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Few things whip the tech world into a frenzy quite so much as the prospect of new Apple offerings and this year proved no exception with the launch of the third generation iPad Pro.
Unveiled on October 30, this year’s iPad Pro abandons the Home button, comes in two different sizes and offers a slew of changes on the previous model, with Apple touting it as the “iPad they’ve always wanted to make”.
So, let’s take a bite out of the Apple product that is the new iPad Pro.
Apple promised some big changes to their professional grade iPad and 2018 is the year they deliver.
Head of Hardware and Engineering John Ternus states the innovation in the iPad Pro “marks the biggest change since the original iPad” and Apple has “made it better in every possible way”.
“It’s going to push what you can do on iPad or on any computer even further,” Head of Apple, Tim Cook adds.
The new generation iPad Pro offers an edge-to-edge screen, magnets for docking the Apple Pencil and a USB-C connection so those “creative types” can plug and play a full array of devices.
It’s also lost a few features along the way. Gone is the Home button, which is now replaced by gestures, and there is no headphone jack, with wireless headphones now the go.
Some serious size has also been shaved off in the creation of this product, with the profile of the iPad Pro a much slimmer 5.9mm.
Make no mistake, the iPad Pro 2018 is all about the screen. Apple has shed the Home button, reduced the bezel size and introduced rounded screen corners to offer a screen that comes mighty close to taking up the entire face of the tablet.
Heralding it as “edge-to-edge” and “top to bottom”, Ternus notes it’s an LCD screen with “Liquid retina display”, Wide Color, True Tone, and ProMotion that supports an all-new Apple Pencil.
“It’s the most accurate, responsive and beautiful display we’ve ever made,” he proclaims.
To achieve an edge-to-edge screen, Apple has honoured the predictions of many tech prophets and removed the iconic Home button.
Instead, iPad Pro users will utilise the same gestures as required for the iPhone 10, sweeping and swiping their way through apps and operations.
Meanwhile, unlocking the device will come down to…you guessed it – FaceID.
FaceID is driven by a TruDepth camera that required a little rethinking on Apple’s behalf. In order to tuck it away in a greatly reduced bezel area, they re-engineered the camera.
Now they note it enables “Intuitive, seamless authentication” and greater security, allowing users to unlock their iPad, log in, and also make payments with a simple glance.
In the world of tablets, size definitely matters, and the iPad Pro line-up now features an 11-inch model to replace the 10.5-inch.
Effectively, what users receive is an iPad that’s the same dimensions as the 10.5, but with a larger screen.
Ternus notes the 11-inch pushes the pixel count up by a quarter of a million to 3.98 million pixels or 264ppi.
Meanwhile, in the 12.9-inch they’ve gone the opposite way, shaving a little off the dimensions to fit it to the 12.9-inch screen.
“It’s the same large screen experience in a much more portable package,” Ternus says, explaining the new model is smaller, 15 per cent thinner, with 25 per cent less volume, making it “the ultimate iPad”.
Powering the all-new Pro is some serious hardware. Apple has introduced a A12X Bionic processor, which Ternus describes as “a monster”.
“It offers a huge jump in both performance and energy efficiency,” he states.
In terms of stat’s, it features more than 10 billion transistors and an eight-core Central Processing Unit.
Apple claims that makes the Pro faster than any Corei7 portable computer.
In addition, they’ve beefed up the graphics processors to achieve graphics that are now one thousand times faster than original iPads.
And they maintain it still offers all-day battery life of 10 hours.
The biggest addition to the iPad Pro is a USB-C port instead of the Lightning charger. This allows users to connect other devices to the Pro such as digital cameras and external screens.
As an extra bonus, the USB-C port can also be used to “charge out”, so now you can charge your iPhone off your iPad.
They’ve also found a whole new way to secure the Apple Pencil, installing 100 magnets within the Pro so the pencil sticks to the edge of the tablet and can’t be shaken loose. The moment the Pencil is adhered to the tablet it starts to charge.
In a fun fact, that little magnetic innovation is now seeing iPad Pro users repurposing their Pros as very expensive fridge magnets that they can access on-the-go.
Meanwhile, a new smart keyboard case is another accessory available with the Pro. It also accesses the magnets, doesn’t require pairing or batteries and charges on-the-go.
The “Smart Keyboard Folio”, as it’s known, offers two screen positions, with one designed for desk work and one for using the Pro on your lap.
Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch Pros are available in four storage options – 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, with a starting price of USD $799 or AUD $1229 for the 11-inch and USD $999 or AUD$1529 for the 12.9.
The pencil and the keyboard folio are not included in that price and will set users back a whole lot more. The pencil retails for USD $129 (AUD $199), while the keyboard is USD $179 (AUD $269) for the 11-inch compatible and USD$199 (AUD $299) for the 12.9-inch number.
Surprisingly, for all its fanfare, the iPad Pro 2018 has received somewhat mixed reviews, TechRadar notes it’s an “incredible tablet…if you know how to use it”, but is no replacement for a laptop when it comes to major tasks.
They also baulk at the price tag, especially with the pencil and smart keyboard set to add a hefty additional expense to the package. That, combined with the absence of a headphone jack, means many people will be forking out a whole lot more than just the cost of the tablet, with Bluetooth headphones or earbuds also required.
Meanwhile, CNET also notes it’s a “beautiful pricey powerhouse, if you can live within its limits”.
In terms of the positives, CNET concludes it “offers a gorgeous new all-screen design, Face ID and scary-fast performance while the new pencil is a huge step forward in terms of design and charging”.
But again, they note the price, especially as the keyboard case and pencil are optional extras.
“None of your old iPad accessories will work, including the pencil. The headphone jack is gone, and its single USB-C port won’t pay dividends until more compatible accessories arrive,” they state.
The Apple iPad Pro arrived in stores on November 7.