While I'm sure many of you Apple fans are reveling in this week's Apple event and their announcements of smaller versions of both the iPhone and iPad Pro. Most of the tech world took a collective yawn! The truth of the matter is most tech pundits have historically shunned companies for creating the sort of fragmentation Apple just did. So it shouldn't be a shock that most of us aren't all that excited.
Whether you agree or disagree with Apple's latest approach of releasing their devices in multiple configurations, there is one rather minor benefit, at least in the case of the 9.7" iPad Pro, and that is that when buying the new smaller device users won't have to pay for a Microsoft Office 365 subscription to use Microsoft’s iOS Office apps! This isn't the case for 'power users' that are looking at the larger iPad Pro. The reason, a simple one, Microsoft's licensing terms and the differentiation of how they view mobile devices.
Let me explain: Last year Microsoft attempted to distinguish what the company thought defined a mobile vs professional experience, and which devices would typically be used by the consumer on the go. The idea, according to Microsoft, was that the company wanted to offer customers the basic feature set while they are using their mobile device and charge the regular Office 365 licensing fees for those users who were using Office at a desk,in front of a larger 'PC'. Microsoft views mobile apps as more appropriate for light editing, rather than document creation.
“Currently, we are also using screen size to delineate between professional and personal use,” Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office 365 Client Apps and Services team wrote. “Based on our research, we are classifying anything with a screen size of 10.1 inches or less as a true mobile device: You’re probably using it on the go, when it’s not practical to use a larger computing device such as a PC or a Mac. You probably aren’t using a mouse or a keyboard, instead navigating via touch interface. It’s probably not a “pro” category tablet that is used for design or presentations.”
Of course this may only be a minor benefit to most users, it is still a nice perk. Of course you still don't get all the benefits of a full blown Office 365 subscription or the full set of features. But for users that need to edit and view an Office document created elsewhere, it comes in handy.