365Following the unveiling of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro at Apple's media event on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the device as the "ultimate PC replacement". As if to underline that belief, the company has included a subscription option for Microsoft Office 365 in the iPad Pro ordering process on its website.

It's unclear exactly when Apple added the Microsoft productivity suite to the online checkout process – it also appears when customers order the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, or iPad mini 4 – however the inclusion has raised a few eyebrows, not least because Apple usually positions its iWork suite as a better alternative to Microsoft's Office apps.

More significantly perhaps, Microsoft already offers all of its mobile Office apps to Apple customers on the App Store for free (with the exception of 12.9-inch iPad Pro users, oddly enough, since the larger tablet exceeds Microsoft's official definition of a mobile device). By contrast, an Office 365 subscription gives users Mac and iPad access to Microsoft's full suite of productivity apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

The move suggests Apple is heavily relying on the potential for Windows PC users to see the smaller iPad Pro as not only a Microsoft Surface beater, but also a complete desktop PC replacement that will draw them into the Apple ecosystem. Indeed, a look back at Monday's event highlights just how much effort Apple is now putting into encouraging Windows desktop users to switch to iPad.

iPad Pro PC replacement media event
"There's a second group of people that we'd love to reach with this iPad Pro: Windows users," Apple's senior VP Phil Schiller said during Monday's event. "You may not know this, but the majority of people who come to an iPad Pro are coming from a Windows PC."

Windows PCs were originally conceived of before there was an internet, before there was social media, before there was app stores, and this is an amazing statistic: There are over 600 million PCs in use today that are over five years old. This is really sad. It really is. These people could really benefit from an iPad Pro.

When they see the features and performance and capabilities of a product like the iPad Pro, designed for the modern digital lifestyle, many of them will find it is the ultimate PC replacement.

Apple remains the largest vendor in a declining tablet market, shipping 16.1 million iPads in the fourth calendar quarter of 2015. While the iPad continues to be the best-selling tablet, its worldwide market share remains only 24.5 percent despite the larger iPad Pro launching in early November. Despite that, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro outsold Microsoft Surface tablets in its debut quarter.

iPad sales have declined for eight consecutive quarters year-over-year due to, among other reasons, longer tablet refresh cycles compared to smartphones. Apple's efforts to convince Windows PC users that an iPad Pro is a complete PC replacement appears to be the company's latest big push in its larger efforts to reverse this trend.

A one-year, single-license Office 365 subscription on Apple's website costs $69.95. A five-license subscription costs $99.95 and a four-year, two-license University download comes in at $79.95.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

Chupa Chupa Avatar
85 months ago
After Apple insulted those 5 year old PC users as "sad" and the fact that lack of ports and finder file structure I would be surprised if they win a lot of PC users over.
Funny thing is I'm using a 4 year old MBP because Apple has failed to push out a newer laptop with up-to-date ports to make the jump worth the cost. Forget about 5 year old PCs -- Apple's current laptop lineup isn't functionally better than the ones it was selling in 2012. How's that for a sad fact.

If Apple is looking for a market it might try making its computers relevant again rather than stuffing extra speakers in a .27" tablet case and pronouncing it equivalent to a full fledged PC. Does anyone really believe that?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thatanonymoususer Avatar
85 months ago
I find it somewhat ironic that they touted green initiatives and their long-lasting products, but then made fun of the fact that people are re-using or continuing to use their device for a long time.

Edit: I would also argue that those are tough words for a company that hasn't visually updated their pro line of laptops in 4 years.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CmdrLaForge Avatar
85 months ago
iPad as a PC replacement is utterly nonsense.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TechGod Avatar
85 months ago
Because there is only rivalry between these companies in the eyes of the fanboys. It's a smart business decision to work with other companies.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Freyqq Avatar
85 months ago
MS Office has 20% of the features of the main Windows/Mac version. No mouse support. No monitor support. No way to have more than 2 windows open on the same screen at once. No file system.

I'm impressed people can seriously replace their laptop with an iPad Pro. Their needs must be pretty simple.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
85 months ago
After Apple insulted those 5 year old PC users as "sad" and the fact that lack of ports and finder file structure I would be surprised if they win a lot of PC users over.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...