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Apple’s new iPad Pro is the company’s most impressive tablet to date. Its enormous display offers stunning images and video, its audio is the best I’ve ever heard on a tablet, and it has plenty of power under the hood that offers laptop functionality, albeit on a limited basis.
A new iPad’s screen has to truly excel, and the iPad Pro’s 12.9- inch Retina display doesn’t disappoint. With 78 per cent more viewing area than the iPad Air 2, coupled with the same 264-pixel density of its smaller cousin, the iPad Pro is a quite brilliant media viewer, making movies like The Grand Budapest Hotel a treat to watch.
However, such a grand experience is only partly down to the display. The real surprise with the iPad Pro is its superior speakers, offering an immersive and brilliantly balanced sound with no hint of the tininess of previous Apple tablets, laptops and smartphones.
So movies and music are great. But Apple wants you to use it as a work device as well, with the launch of a smart keyboard case akin to that of the Microsoft Surface Pro.
While Apple’s own keyboard case is well designed and pleasant enough for light use, it doesn’t feel robust enough for the kind of heavy duty typing involved in a day’s work.
Luckily Logitech’s Create Keyboard case (which we weren’t able to test) is by all reports a far more satisfying beast, and it’s also easy to hook up a free-standing Bluetooth keyboard, as I did when writing this review.
With a proper keyboard, the iPad Pro is not a bad laptop replacement, if you’re mainly using it for word processing; its A9X processor offers plenty of power, and the iOS 9.1 split-screen functionality lets you work with your email and Microsoft Word, say, open at the same time in a seamless way.
It’s hard, however, to get beyond the lack of a trackpad, even when using the iPad Pro’s touchscreen. Basic word processing is fine, but those working with spreadsheets and presentations will soon pine for the comfort of their MacBook Air.
q&a sharp pencil a fun feature
John Everington expands on what the new iPad Apple Pro has to offer:
I don’t care about spreadsheets, tell me about the Apple Pencil.
Ah yes, the Apple Pencil, the stylus from the company that swore off such devices for so many years. The Pencil is a nicely designed, fun device that offers very little lag for scribbling and sketching in apps such as Procreate. Our graphics team found casual sketching with the Pencil fun, but stressed it was unlikely to replace the professional tools they use. For the rest of us it’s like other styluses: handy for doodling and the odd sketch, and making annotations on documents, but far from essential. This is Apple’s first pen-like device, but there’s also the option to use third-party devices.
Are the Pencil and the Smart Keyboard included with the iPad Pro as standard?
No, you’ll have to buy them separately. The Pencil retails for Dh399. The Smart Keyboard isn’t listed on Apple’s UAE site at the time of writing ($169 in the US), but Logitech’s Create Keyboard case is Dh489.
And the iPad Pro itself?
A basic 32GB Wi-Fi only model retails for Dh3,099, while a 128GB Wi-Fi and Cellular model will set you back an eye-watering Dh4,199. Quite a leap up from a top-end iPad Air 2, but in the same ballpark as a basic 13-inch MacBook Air.
Finally, most important question of all …
No, sadly it is not available in pink (sorry, “Rose Gold”), you’ll have to make do with silver, gold and “space” grey.
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