Two month after debuting the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple announced today that the giant tablet will hit store shelves this week, along with accessories like a battery-free keyboard and Apple’s first stylus, the Apple Pencil. All items will be available to order online on Wednesday as well.
The iPad Pro is Apple’s most overt move yet to make the iPad a true work machine, competing almost directly with Microsoft’s Surface Pro line. However, Apple is targeting creative professionals like designers and editors, heavily pushing the Pencil as a companion device and shipping the iPad Pro with the mobile-focused iOS operating system.
While many people set their alarms and wake up at the stroke of midnight to order new iPhones, this iPad launch is likely to see less enthusiasm. First, tablet sales have been stagnating in recent quarters, with people upgrading less or avoiding tablets for all-in-one devices or more powerful laptops, along with larger-screen phones.
Also, the price point of the iPad Pro isn’t likely to tempt many users. The device starts at $799 for a 32GB, WiFi-only model. The 128GB model is $949 for WiFi-only, or $1079 for WiFi and cellular. The Apple Pencil is another $99 and the Apple Smart Keyboard is $169.
However, creative-focused companies may be buying them for their teams. Below is a tweet from Michael B. Johnson, who’s responsible for custom technology used to create Pixar movies:
Lovely of our friends from Apple to stop by to let us take iPad Pro & Pencil for a test drive: pic.twitter.com/t3LGw7xcMD
— Michael B. Johnson (@drwave) September 28, 2015
Of course, Apple and Pixar have a common heritage through the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. But Apple’s overall appeal to creative teams could help to set this device apart. Apple’s software partners on the device include Adobe and Microsoft, makers of key apps used by many creative pros and business users.
The iPad Pro will be available for purchase in more than 40 countries including the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Japan starting Wednesday.