The iPad Pro and Apple's walled garden

2015-09-26 2 min read

    Supposedly the performance of the recently announced iPad Pro will rival that of the Macbook and encourage tons of people to buy it with productivity in mind rather than just consumption. And at a starting price of $799 it’s significantly cheaper than the Apple laptop options. Apple is known for achieving large product margins but I wonder if the iPad Pro is sold at a lower margin to get people to switch to iOS and get even more tied to Apple’s ecosystem. I currently use a Macbook Pro for my work but can switch to any Unix based environment without any hit to my productivity. I’m not sure if this is me being too cynical but I can definitely see Apple taking a long term view here and taking a much lower profit margin on the iPad Pro in order to get people to actually make the switch to the walled garden of iOS. Among the developer community Safari is already seen as the reincarnation of IE given Apple’s lackluster support. These may just be coincidences but for a company as detail oriented as Apple this feels like a strategic decision to shift away from the open web and into the walled app garden.

    During the 90s Apple nearly failed due to the dominant Windows ecosystem and Windows’ ability to run on commodity hardware. At least for now, mobile isn’t at the commodity hardware stage and Apple has taken the lead in smartphone hardware. This position allows Apple to impose its ecosystem and software but I wonder what happens if smartphone hardware get commoditized - similar to what happened to PCs in the 80s and 90s.