Apple apparently had a pretty good quarter with the launch of the iPad Pro, IDC reports that the iPad Pro outsold the Surface tablet line in the most recent quarter. In the grand scheme of things, though, this “win” is largely irrelevant. I wrote about the impact of the iPad Pro on the PC market in this post:
According to data from IDC the Apple iPad Pro shipped more units in the most recent quarter than Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets. While that makes an interesting headline, it says more about the strength of Apple’s brand loyalty than it does about the long term prospects of the iPad Pro itself. The fact remains that the iPad Pro—or even iPad in general—is not an existential threat to the PC market.
First, let’s take a quick look at the numbers. IDC claims that Apple shipped about two million iPad Pros in the most recent quarter, compared to about 1.6 million Surface tablets. Personally, I have always taken exception to measuring success based on units shipped. A vendor can ship hundreds of thousands of units to sit in retailer warehouses. That doesn’t mean anybody is actually buying them. For historical reference, Google “HP TouchPad”.
Setting that semantic disagreement aside, let’s look at the IDC data at face value. Assuming Apple sold two million units to Microsoft’s 1.6 million, there are still two things right off the bat that stand out to me. First, I agree with my Forbes peer Brooke Crothers. He stated, “The iPad Pro is Apple’s newest iPad and was only released in November. It’s a big, brash rethink of the iPad. And, needless to say, the initial shipment numbers for an iOS device — even a pricey one — are typically pretty high.” Translation: Can Apple sustain that volume or is it just a reflection of the launch rush?
Second, the iPad Pro may outpace the Surface tablet line, but the Surface tablet line is a drop in the bucket of the PC market, or even the 2-in-1 hybrid market. It still makes for compelling, breathless headlines—everyone loves a good Apple vs. Microsoft battle. In the end, though, aside from the headlines Apple’s iPad Pro isn’t really putting a dent in anything.
In 2011 I did a month-long experiment to see if I could survive using just an iPad as a replacement for my PC. I was able to get stuff done, but ultimately came to this conclusion:
“There are a number of scenarios where an iPad simply won’t work as a PC replacement. If you are a developer–even a developer of apps for an iPad–you need a PC. If you are a professional photographer, or a graphic artist, you need a PC. If you are a hardcore gamer, you need a PC. I can keep adding to that list, but basically using an iPad as a PC replacement will not work for everyone.”
Read the full story on Forbes: Apple iPad Pro Wins The Microsoft Surface Battle, But Will Lose The PC War.