During yesterday’s Apple keynote, one announcement stuck out to me more than any: The iPad Air. Not so much the device itself, though it is an amazing product, but the name. Apple purposely changing the name from iPad to iPad Air is likely suggestive of where the iPad line is headed. Right now we have two categories of iPad:
- iPad mini – The iPad that’s geared more towards consumption
- iPad Air – The iPad that gives you everything the mini does, but also allows you to do some productivity
When I say the iPad Air lets you do productivity, I don’t mean that the Mini is incapable of being a productive machine. Rather, that the screen size on the Air allows for a much better experience. We all know that the new Retina iPad mini quite literally has the same specs as the iPad Air. Both have Apple’s custom A7 chip. Both have 2048-by-1536 resolution displays. But with the Air, you’re getting a 9.7-inch display compared to the Mini’s 7.9-inch display. This makes for a totallydifferent experience.
But why would Apple purposely name the larger iPad the iPad Air? The only reason I can think of is because they’ve got something else coming in the future: The iPad Pro.
To be clear, I have no idea whether this is really happening, but it only makes sense to me. If the iPad mini is mostly a consumption device, and the iPad Air offers some productivity in addition to consumption, it makes sense that a third iPad would offer what both the Mini and the Air do, but also provide a pro experience. What do I mean by “pro experience”? Here are a few things:
- A Larger, higher resolution display. Like, say, 12-inches as we’ve heard about
- A Surface-like keyboard attachment (not sure about this anymore)
- A Wacom-like screen digitizer (also found in the Surface Pro)
- Pro apps lik Final Cut, Aperture, etc
- SD Card slot
If Apple were to make an iPad Pro, these are the types of things I’d expect it to have. After all, it would be geared towards pros. Real pros. Like soon-to-be Mac Pro buyers. I don’t think it would be cheap either. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if it started at around $899.
Of course, this is all speculation and only time will tell if this becomes a reality. But make no mistake, Apple didn’t call the larger iPad the iPad Air for no reason.