Apple’s iPads are getting a bit like cars. There’s the regular about-town car and also super duper highway racers using high-octane fuel. Apple has made strides to distinguish one from the other.
If you are using an iPad to watch movies, read books and write papers or assignments, the new 9.7-inch regular iPad will do the job perfectly well, as iPads have. It’s like my car that runs on E10 fuel. It gets me everywhere, but it’s no Lamborghini.
But if you use an iPad for more intensive jobs such as image and video editing, or want to use it with keyboard as a powerful laptop replacement, there’s the Pro.
As far as Apple is concerned, the Pros are the Lamborghinis of tablet computers.
But you’ll pay more. At $979, the entry-level 10.5-inch WiFi-only Pro costs more than double the entry-level standard model. At the top end, the price increase is 47 per cent.
If you need the extra grunt, or use an iPad professionally, the larger investment makes sense. If you are a home consumer, while going up-market isn’t necessary, you may be seduced by its power and new bright screen.
The 10.5-inch Pro offers a 20 per cent brightness improvement. That blows out to a 50 per cent increase with the bigger 12.9-inch Pro.
It doesn’t end with brightness. The refresh rates are up to 120Hz, or 120 screen refreshes per second. That equates to very smooth motion when, say, scrolling websites. A feature called ProMotion can reduce the rate depending on your usage. If you’re viewing stills it doesn’t have to be super fast. The speed bump does make the Pro an even better contender for a laptop replacement than last year’s unit. But once you add a keyboard ($75 for a type cover) it is far more expensive than many decently powerful Windows notebooks. Further, you are limited to Apple’s mobile iOS operating system, not the fully blown MacOS or Windows 10.
It’s worth noting that Apple’s type cover again has no backlighting. If you’re in a darkish room trying to write, such as a lecturer theatre, you won’t see the keys.
So why did Apple tweak the size of its Pro iPad from 9.7 inches to 10.5 inches? There’s no clear single answer. A new size means you’ll need a new physical keyboard and apps built for 9.7-inch screens will have to upscale to the 10.5-inch display. That’s until apps natively support 10.5 inches.
The Pro has 12 and 7-megapixel rear and front-facing cameras, shoots 4K video and offers four-speaker audio.
The new iOS 11 brings new functions: a more useful dock, drag and drop, redesigned multi-tasking, better support for Apple Pencil and a new files app. But it isn’t available in Australia until spring. My review Pro runs iOS 10.3.2. Of the highlighted apps, Affinity Photo looks especially interesting. It offers fully fledged photo editing for the recent iPads. Some might complain about its $30.99 cost but if it’s your main photo editing software, it is worth it.
Apple 10.15-inch iPad Pro
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