The iPad has for long been lording over the tablet segment. But now, even as tablet sales across the world have plateaued, Apple wants the iPad to start replacing laptops of creative users. But can a really powerful tablet take on the likes of the MacBook Pro and offer a better option? Well, this is exactly what I set to figure out with the new iPad Pro 10.5-inch which has just hit the markets.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch specifications: 10.5-inch display with 2224 x 1668 resolution at 264 ppi | A10X Fusion 4th chip with 64-bit | 64GB, 256GB, 512GB | 12MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, Quad-LED True Tone flash, 4K video recording + 7MP front camera | iOS 11 | Four speaker audio | Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) MIMO | Bluetooth 4.2 | Nano-SIM
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch price in India: Rs 50,400 onwards
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch design and display review
The Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch is a new size for the series. Apple might well phase out the smaller 9.7-inch version as this new size gains ground. The new size offers more real estate, especially since it has a thinner bezel than the earlier version. In fact, the overall size is not that different, but the impact on screen size is significant. Still the 10.5-inch form factor is easy to manage and use. The rest of the design remains the same.
The one visible hardware change the new iPad Pro ushers in is with display quality. While this too is a Retina display like before, this has an unprecedented 120Hz refresh rate. That is something seen only on high-end televisions and never before on any sort of mobile screen. But what does this mean for the user?
Well, to start with this is a much better, more natural experience, when it comes to watching high quality videos or playing games. The frames have no lag in between, however high the quality of the graphics in the game. On the productivity front this means the Apple Pencil works more naturally too. The millisecond lag in the earlier version is no longer there and the experience is more like pencil on paper, though I still think the Apple Pencil is more marble than wood for my liking.
As a side note, I need to add that the Apple iPad Pro is still the gold standard when it comes to audio quality on anything mobile. Pair the stunning screen and speakers together and you have arguably the best mobile video consumption device in the world at the moment.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch performance review
The iPad Pro might be a good video consumption device, but Apple seems to be pitching this more as a video creation device. The 64-bit A10X Fusion chip works in tandem with an M10 coprocessor to offer professional grade performance on a one-pound device. At the launch, the company wowed everyone by doing stuff on the iPad Pro that a MacBook Pro wont be able to do all that easily. For average users this means doing everyday tasks without any lag, or editing photos realtime with no wait for the corrected images to render. However, if you want to edit video, or create and add graphics to the same, this is the only tablet in the world that will be able to do it.
While my creativity is limited to text, I did check out with some more creative people on how the iPad Pro improved their productivity and even those using the version of the iPad Pro seemed to think this version was far better. With apps like Procreate you can now do Adobe Photoshop level layered editing on the iPad Pro and the results are visible almost instantaneous, no need to wait for a render. This nimbleness is there even when you edit video or add graphics to it.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch battery review
The new iPad Pro has a slightly bigger battery than the 9.5-inch version. But despite the extra bright screen and faster refresh rate, the iPad is able to offer close to a full working day of life on the trot. In fact, I charged the review unit for the first time after a week of random use. Also power efficiency is where the M10 coprocessor does most of its work.
In fact the A10x processor is not even called to work for a lot of tasks like notification updates or email syncing and this helps save power. Plus, the display redress rate falls drastically if you are not watching video or playing a game. However, I think Apple should maybe offer a stamina mode where it can offer longer battery life for those who need it.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch accessories
The Apple iPad Pro comes with two accessories — Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard — that add to its productivity. However, both of these have not got a refresh with the new iPad Pro, except for the new size of the Magic Keyboard. However, the experience of using the Apple Pencil has improved significantly thanks to the higher refresh rate of the screen. It now makes better sense to buy the Apple Pencil than a year before. I just hope Apple offers add-ons to the pencil that make it feel more natural. The keyboard is the same, and takes time getting used to. I prefer using a third-party one with more travel than Apple can offer.
The one accessory that is new is the Apple sleeve, which finally bring in a case to stash away the iPad and a slot to secure the Pencil. Earlier, managing the Pencil was a bit of a pain.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch verdict
If you are looking for a tablet that will replace your laptop and still let you stick to high-end resource-heavy creativity, then your quest ends here. There is no other tablet that can do this much and this efficiently, that too without breaking a sweat. But if you just want a tablet to browse and consume video, then look at the more affordable iPads. As the name suggests, this is clearly for the Pros. And on the question, whether the new Apple iPad Pro can replace a laptop, I would now be inclined to say yes. I would be comfortable making this my online mobile device and not the backup.