Apple’s engineers don’t like to rest on their laurels. At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference the new iPad Pro 10.5 was announced – and what a beast of a tablet it is.
For anyone who is wondering what distinguishes the iPad Pro from its baby brother, the regular iPad, there are indeed significant differences: a bigger and better screen, a more powerful processor, higher quality cameras, the ability to connect a keyboard, support for Apple pencil and a more impressive speaker array.
Of course, this all comes at significant extra expense. In the Australian market, the 10.5″ iPad pro starts at $979 for the 64GB model, and goes all the way up to the $1,429 for the 512GB model. For that amount of coin you could have yourself a decent little notebook – indeed the base Macbook Air model is only a touch higher price-wise than the 512GB iPad Pro at $1,499.
Needless to say, you probably need to have a good think about where this tablet may fit into your workflow or daily routine. The difference now is that iOS 11 is just around the corner, and with it will come a whole plethora of changes that may really move the goalposts with regards to the traditional way tablet devices have been used and viewed.
In iOS 11, Apple is introducing a number of significant improvements: Multitasking will change completely with multiple ways to access the app dock; recently used apps will be split into a grid which will also retain split views that you’ve setup; proper drag-and-drop support between apps will be implemented; and (wait for it!) all apps will have access to a real file system!
The net sum of these changes will change the equation significantly as far as the use case of the iPad Pro, making it far more competitive with the ultralight laptop category that users may otherwise be tempted by.
All of that would be moot if the device itself doesn’t stand up to rigor. Apple has had 7 years of refining the iPad until now, and it shows. This is a premium, top-of-the-line device; engineered to perfection (can you hear Jonathan Ive’s voice?), and with a screen to die for. The screen is slightly larger than the usual iPad screen and has narrower bezels, meaning the overall size of the device is slightly larger than, but still comparable to, the normal iPad. It’s thin and light, as you’d expect.
Oh that screen. With a higher resolution than the normal iPad at 2224 x 1668, Apple has also upped the max brightness to 600 nits and additional increased its refresh rate to 120Hz. That higher refresh rate means that everything feels smoother and reduces latency with the Apple Pencil down to 20 milliseconds.
Apple has also improved the processing power of the iPad Pro, including a new processor – the A10X Fusion. The rear camera matches that of the iPhone 7, with 12 megapixels and optical image stabilisation.
With these changes you might be wondering about the impact on battery life. Apple claims 10 hours of moderate use and user tests so far indicate this is about right, if slightly overstated.
All in all, this is one impressive iPad. Apple’s iterative approach to their product line shines through with incremental improvements year on year. iOS 11 is full of promise and will really unleash the capabilities of this device. Simply put, this is the best iPad money can buy right now. That is, until next year!