10 Features That Make the iPad Pro an Attractive Hybrid Alternative
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Apple's efforts to attract corporate users and compete with two-in-one hybrids have been left to the iPad Pro. The company's tablet, which is available in different sizes and storage choices, has the power of a notebook and the functionality that those seeking hybrids might want. Better yet, the iPad Pro is getting some updates in iOS 11 that should make it feel far more like a traditional notebook than a tablet. So perhaps now is a good time to consider buying an iPad Pro. Thanks to the device's stellar design, its outstanding functionality and now, better software, buying an iPad Pro seems like a much better idea than it has in the past. This eWEEK slide show explains why.
There Are Two Options to Consider
Apple is selling two iPad Pro versions. One, which is the newer of the bunch, comes with a 10.5-inch screen and is available in WiFi-only and WiFi-and-cellular versions. The 12.9-inch model also comes with both WiFi and WiFi-and-cellular models. Since it's a bit bigger, the 12.9-inch version weighs a bit more, tipping the scales at 1.49 pounds and 1.53 pounds for the WiFi and WiFi-and-cellular options, respectively. The smaller iPads weight 1.03 pounds and 1.05 pounds depending on the connectivity option users pick.
What to Know About iOS 10
Those who buy the iPad Pro now will get their hands on iOS 10, an operating system that has been available since the fall of 2016. The platform has been generally well-received in the corporate world, thanks to a nice design and ample security for most users. It also supports millions of apps, which make it far more appealing and useful for corporate users.
The iOS 11 Upgrade
Perhaps most importantly, Apple is planning to update its mobile operating system, with iOS 11 coming this year. While it will come with new features and design tweaks for all iOS users, it will also have some iPad Pro-only features, including the ability to activate a wider virtual keyboard. Plus, Apple's iOS 11 will boast enhanced multi-window support and better multitasking for getting work done. Best of all, it features a Files app to allow for better folder and file management.
The All-Important Apple Pencil
Apple's iPad Pro is differentiated in the company's product lineup by its Apple Pencil stylus. The feature allows users to draw and write on the screen, as well as annotate on PDFs and other key documents. Updates to iOS 11 have made Apple Pencil support even better and more responsive, according to the company, making the iPad Pro even more appealing.
A Hybrid Replacement?
Apple has pitched the iPad Pro as a suitable replacement to traditional hybrids that users can transition from notebooks to tablets on the fly. Apple argues the iPad Pro can do it just as well—and perhaps even offer more power than you'd find in some low-end notebooks. Apple achieves thanks to an accessory, called the Smart Keyboard, that acts both as a cover and a physical keyboard for the device. Users simply attach the Smart Keyboard to the iPad Pro, and the software immediately recognizes that and works like a clamshell computer. It's a nice alternative to traditional hybrids.
Apple's Solid Power Experience
Apple's iPad Pro comes with surprising power, thanks to the device's A10X Fusion chip. The processor is built on 64-bit architecture and, according to Apple, is "more powerful than most PC laptops." Apple doesn't reveal much about the component's specs but says it can be used with ease with resource-intensive apps, like 3D modeling programs or video-rendering software. It's also power-efficient and can last 10 hours on a single charge.
iPad Pro's Design Is a Winner
When it comes to buying hybrids for the office, design matters greatly. And on that front, the iPad Pro is awfully attractive. The thickest of the iPad Pro models, the 12.9-inch version, is just 0.27 inches thick and its weight tops out at 1.5 pounds. Apple has also reduced the bezel around the screen to make it narrower than most PCs, and it's easy to slip into a purse or bag. Ultimately, the iPad Pro's design can match, if not top, many hybrid competitors.
Apple Integration Matters
Apple has done a fine job over the years integrating its platforms and services, effectively creating a scenario in which companies that leverage its services throughout the office can get more out of an iPad Pro. For instance, the same corporate-designed apps that run on the iPhone can run on the iPad Pro. Plus, a feature called Continuity enables users to start doing work on one Apple device and move to another. If a company is heavily leveraged in Apple's universe, in other words, the iPad Pro is even more attractive.
Remember the Security Experience
From a security perspective, the iPad Pro might be a great bet. Apple's iOS is generally believed to be one of the more secure operating systems in the world, offering protection from malware and other potentially risky threats. Additionally, the iPad Pro comes with support for the company's Touch ID feature for fingerprint access to the device and its built-in apps.
Is the iPad Pro Worth Its Price Tag?
This being Apple, it's perhaps no surprise that the iPad Pro isn't cheap. But Apple argues it's delivering a great value by offering two features—a notebook and a tablet—in one. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro starts at $649, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for 64GB of storage and WiFi-only connectivity. Those who want up to 512GB of space and cellular connectivity will pay substantially more. The top-of-the-line iPad Pro, for instance, costs $1,229.