Apple needs to go pro for the iPad Pro

Unleash the budget, realize the opportunity

Apple, iOS, macOS, iPad, iPad Pro, Pro, Xcode, Final Cut X, iBooks Author
Credit: Apple

Apple seems to be backtracking a little on the iPad will replace the PC thing, but that doesn’t mean iPad Pros don’t need to become more pro – and the company is missing some low hanging fruit that will definitely make those Apple tablets taste better.

The ‘Pro’ apps

Look at what you can do with Logic Pro X on an iPad (or iPhone) for a sense of what is possible when apps go iPad Pro.

If you use that app on your Mac you can remotely add new tracks to a Logic sessions from your iPhone or iPad, even when your Mac isn’t with you. You can use iCloud to upload GarageBand-compatible versions of Logic projects from your Mac, which you can open and work on using GarageBand on your iPad device,

Now, that’s not complete feature parity – you’ll still want to use your Mac for intense editing tasks, but this mutually complementary offering provides music makers with a great deal of autonomy, mobility, and choice. You can make music – to professional standard – from wherever you happen to be with these tools.

But, why only music?

What about other pro tools? Where are iPad versions of:

  • Final Cut (we have iMovie, but…)
  • Xcode – why are developers still unable to write code on an iPad? (There is this workaround).
  • Why can’t we author an iBook on an iPad Pro? Why can’t we access Safari Developer Tools? (That last one should be simple, right?).
  • AppBot founder, Stuart Hall has written an excellent develop on an iPad wishlist making other pro user requests you can read here.

Seize the day

Apple must realize that making pro apps available to pro users on the iPad pro will be a popular choice.

Pixel Film Studios introduced the ProCutX app that lets you control Final Cut X remotely ages ago.

Swift Playgrounds (which was only introduced last year) lets developers work on at least some code.

I can see that making iPad versions of some features inside Apple’s professional apps might be challenging (or even impossible). Despite which the useful iPad support now available with Logic gives me hope Apple may enhance how iPads and Final Cut work together.

These things take time, and Apple had an HQ to build and services to extend.

I really don’t understand why it’s not possible to run iBooks Author on an iPad. I just don’t think that application is anything like as demanding as other pro apps. 

We can change tomorrow

History doesn’t change. For better, for worse, we must live with it. The only perspective in which we can transform events is in our future. The present already happened.

That’s why it doesn’t matter too much what Apple has or hasn’t done, it just matters what it plans to do. I see a big opportunity combined with historical inevitability.

We may not have these pro apps on iPads yet, but it is going to happen.

We know the iPad Pro is going to become increasingly powerful as Apple introduces new and faster processors. We know iOS will continue to be enhanced.

We’ve all heard enough “Mac on ARM chip” speculation to feel reasonably confident Apple very likely already has Macs running on ARM processors in its labs. (It had Macs running on Intel processors inside its labs for years before the great Intel switch.)

Cannibalization

I don’t believe Apple is reticent to introduce iOS/iPad versions of its pro apps because it wants to avoid cannibalizing of Mac sales. History shows Apple is perfectly happy to cannibalize products when the time is right.

We may still need ‘PCs as trucks’, but we know the nature of computing is changing and that computing experiences are now mobile for most people alive on the Earth today, and Apple saw mobile coming.

That means that what is most likely to be in the way of bringing pro apps to Apple’s Pro iPad is probably nothing other than:

Time and money

My advice? Apple management should release the budget it takes to bring as many pro app features as technically possible to its iPads. Its partners are already doing this, think Microsoft Office; Adobe Photoshop and many more.

It’s time to think about Final Cut iOS X for the iPad Pro. It’s time for Xcode to go mobile. Release the budget. Realize the opportunity. Make the iPad Pro, pro.

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