Tablets has been around for a few years now, but people still don’t take them seriously enough. While there have been a lot of attempts to add productivity to these screen-first devices, it is only now that they are actually being made more powerful than regular PCs. The Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 will try and do everything that a good PC does, may be a tad better, and within their smaller frames.
Apple iPad Pro
It is really hard to overlook the fact that this is a really large tablet, the type Moses would have been holding on the Mount. It can be a bit intimidating, especially for those who have used a smaller iPad. But that is because we are comparing it to a tablet. And I think Apple is thinking more top down. More in terms of whether this device can actually make you forgo a PC or even a MacBook Air. In that sense, this is a thinner, more comfortable computing device.
Specs: 12.9-inch (2732x2048p, ~264pp1) LED-backlit widescreen | A9X chip with 64-bit | 32GB | 128GB RAM | WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 & LTE | 723 grams | 8mp rear camera + 1.2MP front | iOS 9
Price: Rs 67,900+
What is good?
Despite its size, the iPad Pro is slim. May be a bit too slim for something this big, so a good cover is recommended. It comes with a fingerprint scanner that is identical to that on the new iPhones.
You will take time getting used to the size. I kept asking myself if it was better to hold this horizontally or vertically. But there is nothing that gives you a better view of a website that a iPad Pro held vertically. As you would have realised by now, the size is all because this device has a stunner of a screen at 2732×2048p. And, let me tell you, it has better sound than any of the notebook PCs I have used.
There is nothing unique or innovative about the new Smart Cover or Pencil, but they like other Apple devices just work out of the box. The keyboard yokes to the iPad and the cover morphs into a holder keeping the screen where it should be. Helping you along is the fact that this scribbler is super responsive and pressure sensitive. In fact, there is a bit of innovation in its ability to shade with the sides, like you would with a lead pencil.
The iPad Pro is a device that stands apart for being more powerful than any tablet out there, and even most of the PCs. This is the first iPad to allow multi-tasking in the real sense and you can have your mail and notes running simultaneously on split screens, the kind of scenario I am working on most of the time. The other scenario I find very handy is to take down notes as I am interviewing someone on Facetime or Skype. You could not really do it this way on an iPad before.
I tried editing raw Full HD and 4K video on the iPad Pro. In the first project, i pulled in about a dozen time-lapse videos I had shot on the iPhone 6s Plus over a period of time and clubbed them into a 2.5-minute video with audio. The entire process of creation, of course with limited creativity took me around 10 minutes or so, including the time taken to copy the clips using AirDrop. But what really surprised me was the fact that it took under 30 seconds to process the entire clip and render it.
What is not that good?
My only issue is that the accessories could have been better integrated to the tablet: virtually as well as physically. There should have been someway to yoke the Pencil to the tablet, or at least the covers. Also, I craved for a software that sprung to life when I have the Pencil in my hand, something like the Samsung S Note.
Also, the Pencil is, as the name suggests, built like a pencil. But it doesn’t really feel like one as the body is hard, almost as if it’s carved out of marble. A softer grip would have been better appreciated. This smooth, stony feel also makes it a bit slippery. But like a good A R Rahman song, it will grow on you and you will get used to it.
My other issue is size. While it adds to productivity it is also a headache protecting the iPad Pro, especially given the thin frame. And this reinforces my view that this will be a niche device, not for everyone.
Do remember that both these accessories have to be bought extra and together will cost you around Rs 23,000 more. So, I think the Pencil should strictly be for those who will use the iPad Pro creatively.
By the end of the week, I was convinced that this is without doubt the most powerful iPad. However, I might just stick to the latest iPad as I don’t have all that use for the extra screen space, and am not great with sketching anyway. If you are looking for a most portable replacement for the MacBook Air, this the iPad Pro is certainly a contender. Also, a great tool for the creative guys, this might interest a lot of writers too. And no, I don’t think the pricing is high. It is meant not as a tablet, but a very productive and portable PC-replacement.