John Ternus and Greg Joswiak sat down with the Independent for an in-depth interview.

The two Apple executives spoke in the interview about Apple’s plans for the iPad and Mac, the new features of the 2021 iPad Pro, and more.

While many of the workflows are the same, it’s largely touch that continues to distinguish the two devices.

Also the Apple Pencil & the fact that the iPad includes augmented reality tools.

“There’s two conflicting stories people like to tell about the iPad and Mac,” says Joz, as he starts on a clarification that will lead him at one point to apologise for his passion. “On the one hand, people say that they are in conflict with each other. That somebody has to decide whether they want a Mac, or they want an iPad.

“Or people say that we’re merging them into one: that there’s really this grand conspiracy we have, to eliminate the two categories and make them one.

“And the reality is neither is true. We’re quite proud of the fact that we work really, really hard to create the best products in their respective category.

“Customers agree with us, right?” he says. “We have the highest customer satisfaction, again for each of those products in their category. … Both these categories have grown, but iPad and Mac have greatly outgrown their category. And so that’s what our strategy is: create the best product of both.

 

The iPad is almost too fast for its own good, though when this is put to Joz he quips back that nobody has complained about a device being too good. But it’s at least another potential question about the iPad’s identity: what’s an “outrageously capable” iPad Pro, as Joz describes it, without a full suite of professional apps to use it with? It would make a lot of sense to presume that we’re seeing hardware that is anticipating updates to Apple’s software…

We provided that performance even before the need was there, if you will,” he says. “When you create that capability, that kind of ceiling, developers will use it. Customers will use it.

It needs to exist first, right? You can’t have an app that requires more performance than the system’s capable of – then it doesn’t work. So you need to have the system be ahead of the apps.…” 

“And what a great thing for our customers, by the way, to know that they can buy a system today that still has headroom. It isn’t going to be immediately obsolete, which is often the case if they buy an inferior product – it’s obsolete from the day they bought it. Whereas, you know, iPad Pros continue to have headroom.”

 

“Shrinking it was a huge undertaking,” says Ternus. “If you just look at the two products, obviously the iPad is a lot thinner than a Pro Display XDR, and the way the architecture works – you have the LED backlight behind the display.

As you shrink it down, you necessarily need to add more LEDs; you need to kind of increase the density, because you don’t have as much room for mixing the light and creating zones.

“From the very beginning it was: how do we create a backlight with sufficient density? So we had to design a new LED. We had to to design the process for putting down 10,000 LEDs on this backlight in this incredibly precise manner.

“You have all these LEDs but then you’ve got to shape the light, you’ve got to mix the light, and you’ve got to create this incredible uniformity we always have in our pro displays and our iPad displays.”

 

…the new iPad Pro receives a true upgrade to the front-facing camera, with a much wider lens – and the ability to track people around, keeping them centred in the frame.

…“And it’s so liberating to be able to just stand up and stay framed in the image, and stretch and move around and sit down” … the company went to an effort to ensure that the feature was done in an “Apple way”.

He describes the panning and zooming as “cinematic”: “Instead of seeing these harsh movements or cuts, you almost don’t notice it happening, just like you wouldn’t on television. It’s so pleasing to your brain that it works quite nicely.”

The idea, it seems, is that the object fades away – that you don’t see the swivelling camera or the swift zooming, but the person it is focused on. The iPad disappears, in what is perhaps the ultimate disguise.