I’ve listened to an awful lot of Apple commentators recently getting themselves into a right two and eight over Apple’s use of the ‘Pro’ moniker for its products.
There’s the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and, if you believe the rumours, a forthcoming iPhone Pro. This gets lots of people rather hot under the collar. Which features promote a device to ‘Pro’, they ask. Is it additional ports? Larger screen sizes? More powerful processors?
And what about lines like the iPad Air? What will happen to the once king of the iPad jungle when the next iPad Pro is launched? Will it be consigned to the history books alongside the MacBook with whom’s ‘Air’ designation it shares?
I think the answer to this lies in the way Apple pitched the new iPad Pro (you know, the small one – the 9.7″ variant, not the big one). It was suggested that this new tablet could be the perfect PC or laptop replacement for many given its size, colossal selection of apps and the ability for it to be paired with a zero-faff keyboard-come-cover combo.
That makes utter sense, and I can imagine the small iPad Pro will, for many, be an absolutely perfect primary computer. Why, then, is it still called a ‘Pro’ machine? The people Apple is referring to will be using it to browse the web, write the odd email, play games and devour social media – they are the absolute antithesis of the pro user. And Apple knows that, yet they still call it a ‘Pro’ machine.
The Mac Pro, by comparison, is strikingly different. It supposedly carries the Pro moniker because it is aimed squarely at the pro market – the video editors, music producers and industry professionals who rely on raw computing power to complete complex, and usually creative tasks. But that particular machine hasn’t been updated since it was originally launched way back in 2013.
Spot a link here? A whiff that Apple is, without a doubt, far less concerned about the pro market than it once was? The Mac Pro was, with hindsight, simply a case of Apple proving to its doubters that it could still innovate and create machines that were spectacularly well-designed yet not at all built for the consumer market. It should have been clear at the time that, with a complete lack of any manual upgrade options, that machine wasn’t quite what its billing suggested. The arrival of a far more powerful and feature-packed iMac a short while later confirmed that the Mac Pro was purely a demonstration of technical prowess, superb design and, let’s be honest, a shit load of money available to conduct such extra curricular projects.
And that’s what the pro market is to Apple now – an extra curricular activity that is fast becoming a distraction due to the volume of dissenters in the tech press desperate for Apple to better serve it.
They won’t. That’s your lot, pro people, I’m afraid. And that ‘Pro’ moniker? It is now nothing more than a giant red herring and has been itself downgraded to denote a relatively high end, semi-luxury consumer device. That’s exactly what the iPad Pro is.
Need further convincing? If the iPhone Pro turns out to be real, what type of professional would that device be aimed at? Pro telephone operatives?