back to article Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY

With the announcement of the 12.9-inch MaxiPad iPad Pro, Apple has finally mounted its challenge to Microsoft's Surface Pro. Boss Tim Cook announced the iOS-powered enormo-slab Wednesday at a special event in downtown San Francisco before giving way to marketing honcho Phil Schiller, who disclosed the specs and details of the …

Value?

Apple iPad Pro Keyboard Cover = $169

Apple Pencil = $99

Add a dollar more, and you can buy an iPad Mini, at $269

Astonishing Value.

Er, sorry, I meant, Christ Almighty. $160 for a keyboard?

Steven R

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Re: Value?

Shouldn't that keyboard have a trackpad as well for that kind of money?

The three-pin power and data thing looks pretty simple for third-parties to build on, unless it needs a 'special' Apple permission slip. I

t is, yet another, proprietary I/O and power interface. If you can charge through it as well, that would be easier than plugging it in...

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Re: Value?

The iPad Pro runs iOS not Mac OS. Which means no mouse pointer on screen, no need for a trackpad.

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Trollface

Re: Value?

Yeah, but it is an APPLE keyboard, so people will buy it, and then rave about how so much better than anything else it is.

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Re: Value? @bobgameon

Android doesn't have a mouse pointer on screen yet I have no problems using a trackpad/point on a Lenovo tablet (along with touch) since the mouse pointer appears when the mouse is used. Oh, and there's a left AND right mouse button.

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Re: Value? @bobgameon

I know it does. I've used android tablets with mouse and keyboards. But the iOS doesn't have mouse pointers that's all I'm saying.

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Re: Value?

No need, until you run a remote desktop session with RDP or VMware View, and you NEED a frikkin mouse or trackpad!!!

Apple really knows how to kill a prime use case for this device.

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Re: Value?

People seem to be getting the wrong idea. I'm not defending Apple. A Smartphone OS on a 13" device meant for enterprise with no external mouse support and no file system access is probably the dumbest idea ever.

I'm just saying the iPad pro doesn't need a trackpad because iOS has no support for them.

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Re: Value?

The iPad Pro runs iOS not Mac OS. Which means no mouse pointer on screen, no need for a trackpad.

It's really no different from Android devices that don't show a cursor on-screen until you attach a mouse to drive it ... except that with an Android device you can attach a mouse to drive it.

(...but I see I'm not the first to point that out.)

My Sony smartphone does look a bit odd with an OTG adaptor and a Microsoft optical mouse attached (and I bet the mouse's LED sucks the battery) but I do get an onscreen pointer, even on a phone!

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Re: Value?

When you are working with a keyboard, a trackpad is easier for some tasks, you don't have to take your hand away from the keyboard area (a ThinkPad nubbin would be even better) and you don't have to reach over the keyboard to touch the screen.

I use a Surface Pro 3 and with the keyboard attached, I probably use 60% trackpad or mouse.

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Re: Value?

"Apple really knows how to kill a prime use case for this device."

Yeah, their business is really struggling as a result of nerds like you not being able to do every single thing you can think of with the device. Oh no, wait, they are actually one of the most successful companies of all time who have consistently created use-cases rather than adopt old tired ones.

You only need to RDP because you're doing remote management wrong, even MS have said that. You only need VMware View because you're doing applications wrong. Create applications for the tablet and you don't need the desktop metaphor. Very few applications need the desktop when properly investigated, Adobe is a good example with their demo last night.

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LDS
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Re: Value?

It's better to replace "doesn't need" with "can't support one"

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Meh

Re: Value? @bobgameon

.... iOS doesn't have mouse pointers....

Android doesn't have mouse pointers, until you plug a mouse in. Since there's no mouse on any iOS device to date how do you know for sure there isn't the support for one squirreled away in there somewhere, just waiting for the glorious day when Apple decide to mouse up an iOS device?

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Trollface

Re: Value?

Of course you're doing it wrong - whether it's holding a phone wrong so the antenna doesn't work properly, or putting it in the wrong pocket so the phone bends, it's you. You're the problem. Not Apple. Oh good gracious me no! It's you!

And you want proof that Apple are inventing new use cases? Just look at the innovation on the iPad Pro... A keyboard! A stylus! Do you have any idea of the new use cases these peripherals will support? Even the name - "Pro"! Only Apple could think of something so audacious!!!

Er, you know I'm being sarcastic, right? Or possibly ironic; I never know the difference!

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Re: Value?

Ah the usual Apple refrain, "you are doing it wrong". If you supply hardware and/or software you should try to make it as easy as possible for your users to do what they want with said hardware/software. For some reason Apple constantly get away with telling people what to do and those people just suck it up.

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Re: Value?

"The iPad Pro runs iOS not Mac OS. Which means no mouse pointer on screen, no need for a trackpad."

Phew, otherwise they'd have wanted another $99 for the trackpad.

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Trollface

Re: Value?

"Phew, otherwise they'd have wanted another $99 for the trackpad."

Just give it a couple of years, and they'll "reinvent" the mouse (and/or trackpad) for their (then) newest iPad - and the fanbois/gurlz who were so dismissive of the idea of attaching a mouse/trackpad will lap it up, telling us all how revolutionary and brilliant it is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Value?

"Er, you know I'm being sarcastic, right? Or possibly ironic; I never know the difference!"

Both; you are saying the opposite of what you mean with enough pointers for the instructed to realise (irony) but you are referring to "you" in contexts like doing it wrong - which is sarcasm (from the Greek he sarki, flesh, i.e. making a comment directed at a person.)

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Re: Value?

I have actually learned something today! Thankyou :) (and that's genuine, by the way!)

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Re: Value?

@Lusty. Most of the MS Office Suite does not have full function on the iPad; that alone justifies the need for View. And the iPad's ARM processor only does graphics brilliantly, but it sucks on the compute side.

I love my iPhone, my iPad, and my MacBook Pro; but unless Apple puts a strong Intel chip on the next iPad. I will buy a Surface Pro when my iPad goes toes-up.

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Re: Value?

"we're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS"

The Surface Pro has a stylus. It's included with the product and doesn't cost an extra $99 though...

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Re: Value?

> Just give it a couple of years, and they'll "reinvent" the mouse (and/or trackpad)

Ah, I still remember when Apple invented copying and pasting. They even had a TV advert for it. Revolutionary stuff.

I had a Nokia 9500 Communicator and had been copying and pasting for years, but I'm sure that didn't count for some reason.

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Re: Value?

For that kind of money, the keyboard should come with a bunch of cigars, some whisky, and a troupe of dancing girls.

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Re: Value?

I think that's kind of the point. They're trying to actively kill the desktop apps. So are Microsoft. It's a thing.

End of the day TS/RDP is a compromise. VDI is a poor-man's solution to containerization, and that's be recognized for quite a while. Microsoft is moving in on the latter use case via the outputs from things like Project Drawbridge which hopefully will see the light of day in Server 2016. The new changes to how 'Modern UI' works and converting old code into Modern is all about killing the need for mouse pointers.

I love my keyboard and mouse, but I'm under no illusions that if someone can figure touch out, that's it's far more precise. The Apple Pencil seems to have that precision, and the Adobe demo was frankly an absolute killer for the types of users who buy Apple products- creative professionals.

Think of it this way: how many average users do you know who really, honestly, give a crap about who makes the OS? Or the HID? They care about being productive. Microsoft have recognized that- they've realized that getting O365 subscriptions is more important than owning the platform (rightly so).

Of course, Android hardware manufacturers pioneered here (well, arguably Apple did with the Newton)- but once again, Apple out polishes them- every single time. They are very much the Linux Vs Windows debate- most Linux distros can do everything Windows can, but people go to Windows because of public awareness, UI familiarity (hence the rebellion over the Start Menu in Windows 8), and ease of use. Apple win the market in much the same way- not by being first, not by being cheapest, but by being the more easy for general public users to digest.

The fact they have also made people want their products, not just need them, is also something El Reg clearly doesn't understand. Best Marketing company on the planet.

The price is hefty, but their are a lot of execs who are 'iPad or bust' and will sign the deal to get a fleet of them. I'm only getting one because I develop for iOS and Android- and it's another form factor headache to deal with- but that situation is far worse on Android.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Value?

"Er, you know I'm being sarcastic, right? Or possibly ironic; I never know the difference!"

The differentiator = snark level

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Facepalm

Re: Value?

> No need, until you run a remote desktop session with RDP or VMware View, and you NEED a frikkin mouse or trackpad!!!

Are you really saying that you think the guys & girls porting RDP & VMware View to this new ipad are clever enough to do the port but not clever enough to simulate a mouse pointer?

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Re: Value?

Good point. Someone should write an app for trackpad support.

Android has it built in, and it works OK, although 'swiping' is a bit odd with a mouse.

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Re: Value?

@thedarke. Sure VDI is a poor man's solution to containerization.

VDI's role in life is to get legacy apps in the hands of users quickly, and cheaply. And VDI on an iPad would be an immediate way to get desktop apps into the hands of iPad users immediately.

VDI also has some specialty use cases. For example it can function can be used to securely control access into test bubble.

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Re: Value?

"that alone justifies the need for View"

No it doesn't, it justifies having a proper computer to use when you're not mobile with your tablet. I regularly write 40-100 page reports and have never found a function the iPad version of word is lacking despite lots of different formatting and pictures. I need to use the big computer for Visio, but then I just wait until I'm on my laptop. Tablets are great as tablets, trying to make them a full computer ends up with a Surface pro, which is a small laptop rather than a tablet. I like the Surface Pro but it really is a terrible tablet.

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eom

Re: Value?

It has a 12" trackpad above the keyboard

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WTF?

$169 just for the keyboard???

Good God!

I just bought the laptop I'm using to post this comment for $125, tax included. It includes a keyboard, but it also includes a CPU and RAM (4 GB), a hard drive (500 GB), a touch screen, ports, etc.

(OTOH, it came with Windows 8, and now is running Windows 8.1 Update. And updating the operating system just to make it tolerable took the better part of three friggin' days! So there's a lot of inconvenience I have to weigh in the balance. But still, . . .)

This Apple kit is very elegant and appealing, as always, and if I had money to spare I'd love to have a fully tricked-out iPad Pro. What's not to like? But it's sure as Hell not a value proposition.

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Holmes

Apple's cunning plan

So, at last, this is it, this is Apple's master plan to sell more iPad... minis.

Make a large tablet no one wants or needs, and so expensive that people are thankful for the price of the iPad mini.

I'm impressed.

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Re: Apple's cunning plan

Not really, they are aimed at different markets. Apple will sell at least as many iPad Pros to business as MS sell Surface Pro. The difference is that Apple also have the home market with the Mini and Air where most others have failed to gain traction. There are plenty of people who want/need the iPad Pro, you just aren't one of them and you've clearly not dealt with those people and don't have the imagination to see their needs. It's not aimed at playing Angry Birds and Spotify, it's aimed at serious use as demonstrated in the demo by the various companies present who actually showed you the use-cases that will make this sell like hot cakes!

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Re: Apple's cunning plan

Impressive is charging $150 (~100 quid) for 96GB flash when a 128GB USB3 stick is 21 quid.

Not impressive is a horrific colour choice of shiny, shiny-shiny and 'monochrome beige'. Presumably informed by how spangly it looks on camera during product placement shots.

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Re: Apple's cunning plan

They will not sell many* of these, but more than is sold of Surface Pro, and at a massive profit margin.

I wonder how the iFans will store and edit video on it?

[* I might be wrong, perhaps these will outsell Macs.]

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Re: Apple's cunning plan

it's aimed at serious use as demonstrated in the demo by the various companies present who actually showed you the use-cases that will make this sell like hot cakes!

You mean like Microsoft? Demonstrating how you can use it for all your business needs? Like they did with the hot-cake-selling Surface range?

I agree, a tablet that size is more business oriented (like the Surface Pro). Getting MS to show support is a good move, however while the Surface Pro's are well built and possibly useful bits of kit, they've not exactly set the business world alight.

Apple are selling a device with a keyboard and a 13" screen. Rather like the laptop that I'm typing this on. While the iPad will inevitably be slimmer and lighter, they're starting to move into established business teritories and competing against laptops with useful features such as external video output (without paying a small fortune for an apple adaptor), wired network connectors, optical drives, USB ports etc.

I wonder how many business users will use a huge iPad as a revolutionary tool, compared to how many have on as a status symbol?

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Re: Apple's cunning plan

" Apple will sell at least as many iPad Pros to business as MS sell Surface Pro. "

That I doubt. To consumers maybe, but most businesses won't fall for the Apple façade of enterprise readiness.

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Re: Apple's cunning plan

The same enterprise readiness that sells other Apple devices by the crapton, yes. You clearly haven't done your research here, Apple have all sorts of enterprise features, and even as a Microsoft gold partner we have loads of customers who are entirely Mac based on the desktop. Media companies still love them and will love the iPad Pro. Just because you're not aware of it doesn't mean there isn't a market!

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Stylus is a bit understated

Apparently it has the ability to sense force, tilt, etc. to offer different effects for drawing. Also interesting that in a very un-Apple manner they didn't give a convenient or obvious way to transport it with the iPad - it is a physically separate item (doesn't slide in for storage). That being said, the trade-off is that it's a full-thickness device similar to a normal pen or pencil which may be better for control. Even with that flaw (maybe), it seems like it will be quite the Exec-u-toy ("I can draw on my minions' office documents without having to learn anything about Office? Buy me ten!").

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

Adobe have already tested these waters for Apple, by releasing pen and ruler for iPod. Obviously Adobe also released iOS software to take advantage of them, too.

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

I've wanted a proper stylus on my iPad for years. And have been holding out on the next upgrade, wondering if I should go for a Samsung Note of some description, stick with the current iPad 3 for a few more years, or just say sod-it and go for a cheapy 'Droid. The 3 is significantly heavier than the newer stuff, and I use it for long periods of time. Microsoft's Surface is starting to look tempting here too, but doesn't have the apps - and I've got a PC for doing serious stuff.

But they've apparently released a tablet with sylus that doesn't do palm rejection? Seriously? How the hell are you supposed to use it? Wacom have been doing this for 15 years now! Surely Apple can afford a license?

I don't want to draw, well I do, but have all the artistic talent of a cluster of colourblind hedgehogs, in a bag. But it might be fun to give a drawing tool to the kids. I want to write text. For which a stylus is perfect on a tablet form factor, and at least twice as fast as onscreen keyboard input. It was on my old HP Touchsmart 10 years ago, should be even faster now. That had palm rejection and ran Vista tolerably fast, and only cost £600. Back when a useable laptop started at £450. I don't think I'm asking for the moon on a stick here.

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

If the other comments here are right, the iPad Pro doesn't have a digitiser layer, so you can't touch the screen at the same time as using the Pencil.

Making it totally useless (IMO) for all the things they were showing off yesterday. You can't brace your hand whilst drawing, and you can't rest your hand on the screen when writing. I tried using a stylus to write on an iPad, and the notes were unreadable.

I can't believe they launched an $800 tablet that was designed to be used with a stylus and doesn't have a digitiser.

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

If you look at the demo there are plenty of places where the fingers are used simultaneously with the Pencil

BTW, the whole screen on any iPad or iPhone is a digitiser, so I'm not quite sure what you mean. I suppose you mean that the digitiser can distinguish between fingers and the Pencil? It seems it can. It would be probably the no 1. priority on the spec sheet for this feature.

Since the Pencil is active (powered) it, together with the digitiser, could do all sorts of clever stuff to make sure it's always identified properly.

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

It's common, when discussing the Wacom-style of stylus implementation as used e.g. on the Samsung devices, to refer to a digitiser layer seperate from the capacitive touch layer, as it's this seperate layer which the system uses to detect the stylus.

However, as Nvidia showed with the stylus implementation on their digitiser-less tablets, it is possible to provide palm/touch rejection without needing that seperate layer, so if the new iPad is similarly digitiser-less, it suggests they've also come up with a way to use the capacitive layer for both stylus and touch inputs.

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

If the other comments here are right, the iPad Pro doesn't have a digitiser layer, so you can't touch the screen at the same time as using the Pencil.

Watching the trailer for it, the guy specifically says it can be used at the same time as finger input (at ~1:24), and shows it happening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFKPz9WA5uY

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Re: Stylus is a bit understated

It's hard to say. Most of the drawing in that video is notable by the completely alien nature of the way they're doing it. Holding the wrist at an unatural angle in order to not touch the screen with any part of the hand, other than the sylus tip. Which may actually come naturally to designery and artistic types, but is bloody uncomfortable when writing. On the other hand, it was all about the art, and didn't mention handwriting recognition.

The bit where they showed simultaneous input was done with the other hand.

There was one guy drawing at the end, who had his hand at what I felt was a natural angle, with fist rested on the screen. But I couldn't tell if he was hovering it above the screen or actually touching. So it's hard to say.

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Meh

Screw you, dead Steve Jobs

A bit harsh...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Screw you, dead Steve Jobs

Also kinda difficult without a risk of splinters where you'd really, really not want them..

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Bah!

Well, you can get excellent third party styluses and keyboards for the iPad at less than half those process quoted.

Apple missed a trick here by not copyrighting "iPad Legal" and "iPad Foolscap" as possible names for the beast. "iPod Pro" is so 2005.

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Re: Bah!

A9, the name of the new processor, is also a paper size - a business card. Coincidence? I don't think so.

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