After years of waiting, the iPad Pro is finally here. The Apple tablet has been one of the most hotly anticipated devices outside of the iPhone series, and the consumer electronics giant will be looking for strong sales from it. The iPad Pro is tasked with rejuvenating the whole tablet niche, as sales of the iPad range have diminished somewhat in recent years.
In order to achieve this, Apple has armed the iPad Pro with a significantly larger screen than previous tablet releases. The size of the iPad Pro display has been somewhat dwarfed by the recent announcement of the Samsung Galaxy View tablet, but the iPad Pro certainly differs from this Korean offering significantly. This is an extremely high end machine, intended to be a true productivity device that can appeal to consumers and businesses alike.
But the iPad Pro is also defined by the new special stylus accessory called Pencil, while Apple has also included an optional cover with a physical keyboard. But how does the iPad Pro fare now it is finally available, and will it manage to sell the way that Apple is hoping?
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The first thing to note about the iPad Pro is that it really is significantly larger than previous models in the series. Certainly users that have handled an iPad previously will instantly be struck by the sheer scale of this computer. The iPad Pro screen measures 12.9-inches diagonally, and it feels significantly larger than a laptop display with similar dimensions.
Additionally, the quality of the display is excellent. The regular screen included with the iPad Pro features a resolution of 2,732 x 2048; effectively offering in the region of 5.6 million pixels. If the iPhone series has fallen slightly behind some other smartphones in recent years in display terms, this cannot be said of the iPad Pro, which arguably delivers the outstanding display in the entire tablet niche.
Despite the sheer size of the iPad Pro, this does not convert into a hefty device. The Apple tablet weighs just over 1.5 pounds, which is only marginally heavier than the original iPad released from 2010. This is pretty impressive considering that the original iPad had a much smaller display than the iPad Pro, and this ensures that the device is not merely a technically impressive tablet, but also a convenient one.
The tablet is also noticeably as slim as the iPhone 6 Plus, and this is certainly an impressive device both in terms of appearance and practicality.
One noticeable downside of the iPad Pro in the early days is the compatibility of applications. While many apps that work on the existing iPad should also function on the iPad Pro, this is not necessarily true of every piece of software. For example, Spotify has been notably crashing for numerous users, and there have been software conflicts reported fairly steadily in the short time that the iPad Pro has been available.
It seems that at the time of writing numerous applications have yet to be optimized successfully for the iPad Pro, but this will probably improve over time.
The new keyboard accessory is a critical aspect of the iPad Pro, and it delivers a decent experience for new users of the device. The Smart Keyboard has been manufactured from a custom woven fabric, and can also serve as a cover for the device. Apple has ensured that it can magnetically attach to the tablet via what Apple refers to as its Smart Connector.
This new feature functions successfully, with the keys of comparable standard to the average laptop. It is notable, however, that it is not possible to utilize the on-screen keyboard for letters and numbers while also using the physical keyboard simultaneously. There have also been one or two snags with connecting the small keyboard to the iPad Pro, with the device sometimes failing to recognize the keyboard in the early stages of connection.
Frequent laptop users may find the absence of a trackpad something of a disappointment. Although it is possible to position cursors by touching the screen directly, this can be a relatively fiddly process those who were accustomed to utilizing a trackpad.
It is also not possible to adjust the angle of the screen inside the Smart Keyboard, and this does appear to be something of an oversight. What can be said is that Logitech is also intending to release its own iPad Pro keyboard in the foreseeable future, and this will also exploit the Smart Cconnector, while providing a backlit setup.
Another new addition is the inclusion of the Apple Pencil, a stylus that assists with such activities as drawing, skating and signatures. This new feature does work extremely well, with the lightning connector charging the Pencil particularly effectively. Additionally, the function that Apple has included which enables darker lines to be drawn by pushing harder works superbly.
Although the lack of a storage location for the Apple Pencil is something of a minor quibble, overall this is a nifty device that does add welcome functionality to the iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro is essentially a powerful update to the existing iPad. It shouldn’t be seen as a revolution in the tablet series, but it should be viewed as more than an evolution. The robust Apple-designed A9X processor ensures that the iPad Pro runs superbly, its wireless cameras are surprisingly good for a tablet, and the battery life seems to be more impressive than in the iPhone series, with approximately 10 hours possible.
Undoubtedly, the iPad Pro screen is excellent, and the sound quality produced by four corner-located speakers also impresses.
The iPad Pro is certainly an impressive machine, and has the potential to breathe new life into the iPad range. But the overall performance of the device must be seen in context of the cost of the tablet. Not only is this a significantly more expensive than previous iPads, but accessories are also pricey and not included with the device. Many consumers will want to get their hands on an iPad Pro for Christmas, but despite the high-performance nature of this tablet, it will not appeal to all users.