iPad Pro Reviews Roundup: Blazingly Fast With a More Balanced Design, But Some Face ID and USB-C Quirks

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The first wave of reviews of Apple's redesigned iPad Pro were published this morning. We've collected some of the key takeaways below.

The new upgraded 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models feature edge-to-edge displays that do away with the Home button, slim bezels all the way around, and a TrueDepth camera system that enables Face ID. Apple's new iPad Pro models also work with the Apple Pencil 2 and revamped Smart Keyboards.


On the new iPad Pro design:
[*]Engadget's Chris Velazco:
Apple says this is the iPad it's wanted to build all along, and I'm not surprised. All the horsepower tucked away inside (and there's a lot of it) is more accessible because of this streamlined design, and I don't think I could go back to an iPad that wasn't this trim.
[*]TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino:
The overall aesthetic is much more businesslike and less 'friendly' in that very curvy sort of Apple way. I like it, a lot. The flat edges are pretty clearly done that way to let Apple use more of the interior space without having to cede a few millimeters all the way around the edge to unusable space. In every curved iPad, there's a bit of space all the way around that is pretty much air. Cutting off the chin and forehead of the iPad Pro did a lot to balance the design out and make it more holdable.
On the Liquid Retina display:
[*]iMore's Rene Ritchie:
Apple's doing all the color management and individual color calibration you expect here, so iPad Pro looks dead accurate -- so much so that, like iPhone XR, it can be hard to tell Apple LCD from Apple OLED in anything but the deep blacks and the off-axis. And yeah, that's still impressive.
[*]The Verge's Nilay Patel:
Apple keeps saying the iPad Pro now has an "all screen design" that "goes from edge to edge," but let's just be honest: nothing about these bezels is edge-to-edge. It is, however, an extremely nice 264ppi LCD screen, and I continue to be a fan of Apple's fancy technique to round off the corners of LCDs.

Apart from the corners, the new iPad Pro display is substantially the same as last year's Pro, with Apple's extremely smooth 120Hz ProMotion variable refresh rate system, True Tone automatic color calibration, and wide color support. This is one of the best, most accurate mobile displays you can look at.
On Face ID:
[*]The Wired's Jeffrey Van Camp:
It works well, and doesn't require that cut-out notch on the screen like the iPhone. It's not quirk-free, though. We usually hold our iPhones in a portrait (vertical) orientation because that's just how they fit in our hand. With an iPad like this, you almost always use two hands, and that means there isn't really a "right" or "wrong" way to hold it. From time to time, my hands would sometimes accidentally block the Face ID camera when I held it in landscape (widescreen) orientation. And if I'm lounging around, my face may also be out of view. As I've gotten used to keeping my head in front of the tablet screen, and my hands away from its front-facing camera, Face ID evolved from a hindrance to a helpful, secure aid.
On the second-generation Apple Pencil:[*]iMore's Rene Ritchie:
The new Apple Pencil has the same tip and core technology as the original but just about everything else has changed. There's no cap on the back to lose anymore and no Lightning plug either. It charges inductively now by magnetically piggy-backing right onto the side of the iPad Pro. It uses a series of magnets carefully arranged with alternating poles to force precise alignment and, when it gets it, locks into place with a satisfying, AirPods style thunk.
[*]TechRadar's Gareth Beavis:
We had a few issues with the Pencil. The first is with synchronisation: when it clips on magnetically, it's supposed to pair with the iPad Pro (which ours did) and then be ready to use when removed (which ours did not always do). It also came unclipped easily when the iPad Pro was taken out of a rucksack, with the Pencil slipping off into some dark recess rather often.

There were multiple times when we'd remove it to no result - another connection was needed to get it to work, and we'd have to 'tap to connect'. Not what you'd expect for something that costs $129.
On the USB-C port that replaces a Lightning connector:[*]Pocket-lint's Stuart Miles:
Included in the box is a 18W USB-C charger that means you can charge much faster and if you're a heavy user you'll need it. Using USB-C means you can charge it with your MacBook charger and it also supports reverse charging - so you could use it to charge your iPhone if your battery is low.
[*]The Verge's Nilay Patel:
I tried a handful of USB-C hubs with an assortment of USB-A, HDMI, card readers, and Ethernet ports, and everything worked as intended... other stuff didn't work, though: printers didn't do anything. A Native Instruments Maschine mk3 audio controller sat in silence. A Beyerdynamic USB-C microphone only worked when we used an A-to-C cable plugged into a hub. USB-C is still kind of messy and weird, so you'll just have to try things and see what works for you.

But one extremely important category of devices will definitely not work: iOS does not support external storage. You can plug as many flash drives or hard drives as you want into the iPad Pro's USB-C port, and nothing will happen.
On the iPad Pro's battery life:[*]Mashable's Raymond Wong:
Battery life is also as excellent as on previous iPads. Apple advertises "up to 10 hours" for mixed usage and I got just about exactly that for reading, playing some games, watchings lots of YouTube and Netflix, and typing out some of this review. More intensive apps like Rush CC and iMovie will drain your battery quicker, so keep that in mind. But even still, I still got around 7-8 hours while working with pro-level apps.
On an iPad Pro replacing a laptop computer:
[*]The Wired's Jeffrey Van Camp:
It doesn't feel like the world is ready to treat my iPad as an equal to a PC yet--even if that iPad is a lot more powerful and user friendly. Now that Apple has declared the iPad is a PC, it should take more of the guardrails off of iOS.
The iPad Pro can be purchased from the Apple online store and it will be available in retail locations starting on November 7.

Pricing on the 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for 64GB of storage, with 256GB of storage available for $949, 512GB of storage available for $1149, and 1TB of storage available for $1549. Models with cellular connectivity are available for an additional $150 over the base price for each storage tier.

Article Link: iPad Pro Reviews Roundup: Blazingly Fast With a More Balanced Design, But Some Face ID and USB-C Quirks
 

G5isAlive

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2003
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Will be interesting to see what they do with USBC down the road... I am curious if this will simplify/speed up using an iPad as an external monitor for say a MacBook Pro. And sure would love access to my movies via USBC
 

Sasparilla

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2012
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Looking forward to these - have an Air 2 feeling a little long in tooth.

Hopefully USB-C on the iPhone's next year.

Remember when the latest and greatest iPad started at $499?
Don't want to forget the iPad they released last year. I think that was $329 starting and still is (even lower than the $499, isn't that cool). Awesome for Apple not to forget the lower end price point there. I have a buddy at work that has one, it runs great, he's totally happy with it.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/4/15176510/new-ipad-review-2017-9-7-inch-apple
 
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MrGimper

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Sep 22, 2012
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Andover, UK
Glad others are picking up on the “Bezel-less” and “edge to edge display” BS, like the iPhone X last year. The display is neither of these. In fact, aren’t the long bezels actually thicker than those on the 10.5?

Apple really need to overhaul the iOS experience on iPad in a big big way. Over 8 years on, and it’s still predominantly a “big iPhone” experience.
 

Lershac

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Feb 21, 2008
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Baton Rouge, LA USA
First time I am not sure I will keep this one. I order the newest one with every release, and USB-C and thinner bezels make me wonder if I will like it. I have my most used spots in the house set up with chargers for my phone and iPad... having to add USB-C chargers in those spots is expensive.

And I am bitching about the iPad Pro bezels now. I can’t imagine any slimmer bezels making me happier.
 

Burger Thing

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Jan 7, 2009
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So the usual: great hardware, steadily improved (apart from taking away the headphone jack) but the experience is held back by its software unfortunately.

Reading through the Verge's review:

Quote:

The one thing iOS can do with external storage devices is import photos: if you plug in a camera or a memory card from a camera, iOS 12 will automatically pop open the camera import screen and let you import photos into your camera roll.


That’s it. That is the sole way iOS 12 can address external storage. And to make matters worse, you are required to import to the system camera roll — you can’t import photos directly into an app like Lightroom CC. Apple has to be in the middle.


I use Lightroom CC all the time and I would love to manage and edit all my photos on an iPad Pro, especially since editing with the Apple Pencil is so much fun on this display. But I have no desire to import hundreds of RAW files into my camera roll and iCloud photos account. When I brought this up, Apple very proudly pointed to a new Siri Shortcut from Adobe that imports photos from the camera roll into Lightroom and then automatically deletes them from the camera roll.


EITHER YOU UNDERSTAND IOS SO WELL YOU CAN GET AROUND ITS LIMITATIONS, OR YOU GIVE UP AND USE A REAL COMPUTER

I couldn’t test that Lightroom Siri Shortcut, since it’s not yet available. But I can tell you that macro-based hacks around the limitations of an operating system are not usually included in bold visions of the future of computing, and that Siri Shortcut is a pure hack around the limitations Apple has imposed on the iPad Pro.


Oh, but it gets worse. I shoot photos in JPG+RAW, and the iOS PhotoKit API only allows apps to grab one or the other from the camera roll. So I could only import my RAW images into Lightroom, leaving the JPGs behind to clutter up my camera roll and iCloud storage. That’s untenable, so I just gave up and imported everything directly into Lightroom using my Mac, because my Mac doesn’t insist on abstracting the filesystem away into nonsense.

----

As a hobby photographer I can totally relate to his fundings and share the same sentiments. The iPad. One thing pro about it are its Pro-Frankenstein worklflows. After so many years!
 
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jlc1978

macrumors 68020
Aug 14, 2009
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Quirks? Now we’re getting somewhere!

They look lovely, shame about the pricing.
I agree. They look great but the prices are making me think twice about replacing my Gen 1 Pro.

The one disappointment is the pencil charging method. I found it real convenient to use the adaptor to charge mine from a separate charger and not hang my pencil on the Pro. It also means my lovely Kavja case will not work since it completely covers all the metal and part of the bezel with leather; which might also interfere with the FaceID function.

They aren't show stoppers and probably don't impact most users. Kavja is pretty clever with their designs and maybe they'll include a slot to slide in the pencil.
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The 150USD for cellular connection is a complete ripoff. It cost them pennies....
I see your point but the cost of something has nothing to do with its selling price. That is set by demand; and why Apple can get huge margins while others making similar products can't.
 
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blackcrayon

macrumors 68000
Mar 10, 2003
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Glad others are picking up on the “Bezel-less” and “edge to edge display” BS, like the iPhone X last year. The display is neither of these. In fact, aren’t the long bezels actually thicker than those on the 10.5?

Apple really need to overhaul the iOS experience on iPad in a big big way. Over 8 years on, and it’s still predominantly a “big iPhone” experience.
I don't think too much really needs to be done. Trackpad support for editing while using an external keyboard, and having the Files app/extension allow external storage is really all it needs. The rest is just actually porting Pro software.
 

roland.g

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Apr 11, 2005
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One word: Surface.

You can call the iPad Pro a PC all day long if you want Apple, but it runs iOS and not a full fledged desktop OS. It also doesn’t support a mouse for full I/O.

iOS’s springboard is 10+ years old and even with multitasking improvements, is long in the tooth and due for a major innovative overhaul. But Apple wants us to believe the iPad Pro is a PC replacement running an outdated interface.
 

DNichter

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Apr 27, 2015
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Looks perfect to me. I sold my 10.5 off so I've been slumming it with a Windows PC for the last 2 weeks. I can't wait to get back to using my iPad exclusively. I agree with a lot of assessments that will come though, iOS 13 should bring some pretty big advancements to the iOS for iPad. That doesn't discredit what it is today, but obviously improvements could be made. iPad reminds me of the early OS X days, exciting times ahead.
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One word: Surface.

You can call the iPad Pro a PC all day long if you want Apple, but it runs iOS and not a full fledged desktop OS. It also doesn’t support a mouse for full I/O.

iOS’s springboard is 10+ years old and even with multitasking improvements, is long in the tooth and due for a major innovative overhaul. But Apple wants us to believe the iPad Pro is a PC replacement running an outdated interface.
There have been plenty of Windows laptops around for years. I am not sure what makes the Surface so special. From everything I have read, they are terrible from a hardware perspective, run a non-touch friendly OS (so it's the same as any cheap Windows laptop), and the battery life is terrible. I don't see the appeal.
 

Mr. Dee

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Dec 4, 2003
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I have found myself using my iPad Pro way more than my MacBook Pro. Its just such a focused device; it seems to intentionally removes distraction and you really get work done or consume what you are supposed to be consuming. If iOS 13 offers a familiar desktop experience like macOS, I suspect it will take the iPad Pro's ironically productive benefit and move it into a very complex future. Hopefully Apple can do it in a balanced way.
 

DNichter

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Apr 27, 2015
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"You can plug as many flash drives or hard drives as you want into the iPad Pro's USB-C port, and nothing will happen."

I love Apple products, all of them, but this seems to be a pain in the butt limitation.

No yelling please guys, I am indeed an :apple: fan :)
I think that's fair, I just haven't used USB drives in years. I use cloud services/NAS or have gotten used to just using AirDrop or sending a file any other way wirelessly.
 

tridley68

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Aug 28, 2014
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My 12.9 pro 256Gb is showing still processing hopefully it will ship soon hoping for delivery this weekend fingers crossed.