPad No, more like...

Is the iPad Pro the least ‘Apple’ product of the last 15 years? When lined up against the company’s other iOS devices, it looks like a basketball player hanging out in a room full of supermodels.

“One of these things is not like the others,” as Big Bird from Sesame Street once sang.

It’s not only that it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the portfolio, but it just seems like a rather un-Apple-like amalgamation of stuff other companies have done before, with Cupertino’s sheen and marketing hyperbole plastered on top.

Essentially, it’s Apple playing catch-up and acting like it is pioneering something that already exists.

The firm spent about 15 minutes of yesterday’s marathon keynote talking about a bloody stylus; an accessory the company mocked in the time of Steve Jobs.

To me, the Pencil looks like nothing more than an exceptionally well-executed gimmick. The fact it doesn’t come with the device and you have to stump up an extra hundo is a bit of a travesty too.

Meanwhile, the Microsoft employees who took the stage to demo Pencil with Office must have also had a little chuckle when, a few minutes (felt like hours) later, Apple ripped off the Surface Pro’s Touch Keyboard and presented it as a ‘revolutionary’ product because it has a proprietary connector. Yeah, nice one lads.

SEE ALSO: Is the iPad Pro a MacBook Air or iPad Air rival?

iPad Pro

And what’s all this utter, utter cobblers about it being faster than 80 per cent of PCs shipped in the last 12 months? Jesus wept! What an absolutely pointless stat to brag about that is given the amount of rubbish entry-level PCs on the market right now

The fact is, unlike the Surface Pro, iPad Pro still doesn’t address the main reason why creative and office workers still can’t use an iPad to replace their laptop.

For all of the split-screen multi-tasking, sketching ability, the keyboard accessory, hugely impressive display and a super svelte body (we’re supposed to be impressed that it’s only just heavier than the first iPad from two thousand and bloody ten?), it still can’t run proper desktop apps and it still has no file management system of note.

As my friend James Stables of Wareable.com tweeted yesterday…

How much more functional would this device be if it was able to dual boot Mac OS X when the keyboard was attached?

Many Apple fans have asked for a proper MacBook/iPad hybrid, but Apple continues to do everything but. The closest we’ll ever get will be this and the Apple MacBook 2015.

Apple has always attempted to break the mould, even when it isn’t at the forefront of innovation, but the iPad Pro has never seemed like the way to revamp the tablet line. It just seems too out there.

Put it this way, if Toshiba launched this device probably all have a little chuckle to ourselves and shove it in a ‘weirdest gadgets of IFA 2015 list.’

Related Does the iPad Pro make a good first impression?

iPad Pro 3

Even with the updates, Jawbone UP3 still gets the thumbs DOWN

This week wearable pioneer Jawbone offered updates for its UP3 tracker, offering automatic sleep detection – meaning no more tapping the band – and passive heart rate detection.

After months of delays and the underwhelming state of the product at launch, is it now a more intriguing prospect? Well, no. It still feels like the company’s most advanced tracker yet is a huge disappointment.

Passive heart rate tracking (when you’re sat still) is all well and good, but users want to know how they’re doing when they’re out exercising! The UP3 just flat refuses to log your heart rate when you’re moving.

Couple that with the awkward design and fastening mechanism that’s nowhere near as ‘wearable’ as the UP24 and the inability to solve the design puzzle and make the device fully waterproof you’ve got a mid-tier fitness device at a Premium price point.

In this climate, that just isn’t going to cut it. Back to the drawing board, for Jawbone.

Related: Jawbone UP3 review

Jawbone UP3

I’d buy a $50 Amazon tablet and here’s why…

Reports this week suggested Amazon is working on a super cheap version of its Kindle Fire tablet; a 6-inch $50 (around £33) slate. That’d would sell by the damn truckload for a number of reasons, but here’s mine.

How many of you cringe when visitors to your home pick up your tablet like it’s communal property? They’ll start browsing the web and checking apps completely oblivious to the fact that gadgets these days are deeply, deeply personal devices.

$50 is cheap enough to splash out on a device that everyone and their dog to use, while your expensive iPad, Kindle Fire or Galaxy Tab remains untouched.

Related: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 review

Spotify Discover Weekly

Random thought

Is it just me or was Crossy Road the most awesome-looking thing on display at the Apple launch this week?

Spotify Discovery... I’ve discovered how good it is

This week, Spotify launched a tool that allowed music hipsters to brag about when they first discovered a band via the streaming service. Personally, I’ve always thought Spotify’s music discovery efforts have missed the mark down the years. However, the Discover Weekly playlists have really found a sweet spot.

After being turned off initially, I’ve stuck with this feature and it seems to get better every week. Consistently it delivers music I a) like, b) hadn’t heard before and c) want to explore further. Top marks, Spotify. A most unexpected surprise.

Dead Words

September 11, 2015, 8:50 pm

Great article. I couldn't agree more about the iPad Pro. It's disappointing. I mean, I'm used to Apple trying to push old news as innovation (although they do usually improve the "old news" first) but the Pro seems pointless when you're trying to put it up against the Surface Pro line.

Dead Words

September 11, 2015, 8:51 pm

Even the Surface 3 seems better suited to work than the iPad Pro. At least the Surface 3 runs full Windows.

Bugblatter

September 12, 2015, 12:51 pm

You allow visitors to use your tablet? You need better-trained visitors; mine will only use it if I hand it to them.

I am unanimous in that

September 12, 2015, 3:06 pm

Honestly, there seems very little reason to upgrade to the latest Apple 'Shiny' this year.

Compared to Apple TV, the Amazon Fire TV is a great little device for running all kinds of apps at a fraction of the price.

The Ipad and Iphone are fine for surfing the net and playing the odd little app but you don't use them for serious pc type work so what is the point of the Ipad Pro.

£100 for a stylus? Really! Insufficient memory on these devices so to use the camera in any meaningful way you'll find yourself signing up to a monthly fee for extra icloud storage. Bet that wasn't mentioned in the presentation.

Can't help feeling the Apple bubble might be about to burst some what,as the hyperbole doesn't really match the reality!

John

September 12, 2015, 9:01 pm

That article made me chuckle....well done Chris Smith. I do like it when writers get straight to the point and cut through the marketing flim flam!!

Kulti Vator

September 12, 2015, 9:50 pm

Surface Pro 4 is rumoured to... um... surface in the October/November timeframe. So not long to see whether the latest Intel processors run a bit cooler this time around.

Really like the Surface Pro, but there's still a few niggly issues that have stopped me biting the bullet so far.

Dead Words

September 13, 2015, 12:57 pm

What are those issues? The Surface Pro 4 is rumored to have largely the same form factor just massively upgraded internals and more features. There's also rumored to be a larger 14 inch version which sounds fun.

Kulti Vator

September 14, 2015, 10:33 am

Main niggles on the i7 I tested were...

It ran hot even under light workloads.

USB port underpowered for standard bus-powered peripherals that work fine on notebook PCs.

Stylus tech is a step backwards from Surface Pro 2 - in terms of lag and precision.

Pricing feels too high - suspect MS were trying to prove that a Win Tab could attract big margins to lure other manufacturers back to the flat Windows device market.

The £109 keyboard cover isn't terrible, but it's not great either and at that price I'd want to feel the greatness ;-)

Dead Words

September 14, 2015, 11:32 am

I would've gone for an i5 personally, as the generation of processors the Surface was forced to use I didn't think would run cool enough or be as light on the battery as I needed to be.
I can understand the issue of the one USB port, but it is a tablet. Here's hoping we get two or three with the Pro 4.
I don't know about the stylus, so I'll take your word for it.
The pricing isn't terrible. You're getting a beautiful, portable machine. Plus, OEM's are only just now trying to imitate the Surface line. Maybe we'll see a price cut when other manufacturers have cheaper alternatives.
You can only do so much with that keyboard cover but I agree it's too expensive for what it is.

Kulti Vator

September 14, 2015, 12:10 pm

Sadly the i5 model runs almost as hot - hopeful the Pro 4 will solve this with the latest gen Intel CPUs.

I can live with a single
USB port, as long as it offers enough current to drive my standard USB HDD/SSD drives - the Pro 3 puts out less than is required (500mA).

Frustrating because the Pro 3 on paper is exactly what I needed, but fell short in the execution despite the premium price.

Surface Pro 4 - please deliver.

Kulti Vator

September 14, 2015, 12:27 pm

The real innovation with Windows 8/10 tablets has been at the low end. The recent batch of quad core Atom-based devices sporting 2GB RAM have been excellent - at prices around £150 with Office 365.

Add a £40 Perixx Periduo 880 and you have something quite special for the price (that works well with most USB HDD/SSD).

Massively undercuts an iPad, can do real work on the move and plays ripped versions of my BlueRay gigs collection from MicroSD card with great ease ;-)

Dead Words

September 14, 2015, 8:40 pm

The Surface Pro 4 is supposed to have a similar form factor and design with a far better screen, more powerful internals and more features. It's not supposed to be a massive upgrade over the Surface Pro 3, being mostly under the hood (there's also rumored to be fingerprint scanner support and possibly RealSense).

Dead Words

September 14, 2015, 8:41 pm

There's been rumors of an upcoming update to the Dell Venue Pro 8 that sounds very exciting.

Kulti Vator

September 15, 2015, 7:58 am

Yes - Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Microsoft all have new high-end gear launching this Autumn. Interesting times ahead.

Kulti Vator

September 15, 2015, 8:20 am

Agreed - hopefully the newere Broadwell CPUs will help Surface Pro 4 run cooler and that the USB port gets fixed.

MS have their first opportunity to show the world their vision for a fully integrated mobile device running Windows 10.

Dead Words

September 15, 2015, 11:18 am

There's never been a better time to look into buying a Windows tablet, especially with the developers flocking to Windows 10.

Dead Words

September 15, 2015, 11:19 am

The reason Microsoft waited until October is for Skylake, rumors say, which is far cooler than Broadwell. The 12 inch model of the Pro 4 is said to be fanless, which would only be possible with a Skylake processor. Also, the Pro 4 is supposedly launching Threshold 2 of Windows 10.

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