When it arrived in the big box from T-Mobile, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the iPad Pro. I mean, I’d seen the announcement, and I’d looked at the press info that Apple had sent out, but that doesn’t really give you an idea of the look and feel of something until you hold it. So when I held it, the first thing I felt was its size.
The iPad Pro is big. The 12.9-inch screen is as big as on some laptops that take up a lot more desktop space. The actual display area of the iPad Pro’s screen is slightly smaller than the one on my Lenovo ThinkPad T-430, but the difference is small. The size means it’s easy to read documents and emails without strain and you can actually read the material in both sides of the split screen when you start multitasking.
Multitasking has worked on the iPad for a little while now, but with the larger screen it’s far more useful. I can, for example, open a chart for navigation on half the screen and the weather in the area that I’m flying through on the other half. I could have done this before, but now each of the split screen halves is about as large as the full screen would have been on the older iPads.
Of course, you also can do more prosaic things such as opening a Microsoft Word document in part of the screen, and your email in the other part, which is something I do frequently and which hasn’t been very useful on an iPad until now.
The additional screen size has some other useful aspects as well, some of which may seem minor, but that will matter a lot to some users. For example, when you create a folder with several apps on the new iPad, you can see 16 apps in the first page of the folder, versus nine on the smaller iPads.
This economy of space doesn’t extend to the main screen, unfortunately, so you can only see a four by five grid of icons on the screen, despite the fact that the larger screen clearly could hold more.
By now you’ve noticed that I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing the size of the iPad Pro because that’s the most obvious difference between this tablet and all the other iPad models.
But there are other differences that you would expect with any new Apple device. For one thing, it’s much faster than previous iPads, nearly twice as fast, according to Apple. The display is better than HD at 2732 x 2048 pixels, with a 264 dot per-inch resolution.
That big, very high-resolution screen means images are clear and easy to read. Photos appear in their native resolution most of the time.
Apple iPad Pro Features Make It an Effective Enterprise Work Horse
All of that screen real estate means that this tablet needs plenty of battery power, and it gets it with the 38.5 watt-hour battery.
Apple says the iPad Pro will last 10 hours in normal use and my experience confirms that. I did not notice that using the cellular connection versus WiFi had a negative effect on battery life. There’s a 12-Watt charger to keep that battery topped off.
I ordered the T-Mobile version of the iPad Pro, but it appears that all U.S. versions of this tablet are identical and you can change your carrier just by swapping out the SIM card. Apple also offers its own SIM that allows you to use any carrier that supports the tablet and change carriers when you wish, but I didn’t test that feature.
There’s no question that using this much larger iPad takes some getting used to. It’s big, and in some cases you may be more comfortable keeping it on your desk or in your lap, but it’s actually not all that heavy. In fact, the weight of this iPad is nearly identical to the original version of the iPad. You will have to adjust to making larger movements as you use the touchscreen, but the change is intuitive.
However, some things are better when they’re larger. The larger on-screen keyboard on the iPad Pro is much easier to use and while it’s not quite like typing on something with real keys, it’s much easier than typing on, say, an iPhone. Thumb-typing on the iPad Pro in its portrait orientation also takes a little getting used to, but again, it’s just a matter of familiarization. I had no trouble once I got used to it.
Apple makes a dedicated keyboard and a stylus for the iPad Pro that’s supposed to make it into a laptop replacement. However, neither was available when I bought the iPad. Apple also makes the Smart Cover for the iPad and it’s just like the smart covers for earlier versions that attached to the side magnetically. It works well and folds back to form a support for the tablet. This allows you to prop up the iPad for movie watching, or turned the other way, at a slight angle for typing.
The Smart Cover has the advantage of not adding to the bulk or thickness of the iPad Pro while still protecting the screen. Unless you really need the keyboard, the arrangement is entirely adequate. I’ll still test the keyboard and stylus when I can get them, but they’re not necessary to use this tablet productively.
I found the iPad Pro to be a great addition to working on the go. I probably wouldn’t use it to write a book, but it sure is good enough for most other uses. It seems to be a real winner.