Tablets has been around for a few years now, but people still don’t take them seriously enough. While there have been a lot of attempts to add productivity to these screen-first
devices, it is only now that they are actually being made more powerful than regular PCs. The Apple iPad Pro and the
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 will try and do everything that a good PC does, may be a tad better, and within their smaller frames. I have used the iPad Pro for well over a week and here is what I thought about this new Apple product.
What’s with the size?
It is really hard to overlook the fact that this is a really large tablet, the type Moses would have been holding on the Mount. It can be a bit intimidating, especially for those who have used a smaller iPad. But that is because we are comparing it to a tablet. And I think Apple is thinking more top down. More in terms of whether this device can actually make you forgo a PC or even a MacBook Air. In that sense, this is a thinner, more comfortable computing device.
Despite its size, the iPad Pro is slim. It comes with a fingerprint scanner that is identical to that on the new iPhones. This device has a stunner of a screen at 2732 x 2048p. And, let me tell you, it has better sound than any of the notebook PCs I have used.
You can’t improve productivity by just improving screen quality or adding more real estate. There is nothing unique or innovative about the new Smart Cover or Pencil, but they like other Apple devices just work out of the box. The keyboard yokes to the iPad and the cover morphs into a holder keeping the screen where it should be.
It takes some time getting used to,especially since it is just half the height of the screen and you don’t have a lot of area to move your fingers. The keys have good travel, but it’s not as comfortable as a MacBook Air’s, at least not initially.
The Pencil is, as the name suggests, built like a pencil. But it doesn’t really feel like one as the body is hard, almost as if it’s carved out of marble. A softer grip would have been better appreciated. This smooth feel also makes it a bit slippery. But like a good AR Rahman song, it will grow on you and you will get used to it.
Helping you along is the fact that this scribbler is super responsive and pressure sensitive. In fact, there is a bit of innovation in its ability to shade with the sides, like you would with a lead pencil. Do remember that both these accessories have to be bought extra and together will cost you around R23,000 more. So, I think the Pencil should strictly be for those who will use the iPad Pro creatively.
Having used an iPad 2 for many years, I can vouch for the fact that the iPad is a very under-rated device when it comes to performance. It is unfailing, as it is unassuming. It is always there when you want it to do something, but we never talk about this bit of the iPad.
But the iPad Pro is different. It is a device that stands apart for being more powerful than any tablet out there, and even most of the PCs. This is the first iPad to allow multitasking in the real sense and you can have your mail and notes running simultaneously on split screens, the kind of scenario I am working on most of the time. The other scenario I find very handy is to take down notes as I am interviewing someone on FaceTime or Skype.
I tried editing raw Full HD and 4K video on the iPad Pro. In the first project, i pulled in about a dozen time-lapse videos I had shot on the iPhone 6s Plus over a period of time and clubbed them into a 2.5-minute video with audio. The entire process of creation, took me around 10 minutes or so, including the time taken to copy the clips using AirDrop. But what really surprised me was the fact that it took under 30 seconds to process the entire clip and render it. The experience was similar with a clip created using 4K video and the iMovies trailer template. Yes, this is the best performing tablet I have used so far.
By the end of the week, I was convinced that this is without doubt the most powerful iPad. My only issue is that the accessories could have been better integrated to the tablet: virtually as well as physically. There should have been someway to yoke the Pencil to the tablet, or at least the covers.
My other issue is size. While it adds to productivity it is also a headache protecting the iPad Pro, especially given the thin frame. And this reinforces my view that this will be a niche device, not for everyone.
I might just stick to the latest iPad as I don’t have all that use for the extra screen space, and am not great with sketching anyway. However, if you are looking for a most portable replacement for the MacBook Air, the iPad Pro is certainly a contender. Also, a great tool for the creative guys, this might interest a lot of writers too. And no, I don’t think the pricing is high. It is meant not as a tablet, but a very productive and portable PC-replacement.
Display: 12.9-inch LED-backlit widescreen
Processor: A9X chip with 64-bit
Operating system: iOS 9
Storage & memory: 32 GB, 128 GB RAM
Camera: 8 MP (rear); 1.2 MP front camera
Connectivity: Wi-Fi & LTE
Weight: 723 grams
Estimated street price: Rs 67,900+