Let’s face it, Apple set the standard for tablets when the first iPad rolled out so much so that whitebox Android tablets from China came to be called “aPads.” Apple blazed a trail, and the rest—manufacturers and consumers alike—followed the path they burned through.
Years after, Apple surprised the whole market with the unveiling of the iPad Pro last year. It seemed to be a shot at killing what little market that Microsoft managed to scrounge up with the Surface and Surface Pro line of devices. Seize the market, Apple did.
According to IDC estimates in the last quarter of 2015, the iPad Pro sold two million units, while the Surface line sold only 1.6 million units. According to observations from The Verge, the figures seem to indicate that the market is ready for bigger-screen tablets, which consumers seem to view as laptop replacements.
The iPad Pro gave the iPad market what it may have been clamoring for. Aside from the larger screen, the iPad Pro came with a stylus that allowed for finer functions, such as making notes, drawing, and other functions that the previous iPads may have lacked in the past.
The website Technology Personalized analysed the iPad Pro’s success and came up with these theories:
- The iPad Pro’s radical departure from the usual iPad form factor surprised the market enough for consumers to snap up the device.
- Apple rolled out the device across more markets than Microsoft pushed the Surface Pro.
- The Apple Pencil was optional, whereas the Surface Pro’s keyboard was a necessity. With the optional nature of the accessory add-on, the market segment that didn’t want the Apple Pencil could still buy the iPad Pro.
- iOS was just more sophisticated and developed for a tablet’s OS, period. Windows 8 to 10 just aren’t intuitive enough as a tablet OS. It feels more like a desktop system scrunched into a tablet, according to Technology Personalized. The awkward feel of the Microsoft take on tablets simply worked to its disadvantage.
- Simply more apps. The iOS has 1.5 million apps available on its store, while Windows only has 340,000. Consumers will flock to an OS which offers more apps for them to use, simple as that.
- The Surface’s positioning is a little confusing: Technology Personalized went back to their point that the Surface is really just Windows adapted to the mobile platform, and it wasn’t a thorough porting at that.
The iPad Pro may be a late entrant into the productivity tablet segment, but it certainly trampled the competition, yet again. Microsoft has to step up its game if it wants to catch up to Apple in sales and market dominance, then.