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 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.
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.