Apple has finally launched the all-new iPad Pro with two sizes — 11 and 12.9-inches — bringing in Face ID, a powerful A12X Bionic processor, USB-C port and much more. I spent a few minutes with the iPad Pro and here’s how it felt using the world’s best tablet.
Apple iPad Pro first impressions: Design, display
The new iPad Pro looks different from its predecessor and you will notice that instantly. Unlike last year’s model, the new iPad Pro comes with an all-screen “Liquid Retina” display, similar to the Apple iPhone XR. The difference is that the tablet has an extra reflective coating and, of course, a 120GHz ProMotion refresh rate.
The 11-inch model has the same footprint of the earlier 10.5-inch model, but the display is much larger thanks to an all-screen display and minimal bezels around the screen. Similarly, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is smaller than the previous generation model, but maintains the same screen size. Given an option, I would pick up the 10.5-inch model because it is more comfortable to use.
Both models are squared off and they do remind me of the iPhone 5. Oh, I forget to mention that the home button is gone. Instead, the new gesture navigation system first introduced on the iPhone X takes the lead.
The Liquid Retina Display is sharp and beautiful. The new iPad Pro is the second Apple device to get the Liquid Retina Display. The iPhone XR being the only other device in Apple’s lineup that uses an advance LCD display.
Apple iPad Pro first impressions: Face ID, USB C port
Yes, the iPad becomes the second device after the iPhones to use Face ID,which, Apple says is more secure to unlock the device. But what is interesting here is that Face ID works regardless of the orientation, instead of only being used in portrait mode as we saw in case of the iPhone X. During the demo, I noticed an Apple employee unlock the iPad Pro in both landscape and portrait orientations which is kind of cool.
One big feature of the new iPad Pro is a USB Type-C port. Apple has ditched the legendary Lightning port (including the 3.5mm headphone jack) for USB Type-C in order to connect to a 5K display.
The idea is simple: let the iPad Pro become the lead device for those who care about video, audio and pro-level photography. I saw a couple of iPad Pros connected to a high-resolution display in the demo zone. And that says a lot about how Apple sees the future of the iPad Pro. Also, the USB Type-C connectivity on the iPad Pro can also be used to charge your iPhone.
Apple iPad Pro first impressions: New Apple Pencil and keyboard
Just on the right-hand side of the iPad Pro is a small strip where the second-generation Apple Pencil magnetically attaches to the device. And just keeping it there charges the new Apple Pencil, wirelessly and automatically.
The second-generation Pencil has been improved a lot, claims Apple. First and foremost, it has a better grip and feels like you are using a real Pencil and not a stylus. One feature I really liked about the Apple Pencil is the added gestures. With a double-tap the Pencil switches between inking and erasing. A double tap also lets you automatically launch the Notes app as soon as you tap on the display. Users can customise different actions in settings.
Apple is also upgrading the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard Folio. Even though it isn’t drastically different, Apple says it added a second angle, for greater comfort. It is easy to type on using the new keyboard, but it would have been great if it had a touchpad.
Apple iPad Pro first impressions: Powerful hardware, software experience unchanged
The new iPad Pro is a beast. The tablet uses Apple’s A12X Bionic chipset which has 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU that delivers graphics that are up to 1,000 times faster than the first iPad. Apple claims this means the iPad Pro is comparable to Microsoft’s Xbox One S in terms of graphics. That should make the iPad Pro a delight for gamers.
This means the tablet is capable of running everything from Photoshop — which is slated to hit the App Store next year — a desktop like rendering of Autocad. In terms of battery life, the company claims it can last up 10 hours, but that also depends on how you use the tablet.
The iPad Pro still runs on iOS 12 and that seems to indicate that Apple has no plans to create a different software experience for the iPad Pro which is designed for pro-level users.
Apple iPad Pro first impressions: Early Verdict
There’s a lot to like about the iPad Pro. Apple’s vision for a modern computer in the form of the iPad Pro is interesting. For someone who uses the iPad to accomplish 90 per cent of its work, a device like the iPad Pro will be a natural fit. Though there is a high cost attached to the iPad Pro, that’s Apple way of selling a premium experience to users who value true innovation.
The iPad Pro is coming to India with the 11-inch version is priced at Rs 71,900 for 64GB model. The 12.9-inch model starts at Rs 89,900 for the same storage. You can always opt for a higher storage and optional LTE. Apple will also be selling the iPad Pro in 1TB storage option, if you wish to buy.
Disclaimer: The author is in New York at the invite of Apple India