'Absolute failure': People are not happy with the iPad Pro's launch

IPad ProAppleThe Pencil extends the functionality of the Pro.

iPad Pro customers are not happy with Apple after shipping times for the Pencil and Smart Keyboard, two accessories that were demoed heavily alongside the tablet, have slipped to over a month in both the UK and US. 

Ben Thompson, an analyst who writes a daily email update on technology, described a lacklustre experience that was like “fronting Apple a thousand bucks for the next month or so” before the Pencil and Smart Keyboard arrive.

Thompson cites Manton Reece, an independent developer, who wrote about the experience of buying an iPad Pro on his blog. “I don’t think I’ve ever been less excited to walk out of a store with a brand new $US800 gadget,” he wrote. 

These criticisms come from clued-up Apple users who are aware of the drawbacks of the wide release of a new product and associated accessories, and yet these are exactly the kind of people Apple needs to reach with the iPad Pro. Thompson, for example, regularly draws diagrams for his blog using an iPad and FiftyThree’s Paper app. The Pencil is perfect for him — and Apple isn’t delivering. 

IPad Pro Pencil Keyboard shippingMax Slater-Robins / BIShipping times for the Pencil and Smart Keyboard are currently lagging around 5 weeks behind the Pro itself.

John Gruber, one of the most influential Apple bloggers around, described the launch of the iPad Pro as “sort of…joyless” because of the 4-5 week wait times.

“It makes it all the more curious to me…that Apple decided to ship the iPad Pro to stores today without either the Pencil or Smart Keyboard available. It’s these accessories, in addition to the iPad Pro’s size, that make it feel like a desktop device,” he said. 

The Loop, another influential Apple blog that regularly receives updates on the company before others, linked to Gruber’s piece and agreed with the assessment that the launch is “joyless.” 

Shipping times for the Pencil and Smart Keyboard are still sitting at around 4-5 weeks as of today. 

Reddit user l0tin5pac3 described the launch — and its delays — as an “absolute failure” by Apple. “I purchased my iPad Pro yesterday at an Apple Retail store, and was unable to purchase the Pencil or Smart Keyboard,” they wrote. “This is an utter failure…on Apple’s part. Both accessories are not only crucial, they should have been included with the iPad Pro.” 

Another Reddit user, themedsterr, asked if “anyone else [is] flabbergasted by the lack of Apple Pencil stock on release day?” The user echoed Thompson’s comments about waiting for the other half of the iPad Pro. “One major reason I purchased my iPad Pro was the functionality the Pencil adds,” they wrote. “I feel like I bought half a product.” 

The iPad Pro starts at $US799 (£679) without the Pencil, which costs an additional $US99 (£79). The first video advert of the Pro, available on YouTube, describes the “creativity and productivity” gains of the device before showing a user with a Pencil. Apple’s website also makes heavy reference to the accessory. 

Apple has provided no clarity on whether shipment times will speed up. The Pro has launched in the “Holiday Quarter,” a time period between September and January when the company traditionally sees record breaking sales. This increased load is likely to slow down shipments to a crawl. 

The initial reviews of the iPad Pro were lukewarm. This, combined with the harsh reception of Apple’s key market, does not bode well for Apple’s biggest iPad. 

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