### Unveiling the Next Revolution: The Ultra-Thin Era of Apple's PRO Devices

Innovation marches on, and yet again Apple is leading the way, starting what I’ll call a thin revolution. Here’s my version of a roadmap for where Apple’s new generation of thin devices are heading, starting with the OLED iPad Pro and extending to the iPhone 17 and beyond: Why are they so thin? How thin can we go without compromising battery life, responsiveness and the full PRO experience that Apple is known for?

### The OLED iPad PRO: A Glimpse into the Future

The OLED iPad Pro is but a step in that direction. Its razor-thin form factor challenges us to think about where the edges of portable computing might lie. But is this just an OLED iPad Pro teaser, or will it actually lead to something more?

### The iPhone 17: A New Benchmark for Slimness

Of all the thin-device announcements made by Apple, perhaps the most tantalising is the iPhone 17. The unofficial name, given to the publicly undisclosed device by the tech press, is the ‘iPhone 17 Slim’ – a phone that the supply-chain whisperers and websites like The Information claim could be ‘dramatically thinner’ than previous generations. With a 6.6-inch display and a presumably smaller version of the Dynamic Island, all in a more compact form factor, potentially with a higher price than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it could be a device that could transform smartphone aesthetics.

### Thinness Meets Functionality: The MacBook PRO and Apple Watch

And that thinner iPhone is being paired with other thinning Apple products: Gurman’s reports indicate that the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch are soon to get thinner, too. The implication is interesting here: Apple is thinking more broadly, beyond smartphones and tablets, towards how consumers experience its complete ecosystem of products. What of the MacBook Pro or a similarly pro-spec machine, devices that, although certainly less heavy, are known for demanding performance and cooling because they are used as a workstation for all day, every day by those who need intensity?

### The User Experience: Beyond Aesthetics

At the centre of Apple’s thinnovation is nothing other than the user experience. When we talk of increasing thinness, what we are really supposed to think of is the allure: Thinner looks so much better, it’s more portable, it’s sleeker and cooler, and more futuristic – an approximation of actual device invisibility. But Apple’s current strategy seems to involve more than a mere punishing of aesthetics. Thinner, they must hope, means nicer: better devices, more appealing, more useful, and more compatible with lifestyles that keep Apple’s engineers at the cutting edge. Here’s to the trouble down below! That’s what Apple’s following hordes of consumers can expect, if all goes according to plan. But, actually, for users what all of this should mean – and boil down to – is how these changes might affect everyday experience: from MacBook Pro and other pro-level performance to Apple Watch’s health and fitness tracking.

### The Pros and Cons of a Thinner Future

All the press coverage around thinner devices gets us excited, but what is the actual trade-off? Battery life, heat management, and durability, all of which are vital for professionals and regular consumers alike, could be impacted by reducing device thickness. In the past, Apple, known for its willingness to push the envelope of device design while maintaining or even improving performance, might have a steep hill to climb as devices become ever thinner.

### Understanding the PRO Behind the Scenes

When applied to a product, the modifier ‘pro’ doesn’t denote some point along a gradient of performance: it denotes a commitment to pushing things beyond the current limit of what the technology can do. You can find the term pro applied to Apple’s laptops, from the MacBook Pro to the iPhone 17 Pro Max – that’s a dedication to excellence and innovation, whether you’re using the device in a boardroom, a science lab or on a Shakespearean stage. As Apple makes its devices thinner and thinner, the pro in the pro model will need not just to preserve but to redefine what professionalism means in a consumer tech context.

To summarise, the fact that Apple's ambitions for the OLED iPad Pro, iPhone 17, MacBook Pro and Apple Watch are pushing the company to create ever-thinner devices speaks to the fact that Apple wants the future of technology to be not just functionally superior but aesthetically distinct. (This is not to say the professional features won't remain, but there's nothing wrong with wanting the pro-level to be smarter and physically smaller.) We'll have to wait to see the official unveiling to really understand what all these devices will bring, but this much is clear: in Apple's hands, the future is not going to be thinner, it's going to be different.

Jun 17, 2024
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