The iPad Pro is definitely gunning to become more than just your bedroom Netflix companion.
2 weeks ago at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), Apple unveiled a brand new iPad Pro that departs from the smaller 9.7 inches from its last iteration.
While the 12.9 inch is here to stay, it has since been joined by a new younger sibling – the 10.5 inch iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro And Co
I’ve never owned an iPad, much less the iPad Pro, but I know too well that, like the iPhone, it has truly reinvented its own category.
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So when I got my hands on the new 10.5 inch iPad Pro, you know that I’ll do more than just gloss over the hardware.
We’re greeted once again with the Apple-esque box design we all know and love.
If you owned an iPad before, you will know that included accessories are spartan. You have the iPad Pro itself, Lightning USB cable, and wall adapter.
Then there’s the box with manuals, apple logo sticker, and a sim ejector tool (if you get the cellular model) – all things to get you started.
Of course, if you aimed to get the iPad Pro, you will undoubtedly be eyeing its many accessories as well – especially the Apple Pencil. While not mandatory, getting the Apple Pencil is highly recommended even if you know that you aren’t that much of an artist.
But the pièce de résistance of turning your spanking new iPad Pro into a full blown productivity machine is definitely the Smart Keyboard.
Sure, the on-screen keyboard might be okay for social media, but when you are replying emails, having the tactility of physical keys beats mushing down on a screen.
And the perfect mode of transportation to secure all of the above in your travels is the all-new Leather Sleeve for the iPad Pro. This understated accessory gives you the ability to not just slide your iPad Pro (with the Smart Keyboard attached no less), it also has a slot specially dedicated for the Apple Pencil.
So whether you are slipping it into a bag, or simply carrying the Leather Sleeve as is, you now have the means to store your new mobile creative workstation.
That Beautiful Screen
Before we even get to its performance, the thing that will capture your attention once you lay your eyes on the iPad Pro is the screen – all 10.5 inches of it.
That beautiful screen is better than most laptops or mobile devices out in the market today. It also goes up way brighter than the old iPad Pro, topping out at 600 nits of brightness, coupled with an anti-reflective coating that ensures comfortable usage indoors or outdoors.
It is also complemented by the wide P3 colour gamut, the same as the ones in the new Macbook Pro to deliver true-to-life photos and videos.
Alongside it is the option to toggle the True Tone display in the settings.
What this does is to automatically adapt the colour and intensity of the iPad Pro’s display to match the ambient light in the immediate environment, making for a more natural and comfortable viewing experience regardless of location.
Lastly is the feature that blows the competition out of the water, and one that even the Macbook Pro doesn’t have – ProMotion. Basically that fancy name is for the adaptive 120Hz refresh rate that the screen is able to deliver.
While videos will still look the same, everything else you do on the iPad Pro will be noticeably smoother. Anything from games, sketching with the Apple Pencil, or even simple things like animations within the user interface all run buttery smooth.
It’s One Over-Specced Tablet
If you’ve been following all the headlines that follow the reviews of the all new iPad Pro, you will know that everyone basically agrees that it is packing some serious heat underneath that super-slim chassis.
If that overkill of a screen isn’t enough, at the heart of the new iPad Pro lies the A10x fusion chip. You now have unparalleled performance like those in full-fledged computers right in an iPad.
The iPad Pro is supposed to be capable of breezing through not just spreadsheets and presentations – it can seamlessly manipulate images, edit 4K video, and even create 3D models.
Though I am still learning the app, I actually bought Affinity Photo for the iPad since it was prominently showed off in the keynote at WWDC. To have a feel of it, I loaded up one of their samples to get a feel of it.
It’s as if I have a full featured Photoshop experience like on a desktop once more – with bending options, layering, and the whole suite of options and brushes that lets you composite photos.
I’m no pro video editor, but stitching together 4K footage shot out of my iPhone 7 Plus and DJI Osmo in iMovie is a breeze. The iPad Pro kept its cool throughout, and initial exports looks good too.
I haven’t tried it out with videos from 4K videos cameras or DSLRs but as it stands, for ‘casual’ 4K videos from your phones and action cameras, it’ll do just fine.
And you have all the storage and memory needed to edit photos and videos on end as well. Apple has doubled this year’s iPad Pros storage and memory capacities.
It now has 4GB of RAM, backed up by up to 512GB of super fast internal flash storage to store all your media needs.
Finally, the camera – it’s the best in any tablet and most smartphones today. That’s because Apple has crammed both the front and back camera from the iPhone 7 into the iPad Pro.
Regardless of whether you are using the 12-megapixel optically-stabilised rear camera for your photo and video needs, or the 7-megapixel selfie camera for Facetime, you can be assured that you will not be disappointed.
Other spec bumps are similar to those in the iPhone 7. You get a snappier TouchID home button that lets you sign in faster, and make payments through Apple Pay.
The booming 4-speaker setup makes a return once more to give you a surround sound experience without external speakers.
All In Preparation For iOS 11
Unfortunately, I do not have access to the Beta version of iOS 11, of which the 10.5 inch iPad Pro is clearly made for.
Slated to be released this fall, Apple’s next mobile operating system update has been clearly marked as the iPad’s biggest one to date if the keynote from WWDC is anything to go by.
If you’re not quite sold on the iPad Pro being your go-to device for mobile computing, iOS 11 may just change that. Soon, you will have access to the file system and directories in your device, much like you would in a Mac.
There’s also a new redesigned dock that you can bring up in any app, and a drag-and-drop feature that lets you move content across several apps easily – like an image from a website that you can swipe into a word document.
Part of this review was even written on the iPad Pro. Couldn’t quite finish it all the way because I still wasn’t quite used to using the iPad Pro as my full time machine for work.
But there lies the gap that Apple is trying to bridge – familiarity. With their latest device, it’s edging closer than ever to realising a reality where people could actually use their iPad as their primary computing device.
Right now though, the iPad Pro will at the moment be relegated as my secondary device to my laptop with its primary use coming from when I have to travel overseas.
Still, Apple’s latest attempt is an interesting proposition that seeks to blur the lines with its Macbook, yet still clearly defining itself as something different – an alternative, if you will.
If you are still on the fence on the iPad Pro, maybe just wait it out until iOS 11 to be released – that might just be the catalyst to make you take the plunge.