As I do with all things Apple, I purchase, review and keep only what I intend to use as an everyday piece of technology. Yesterday, I bought the new iPad Pro (128GB WiFi) for testing and review purposes. 24 hours later, here is my take…
- Display. The 13 inch display is big and great for viewing just about anything in a larger footprint format. If you like watching videos on a somewhat portable device, the iPad Pro gives you something larger to look at. Pictures too are a delight to work on and look at on the larger Retina display.
- Speakers. The built-in 4 corner stereo speakers deliver much-much superior, louder, and base-like sound compared to my iPad Air2 or iPhone 6S Plus, but still nowhere near the sound quality of say a connected Bose SoundLink or AirPlay to a home theatre system.
- Keyboard. The larger display affords a larger onscreen keyboard that makes typing a bit less cramped. The size is nearly identical to the keyboard of MacBook.
That’s it for the pros. Now for the cons.
- Size! The iPad is intended to be a mobile device which the iPad Mini and iPad Air2 clearly still are. The iPad Pro, however, is NOT a mobile device in the same category as the previous models. The Pro is NOT a device you can manipulate or cuddle-up with as easily as its earlier sibling models. And with size comes weight, double that of an iPad Air2, and while that may not an issue sitting in your lap, it’s certainly not a device you are going to hold in your hands for any significant period of time. Think too about sitting on an airplane; the Pro is not a device airlines are going to allow you to keep using during takeoff and landing the way they allow with smaller devices. And forget about having any space on your chair-back table for a drink, food…etc.
- Functionality. The Pro is intended to be a device people will use for business purposes. Depends what kind of business. Maybe healthcare workers looking at X-Rays, but If it’s typical office work including using Word, Excel, Power Point, Graphic Design, Video Editing…etc., forget it. That is work that is much-much-much better performed in OSX on a Mac, and, trying to perform that kind of work for any significant length of time without a mouse or a trackpad would be hugely inconvenient.
- Multitasking. The idea that you can perform split-screen work on an iPad is not very practical. I’ve had this option available to me on my iPad Air2 since iOS 9 which I have scarcely used. I can’t see myself using it to any greater extent on the Pro.
- Eye travel. Like sitting too close to a movie screen in a theatre, there is an ideal balance or ratio of size and distance that makes viewing comfortable in terms of eye travel versus having to twist your neck. My 27″ iMac that I use for work is also attached to a second 32″ inch monitor that I use in extended mode for viewing large datasets when I am analyzing research data and writing reports in Word and PowerPoint. Even sitting as far away as I do in that setup, I still occasionally feel the strain of having to move my head so much when I want to quickly glance at something. The iPad Pro causes some of the same sensation when it’s positioned on your lap only a foot or so away from your eyes.
- No 3D Touch. One of the best new features of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus (in addition to the much improved camera) is 3D Touch which is the near-equivalent of a right-click of a mouse. While the iPad Pro has an optional 3D type stylus, missing is the finger sensitive 3D pressure touch found in the latest iPhones.
- Technical specifications. If you do a side-by-side comparison between the iPad Pro and the iPad Air2 the only difference (besides the larger screen and better speakers) is the faster A9 chip. Other characteristics such as camera, screen resolution, battery life, and numerous other specifications are identical where one might have expected similar upgrades as found in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
The iPad Pro is an impressive piece of technology and will have its niche users, but for me it was a novelty that lasted less than 24 hours and is not, in my view, worth the $1,000 upgrade cost assuming the Air2 can be sold on Kijiji for ~$600.
More to the point, the iPad Pro is ill-suited to its intended multipurpose design. It’s simply too big to be a mobile device by today’s standards, and greater size alone in an iOS device like the Pro is not a suitable or practical replacement for work better suited on OSX devices and applications such as the MacBook or iMac. Simply slapping on the $229 optional keypad cover, a laptop does not make! For less cost, a far better suited MacBook can be had.
As with the Apple Watch and the new Apple TV, Apple has missed the mark with the iPad Pro. At least for this particular Apple fanboy. I can think of 2 or 3 things Apple could have, and should have, done better with the same product development costs as went into these 3 latest devices. Tim Cook, you know how to reach me.
But thank you Apple for letting me buy the unit one day and return in the next for the purposes of testing and review.