Announced by Apple at a special event held in September last year, the iPad Pro it was already “taken for granted” in several rumors but until it was confirmed on the stage of that keynote it continued as a great doubt in the minds of the skeptics. Would Apple launch a third size iPad? For what ?!
Because it arrived, and with great differentials for a certain niche of users. O iPado began to be sold internationally on November 11th, but was only available in Brazil on December 1st.
I've been testing the iPad Pro for a few weeks, thanks to a partnership from with friends from Fast shop. This review will be focused on the tablet itself, leaving its two main official accessories the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard for a separate article, which will be out soon here on the website.
It is important to note that my reference for his analysis was the first generation iPad Air, which was my tablet until then. Let's go? 😉
When purchasing the iPad Pro through the Fast shop, win the Office 365!
Screen / size
Let's go directly to the fundamental feature of the iPad Pro: its screen and, consequently, its size as a whole. Here is a comparative table of the current line of Apple tablets:
|iPad mini 4||7.9 ″||134.8 mm||203.2 mm||6.1 mm||298.8 / 304 grams|
|iPad Air 2||9.7 ″||169.5 mm||240 mm||6.1 mm||437/444 grams|
|iPad Pro||12.9 ″||220.6 mm||305.7 mm||6.9 mm||713/723 grams|
(*) Weight of the Wi-Fi model / weight of the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
The iPad Pro is evidently much bigger and heavier than its smaller brothers, but see that in terms of thickness it is not much. And amazingly it has practically the same weight as the first generation iPad, which had a 9.7 inch screen just like the iPad Air.
I don't know if by the shape of the tablet as a whole or by its finesse (again compared to the first iPad, we are talking about 6.9mm against 13.4mm almost twice as much!), But I don't think to hold and use the iPad Pro to uncomfortable as you would imagine. But I would never recommend it for that, in particular; for those who like to use an iPad lying on the bed, for example, nothing better than the iPad mini.
The characteristics of the iPad Pro's screen in relation to the Air are practically the same, even maintaining an identical pixel density: 264ppp. What differs them, obviously, is the resolution: they are 2732 × 2048 pixels, against 2048 × 1536 pixels, that is, 78% (!) To more points. Yes, I also didn’t imagine it would come to that.
Placing the iPad Pro side by side with a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, we see that the tablet's resolution is even higher; on the Mac, only 2560 × 1600 pixels. Despite this, being an operating system optimized for use at the touch of a finger, the interface elements of iOS take up more space on the screen than those of OS X (created for the mouse cursor). Thus, in many cases the “useful area” available for work in the iPado ends up being a little smaller than in the MBP.
It is precisely in this area that the iPad Pro differs greatly from the Air, when we are working on apps already optimized for it. The difference in screen size is so big that it is possible to place two apps side by side with the iPad Pro in landscape mode (horizontally), and what we see exactly what an app occupies occupying the entire screen of an iPad Air in portrait mode ( vertically).
Performance and wireless
Which brings me, in my view, to the second big difference of the iPad Pro in relation to the Air: its performance. We went from an A8X processor (with M8 coprocessor) to an A9X / M9, with Apple promising about twice the speed in both CPU and graphics.
Of course, this evolution in the processor makes a tremendous difference, especially in games and heavier applications. But the best thing about the iPad Pro is that Apple doesn't even officially mention it (confirmed by codes in Xcode and by the disassembly of iFixit): it comes with 4GB of RAM, twice as much memory as the iPad Air 2. This, yes, absurdly influences the experience of using the device on a daily basis, whether opening multiple apps, having multiple tabs open simultaneously in the browser, switching between documents and scrolling.
I am a user with a high level of demand for my gadgets, so I confess that using the iPad Air first generation with iOS 9 was already bothering me a little. I imagine that those who have an iPad Air 2 will feel a little less gain than I felt when picking up an iPad Pro, but still it is something noticeable.
In the wireless, the iPad Pro is practically identical to its smaller brothers. This is 802.11ac Wi-Fi dual-channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) with MIMO technology, Bluetooth 4.2 and, in the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, support 4G (LTE) with the Nano-SIM chip side tray. Although technically there is no difference, in practice the A9X chip and the 4GB of RAM give the feeling that the iPad Pro is also much faster for surfing the web.
The iPad Air 2 already had two stereo speakers on its bottom, but Apple also paid huge attention to this on the iPad Pro, taking advantage of the large space provided by the tablet's screen size.
At the iPado we have twice the number of speakers, two on each side, and with a completely renewed acoustic system with internal resonance chambers, dynamic equalization depending on the use of the tablet and the four-way brush.
Compared to previous iPads, the Pro generates about 61% more powerful sound. And that is incredible to see, in practice. With my iPad Air I was constantly setting the volume to maximum and yet, depending on what I was watching / listening to or the environment I was in, it was not enough. On the iPad Pro, I rarely set the volume to maximum. You can really feel the power of the four speakers by holding it in your hands.
And not only power, but also quality. I did several tests here at home comparing the volume and sound quality of the iPad Pro with the speakers of my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display; the tablet clearly superior in both aspects. It can easily be used as a source of ambient sound at dinner with friends, for example.
Design and templates
If we could shrink an iPad Pro to the size of an Air (or even a mini), we would see very few differences in design. Apple follows the same concept in all three sizes, even offering them in the same three standard colors: space gray, gold and silver. The "new" iPhones, rose gold, has not yet reached the iPads.
Externally, what really sets them apart are the four speakers and a new magnetic connector on the side of the iPad Pro called the Smart Connector.
The model structure of the iPad Pro is also leaner. While on iPad mini 4 and Air 2 we have three capacities (16GB, 64GB and 128GB) available on both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions, on iPad Pro there are only three options: 32GB Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 128GB or 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular.
Smart Connector and other technologies
The Smart Connector comes to the iPad Pro to be a second means of connectivity with accessories, in addition to the traditional Lightning port. It is quite possible that this feature will also be incorporated in the next versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini.
The connector consists of three small circles on the side of the iPad Pro, capable of supplying accessories with both power and data. Along with the tablet itself, Apple released a keyboard cover called Smart Keyboard that makes use of this new connector, which is great, as the keyboard does not need an internal battery and does not use the iPad's Bluetooth interface. Other manufacturers, such as Logitech, are also launching accessories compatible with the Smart Connector on the market.
As I said, the iPad Pro's screen next to the iPad Air's screen, apart from the size, is practically identical. And in fact, there is nothing different about it for normal multi-touch use with your fingers. It does not come, for example, with 3D Touch technology that feels the pressure we do with fingers like in iPhones 6s / 6s Plus.
But there is another super-advanced technology right there "inside" the screen that was created in conjunction with the first stylus from Apple for iPads, the Apple Pencil. In the pen itself there is already enough technology, but the experience provided by it is only possible thanks to what Apple developed for the iPad Pro screen itself. That’s why you can’t use Apple Pencil with any other iPad, not even as a stylus conventional (since its tip is non-capacitive).
However, as I said at the beginning of this review, I will go into more detail about the two accessories of the iPad Pro, the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil in a separate article.
A negative point of the iPad Pro that Apple also did not incorporate the second generation of Touch ID in it. The fingerprint sensor is there and works great, but not as accurate and quick as the iPhone 6s. No d to understand these crumb savings that Apple makes
Finally, the two iPad Pro cameras are identical to the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4. FaceTime HD (front) is 1.2 megapixel; iSight (rear), 8 megapixels. I don't worry too much about it because I rarely use my iPad cameras, but if we think about a tablet of that size, it deserves at least a Full HD 1080p front camera for selfies and videoconferences.
Oh, and the promise of battery life remains standard on all iPads: 10 hours.
iOS 9 and apps
Having said all about the hardware itself, we go to the software this, which can still evolve without the need for the person to change devices. And I must tell you, there is a good ground to cover in this regard.
Even before the iPad Pro was released, iOS 9 landed with excellent advances for newer iPad owners. We now have a number of resources focused on multitasking, including Slide Over, a Split View it's the Picture-in-Picture (PiP). All of this works even better on the big screen. iPadobut it doesn’t go much further than that. It still doesn’t have any great differential that really exploits its size, except for a few extra buttons on its virtual keyboard.
The lack of optimization goes from the most basic thing of all: the Home Screen. Apple did not even bother to add more columns / rows of cones, just spaced them out more. On the Locked Screen, the same thing: a big void amid the millions of available pixels.
From the system we go to the apps themselves, which also need to be properly optimized for the new resolution of the iPad Pro. Developers who follow Apple's guidelines strictly are not having much work with this, since they already had to make similar adaptations to support the different screen sizes than iPad Air and iPad mini, but it's not enough to simply make a flexible layout that offers more space in a given area. The difference between iPad mini and iPad Pro, going from one end to the other, is so absurd that the same app should have two different interfaces in order to make the most of the device on which it is running.
With a few exceptions, making basic optimizations to take advantage of the iPad Pro's screen is not a difficult job for developers (YouTube itself, you see, it was only adapted yesterday). Even so, Apple has to fight and work to convince them of the importance of this even if the iPado be targeted to a user niche. And for that, she needs to set a good example.
I am a little concerned that iOS 9 came with several new features focused on iPad multitasking, because I don't know if Apple will repeat this already on iOS 10. But it needs that focus, after all, it is not enough to simply “play in the market” another screen size option thinking this is sufficient for the existence of the product.
What's in the box?
This time I didn't make a video of unboxing, but rather a “photo shoot” even because there is not much to show. 😉 In addition to the iPad Pro itself, we only have in the box a Lightning-USB cable, a plug adapter and the manuals.
Click on the photos to enlarge them and navigate with the arrow keys on your keyboard:
I purposely left out of this review considerations about the use of the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil and / or the Smart Keyboard, because they are still two accessories sold that not all owners of the iPado I'll buy it. The analysis, as I said, was focused on the tablet independently.
I am a person who likes big screens and space to work. I've had iMacs with big screens, then for the need of a laptop I switched to 17-inch PowerBooks / MacBooks Pro and, now that they are gone, I have a 15-inch one. The iPad Air was my choice until the Pro arrived, but it has already won me over in that regard. The only exception is the iPhone, as I don't really think the Plus size (5.5 inches) pays off on a day-to-day basis; my own 6s is already on the edge of the pockets of some of my pants, let alone.
Use the wonderful iPad Pro. The combination of its screen, excellent performance and powerful speakers make me use it absurdly more than at the time of my iPad Air. Before, I “forced myself” to use the iPad simply because I had one; today I really choose the iPad Pro at various times, as I enjoy the experience.
On the other hand, except for my professional use, the iPad Pro is far from being a replacement for the MacBook Pro and I intend to go into more detail about it when talking about my experience with the Smart Keyboard in the next future article. In addition, each must take into account how much the extra amount paid for the larger screen is valid for the use of the device. We are rooted to a constant evolution of both iOS and apps, focused on iPado.
When purchasing the iPad Pro through the Fast shop, win the Office 365!
The iPad Pro is not the most portable and cheapest of iPads, but certainly the best of all.