Whenever I head out on the road for business, Apple launches new products.

It happens without fail. This time, I was travelling in the Netherlands for a product reveal at the home of JBL. I knew something was coming from Cupertino but, as always, had no idea exactly when Apple would lift the curtain on its newest products.

That curtain was lifted rather conveniently at the end of a busy day in Amsterdam, giving me just enough time to head back to my hotel room and shoot an off-the-cuff reaction video to what was basically the most uninteresting Apple product update in recent memory.

But it has irritated me, which is why it’s worth writing about today.

An (unsurprising) lacklustre release

Apple gave us three new products yesterday. There’s a new entry-level iPad (the 10th generation) which has been treated to some rather lovely new colours, an iPad Air-inspired design, and a higher price tag.

The latter point is troublesome because the 9th generation’s $329 price was its crowning glory. Thankfully, you can still buy that cheaper Touch ID button-equipped iPad on Apple’s website, but I do wonder how long it’ll remain on the shelf.

We’ve got a new Apple TV 4K, too. Only, we haven’t, really, because this new one doesn’t appear to have received any meaningful updates other than the inclusion of the A15 Bionic chip. Which it didn’t need. However, the device itself is a bit smaller, capable of HDR10+ support, and can now be configured with 128GB of storage. Oh, and the Siri Remote has been given a USB-C port for charging (I’ll grit my teeth here… but – really, Tim? Before the iPhone?!).

The third product launched yesterday was the new iPad Pro. Tellingly billed in second place after the 10th generation iPad, Apple has done the obvious and put an M2 chip in it.

I have nothing to say about the inclusion of that chip. It’s like tweaking the horsepower of your Audi R8 V10 even though you’ve spent the last 18 months driving it to and from Sainsbury’s at 25mph.

Everything else is basically the same. The display, camera hardware, and design are identical to the M1 version. The only additions are a new hover mode for the Apple Pencil which reveals where the tip will touch down on the screen before it does and some M2-powered camera improvements.

There’s no MagSafe, no new Magic Keyboard, and absolutely nothing to get excited about if, like me, you’re a creative type who has been waiting for a reason to upgrade their 2018 iPad Pro.

A selfish request

I’ll be reviewing both new iPads. The 10th-generation entry (sort of) model looks lovely thanks to those colours, and the adoption of the latest design language is long overdue.

I cannot get excited about the iPad Pro, though. This is because I, selfishly, have a long-running desire for Apple to finally allow that device to break free of its self-imposed constraints.

Don’t get me wrong – the iPad Pro is a beast of a tablet and remains the best on the market, by my reckoning. The issue is just that, though – Apple still hasn’t fully utilised its power.

They waffle on about the opportunities afforded by these new iPads (10th generation included) but that appears to extend as far as kids undertaking creative homework, and people dabbling with video editing and music production in their spare time.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and I deeply love that these tools make those endeavours so accessible to everyone. It’s great for the future generation and an equally wonderful thing if you want to learn a new skill without any annoying hardware constraints. But what about the people who make a living from those creative tasks?

As noted recently during a back-breaking trip to London, if the iPad Pro was granted a full, no-holds-barred version of Final Cut Pro, it would be the only device I’d need to take with me while travelling. What frustrates me and, I think, countless others, is that it’s perfectly capable of doing this – even more so now that it has an M2 chip inside.

This is a selfish request, I know. I also appreciate that many others will see the iPad Pro lineup as a perfectly adequate tool for ‘proper work’. I’m genuinely delighted for them.

I’m just so bored of these weird, marginal updates, Tim.

The reality

I’m not convinced that my prayers will ever be answered on this one – or, at least, not for a long time.

The desire to give the iPad Pro truly professional creative abilities just doesn’t seem to be present within Apple at the moment. They appear to be far more interested in pushing it as a device for hobbyists while working relentlessly on ultimately pointless iPadOS features that no one has asked for – like Stage Manager.

The big question will be whether or not I decide to keep the 12.9-inch iPad Pro I’ve ordered. It’s still an expensive piece of kit, and regardless of the content opportunities it affords, I do have to think like a business owner on this one. I would guess that many others are in the same position – and that’s not great for a device for which Apple has always struggled to maintain consistent sales growth.

Is it really a worthwhile investment when I have a perfectly capable 2018 model tucked away in the drawer? We shall see.