The New iPad Pro and the fixed mindset

Much of the commentary on the new iPad coming from online publications reviews are frankly, naval-gazing — useless or excessive self-contemplation.

Last year I read a book by a Stanford University psychologist called Carole Dweck, the book is entitled Mindset. It’s gained popularity with some of the most influential people in the world, like Satya Nadella 1 and Malcolm Gladwell. Sure, it could be dismissed as new age hokey pokey like most of the other books of the self-help movement, Mindest is different, however. I encourage you to read it.

The book essentially talks about two different states of mind when it comes to learning and reacting to change; the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset.

Without going in to too much detail, they can be briefly explained as a mindset that is not changeable (fixed) which leads to resistance and difficulty learning or integrating change, judging the result good or bad, and a mindset that is open to change (growth) which accepts new challenges and embraces them, consequently enjoying the learning process as well as the result.

Image : Apple

You’d be forgiven to believe that being ‘into computers’ you’d be more likely to have a growth mindset, simply because of the pace of change in this world. That seems perfectly logical, doesn’t it? Sadly, reading a bunch of reviews, I keep seeing the same thing over and over — How the iPad Pro won’t/can’t/is not capable of replacing my Mac. To me, this screams a fixed mindset in many cases.

It’s surprising from many of the writers because often, they praise Apple’s strategy of “… skate to where the puck is going to be…” 2 but can’t seem to understand where it’s going when it directly affects them.

Apple is not saying that this new iPad means their MacBooks are not necessary or now EOL. Not for a second. What they are saying is that this is where we’re going over the next few years. More and more functionality in the iPad will make more and more people able to change over to an exclusive iPad life. They’ll be some that cannot for various legitimate reasons, and for those people, Apple has just put in place — and is about to expand — the offerings to those people.

You can see this strategy in mid-play by looking at one of the announcements from last week’s iPad/Mac reveal. The Mac mini. Let’s look briefly at the history of the Mac mini and its reason for being (which I believe has fundamentally been changed because of the iPad).

The original Mac mini was introduced in January 2005 with essentially one target in mind; potential switchers.

Steve Jobs put up a great big slide with the awkward acronym, BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse). Squarely pinpointed to those who wished to switch but who had investments in hardware, thus resolving the sunk-cost fallacy. It worked and many new Mac users were on-boarded.

Steve Jobs introducing the Mac mini

The new Mac mini is clearly targeted at professionals this time around. Just look at the options available. It can be priced at a totally “professional” amount of around $3500, very much in iMac Pro. This, I think, is the new strategy. iPad is for general purpose computing and the next generation, whereas as Mac is for professional use and the enthusiasts.

Those in the growth mindset get on board quickly and with less frustration at the limitations imposed by the iPad. Clearly, I’m not going to say that those who prefer the mac are fixed mindset people, but the way the reviewer’s present the difficulties and limitations of the new thing, give me a reason to believe they are more inclined to be of the fixed mindset.

But this choosing of sides is, to me, quite silly. Unlike US politics, liking and using Apple products doesn’t have to be a polarised experience.


  1. Satya Nadella references the book a few times in his latest book Hit Refresh. Read it, at least you’ll learn a bit about Cricket.
  2. Quote from Wayne Gretzky. Full quote “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Cover image : Apple