Maintaining high levels of productivity is one of the biggest challenges businesses face as the world moves faster and faster. Some barriers to business efficiency are problems like lack of engagement, poor leadership, or processes that need to be overhauled.

But the new Apple iPad Pro that was announced recently is bringing up questions of equipment efficiency in the workplace. Is it possible that businesses could become more efficient by replacing desktops?  

In an increasingly mobile workplace, desktops can be extremely inconvenient. With approximately 75% of marketers saying that they do not feel their marketing departments are modern, more workers need a mobile workstation that’s both powerful and portable. In addition, security is an issue for many companies, making both laptops and desktops more vulnerable than mobile devices secured with fingerprint or facial recognition technology.

With the downsides associated with traditional desktops, are these devices still the most efficient way for workers to get things done? Or is the future of mobile the iPad Pro is promising already here?

Features of the New iPad Pro

The 2018 iPad Pro has a lot going for it. Both sizes of the device maximizes the available room for the screen, eliminating the Home button and bringing the display nearly to the edge of the rounded corners. It’s more powerful than before, rivaling or outperforming many laptops being produced today.

With the device’s USB-C port, the iPad can be connected to a 5k display, allowing for presentations on the go. For businesses, the new iPad’s face recognition system, FaceID, should offer peace of mind, since security on the device is higher than simply using a passcode.

Paired with the new Apple Pencil and the smart keyboard that magnetically attaches to the back of the screen (a connection that takes deliberate action to break), it’s one of the most advanced touchscreen-driven devices out there. But does it have the functionality businesses need?

The Pros and Cons of the New iPad Pro in the Office

There’s a lot to consider when buying expensive new equipment for the office. When looking to replace older desktops, would companies do well to spring for the new iPad Pro and smart keyboard? Or is it better to go with a laptop?

When it comes to the good, portability is obvious. If an employee is working from home, they can easily take the slim iPad home—in fact, it weighs less than a MacBook Air. The brilliance of the screen and the integration with the Apple Pencil is appealing for designers who aren’t necessarily filling out spreadsheets but need to be able to do detailed work on the touch screen. On the other hand, tablets are not great for workers who have data heavy work and need to be constantly filling out spreadsheets or need a number of screens for managing all of their work.

With no clear answer, we decided to reach out to an academic professor for a bit more insight. “Tablets cannot completely replace traditional laptops and desktops in many business settings yet,” says Gabe Giordano, Professor at Ohio University’s Master in Business Administration program & Chair of the MIS Department. “The largest limiting factor is the lack of software designed for IOS and tablets. Even though many types of software are available in the cloud, they are not designed for a touched-based interface, making it difficult to navigate using only a touch and a stylus-like device.”

So since the replacement isn’t happening anytime soon, we thought we’d dig even more into challenges that tablets face.

Reversing Old Habits

One of the challenges that the iPad Pro might face in trying to replace desktops is how computer users have been trained to work.

Sure, we’re all used to touchscreens on our smartphones, but most users born before the touchscreen was really functional are used to using a mouse and keyboard. It’s an unnatural way of working that we’ve adapted to—when you think about it, the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil is essentially taking us back to pen and paper.

On top of that, it’s important to think about ergonomics: would there be a way to make working on an iPad Pro more ergonomic than current workstations, or would working on one of these machines full time actually make our poor posture and other sitting-related ailments worse?

The Real Question: When Will the Shift Happen?

There’s a lot to love about the new iPad, and for some professions, it could be almost a necessity as it is. With that said, can it replace desktops? At the moment, there may be enough drawbacks for widespread heavy use in an office setting, but that doesn’t mean the devices won’t get there.

The question is: how many updates will there be until iPads can truly replace desktops in the office and make workers more efficient? When will that shift happen? That remains to be seen—there are a lot of powerful factors in play.