I must say that the launch of the Apple iPad Pro reminded me of the time when they released the iPad Mini. Critics were not convinced Apple could sell a gazillions copies of the device. But time and again, Steve Jobs/ Tim Cook and co. have made subtle changes to their product line, building up a hefty war chest from their successful product iterations.
And this time for the iPad, they went big instead of small. Call it a smart move by Apple or an uninspiring attempt to milk more from consumers, it seems the iPad Pro is targeted at a sophisticated audience and positioned to ‘blur’ the product lines between tablets and ultrabooks such as the Macbook and MacBook Air.
With the iPad Pro hitting the stores this November, we look at the key features of what makes this juggernaut of a tablet so appealing.
The iPad Pro comes with a huge 12.9-inch Retina display, with 5.6 million pixels and refined Multi-Touch technology. The screen real estate is even bigger than the recently launched MacBook.
The new screen delivers greater contrast, more uniform brightness and improved energy efficiency through photo alignment technology, oxide TFT and a new variable refresh rate that adjusts the refresh rate of the pixels depending on what is on the screen.
What we really want to try out is its new speaker system. Covering all four corners of the iPad Pro, Apple claims that the new design delivers a more powerful, clearer and rich stereo sound. Although the iPad Pro is slightly heavier than the first generation 9.7-inch iPad (I have one sitting at home), it is still remarkably light at 713g for the WiFi version and 723g for the cellular model.
A new A9X chip
Every new generation of devices brings about a more powerful chip. The iPad Pro runs on the more energy efficient 64-bit A9X chip, with third-generation 64-bit architecture that provides true desktop-class CPU performance and graphics. Even with the ultra large screen, Apple still manages to keep to the 10-hour battery life promise — the main draw for most tablet users and the reason behind iPad’s continued popularity.
“iPad Pro is the most advanced and powerful iPad we have ever made. Its beautiful and large 12.9-inch Retina display has 5.6 million pixels and provides an immersive experience for content and apps. The iPad Pro is far and away the fastest iOS device we have ever made — its A9X chip beats most portable PCs in both CPU and graphics tasks, but is thin and light enough to hold all day,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing.
Apple’s new iOS 9 mobile operating system comes with a few new custom multitasking features for the iPad, such as Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture. Slide Over allows you to switch to a different app while leaving the one you are in on-screen. For example, when browsing the web, you can reply to a message with this feature and slide the message app away to continue browsing from where you left off.
Split View allows you to simultaneously work on two active apps concurrently, while Picture in Picture scales your FaceTime conversation or video to a corner of your display without disruption to the playback.
iOS 9 also comes with a redesigned Notes app and an improved Siri.
New iPad Pro accessories
Apple Pencil, US$99
At the 9 Sep event, Apple also introduced the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro, or better known as a stylus. We feel that the Apple Pencil will benefit designers, artists and illustrators more than the casual user. Advanced sensors in the Apple Pencil enable it to measure both pressure and tilt when drawing, with the accuracy and precision to draw on a single pixel.
iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, US$169
Another new accessory for the iPad Pro is the Smart Keyboard. It is a cover and a keyboard fused into one. It connects with iPad Pro’s Smart Connector port that powers up a full-sized keyboard and transmits data at the same time. According to Apple, the paper-thin cover can withstand a lifetime of folding.
Pricing & Availability
iPad Pro will hit the stores in November 2015, with the WiFi-only models going for US$799 for 32GB and US$949 for the 128GB. Only the 128 GB model is available for the cellular option and it comes with a price tag of US$1,079. Similar to the iPad Air 2, the iPad Pro will come in silver, gold and space grey colour options.
You can get your copy directly from Apple online store or through any Apple Authorised Reseller.