It is clear Apple is focusing on the iPad Pro line, trying to re-ignite a market segment it started with the original iPad. Lately, Microsoft has made a lot of noise in this market with its 2-in-1 Surface 1, 2, 3, and now, 4 models. The sell is you can have a real Windows computer but also a tablet when you want one. Instead of carrying two devices around you can just use one.
Microsoft’s approach is an interesting one, but will catch on with consumers? Millennials, who are extra price sensitive might find it appealing, but so far Microsoft's sales have been mostly sizzle, no steak. Even Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, upon announcement of the 12" iPad Pro said he was just using his iPad Pro for pretty much everything — in other words, Cook has ditched his laptop.
I found the iPad Pro smart keyboard to be okay, but do not know if it is something I would want to be my fulltime keyboard. The smart keyboard also awkward folds up to be a screen protector. Perhaps I could get comfortable with it over time? That said, while using the iPad Pro and its smart keyboard I noticed a few interesting things. First is Apple has added the familiar command-tab function to the keyboard so it is easy to switch through open apps. This is important because reaching up to double-click the home button and then scrolling with your finger to switch apps while the keyboard is attached would quickly become tiresome. Also if you hold down the command key, shortcuts appear so you can figure out how to do common tasks, again without your fingers leaving the keyboard.
There is one button that would make the smart keyboard a hit, and it is one button that is currently missing but essential — a Home button. If the smart keyboard had a Home button it would be so much better than reaching up and pressing the physical button on the iPad itself. Matter of fact, everything Apple could do that would make the iPad Pro smart-keyboard-centric instead of touch-centric (when the keyboard is attached) would make the iPad Pro a much better option for someone who is really looking for a 2-in-1 device.
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