The new iPad Pro will ship in November, starting at $799 for a 32GB device. The tablet is a big departure from previous iPad models. It features a larger 12.9-inch screen and an A9 processor that will double its memory bandwidth, making it faster than 80% of portable PCs shipped in the last 12 months, according to Apple. The iPad Pro also features a physical keyboard that attaches as a cover, and a touch-sensitive stylus, dubbed the "Apple Pencil," as accessories.
Apple CEO Tim Cook worked hard to emphasize the newness of his company's latest tablet. But the iPad Pro seems more like it's playing catch-up to competitors than leading the way in terms of innovation. The device matches many of the features on Microsoft's Surface tablet, including specs users have come to expect in a 2-in-1 tablet — a PC-level processor, stylus, and detachable physical keyboard.
Although not exactly "new," the iPad Pro does present a considerable challenge to Apple's competitors in the enterprise market, a segment Apple has been targeting of late through high-profile partnerships with companies such as IBM. Apple's share of enterprise tablet activations has slipped in recent quarters, dropping 21 percentage points between Q4 2014 and Q2 2015. Positioning the iPad Pro as an attractive alternative to Google's Chromebook and Microsoft's Surface, especially for those in creative fields who have historically preferred Apple devices, could help reverse this trend.
Globally, the tablet market has declined fairly consistently over the past year, according to data from IDC:
In Q2 2015 the global tablet market saw a 7% year-over-year (YoY) decline from the same period in 2014. Similarly, there was a 3.9% decline sequentially from Q1 2015 to Q2 2015 in global shipments of tablets.
Apple and Samsung, the two leading vendors in the global tablet industry, lost four percentage points in global tablet market share. Between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015 their combined industry share dropped from 45% to 41%, globally.
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Apple’s latest iPad may be an attempt to help speed up the tablet upgrade cycle. Part of the tablet market’s problem revolves around the amount of time consumers take before upgrading to new devices. Tablets typically sit between PCs, which have a longer refresh cycle, and smartphones, which consumers upgrade on average about every 24 months.
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