Pre-orders for Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad Pro have begun, and for those who order the tablet, Cupertino is making a very interesting accessory available – namely a subscription to Microsoft's Office 365.
Office 365 is the only non-Apple accessory offered to iPad buyers, who can opt for two different tiers of subscription to the productivity suite: Personal and Home (for £59.95 and £79.95 per year respectively).
Apple is quite clearly targeting Windows users with its new 9.7-inch tablet plus keyboard, aiming to persuade folks that the iPad Pro is the "ultimate PC replacement", in marketing chief Phil Schiller's words.
The magic iPad
Forget Windows laptops and hybrids, Cupertino is saying – you can do it all with the new iPad. But of course when it comes to productivity software, the cut-down Office apps for iOS aren't going to cut it – in many peoples' eyes – which is why it makes sense for Apple to be offering a full subscription to Office 365.
Apple clearly has an angle here, and has been building its iPad up in terms of being the "ultimate" computer, and talking Windows and PCs in general down, since last autumn when CEO Tim Cook declared that the PC had become irrelevant. Cook asserted: "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?"
Back then, he labelled the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as a "replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people", and the 9.7-inch version is clearly trying to cement that philosophy.
Whether Windows users are moved by such arguments is another matter.
- Also check out: Could this be Apple's secret plan for the new iPad?