Why the 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Works as a MacBook Air Replacement

1 - Why the 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Works as a MacBook Air Replacement
2 - The Display Is Outstanding
3 - I'm Really Not Missing OS X
4 - This Is One Powerful Tablet
5 - The Smart Keyboard Takes Some Getting Used To
6 - Apple Pencil Just Feels Great and Works Well
7 - Looking for More From iOS 9.3
8 - The Cameras Work Fine, but Are Far From a Top Feature
9 - It Won't Win Awards for Portability
10 - There Aren't Enough Optimized Apps
11 - So, Is iPad Pro Worth the Price?
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Why the 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Works as a MacBook Air Replacement

Can the 12.9-inch iPad Pro work as a MacBook Air replacement? Here's what makes Apple's larger slate a worthy buy for both enterprise users and consumers.

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The Display Is Outstanding

Every time I power on my iPad Pro, I'm impressed by its display. The colors are vibrant, movies are crystal clear, and HD content that looks great on my television looks even better on my iPad Pro. In addition, the touch screen is responsive to both touch and the tip of the Apple Pencil, and I experienced little to no lag when tapping around the display. One more thing: Its 12.9-inch screen size is perfect.

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I'm Really Not Missing OS X

Although some have complained that a larger-screen tablet should come with a desktop operating system, I don't find myself missing OS X. Apple has done a fine job of getting developers to bring their apps to iOS. Thanks to the iPad Pro's big display, I'm just as productive on my new tablet as I was on the MacBook Air I was previously using. I just don't see how OS X would make the experience of using the iPad Pro significantly better.

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This Is One Powerful Tablet

When Apple announced the iPad Pro, the company said it would be powerful. It wasn't exaggerating. I put the device to the test by comparing its ability to handle games, resource-intensive apps and Internet browsing against both a Windows 10-based notebook and my MacBook Air. In both cases, the iPad Pro performed exceedingly well, topping its competitors in responsiveness and graphics performance. Granted, the iPad Pro is a new device and I didn't perform benchmark tests, but its ability to handle resource-heavy apps with ease was impressive.

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The Smart Keyboard Takes Some Getting Used To

The Smart Keyboard is bit of a mixed bag. For one, it acts as a cover for the screen, but it doesn't protect the back of the iPad Pro when it's set down on a flat surface and closed. In addition, Apple has plugged so many magnets into the device's hinges that it can take a little time to figure out the proper configuration to use as a stand so you can start typing. In general, the typing experience is solid, though the keys are a little cramped, causing someone with big hands like myself to have some trouble getting used to it. Eventually, though, I got the hang of typing on the Smart Keyboard and found the keys to be responsive.

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Apple Pencil Just Feels Great and Works Well

Apple Pencil is arguably the best accessory I've ever used. The device is slender, but heavy enough to feel like a high-end product in my hand. It can be used to control iOS, and its responsiveness to both light and hard touches is excellent. The Apple Pencil's shading is an outstanding feature that cannot be overlooked. In fact, there isn't much that should be overlooked in the Apple Pencil: The device is simply a must-have for any iPad Pro owner.

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Looking for More From iOS 9.3

I'm currently running iOS 9.3 on the iPad Pro. Although the operating system comes with some enhancements to accommodate the device's big screen, like the ability to see multiple apps at once, there's nothing all that special, besides Apple Pencil support, about the iOS 9 experience on the iPad Pro. Hopefully when Apple announces iOS 10 later this year, the company will deliver far more iPad Pro-only features.

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The Cameras Work Fine, but Are Far From a Top Feature

Overall, I'd say that the cameras built into the iPad Pro are just fine, but not groundbreaking. While I was able to snap some nice photos with the rear-facing camera and video footage was visually appealing, I found it difficult to hold up such a big device and capture content. The front-facing camera, which is far more useful on a big tablet, is a bit of a disappointment. In fact, one could argue that an enterprise-focused, big-screen slate should have a better front-facing camera than a rear-facing camera. Unfortunately, this one doesn't.

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It Won't Win Awards for Portability

This might sound obvious, but it needs to be said: The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the least mobile-friendly tablet Apple sells. The device is downright huge and can be difficult to stuff into bags or purses that can typically accommodate smaller iPads. In addition, the iPad Pro is surprisingly heavy and, after lugging it around in a bag all day, can start to cause some fatigue (unless I should hit the gym more).

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There Aren't Enough Optimized Apps

There are a surprisingly small number of apps optimized for the iPad Pro. While technically any iOS app will work with the tablet, there are precious few that take advantage of Apple Pencil and can recognize the big screen to deliver something special. Apple says more iPad Pro-optimized apps are coming. Let's hope it happens soon.

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So, Is iPad Pro Worth the Price?

The iPad Pro I bought goes for $1,079, making it far more expensive than most other tablets and some PCs. Still, the device is worth the price. The iPad Pro has become my iPad and notebook in one. And the combination of Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard makes it even more appealing. The iPad Pro is versatile and impressive. I'm happy I bought it and don't see myself looking to buy an Apple notebook anytime soon. After all, I already have a better alternative in the iPad Pro.

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