iPad Pro In-Depth Review

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Are we getting to the point where we can finally replace our laptops for a tablet and be as or more productive? Apple is committed to a bigger, very fast and with access to new accessories to achieve device. More than a product-oriented professionals, iPad Pro is the equivalent of the MacBook Pro range of notebooks in the company: more ago, with more advanced components, but definitely geared to the general consumer who wants more.

“Everyone agrees that the tablets … unless consumers are dead,” said Benedict Evans, accompanied by a chart showing large and sustained increase in the use of tablets growth between 2013 and 2015.

downloadThe adoption rate of these devices is difficult to understand because it has the same cycle of smartphones, but not quite resembles that of laptops. Needless to renew as often as a phone and not become obsolete in the same way as a computer.

It is not unusual to see iPads first generation still in use in some homes and know dozens of people with third-generation iPads. Kantar last year published a study indicating that 46% of respondents use a tablet having between two and a half years old and four-year average.

The combination of the cycle of renewal joined the “immaturity” of the market (only about five years) confuses prone to immediate results and “kill” all that ends not understand industry.

On the other hand, society is in a transition point of computers to a new “post-PC” where consumption and productivity tools are tablets and smartphones. In the case of tablets we are in an uncomfortable half: the hardware is already so or more powerful than a desktop, but the applications, and in some cases operating systems end up not living up to give sufficiently advanced uses to leave aside the computer.

The reality is that the iPad Pro is a more advanced, more capable and more likely than other models of iPads and basically any other tablet on the market’s largest product. During the private demonstration that made me the device, surrender before the review unit, the company spokesmen did much emphasis on the device is not designed exclusively for professional use. That, in a way, would be the counterpart to the MacBook Pro, ie, a device of higher capacities, but not oriented only to be a productivity tool.

After testing the iPad Pro minutes after its presentation in San Francisco I wrote that this is the future of computing. Which is the device that actually settles and realizes the potential to be really productive with a tablet. For me the challenge is to make the iPad finally replace my MacBook Pro as a tool for daily work. Does the iPad Pro will be able? I used the iPad Pro for seven days, and try to answer this question in the best way possible. Let’s start.

13-inch Screen

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Handling a larger screen allows us to be more productive. It is more comfortable to have two applications open at once, it is definitely much more comfortable working within productivity applications; actually writing this review on the iPad Pro has been a very positive experience.It also gives developers a chance to be more creative and take advantage of new and better ways of providing more pixels.

Quick mental calculations make us believe that there is much difference between the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But actually offers 78% more screen area, with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels, packed a housing having just 6.9 millimeters thick.

There is definitely something different and “powerful” to be able to have a device that has such a large screen, which gives many possibilities, being so light and thin. Those who are used to load every day with a laptop they will feel even more comfortable, because the size is similar but the weight difference is significant: half of a 13-inch MacBook Air “, less than half of a 13-inch MacBook Pro “and almost a third to a 15-inch MacBook Pro.

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With that said, there is much work to be done by software developers. Many applications still use adaptive user interfaces without support split-screen multitasking, wasting space or even can be viewed in landscape mode:

  • A new multi subsystem to support accessories of very high precision. This is what makes the Apple Pencil work accurately, with a detail that has left us surprised. It is also able to clearly differentiate between finger and stylus, so no “false positives” when to use one or the other.
  • Variable refresh rate. It should not be necessary, update the display from sixty to thirty times per second, a pretty smart way to save battery.

iPad Pro Performance

The iPad had a A9X Pro processor, which is an enhanced version of A9  found in the iPhone 6s, lready showed impressive performances that rivaled some modern laptops. According to Apple, the A9X is faster than 80% of laptops sold today. And it’s no exaggeration. In Geekbench tests, unit review in 3183 reached values of single core and multicore 5390, that is, faster than the 13-inch MacBook Air this year.

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In comparison with other models of iPad, it is nearly twice as fast as the iPad Air 2. Graphic performance is 360 times faster than the original iPad.  Geekbench test shows the iPad Pro is consistently faster than a MacBook 12-inch 2014 MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13, 2015. Compared to a 13-inch MacBook Air this year is faster in tests single core and multicore very close to the performance of an Intel i5. When compared to a MacBook Pro 13-inch, 2015, in terms single core is virtually the same performance:

The comparison with other iOS devices shows constant innovation significantly increasing performance while maintaining the same level of energy saving than previous models. With the iPhone 6s, we considered the speed, but the iPad Pro is even faster.

Apple has also managed to significantly accelerate storage performance via a new driver that makes transferring data a lot faster. You can tell when you open or copy files, regardless of how big it can be. Exporting a 4K video in iMovie was faster than my MacBook Pro Retina 15 “(2014).

They have also made very substantial improvements to the sound. Now there are four speakers, one at each corner; and using the gyroscope will always reproduce high frequencies in the upper and lower low, regardless of whether you hold the Pro iPad in portrait or landscape mode.

The volume is high, really high. It has good quality considering the minimum thickness of the product is not revolutionary but is far better than any tablet of competition or previous iPad models. Part of the secret is that the speakers are built as part of the housing.

Apple Pencil

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Steve Jobs teased the stylus during the announcement of the first iPhone. No, the Apple Pencil is not a stylus or pretend to be. At that time it was very common the existence of devices with resistant screen that did not accept the fingers as a form of interaction with the GUI and required a tip accessory to manipulate. Nothing to do with the current reality of the iPad, or any other modern device with multi-touch screen.

Pencil Apple seeks to be an accessory used for tasks that require greater precision, as scoring, writing, drawing or modeling objects in three dimensions. It will be very useful as a medicine or art specialized software.

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It only works on the iPad Pro that requires multi subsystem to which we referred before, which detects the use of this accessory. Combined with sensors in the pen tip, it offers a surprising accuracy, no lag and it works perfectly apparent tilt detection and force applied on the screen.

There is a potential for a use as far as more accurate accessory design applications or retouching. Adobe gave a demonstration of how through which layouts can be made quickly. I think a great example of the possibilities Pencil creative and productive environments.

Smart Keyboard

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The second accessory launched alongside iPad Smart Keyboard Pro is a keyboard that folds and also serves as a screen saver. It resembles the Smart Cover cases of other models, but in this case with integrated keyboard.

There are many invisible technology behind this new accessory to make it comfortable typing while you can bend as much as needed. It consists of three layers: the first is polyurethane, the second conductive layer is composed of nylon and metal, and finally the microfiber layer is the one that has contact with the iPad.

The Smart Keyboard not be charged, nor is it connected to iPad via Bluetooth. It does so through a new port called smart MagSafe connector reminiscent of the MacBook, because it is magnetic and fits effortlessly. That port leads both data and energy needed to make the device work.

ipad-pro-3The keys use the same mechanism that has been introduced in the keyboard 12-inch MacBook, but I feel I have a little more travel. They also are built with the same fabric, which is quite comfortable and pleasant to touch. Also, if you happen to fall liquid absolutely nothing.

In the day, I write as fast as in the keyboard of a laptop. It is full size, with a slightly higher than that of other Apple keyboards separation. It is extremely comfortable and I stress again how good it feels the material that has been the fabric of the entire keyboard, including its keys.

My only criticism is that the combination of iPad and Smart Keyboard Pro is a fairly high weight, more than I would like. I do not be surprised if future versions of the keyboard are lighter and more thin.

New ways of doing old things

The biggest dilemma with using the iPad Pro during the seven days that brought me this review is to have to learn to do old things in new ways. For years, when I want to scroll, just move a bit my hand down on the keyboard and do it with the laptop trackpad. Now I have to raise my arm to touch screen iPad.

In fact, strange hairs. At times I really want a mouse or keyboard in combination at least a trackpad. With the iPad in the same arrangement as a portable (supported screen open keyboard) I do not want to hold my hand in front of the screen to touch elements on a Web page to interact with it. It’s uncomfortable, annoying and tiring term.

I also understand that many of the complaints are simply habits acquired over the years and should find these new ways of doing things and get used.

Equally, I am clear that the “post-PC” is new, very new, there is much travel. The decisions made companies like Apple, Google or Microsoft will affect the industry for decades. It is a very big pressure that falls on human interaction teams of these companies, who can not take these decisions lightly.

We are in the middle of a lengthy process:

  • On the one hand, consumers no longer want computers. They are old, troublesome, expensive, heavy and complicated. They are migrating to smartphones and tablets, much simpler, cheaper and more personal.
  • On the other hand we have Apple / Google / Microsoft, with increasingly advanced mobile operating systems but are not yet able to afford to replace 100% of the activities, especially productive, we do in our PC or Mac.
  • Finally, developers are also in the middle. Making software for various platforms, confident that the adoption of the tablets is growing to devote more resources and give more value to customers.

And in between the cloud of uncertainty of market behavior of the tablets it is: Do productivity oriented devices like the iPad Pro scored big differences?

The answers will come in time. Many things have not clear, but am convinced that the iPad Pro is an important part to respond positively to the question whether it is possible to replace the Macbook to  the iPad Pro.

Conclusion
Will the iPad replace my MacBook Pro, which is my main working tool? No, not yet, but 70% of the daily activities can do it perfectly. It’s really exciting to have access to a large screen, both encapsulated power performance in a product that is just 69 mm thick and only weighs just over 700 grams. In terms of productivity, access to new accessories such as the Smart Keyboard undoubtedly has increased in exponential terms of the usefulness of the iPad as a productive tool.

Last year, the iPad Air 2 release was a disappointment, not because it is an amazing device, but because the operating system and applications were not able to take advantage. This year much has changed with iOS 9 which has included a number of new features to better exploit the hardware and the big screen.

iPad Pro is the spearhead of the great effort that not only Apple, also its competitors (Google and Microsoft) will have to move to the next phase of computing.

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