1. There is no vocal constituency clamoring for one.
2. Most users would never buy one for themselves.
There is no vocal constituency for the iPad Pro for two reasons. First, the most likely users are busy business people who don't participate in the global naval gazing that is Twitter. Second, a lot of these future users don’t even yet know that they want one.
Here is the crux of the problem right now. Business people love using iPads on the road or in meetings, but they do the majority of their work on their Windows laptops. They see the Windows Surface Pro and instinctively know that having only one device must have some far-reaching benefits. Yet they don't want the Surface Pro because it's a lot heavier than an iPad, and using a Surface Pro would cut you off from all the great iOS productivity apps tailored for a tablet.
Sales people in particular have taken to the iPad. I've had many a meeting with a salesperson who was sitting in his car while parked in a gas station parking lot. I don't care how thin and light the new MacBook is, it is nowhere near as convenient as an iPad while sitting in front of a steering wheel. I used to e-mail spreadsheets with the latest monthly actual-vs-budget figures to these guys and they could whip out their iPads and discuss variance commentary with me right from the parking lot. You can't realistically look at spreadsheets on a 5.5” phone screen. This is especially true if you are trying to conduct a WebEx-type meeting where you broadcast your desktop onto someone else's device. If I try to share a spreadsheet I'm viewing on my 22" 1920x1080 monitor to someone's iPhone 6 Plus, the individual cells just look way too small. An iPad is doable, and an iPad Pro would be even better.
There is just no way to comfortably use the new MacBook from the driver's seat of a rental car. The keyboard makes it too awkward to handle. Maybe if you could somehow wrap it back behind the screen so you could use it like a tablet it might work. But even than, you are still talking about a device that is twice the weight of an iPad Air 2. It would make even the original 1.5 pound iPad feel light. By clinging to the old clamshell paradigm of a screen and keyboard on a hinge, it’s not attractive as a note taking device unless you’re sitting at a table. People love iPads at long meetings because they can sit back and cross their legs. They love iPads in an auditorium setting because they don’t need a table. They love their iPads because they can move the screen close to their eyes as opposed to leaning their whole body in close to their laptop. And people love iPads because all their favorite apps from their iPhone are available. The new MacBook will be a delightful e-mail machine for a select few who spend a lot of time traveling, but I don’t expect it to make any major inroads into the corporate world.
But here is the issue that countless corporate iPad users now face. Using iOS for mobile and Windows for your laptop leads to running into the dreaded "read-only" dead-end many times a day. This means you can’t edit the source document. That’s because every company uses some sort of company network drive that iOS devices are walled off from. So if someone e-mails you, yes in the real world e-mail is dominant, a document to review, you can't do anything but look at it. Any changes would have to be made on a local copy that you save to your iPad. You can't save the document back to the network drive when you're done because iOS devices don't play well with network drives.
Now, if Apple were to offer an iPad that users could use as their main computer a lot of problems would be solved. There wouldn't be any need to transfer files back to their main computer when they get back to their desk because they’d been on their main computer all along. Mobile users could use just the screen in their car for an impromptu meeting and save any files they were editing onto their local storage. When they got back to their office they could pair with a bluetooth keyboard and get some work done. The bigger screen would allow them to work just as well as the typical laptop.
Another reason people wish the iPad could be their main workhorse is that we often don't plan to take care of official business during our downtime. The iPad is an absolutely sublime leisure device. There is nothing better for mindlessly surfing the web or playing casual games that aren't available on the laptop. Later in the evening after dinner while reading some news, we may think of a solution to a problem we've been grappling with earlier in the day. The decision then becomes do we put the iPad down, retrieve our corporate-issued laptop with a spinning hard drive and wait five minutes for it to boot up and another five minutes to navigate connecting to an alternate Wi-Fi and sign into a VPN? It would be so much easier to simply attach a keyboard and get to work in a matter of seconds. Nobody really likes having all their work files walled off from their leisure device.
An iPad Pro would solve the cost-to-benefit problem that the Mac or even current iPad has. IT departments could never swallow paying $1,300 or more per MacBook Pro when Windows laptops were going for $500 to $700. And no one wants to spend an additional $500 for an iPad on top of the cost of a laptop. But spending $600 to $1000 for a single device makes everyone happy. Professionals get the mobile device they can use on the road or in meetings, and IT departments get to stay within the budget. Of course, this hinges on how Apple prices the device. The higher Apple goes above the average selling price of a corporate Windows laptop, the less likely it is to be adopted. When the purchaser is a separate party from the user, it doesn’t matter how good the device is if it is too expensive.
Which brings us to Apple's second big problem with selling the iPad Pro. The users who will want them won't purchase them. They can’t. And as I mentioned in my previous article, IT is loathe to double their workload or budget and start supporting two devices per employee. So they've always been cool to the idea of letting anyone start to use iPads in the corporate environment unless it was absolutely necessary. And IT managers never do a wholesale equipment swap. Nor do they line up outside Apple stores on launch day. New laptops are only purchased to either replace computers at the end of their life-cycle or as new employees are hired. Whether or not the iPad Pro is a successful stand in in the business realm won’t really be known for a few years from launch day due to this phased-in approach to equipment purchases.
iOS has made huge inroads into the IT departments of every major company in a somewhat amazing coup. The speed at which the iPhone is replacing Blackberry as the corporate issued device of choice is amazing. Apple has teamed up with IBM in anticipation of new push into enterprise. Using the iPad as beach head to attack the huge enterprise PC market would be a wise move. The market is ripe for the picking. With a decade of buying on the basis of price, IT departments have seen that you ultimately get what you pay for. If Apple can offer a decent alternative with a price that is within striking distance, they could have a real winner on their hands.