Review: Will the New iPad Pro Replace Your Laptop?

Published June 14th, 2017 - 03:01 GMT
Apple is making its only tablet a more interesting machine. (Khaleej Times)
Apple is making its only tablet a more interesting machine. (Khaleej Times)

We were privileged to get a ringside seat to the unveiling of the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), and it seems that Apple is once again taking things to a new level.

Read more: WWDC 2017: Apple Announces iOS 11, HomePod And 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Call it what you want -- new iPad Pro, iPad Pro 10-5 or whatever -- but one thing's for certain: Apple is making its only tablet a more interesting machine, probably even aiming for Microsoft's Surface line.

Well, you don't claim that you have something 'more powerful than most PC laptops' if you can't back it up, right?

On the outside, we still have basically the same iPad, though this time - depending from where you're viewing it from - it's either upsized from the garden-variety 9.7-inch iPad or a toned-down original 12.9-inch iPad Pro. In any case, it's a souped-up version - and we can agree that whether it's bigger or smaller, it's packed with power. Oh, and it's got - if my calculations are correct - almost 50 per cent less bezels compared to the 9.7-incher.

The 10.5-inch screen comes with a redesigned Retina display, making it crisper and 50 per cent brighter, and is 20 per cent bigger than the original iPad - which is just enough to give the right amount of space to something we need in a tablet: a full-size onscreen keyboard. Speaking of bright, its display clocks in at 600 nits, meaning (a) it's capable of handling HDR videos and (b) it outglitters the screens on the new iMacs (the Apple Watch still rules the lot at 1,000 nits, FYI).

Read more: Is Apple Launching a New MacBook Pro?

There's also this thing called 'ProMotion' (yet another cleverly-thought term) on the new iPad. To put it simply, it's Apple's new display tech that bumps up refresh rates up to 120Hz - meaning the display is refreshed 120 times per second. ProMotion is also adaptive; ergo, it can switch from 60Hz to 120Hz, depending on what you're doing, for more fluid use.

And not to forget, it's also powered by Apple's new A10X chip. For good measure, it also has the iPhone 7's camera system, enabling it to shoot better even in low light.

Best point

Of course, when you say iPad Pro, it won't be complete without the Apple Pencil, which has also been significantly improved. With a latency of 20ms, it's arguably the best out there; for perspective, the Galaxy S Pen had 93ms, the Surface Pro 3 pencil has 87ms and the original Apple Pencil had 49ms.

Combined with ProMotion, this means it will respond better and faster, so you can expect smooth sailing when you bring out the artist in you - even if you just doodle around.

iOS 11 glory

The release of iOS 11 ushers in a new era for not just the new iPad Pro, but all iPads: coupled with the new keyboard case, it effectively transforms the iPad into a laptop computer, putting everyone else on notice.

Read more: Top 10 Features You Need To Know About Apple's New iOS 11

We've detailed iOS 11 in a lengthy piece. To summarise its importance to the iPad, iOS 11 integrates a new Mac-esque Dock and adds a new Files app that puts all your files into one place including those on iCloud and other cloud services, among others.

And that multi-touch function is also great. For example, you can just drag text or images from a webpage while in a now more-adjustable Split View to, say, an e-mail you're composing. What's more, you can add a lot of files to a single touch: tap on one file then flip the rest to it, then finally drag them to where you want to put them. At the WWDC demo, I asked our friends at Apple if there was a limit to the number of files you can drag and drop. They obliged, and, apparently, there is no limit; image files were being flipped upwards of 100 - and counting despite me having been satisfied with the live action in front of me.

The Apple Pencil's capabilities is also revved up with iOS 11; you can mark-up screenshots, e-mail, Web pages, Notes and PDFs, plus you can also tap it on the lock screen to instantly open the iPad. Your handwriting, BTW, is also searchable - just make sure it's legible enough to be recognised.

Sadly, though, iOS 11 won't be available until the fall in the US, or just before September when the new iPhone will be launched.

So basically, Apple's packed power use into a small package. If you're willing to splash out at least Dh2,499 for a portable, laptop-esque machine for advanced use, go ahead.

By Alvin Cabral

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