The reviews are in. Apple’s new iPad Pro, the gargantuan new iPad that’s as fast as a Mac and most PC notebooks, is a big hit. At least, it’s a hit with the chosen few who received a test unit from Apple, complete with Smart Keyboard, and the incredible new Pencil.
Every reviewer to date loves the iPad Pro’s speed, the sound, the screen, the size, and especially the Pencil, Apple’s digital answer to the colored pencils so loved by graphic designers. The Smart Keyboard elicits a ‘meh’ as if it was an afterthought, but how it connects and does not require a battery or Bluetooth and still acts as a cover is sufficiently worthy for many Mac and PC users to think about ditching the past and embracing the future.
That future comes with a price tag, though, because iPad Pro is priced more like a MacBook, and even Microsoft, which has been forced to give away Office and apps for iOS device users, now has an extra cost for Office on iPad Pro. See? Pro means you have money to burn.
What you may not have is an opportunity to see an iPad Pro in action– real action– for awhile. I strolled into one of the three Apple Stores which are within a couple of miles of my residence only to be told they have a few to sell, but not a single iPad Pro to show. Apparently, the device is in short supply, but the Apple Store associate assured me I could order one from the online Apple Store and it would arrive in a week or so.
So, here’s the story. You can order an iPad Pro. You can order a Pencil. You can even order a Smart Keyboard. But you can’t see what the device looks like or feels like just yet. Why not?
Apparently the Pencil and Smart Keyboard are on backorder with availability just before Christmas. 2015.
Apple has just launched a new product which gets rave reviews from the privileged few who were chosen to receive test units (one of the benefits of being an uber fanboy) but you cannot yet see, touch, feel, use, or even buy it.
Apple had a similar issue with the Watch. It was announced, then six months later it showed up and was available for order, then you could see, touch, feel, and use Watch– with an appointment (that didn’t last long). A 1.0 version of operating system software is the new beta and it was about six months before watchOS 2.0 hit the streets, which really was more of a 1.0 version and even that version needed a quick update to get a handle on deal-breaker bugs.
Apple product rollouts seem to have been emanating from the Twilight Zone in recent years. Remember the new iMacs that were introduced in the fall, but didn’t show up in stores and available to buy until the following year?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the issues associated with complicated and complex technology, supply chain issues, and since everything these days is digital and depends upon a user interface, bugs. But Watch wasn’t close to being ready, so the actual product rollout came in stages about a year in length.
Obviously, it’s not available in large numbers to satisfy demand during the all important holiday shopping season, but the iPad add-on device many users truly, madly, deeply want is the Pencil and it’s a no show unless Santa has some extra room on his sleigh.
In real estate, it’s location, location, location. For Apple’s new product launches, the mantra is more like rollout, rollout, rollout, and nobody is better than an extended rollout these days than the iPhone maker which overlaps features and functions like clockwork; very slow, deliberate clockwork.
Apple peels the rollout onion better than most technology companies because it can get away with it. Customers are patient and willing to wait many weeks or even months to get the Mac maker’s latest and greatest, so the rollout can be extended into the future with a few teasing stages along the way.
Announcement, hype, introduction, more hype, launch, follow on hype, OS update a few months later, or add on accessories shipped weeks later but available for order. That’s becoming the norm more than the exception at Apple 2015.
There is little doubt in my mind that Apple will have the iPad Pro in Apple Stores soon, along with Smart Keyboard and Pencil. This is the season to sell, and few are better at it than Apple.
Note that the iPad mini was upgraded to version 4 with Touch ID and a faster CPU, but the iPad Air 2 was not upgraded to anything. That tells me that Apple has plans for iPad Air 3, and it’s likely to include the same type of display in iPad Pro, and a faster CPU. The only question is, ‘When?’
iPad sales have dropped for the past few years and 2015 isn’t looking so good, either. Well, there’s always next year (so said the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals; again).