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Ten new iPad Pro details you’ll want to know before buying one [Gallery]


Just as predicted by my colleague Mark Gurman, the iPad Pro became available to purchase today, making a rare simultaneous appearance in Apple’s online and physical stores without any preorder period. Consequently, it’s actually possible to walk into an Apple Store today to buy one — and if my experience today is any indication, there probably won’t even be much of a line.

If you’re still unsure as to whether you want an iPad Pro, I’ve put together this quick guide to some of the real-world things people will want to know about the new 12.9″ iPad before making a purchase — including some comparison photos and other hands-on details. Enjoy the details and galleries below…


1. How Big Is Big? How much space are you really going to save carrying an iPad Pro instead of a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro? Not a lot, particularly if you’re also toting a keyboard around. Inside a keyboard case, the iPad Pro has a nearly identical footprint to the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro (above), and is noticeably bigger than the 11.6″ MacBook Air. (Check out the gallery below to see a shot of the iPad Pro in a keyboard case dwarfing the smaller Air.)


2. This Is How Big It Looks Next To the iPad Air 2 and the iPhone 6s Plus. iPhone 6/6s Plus users typically stop using their iPad minis once their iPhones become nearly as big — some even stopped using full-sized iPads/iPad Airs. The iPad Pro creates another meaningful differentiation between devices; compared with the iPhone 6/6s Plus, it feels a lot bigger than an iPad Air. And even if you know what a 13″ laptop screen is like, the iPad Pro feels a lot different — more intimate, as Steve Jobs would have said — when it’s resting in your lap, or held in your hand. My strong advice: under no circumstances should you try placing it on an iPad dock.


3. The Extra Speakers Actually Do Make A Difference. The iPad Pro has four speakers — two on “top,” two on “bottom” — and they’re much better than on any prior iPad. Believe it or not, the iPad Pro makes the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro’s speakers sound weak; they’re remarkably a step louder, noticeably clearer, and decidedly wider in frequency, better in both treble and bass. Apple’s promised stereo separation feature works seamlessly, too, properly switching the “left” and “right” channels over to the correct speakers as you rotate the iPad Pro around.

4. Multitasking With The Virtual Keyboard Is Less Weird But Still Weird. Typing has become wonky on all iPads since the introduction of split-screen multitasking, and rather than going away, the weirdness just changes with the iPad Pro. On a positive note, you get a little more screen space for your apps above the virtual keyboard, which managed to grow in height and width by replicating more keys from a regular keyboard. Now you get half-height number keys alongside a weird half-height delete key, while losing the ability to split the keyboard in half for edge-of-screen typing. But you still have the ability to undock the keyboard from the bottom of the screen, sliding it up and down to your preferred position. I’ve never seen a use for this, but maybe you have one.

5. Most Of The Time, It Doesn’t Feel Materially Faster Than An iPad Air 2. Most apps, including Apple’s, feel like they’re running at the same speeds once you get them open, though the iPad Pro can and will load apps a little faster. As between the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro, you’re more likely to notice Internet/wireless retrieval delays than CPU or GPU performance issues at this point. Oddly, Geekbench’s benchmarking tool shows a lot of variation between results. It consistently reported a gigantic jump in single-core scores from the iPad Air 2 (as wide as 1836 to 3146), but versus the iPad Air 2’s 4605 multi-core score, the Pro’s scores ranged from a barely better 4859 to a higher score of 5324. I’m guessing Geekbench needs an update, but there might be under-the-hood power management reasons for the benchmark differences.


6. Display Zoom + AirPlay Mirroring. Hey, did you know the iPad Pro has a Display Zoom feature, like the iPhone 6/6s Plus? When activated, it effectively transforms the Pro’s 12.9″ screen into the UI equivalent of the iPad Air, with much larger icons and text at a 2048 x 1536 resolution. The zoomed display could be a boon for users with limited vision seeking a larger canvas for the existing iPad experience. Additionally, though the iPad Pro’s screen is normally 2732 x 2048, it continues to look way lower-res — basically 1024×768-equivalent, the same as other iPads — when AirPlay Mirrored to an HDTV.

7. Expect A Lot Of Upscaling and Weird Proportions. Most of the iPad Pro experience right now is… a work in progress. Click on most apps and they’ll look like iPad Air apps upscaled to a larger screen, and in some apps, you may (gasp) notice visible pixels for the first time since Apple switched to Retina displays. Also, apps that have been upscaled (including Apple’s integrated iOS apps) don’t necessarily look optimally balanced for the new screen size. It’s really time for Apple to re-evaluate whether iPad apps like Clock really need to occupy the entire screen with white space for most of their tabs — now that multitasking is here, some apps might be best off running in less-than-full-screen windows.

8. Also, You Probably Should Stop Running Those Last Few Upscaled iPhone Apps Now. Sorry, Instagram users. iPhone app upscaling to the iPad was always a little iffy, but on the iPad Pro, it’s downright silly. 1X mode is tiny, and 2X mode no longer fills the screen, remaining closer to the size of an iPad Air screen with tons of black space on the Pro’s display.


9. Old Power Is All Good. The iPad Pro comes with and prefers Apple’s previously-released 12w iPad Power Adapter, but it doesn’t complain if it’s connected to older 10W iPad adapters or even 5W iPhone adapters. Those fearing a “Not Charging” notice will find the Pro works like other iPads when it comes to compatibility with Made For iPad power accessories.


10. Apple’s Smart Connector May Become A Game-Changer. For the first time in iPad history, the iPad Pro can actually connect to two wired accessories at once — one with Lightning, one with the Smart Connector. If this wasn’t obvious before due to the volume buttons’ placement, the Smart Connector now defines the “correct” way to use the iPad Pro in landscape mode: with the Home Button on the right side of the screen. It’s going to be really interesting to see how and whether most cases handle the new Connector, as no one knows yet whether it will be useful for things beyond (certain) keyboard docks. Since it was the first thing to show dirt on my Pro after it was unpacked, protection of some sort doesn’t seem like a bad idea, but accessing the port may wind up being challenging if it’s covered…

Here’s a quick gallery of additional iPad Pro images:

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  1. Ya forgot the over inflated price on it.

    • Chris Cicero - 7 years ago

      Those that have a desire and need for this, will have no issue paying the price. That is called ‘value’, which varies from person to person. I have no need for an iPad Pro, but I can see the value in it, and as an Apple user, iProducts amortized over years, have the lowest overall cost over other devices. What is a 2 year old Windows RT tablet worth? Close to zero? in 2 years you can sell an iPad pro for ~60+% of retail.

    • ag80911 - 7 years ago

      Hardly…you are obviously not the customer for this product.

      This ipad+pencil combo is actually cheaper to a Wacom tablet which would be the direct competitor.

      iPad Pro + Apple Pencil: $899 – $1,179
      The cheapest, non-touch-enabled Cintiq: $799
      All other Cintiq models: $1,000 – $2,800

  2. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    I hope the next Air gets the 4 speaker design.

    • J.latham - 7 years ago

      I hope the iPhone just gets better speakers. The 6S has the worst speaker of any iPhone I’ve ever owned. It’s already starting to blow out after about 2 months.

      • djngoma - 7 years ago

        It get’s fun when you’re gaming, it’s either you cover the speaker grill, or you have the pain of your fingers pressing against the headphone cable…
        Solution: Bluetooth earphones/speaker.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      And the pencil support.

  3. Alun Roberts - 7 years ago

    Cant get over the price! rip off

  4. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    I remember when the ipad first came out and i jumped on it — but there was a lot of black spaces due to the ipad mostly using iphone upscaled apps…
    The weight also took a toll on me and eventually i switched to the mini and passed on the ipad to my mum…
    But, by that point i found the bigger screen was only useful for certain things such as internet, email, youtube – all of which kept me tethered to wifi connections meaning i couldnt go many places with it.
    Once the iphone 6plus came out, i dropped the ipad mini – the phone screen was almost the same size, plus i had internet out and about – i had the freedom..

    Now we have an ipad pro – which i still think should be called an ipad plus…
    The prices are going to be high because it’s the first version, it’s new, and has new innovations… I’m sure the pencil and keyboard are nice, and the speakers create a lovely sound – but considering there isnt much of a price jump to get a laptop (especially if you add in the pencil and keyboard) i think it will make most users question if the ipad pro really has a place in their life… add in education discount that is not applicable to ipads, you will find it is cheaper for students to opt for a laptop — at least with a laptop you get full running software, you get a better CPU, you can expand the storage, and have more connections…

    Basically what i am saying is the ipad market is shrinking – people are willing to jump over to a tablet IF they can still get work done…

    I think most people will wait for some of the issues to be ironed out – full scaled apps, more ipad pro specific apps, some of the weight cut, more accessories, cheaper price — so possibly the next gen or even the 3rd gen is when the average person will consider switching – until then it is mostly for people who are designers, artists, etc.

    Personally – it would only become a laptop replacement device IF they created a dual boot – it would truly be a pro device if the ipad pro could launch in either ios or osx — i would be able to go out and about and use ios to get things done – save to the cloud – come home and put in a desktop dock and continue in osx… hopefully this is where they will head now they have the extra connector.

  5. kylebaity - 7 years ago

    My chief complaint: what about people that write or type documents in portrait orientation? That keyboard has the new Smart Connecter, but it doesn’t look like it has Thunderbolt. Heck, I’d even be interested if a keyboard had a removable Smart Connecter over Bluetooth that let you flip orientations at will. Just don’t know why they wouldn’t think about people that write papers in the natural orientation.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 7 years ago

      Because it is a monster of a device and would need a lot of support in portrait orientation. Someone will do it, using Lightning or Bluetooth, but it’s a big screen to support with a stand in portrait.

  6. Sandra Kees - 7 years ago

    Wow tons of great features. I think to get the most out of it the accessories are a must!. I say the best combo is the Apple iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and the Lumiy Lightline 1250 LED desk lamp

  7. Sandra Kees - 7 years ago

    Apple iPad Pro is still really good. But to make it excel, you really need to get good accessories Apple Pencil and the Lumiy Lightline 1250 LED desk lamp.

  8. Nichole Levigne - 7 years ago

    I love everything about my iPad pro it’s awesome. I have been using it for a few months now and I have no complaints. I have the 126 GB iPad pro I paid $1000 at bestbuy and have no regrets I have always used iPad and it’s gets better and better! I love the screen size for watching videos and playing games. I love Apple products you can’t get anything better in my opinion.