Apple’s biggest, boldest iPad to date is now here. The iPad Pro is by far the most largest and most powerful iPad ever, further blurring the lines between tablet and laptop. It promises all the power of a Mac, but running iOS instead of OS X. Is that a blessing or a curse?
The device is aimed at power users and cord-cutters wanting to ditch their conventional computers, with some cool new accessories helping to target the iPad at specific roles. The pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil is a precision stylus perfect for creative types like designers, illustrators and architects, while the clip-on Smart Keyboard combines a durable cover and stand with a full-size keyboard, perfect for writers or anyone who uses Microsoft Office.
The iPad Pro itself rocks a huge 12.9-inch Retina display – that’s the size of two iPad Airs side-by-side – and four high-fidelity speakers allowing for 3D stereo sound. The new A9X processing chip allows for “desktop-class” performance, with twice the power of last year’s A8X chip.
It’s a beast of a machine, and Tim Cook believes that for many people it will replace their regular computer – but do the critics agree? Let’s examine the reviews.
— TapSmart (@TapSmart) November 12, 2015
The Verge have an in-depth review of the iPad Pro and it’s accessories – Apple Pencil is amazing, the Smart Keyboard less so. Overall it gives the device 8.7/10, focusing on the impressive display, performance and the multitasking capabilities of the device:
“The iPad Pro is so large that you can run two apps side by side, in split-screen view, in their full size. This means that I can run Slack and Gmail side by side, or Twitter and Safari, or Microsoft Word and Excel, and have optimal views of each.”
“But even this split-screen mode isn’t enough for lots of the “laptop” things I need to do on a daily basis. This is still a mobile OS we’re talking about.”
WIRED think the iPad Pro is the best tablet anyone’s every made, with the accessories combining to make a “three-device ecosystem”. Their review says that the huge screen has great benefits in terms of making apps more useful, but it doesn’t feel like a computer:
“The extra space shows up in subtle but important ways. In iMovie, you can see your library, timeline, and a full-res 1080p view of your final product, all on a single screen. On the iPad Pro you spend less time moving – scrolling lists and thumbing through menus—and more time doing whatever you’re doing. Apps aren’t forced to feel like dumbed-down tablet versions.”
“A strange thing happens when you sit down at a 13-inch device with a keyboard, though: you expect it to work like a laptop. And the iPad Pro doesn’t.”
Ars Technica note how the iPad Pro provides “Mac-like speed with all the virtues and restrictions of iOS” in a slightly less positive four-page review. Despite praise for the hardware, the reviewer thinks the software still needs some work before it’s a viable laptop alternative:
“There’s no hesitation while manipulating multiple apps at once in Split Screen mode or jumping between apps. We’re looking at MacBook Air-class CPU performance and MacBook Pro-class GPU performance, so the iPad Pro ought to be able to handle more multitasking features with aplomb as Apple sees fit to add them. Professional 3D apps like AutoCAD and the Complete Anatomy app Apple showed off in September all seem to run just fine, too.”
“Even with a bigger screen and new accessories, the iPad still feels like a “sometimes computer.” I can take it with me on vacation instead of a MacBook and do pretty much everything I want, and I can even get quite a bit of work done on one. But what really does it in for me are the many small ways in which the iPad Pro is not quite a traditional computer and iOS is not quite OS X.”
Finally, TechRadar think the iPad Pro is brilliant if you can handle the increased size and weight. Their reviewer loved using the tablet to play movies and games, but still missed the productivity of a regular laptop:
“There’s something intangibly great about the iPad Pro the minute you pick it it up. It’s a brilliant device, packed to the hilt with power, specs and extra accessories to augment the phone experience.I’ve suddenly got a free suite of office apps, multiple games that look great on the new screen and reams of media to play with.”
“Could I use this as a laptop replacement? Well, it depends what you’re using your laptop for now. If it’s idly browsing the web and thinking about writing a novel one day, then absolutely. Anything beyond that, you’re still going to need to keep one around.”
So the general consensus seems to be that while the iPad Pro is incredible as a tablet, for most users it won’t be replacing your laptop just yet – but it could be the first step towards the death of the PC as we know it.
The iPad Pro starts at $799 and is available to purchase from Apple.com or retail Apple Stores.