Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

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Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying.


When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but with one important distinction -- a new square-shaped camera bump that accommodates a new camera setup.


There's a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 10-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera, which, notably, is not the same as the 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera that's in the iPhone 11 Pro, though it's very similar when it comes to image quality.

Along with the two cameras, there's a new LiDAR Scanner, which is meant to add some pretty nifty new AR capabilities. The LiDAR Scanner uses reflected light to measure the distance from the sensor to surrounding objects up to five meters away, indoors and outdoors. It can basically create a more complete and detailed understanding of a scene and what's around you, which is useful for AR.


There are some improvements you'll see immediately in AR apps like people occlusion and better motion capture, but right now, there aren't a lot of AR apps that can take full advantage of the LiDAR Scanner. We'll have to wait to get a more complete picture of what it does, and we can also expect this same technology in next-generation iPhones.


The cameras look great, and are basically equivalent to what you're going to get with the iPhone, but improved camera capabilities may not be what most people are looking for in an iPad as it's not the easiest device to capture images and video with.

Though there are two cameras, there's still no rear portrait mode, which is something to be aware of. The front-facing TrueDepth camera system hasn't changed and it's still 7-megapixels.


Along with the new square-shaped camera bump, the iPad Pro comes with an upgraded A12Z Bionic chip. It's an improvement over the A12X in the previous-generation iPad Pro, but only when it comes to GPU performance. CPU performance is just about the same based on Geekbench tests, though there's an 8-core GPU instead of a 7-core GPU, so there are some modest performance gains.

The processor in the 2018 iPad Pro was powerful enough for gaming, 3D rendering, video editing, and other intensive tasks, and the 2020 iPad Pro is just as capable, though not really more capable. Base RAM in the new iPad Pro has been bumped up, though, and all models now ship with 6GB RAM. In 2018, only the iPad Pro models with 1TB of storage had 6GB RAM, while others had 4GB.


Apple's 2020 iPad Pro models also have more LTE bands, which is great if you're traveling, and they're WiFi 6 compatible, ideal for future proofing. WiFi 6 isn't widely used yet, but it may be much more widespread in a few years.

There are also now five studio quality microphones, and audio recorded with the new iPad Pro sounds great.

In May, Apple will release the new Magic Keyboard that's compatible with 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models, bringing trackpad functionality. Trackpad and mouse support on the iPad Pro is great so far in our testing, but it's not an iPad Pro specific feature and so isn't a key reason to purchase one of the upgraded tablets.


Given the minor upgrades in the 2020 iPad Pro models, it's not worth picking up one tablets if you've already got a 2018 iPad Pro. Sure, there's a better AR experience, but as of right now, with no AR apps taking advantage of it, it's not a major selling point.

If you have an older iPad model and are thinking of upgrading to an iPad Pro, the 11 and 12.9-inch 2020 iPad Pro models are an excellent choice and are more than powerful enough to replace a computer. And with the upcoming Magic Keyboard and the built-in trackpad support, they're also much more capable of serving as a Mac replacement.

What do you think of the new 2020 iPad Pro? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro
 
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Seoras

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2007
405
611
Scotsman in New Zealand
I'd held off buying a refurbished Pro 11" but now I'm wondering why?
Ordered the new Pro 11" last week, still hasn't shipped.
Does anyone know if the cameras on this new Pro has the same night time photography ability as the iPhone 11?
 

jase1125

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2014
262
314
Texas
Personally, I have not found a compelling reason to upgrade from my 10.5” iPad Pro. I was thinking I would upgrade this year, but with the minor graphics performance bump I will just continue on with my 10.5. Quite surprised they didn’t do essentially anything with the CPU.
 

calzon65

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
815
2,697
Sure there are some additions/improvements compared to the 2018 model, but from 2018 vs 2020 benchmarks in a previous MacRumors story, the performance increase is insignificant. After two years, there should have been a greater performance increase.
 

Digital Dude

macrumors 6502a
Even after several years of military gunfire and associated ear damage, I noticed a slightly enhanced bass response in your voice. Anywho, I went ahead and ordered the new 12.9 Pro w/1TB to replace my 2014 iPad Air. The upcoming Magic keyboard w/integrated TP was the deciding factor. It's a pricey little bastard with the Pen2, Magic KB, and no-brainer AppleCare; it quickly becomes a $2.5k travel-tool 💸

Sidebar: If Apple were to upgrade Siri to be as good as Alexia or Hey Google, this would be a fantastic ensemble.
 
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Falhófnir

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2017
4,227
4,618
Continuing complaints about this being a non-upgrade with the CPU, but I think that's the wrong way to think about this. If mini LED isn't ready until late this year they had 2 options, one they just wait, and people complain they need a new iPad now, but don't want one that's approaching 2 years old, or two they do this refresh, giving people who need an iPad now quite a few new features and enhancements before the new model debuts at the end of this year (high end 12.9") and/ or rolls out fully this time next year. It's a solid release. More graphics power, 6GB RAM, already plentiful CPU power, base storage bump, LiDAR and wide angle camera systems and stereo sound recording. If you were happy to buy the 2018s a few months ago, no reason you shouldn't be even more happy to buy these now?
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
6,942
2,836
Seattle, WA
Jason Snell noted one of the more likely reasons to launch a refreshed iPad Pro now and a more significant update later this year is for the AR capability so that Apple can talk about AR during WWDC and developers can start working with it now without having to wait for the iPhone 12 Pro (and which may be delayed past late September).

The A12X was already a beast of a CPU, so the immediate need for "more powah!" (to quote Jeremy Clarkson) is not really necessary. Jason Snell also thinks that Apple might use the iPad Pro as the platform to test "macOS ARM Edition" which could explain the boost in memory from 4GB to 6GB (or perhaps the AR sensor needs more RAM to work with).

As Falhófnir noted, it's a nice update to the 2018 line for those that do not already have a 2018 model. The Late 2020 model will be the one for those, like myself, who do have a 2018 model (as we'll be at the two-year mark).


Macrumors you didn’t mention the screen once. Don’t you think the most visible feature should be touched upon? Is there any difference to the 2018?
Per 9to5Mac, the displays are identical to the 2018 models. Have to wait till this Fall for an upgraded display (assuming the miniLED rumors are true).
 

alexanderkilts

macrumors member
Dec 31, 2016
30
49
North Carolina, USA
How is the FaceID on the iPad? Would someone who finds it a giant step backwards on the iPhone (enough so that it's a dealbreaker for future phone purchases) be okay with it?

I've been wanting a Pro model for some time, but I fear they'll never implement a version of TouchID again. And I wonder if the fact that one picks up a tablet fewer times per day than a phone would make a difference in tolerance.
 

jmgregory1

macrumors 68000
How is the FaceID on the iPad? Would someone who finds it a giant step backwards on the iPhone (enough so that it's a dealbreaker for future phone purchases) be okay with it?

I've been wanting a Pro model for some time, but I fear they'll never implement a version of TouchID again. And I wonder if the fact that one picks up a tablet fewer times per day than a phone would make a difference in tolerance.
FaceID is even easier on the iPad Pro’s, given it works in both vertical and horizontal orientations. And now with trackpad support, you can simply swipe on the trackpad and get to your home screen.
 

cambookpro

macrumors 604
Feb 3, 2010
6,524
1,982
United Kingdom
Personally, I have not found a compelling reason to upgrade from my 10.5” iPad Pro. I was thinking I would upgrade this year, but with the minor graphics performance bump I will just continue on with my 10.5. Quite surprised they didn’t do essentially anything with the CPU.
Waiting until WWDC to hear if there is any news on Xcode for iPad or not. Would love to retire my 2013 MBP and 10.5 iPad Pro and move to just the 12.9in + new Magic Keyboard.
Agree with both of these. My 10.5” is still so compelling as it still handles all the software extremely smoothly - even multitasking with “heavy” apps (for iPadOS at least), there is no slowdown.

If Xcode did come to the iPad, I think I’d change my current setup of 2016 13” MBP with LG Ultrafine and 10.5” iPad to a new iPad plus a base Mac mini when my Mac dies. I’m finding myself reaching for the iPad over the Mac for a lot more tasks now, but Xcode is the big hurdle.
 

GadgetBen

macrumors 65816
Jul 8, 2015
1,217
1,916
London
The problem is, I occasionally set out to work on my iPad for the day. But you end up getting frustrated, a lot of websites still treat the device as a mobile, even if you request the desktop page.
 

iDento

macrumors 6502
Sep 8, 2011
423
455
iCloud Servers
How is the FaceID on the iPad? Would someone who finds it a giant step backwards on the iPhone (enough so that it's a dealbreaker for future phone purchases) be okay with it?

I've been wanting a Pro model for some time, but I fear they'll never implement a version of TouchID again. And I wonder if the fact that one picks up a tablet fewer times per day than a phone would make a difference in tolerance.
It works like magic, I don’t Really like it in my iPhone. With the iPad it works faster and even when the iPad isn’t too close to my face which I think is odd but great.
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The problem is, I occasionally set out to work on my iPad for the day. But you end up getting frustrated, a lot of websites still treat the device as a mobile, even if you request the desktop page.
It automatically request desktop websites since iOS 13.
 

HappyMBAowner

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2015
79
79
Quebec
I always enjoy your videos. As you asked, I don't hear any difference in the sound quality of the microphones. I'm still using a MBA 2013 and eventually, I will either switch to an iPad pro, or a new MBA or MB pro. So far, the prices of the iPad pros are still too much for what you get, compared to a MBA of MB pro. I'm still using my keyboard a lot and will do so for the rest of my life because it's quicker. Or I think it's quicker. Yet, I compare my old MBA (still very functional for my needs) to my current iPad (sixth gen). I would like to have only one device (MBA/MB pro or iPad pro), but so far, there are still functions not available on iPads (LogicProx for example). I'm using my iPad a lot for music scores and I'm highly tempted with the iPad pro 12 inches because the scores would be easier to read. But still, paying $2000 for an iPad pro with the keyboard and AppleCare, even if my scores would look fantastic on an iPad pro, I still don't get all the functionalities to access pro software on the iPad pro. Any thoughts anyone?
- - Post merged: - -

Yes... that is very annoying.
 
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mihike

macrumors member
Mar 30, 2016
38
23
How is the FaceID on the iPad? Would someone who finds it a giant step backwards on the iPhone (enough so that it's a dealbreaker for future phone purchases) be okay with it?
Concerned a bit about the same, but have you tried FaceID on a newer iPhone? I despised it on my X, but on my 11 I rarely find it annoying. Still a little concerned about it on an iPad since I often have it at quite an angle, and I'm always skeptical about people saying it's just fine since so many said that about the X...
 
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