iPad Pro’s improved features are a positive move, and China is vital to Apple’s growth strategy says Analysys Mason

The iPad Pro, launched 11 November, is Apple’s largest mobile device to date (with a 12.9” screen) and has considerably improved specifications. According to Analysys Mason’s analyst team in Singapore, this is a critical development for the future success of Apple’s own line of tablets, and it will also improve the viability of the tablet category more generally, as sales within this market space have struggled because of the long lifespan of these devices, as well as an absence of innovation and a subsequent move towards commoditisation by the influx of many low-end options.

The iPad Pro takes its design cues from its flagship predecessor – the 9.7” iPad Air 2, but with considerably improved specifications.

Analysys Mason regards this as a positive move, both for Apple and, potentially, for the long-term survival of the product category.

In the last 2 years, most vendors, including Apple, have emphasised the advantages of their small-screen (7–8”) tablets in order to make them more accessible to the mass market, but more recently, consumers have shown a growing preference for smartphones with relatively large screen sizes (for example, phablets). This development affected tablet sales in 2014, which led to questions around the product category’s relevance and use cases.

“Apple’s decision to include China in the first-wave of the iPad Pro’s launch reaffirms the country’s importance to Apple’s go-to-market strategy, with China offering Apple much-needed volume and growth potential,” explains Sherrie Huang, Research Programme Head, Asia-Pacific.