The iPad Pro is here and it's called New MacBook

Some of my comments regarding the rumored iPad Pro earlier this year: seems plausible that Apple would try to reinvigorate the iPad lineup with a larger model targeted at professionals and creatives with new features such as split screen multitasking and new input methods. Smartphones are getting bigger, why not tablets too? Just a year or two ago a 12-13″ iPad would have been too heavy and bulky to hold for extended use, but after seeing the Air and Air 2 a larger model seems possible.

Now a few months later Apple unveiled a device featuring a 12" Retina Display, single port, 9 hours of battery life, and three color options. A new keyboard contributes to it being a tapered 0.14-0.52 inches thin. Although its display is 2" larger, it weighs just 0.25 lbs more than an iPad Air 2 with keyboard case. It is thinner and lighter than the 11.6" MacBook Air and has the bonus of a Retina Display. I'm referring to the New MacBook of course, not a bigger iPad.

In many ways the New MacBook seems designed to be used the way an iPad is: unplugged and on the go. It just happens to run OS X and be in the form of a laptop. iPads with keyboard cases have become common sights in coffee shops and airports. If those users are attracted to the iPad primarily for its portability, the New MacBook may be a more capable portable device. It won't be cheaper, though. The New MacBook starts at $1,300 while an iPad with keyboard case tops out at about $930. An iPad Pro would likely cost at least $100 more.

To be clear, I expect an iPad Pro is still on the way. People want it, and it would give Apple an excuse to introduce a higher priced tablet. Whether or not the Pro comes to market, it will be interesting to see what those coffee shop writers and frequent travelers are using next year. Will they prefer OS X or iOS, touchscreen or keyboard and trackpad, how important is price? Or is the iPad Pro for an entirely different market?