iPad Pro’s Identity May Take Time to Find

The iPad Pro has been on sale for one week. If there is one word to sum up the reviews, it would be “undecided.” Many reviews agree it is the best iPad yet, but no one can seem to lock down if the device is more business or consumer oriented. With this in mind, we decided to look at how the iPad Pro is performing in the market and how long it will take time for buyers to adjust to the differences between the iPad Pro and previous iPad models.


iPad Pro Not Shaking Up the Market Yet

One week into its release, the iPad Pro has captured 0.3% of the iPad market. The earlier versions of the device do not seem to be suffering with the release of the new model, and both the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 have each seen their market share increase by 2% since our pre-release iPad Pro post. This isn’t a huge surprise. When a new device is released, the price of older devices tends to drop, making older models like the Air and Air 2 more attractive to buyers.




This small shift in the market will probably not worry Apple. CEO Tim Cook has positioned the iPad Pro as a replacement for PCs, so the competition is not actually with other iPads but more so with laptops and desktops.  The idea of an iPad taking the place of a laptop may take some convincing due to the fact the iPad Pro runs on iOS as opposed to the traditional laptop system OS X. While iOS offers many great features, it does not have the access to full-featured applications that OS X does, which will call for adjustments on the user’s side. Apple’s best chance to bridge this gap is to leverage the App Store and highlight apps focused on productivity and improving the workplace experience, as we’ll see next.


App Development Key for iPad Pro Success

Interestingly, our data shows that apps on the new iPad Pro have the longest average session length, at almost 5 minutes, as compared to other iPads in their first week in the market. This can be attributed to two factors. First, the iPad Pro has a larger screen than the older models, making content viewing a better experience. Second, the iPad Pro has specific features that other models do not, such as Picture in Picture and Split View, that allow for easier maneuvering.




Apple has done its part to ensure that apps look great and are easy to use on the iPad. The next step will be to focus on filling out the App Store to satisfy business and enterprise customers. This will give Apple the best opportunity to convince users it is a device they should have at work, as well as position the iPad Pro to better compete with Microsoft’s Surface models which are already well-established in the workplace. 

It is important to note that a majority of apps have not been upgraded to fit the larger screen. Therefore, as app developers continue to update their apps, the average session length per app is likely to rise. The next few weeks represent a vital promotional opportunity for developers, as Apple is currently highlighting iPad Pro-acceptable apps in the App Store, particularly if the app is in the productivity space.


iPad Pro Sees Slower Adoption Than Previous Models

We know that early adoption is not typical for iPads, and the iPad Pro seemed to have enough differentiation from previous models to help it make an early splash on but that has not turned out to be the case yet. Only 0.3% of active iPads are the Pro model, making it the slowest adopted model yet. The Air and Air 2, in their first week of sales, were adopted at rates of 2% and 1% respectively.



As it turns out, the differentiation in the iPad Pro (larger screen, potential to be a productivity device, detachable accessories, etc.) may have simply confused buyers enough for them to not be able to justify the higher price tag of the new model. With previous models, buyers knew what they were getting -- a device great for consuming content -- which may be why the ‘Air’ models had slightly better adoption rates in each of their first weeks. Now reviewers aren’t sure if the iPad Pro can replace a laptop, if it can serve a wide audience or if it really is that different from other iPads. Without being able to clearly identify what the device is for, people seem reluctant to spend so much money early in its lifecycle. 

In a nutshell, it may just be too soon to tell. Shifting the perception of Apple faithful from consumer-centric devices to a more hybrid device they can also use for work is not an easy thing to do and will take time. With the holiday season fast approaching, it will be interesting to see how the iPad Pro measures up against an unorthodox competitor, desktops.



Localytics is the leading lifecycle engagement platform across more than 2.7 billion devices and 37,000 mobile and web apps. Localytics processes 120 billion data points monthly. For this study, we examined over 50 million iPad devices. For the iPad market share data, Localytics examined the relative percentage of iPads one week after the release of the iPad Pro. For the session length analysis, Localytics examined the average session length of apps on each device in their respective first week after their release. For the adoption data, Localytics measured the relative adoption of recent iPad models, in the first week of each device’s release.


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