Reaction to iPad Event: Not Such a Pro after All

I posted this article on my blog today and thought I would share with this group. I would be very interested your thoughts and comments.

Not Such a Pro after All

Apple has taught me that I may not be the professional level technology user that I thought I was.

I’ve been working with computers since the Intel x286 processor. I’ve been a Mac user since the Intel-based MacBook was introduced. I’ve carried an iPhone since the 3GS. I do not want to add up all of the iMacs and iPads I’ve bought for myself and my family over the years. I don’t say this as some sort of nerd flex, just trying to establish my bona fides as an “Apple guy”.

For better or worse, I am very invested in the Apple ecosystem. But lately I’ve been wondering whether there is still a place for me in the Apple “walled garden”.

My M1 MacBook Air still meets and exceeds my expectations for a general purpose computer. My 11” M1 iPad Pro continues to surprise and delight whenever I pick it up. I just don’t need to replace these devices when they continue to perform so well.

Most recently, my wife and I invested in new iPhone 15s and never seriously considered the iPhone Pro models due to price. There is no doubt that the cameras on the Pro phones are better. But when you are upgrading from a 5 year old iPhone X like she was, even the current base level iPhone proves to be more than capable.

I can remember the days when Apple computers were mostly only used by specialists in fields like design and publishing. I’m concerned that Apple may be returning to those days by segmenting their market to focus only on people with high performance needs like video and music production. I don’t see why a normal user would need or even want a “pro” level device from Apple when the cost is so prohibitive.

During today’s iPad Pro event, I heard the presenters refer to “consumers” and “users”. Those terms clanged a bit for me. When I think of Apple, I think of a company that creates products for people, not “users” and “consumers” and “pros”.

Apple used to profess to be at the intersection of technology and the humanities. Lately I wonder whether Apple may have moved on from that intersection, leaving me and possibly many more people behind.


We already have a thread here:

Another for buyers:


The iPhone 15 Pro Max was worth it to me, partly because I’m not really a tablet person, and I end up using my phone to do things other people would grab their iPads for. It’s also great having a superior camera with me all the time, ready for any interesting shot that comes along. My last phone was a XS Max, so I’ll probably keep it a long time and get my money’s worth out of this one, too.

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Apple continues to push performance in great part, IMO, to encourage upgrades. Back in the 90’s I had executives who had to have the newest laptop available when all they were used for was email and viewing spreadsheets. Some people just have to have the fastest shiny tech possible. Like “privacy” and “security” performance is essential for marketing.

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You forgot thin, light, and pretty. :slightly_smiling_face:

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My apologies Mr. Ives.

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Apple’s computers, especially pre intel have always been expensive, even at a time when they were technically no better than their comparable PC counterparts, it was just cheaper to get into a basic PC/laptop with Windows.

Then Intel came and the lower end of Macs came much closer to PCs, you could still get a cheaper PC, but the gap reduced.

Apple has gradually been pushing its prices on “pro” models up over the last 5 or 6 years. It’s been a concerted effort to increase the average amount they get for each iPhone/ipad/mac sold.

The non pro models are VERY good devices for your “standard” users and with the Apple Silicon chips, and the advances in cameras even for some of those who 10 years ago might have been called prosumer. Hell, even 1 or 2 year old designs (sold as brand new) are good for the majority.

But if you want the best Camera, or the most storage, or the best screens (insert your own thing here) you have to jump the gap to the Pro and that’s where Apple wants you, because you spend more on your device.

So you either buy Pro, if you want the best, or if you need the best. But for the vast majority the standard devices will be better than fine.

Steve Jobs’ Apple was at the intersection of Art and Technologies.Tim Cook’s Apple is always at the intersection between increasing revenue and improving profit margins.


That’s because as CEO, Tim Cook is legally obligated to his shareholders first and foremost to optimize for profits and shareholder returns. Still, I think he has done a great job of balancing Apple’s humanities + tech intersection, while also turning Apple into a financial juggernaut.

So was Jobs, he just cared a lot less about that.

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As was posted somewhere else on this very site, that urban legend is not entirely true.

Alas, I’m too busy (where busy = lazy) right now to look it up.


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I am perfectly happy that after years of buying iPad Pros, I can now get my preferred 13” size in an iPad Air. Yay! But I won’t buy this one because the 2024 iPad Air sounds exactly like my current M2 iPad Pro.

I do want a new Mini, though. Wish there was one, might have to stop waiting.

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As far as the iPad Pro models go they seem to get much longer software support from Apple than the non-pro models. A nearly 7 year old 2017 iPad Pro runs iPadOS 17, whereas the non-pro iPad from 2017 does not.

For a normal user concerned about e-waste and attempting to get the maximum useable life from their hardware, at least as far as current OS support, the Pro models may end up being less expensive due to fewer hardware upgrades.

“Pro” is just a marketing term. Non-Pro devices can be perfectly suitable for pros and non-pros might need features offered by Pro devices. Buy what you need or want and ignore the “Pro”.



I was an I.T. “pro” and normally used entry level Macs with the same performance as the majority of our employees. It was, IMO, the best way to evaluate the needs of our users.


100%. That’s true of iPhones and MacBooks, too.


I believe that’s driven by the processors they put in them. The non-pro models tend to use older processors than the Pro ones. That’s one of the reasons I think the base iPad is a relatively poor value per dollar, despite the low price.

Apple has even started putting older processors in the non-pro iPhones, which is worth considering for those who keep their phones a long time.


How can you have been an Apple fan and in the technology business as long as you say, and never come to grips with terms like users, consumers, and pros?

Since Apple Silicon made its way into Macs and other Apple devices, it is a fact that “normal” users no longer need to buy “pro” devices from Apple.

They do not need pro devices but they may want them. And if they do, Apple will be happy to sell to them at a markup that reflects the so-called pro capabilities.

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I really appreciate all of the insightful comments you have provided. In case you are inetested, I thought this article posted on Macrumors today was really helpful in laying out the differences between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. I need to embrace and appreciate the fact that Apple products are so good these days that I don’t need to fixate on “pro” level models and should just enjoy the value for money that “non-pro” models brings.

iPad Air vs. iPad Pro Buyer’s Guide: 30+ Differences Compared - MacRumors


Looking at that list, I wonder how many iPad owners regularly use the camera to take photos and videos, much less take advantage of all those extra camera features on the Pro.

I’m sure there must be some specialized applications, but in general the form factor of an iPad seems to make it a pretty clunky camera to carry around and hold up compared to an iPhone or dedicated camera, unless you’re doing something that makes a gigantic viewfinder unusually helpful.

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I have only two use cases for the camera on the iPad: scanning documents and FaceTime or zoom calls. Regarding the latter, I don’t do that much on the current iPad, but certainly would now that the camera has been moved for landscape mode.