The iPad Pro is Apple’s first dip into the larger form tablet. With a 12.9-inch screen, it is the company’s largest iPad to date. At a starting price of $799, it is also the company’s most expensive iPad to date.

Apple unveiled the iPad Pro in September, and now it’s available for purchase.

Apple also offers a couple of accessories, like the Smart Keyboard and Pencil, which are designed to help the user with productivity. Apple isn’t trying to sell the iPad Pro as a replacement for a laptop, but is clearly trying to appeal to users that don’t really need a laptop anyway.

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Along with Microsoft’s recently launched larger form Surface Pro 4, there is a lot of talk about big-screen tablets and their place in this world. Can these devices fill a niche in the market for people looking for a mobile device that is large enough to work on, but light enough to be more convenient than a laptop? This holiday season, we will probably get an idea of just how lucrative the large tablet market is going to be.

When it comes to the iPad Pro, is it worth the high price tag, especially when you take in to consideration the companion accessories? The hardware may be solid, but early reviews seem to think the iPad Pro suffers from a software disability.

Most tech site reviewers are impressed with the performance of the iPad Pro’s A9X processor is really doing its job here. Reviewers also comment on the beauty of the 2732 x 2048 264ppi display. It is the highest resolution screen available on any iOS device so far. Additionally, the sheer size of the screen makes it easier to perform certain productivity tasks. Apple’s new split-screen feature was clearly designed for the iPad Pro.

When it comes to accessories, the Pencil is the big winner. Apple designed its iPad Pro-only stylus to be more than just a capacitive writing tool. Instead, using some secret electrode technology with a special touch screen to provide pressure sensitive digital feedback that is more natural than a traditional stylus.

The Pencil is also properly weighted to feel like a real graphite pencil. The latency between writing and its receiving on the screen is less than 20 milliseconds. The iPad Pro is designed to sense when the Pencil is near the display and beings scanning for a “tip signal” 240 times per second. Sensors in the tip also detect pressure and tilt for realistic shading.

The keyboard is being considered an overpriced addition to the iPad Pro accessory line. While it works perfectly well with the tablet, it doesn’t stand out as a must-have addition. The keys can be a bit “mushy” and there aren’t even any iPad-specific shortcut keys. The Smart Keyboard is also not backlit. Most reviewers recommend waiting for a third-party keyboard that will provide a better level of function.

When it comes to software, most reviewers note that the iPad Pro suffers from the limitations of iOS 9. The general consensus is that the 12.9-inch tablet should include some sort of hybrid OS X that would allow the users more functionality.

In the end, the question is, whether it’s worth spending $800 or more for the iPad Pro. Here are some reviewers’ thoughts on the matter.

  • Ars Technica: If you’ve stopped using traditional laptops, then this is the most powerful iPad to date. But iOS handles multitasking, file management, and other things differently than a notebook which makes it the biggest/best iPad, but not necessarily a laptop replacement for most users.
  • CNET: It is a dream machine for graphic designers and is great for browsing the web and general Internet consumption. However, it is not going to replace your laptop.
  • Daring Fireball: As a laptop, the iPad Pro is ergonomically unfit (Touching the screen for scrolling becomes uncomfortable very fast). However, from a hardware perspective, it is “seminal” and is probably a worthy replacement for many average users out there.
  • TechCrunch: Definitely not for full-time writers, but as an around-the-house-for-the-average-person device, it could replace a full computer.
  • The Verge: Although not yet ready to be a laptop replacement, the iPad Pro is a worthy runner up. It has the potential to be a worthy substitute for computing needs while traveling.
  • Walt Mossberg (for the Verge): It could be very appealing as a mobile device for big businesses but is far from being a laptop replacement. Mossberg does not recommend the iPad Pro for the average user.
  • The Wall Street Journal: The large tablet’s advantage over laptop computers is the vast array of apps. However, the lack of robust file management and no storage extending ports makes it little more than a really big iPad.
  • Wired: For those of us who still cling to laptops and desktops, the iPad Pro doesn’t feel like a serious machine. However, it is a fantastic tablet and, with the right accessories, can be almost any kind of device you want.

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14 replies on “iPad Pro review roundup”

  1. One review I read states the pen has no way of attaching to anything for storage! No clip on is, no loop on the keyboard, no magnet to the tablet and to charge it you have to remove the plastic cap on top and stick it into an Idevice to charge! Key board has no track pad, and you can lean the tablet in any position so long as its at 55*

  2. Yeah, put full OS X on this thing, and you can colour me interested. And, while we are at it, put full OS X on every other iPad, too. Plus the stylus. You may skin it in such a way, that people who want it, get the current iOS experience, but, please, menus, windows and multiple programs on the same screen at the same time have been around for a while for the same reason that pens for writing have been around for millennia: They just make sense.

    Pointing at stuff with fingers got mankind out of the stone age, but to have modern age productivity, you need modern age UI paradigms.

    1. Appears the screen hinge on that KNC device can’t even hold the screen up and instead it requires that folding soft cover thing to prop up the screen at one single fixed angle.

  3. That anyone takes the iPad Pro seriously is only because it’s made by Apple. The keyboard is a joke, the software is only for casual use and the lack of expansion means that you cannot perceive it in any other way than an unserious computing device.

    There’s only one potential industry where the IPP could improve productivity and that’s the graphic arts. But even then, those folks should just get a Surface Pro or Book.

    1. From a creative-use perspective, in my opinion, the only real use for the iPad Pro is for showing off content, not creating it. You couldn’t convince me to work on photos or videos on a device that doesnt have a navigable file system. I’m not working on something that doesnt give me the ability to do whatever I want with my files.

    2. I disagree. I’ve seen a lot of small businesses using iPad as POS Terminals. The IPP with its larger screen size would be a bonus. I believe there is a gap in the business sector that the iPad fills. It’s a locked down device that employees can’t screw up and is easy to use.

      1. You are aware that there are literally scores of Android and Windows tablets which are just as our even more capable that cost less, right?

        Unless you need a third party app that is exclusive to ios, you’d be wasteful buying iPads for POS and other field use cases.

    3. American Airlines uses iPads in the cockpits. The larger size screen on this iPad Pro would seem to be advantageous to that application.

      However, I don’t understand why they don’t just have a purpose-built device in the cockpit.

  4. “…makes it little more than a really big iPad.” …which is already just a really big iPhone. 🙂

  5. Can’t wait for the Chinese knockoffs to make an Atom X7 Z8700 Windows 10 tablets using that LCD panel.

    1. *maniacal laughter*

      Hell, maybe we’ll even get a Core M version.

        1. And a Wacom digitizer, and a 3G modem, and all the other things Chinese manufactures manage to fit into a sub-$300 pricepoint.

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