The iPad Pro as the “future” of personal computing

I don’t often make purchasing recommendations at the day job. It’s not exactly frowned upon, but I’m hesitant because a new computer or phone or tablet is a big purchase. But I did have the occasion to recommend an iPad Pro the other day.

I have not seen an iPad Pro. I have not even watched the Apple keynote talking about the iPad Pro. I don’t think I’d even opened up the iPad Pro page on the Apple website until today–well, maybe I did, when I was making the recommendation–but it’s not in my near future. I’m planning on the iPad Pro 4 or 5 or never, just because I really do like having a keyboard.

Apple is selling the iPad Pro for digital artists and really lazy video editors. The multitasking–running two apps at once–makes the device an attractive choice for note-taking and research, but Apple didn’t really draw attention to that usability (from what I saw). Because at $800, it’s only a hundred dollars less than the bottom of the line MacBook Air (which is my portable of choice). Is it more powerful than an MBA? It might be.

I have a lot of questions about the iPad Pro–like are the icons bigger on the home screen or are they the same size as on the iPad Air? I don’t even know if the iPad Mini has smaller icons; I think it does. Okay, maybe not a lot of questions. A handful of them. Like the icons. And whether or not it functions just like other iOS devices. Because if it does, the iPad Pro becomes the perfect PC laptop replacement.

In this post-post-PC era, as computer companies try to desperately sell their wares to a more and more disinterested buying public–with GeekBench saying the new iPhone 6s is as powerful as the new MacBook–simplicity makes more sense. If all you do on a computer is send email, browse the web, read e-Books, watch Netflix, why do you need more than a tablet.

But why an iPad Pro instead of an iPad Air or an iPad Mini? The size. 13-inch laptops are, in the Windows world, small. And iOS is so inviting, it can turn the casual emailer/e-Book reader into more. iOS on the iPad invites the user to do more, try more, all while having a mostly inconspicuous user experience.

It’ll be interesting to see when the Apple Pencil can translate handwriting into text (and if Apple is the first one to figure out that functionality). Until then, I don’t have much interest in the iPad Pro. But for people looking for a new Windows computer? It’s the most compelling option.