iOS Needs to Go Pro

Apple did it! They launched another amazing, category defining product! Of course, I am referring to the iPad Pro. Coder Radio listeners will know that I have a fabulous gold model that I’m enthralled with. I truly believe that the Pro has the potential to become the primary computing device for the vast majority of business and home users. There’s just one tiny little problem with the device and my vision of iPad world domination: Apple.

Despite its name, the iPad Pro is more Pro and less iPad. Given the complexity of apps that need to be written to take full advantage of the Pro, the lumping it in with regular iPads puts an undue burden of backward compatibility on developers. In all likeliness Pro users are not going to be primarily the same types of users or at least using the device in the same way that regular iPad users user their tablets — the idea here is production on consumption. Apple should consider allowing developers to submit and publish iPad Pro specific apps that are not required to be backward compatibile to regular iPads.

Advanced productivity functionality is great but it would be even better if iOS didn’t limit what developers could do. Though iOS 9 has made some strides in terms of inter-app communications, there is still plenty of work to be done. I won’t go into a laundry list right now of API additions and changes, I’d like to see for the Pro but to start it involves greater inter-app communications and greater filesystem access.

iPad Pro apps are going to be expensive and time-consuming to develop. That means that developers are going to be under even more pressure to monetize their apps. Up to this point, the story of App Store pricing has been depressing to say the least. Apple’s been unwilling to work with developers on things that are very common in productivity oriented software such as upgrade pricing and trials. The reality is that many developers will not be able to afford to take full advantage of the Pro unless they can find an effective and predictible way to gain repeated revenue from their customers.

All in all, the iPad Pro is the best device so far to finally achieve the goal of widespread tablet computing in the productivity market, but there are some policy and API limitations that Apple will need to consider in order for the device to reach its full potential. Let me know what you think on Twitter.