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Apple pushes iPad Pro as 'computer' in latest ad

Apple wants you to accept the new iPad Pro as a computer.

In the latest commercial for its more powerful 9.7-inch tablet, Apple positions the iPad Pro, with its optional Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, as a do-it-all productivity device, challenging the notion that it's just a tablet.

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The 30-second spot, entitled "What’s a Computer?," skillfully illustrates how the trio of devices work together and some of the things you can do with them besides consuming content and playing games. “Just when you think you know what a computer is,” says the announcer, “you see a keyboard that can just get out of the way and a screen you can touch and even write on.”

The ad, which Apple posted Monday on YouTube, comes just days after Apple announced somewhat disappointing Q3 earnings with one interesting bright spot. Apple iPad revenue, which has been flat-to-declining for months, took a slight uptick, despite unit sales dropping a bit quarter-over-quarter.

There’s only one way to interpret that: Apple is selling more of the pricier iPad Pro versions, which can work with the stylus and keyboard, as opposed to the cheaper iPad Air 2. When I reviewed the iPad Pro 9.7 in March, I said it was the best iPad flagship you could buy. The device features a more powerful CPU, the best iSight camera Apple makes and the ability to work with the Apple Pencil and Keyboard.

No room for the big guy

With this commercial’s focus on productivity and the iPad Pro as a computer replacement, you might expect a little screen-time for the larger iPad Pro 12.9 inch, but it’s nowhere to be seen. However, if this commercial is part of a trend, we could see a more enterprise or business-focused spot featuring the larger tablet sometime in the future.

As the commercial zips through a variety of iPad Pro skills including word processing on Microsoft Word, drawing with the Pencil in Procreate, split-screen multitasking between PowerPoint and iMessage, and watching a picture-in-picture video on the Netflix App, the announcer adds, “When you see a computer that can do all that, it might just make you wonder, ‘Hey, what else can it do?’”

From what I’ve seen, quite a bit. Is that enough to replace your traditional computer? Possibly. Tablets like Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 (which also has a detachable keyboard and dedicated Bluetooth pen) have already proven that point (at least for Windows PCs). The better question might be, "Can an iPad Pro replace a comparably-sized MacBook? Pretty, pretty possibly.

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