If you look at the Apple iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, you’re going to come away disappointed.
But if you’re looking for a big, beautiful iPad with a great stylus and awesome performance, this may be the tablet for you.
Even then, that’s as long as you’re willing to swallow the iPad Pro’s steep $US799 starting price and the fact that it simply can’t do everything a laptop can.
After about a day with an iPad Pro and the new Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories, here’s what really sticks out and makes this new tablet so special.
This is the iPad Pro (with tag-along buddy, the Apple Pencil). It's huge and gorgeous, with a 12.9 inch screen and incredibly high resolution display.
When you attach the iPad Pro's optional-but-not-really $169 Smart Keyboard cover, it still just looks like a gigantic iPad.
So if it looks like a giant iPad, and feels like a giant iPad, what's so special about it? Well, what if I told you that the Smart Keyboard case held a secret?
A bunch of apps, like Microsoft Word, have been updated to take advantage of the iPad Pro's increased screen real estate, meaning you can get more done because it's not just a stretched out version of the normal iPad app.
And just in case you REALLY like multitasking, you can also have a video playing picture-in-picture while you work. The iPad Pro's beefy processor and graphics unit handle everything smoothly, and it's all super fast and responsive, even with all this going on.
You can also drag apps all the way to the middle of the screen, for a split-down-the-middle approach.
As for the Apple Pencil, it's a super nifty addition that lets you sketch in a bunch of apps that support it, including Apple Notes and FiftyThree's Paper.
When you start sketching, Apple replaces the on-screen keyboard with this little spread of stylus options, including colour and the option to put down a ruler.
You set the Apple Pencil up by literally taking the end cap off and plugging it into the iPad Pro's charging port. Once it's connected, your iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are BFFs. It helps if you think of it as a rocketship taking off.
The Apple Pencil itself is thin, light, and feels great in the hand. But it lacks an 'eraser' function on the end, like the Microsoft Surface Pen has. It charges either off the iPad Pro itself, or via a normal Apple Lightning cable via an included adaptor.
Pro tip: You can check the battery status of the Apple Pencil from the 'Widgets' menu in the iPad Pro's Notification Center, which you get to by swiping down. Apple promises that the Apple Pencil gets half an hour of use out of a 15-second charge. I don't know about that, but it does seem speedy.
Back to the keyboard: It connects to the iPad Pro via a new smart connector technology that passes along both data and power, meaning the keyboard never has to be plugged in to the wall.
The keyboard is fine. It's a little cramped, but it has nice feedback. The good news is that the iPad Pro supports keyboard shortcuts, like Apple-B to activate bold text in Word. The bad news is that there's no trackpad. I'm already getting annoyed at taking my hands off the keyboard to reach for the home button every time I want to look at all my apps or exit out of one. You can hold CMD+Tab to switch between apps, but it only works for apps you already have open.
The thing with the iPad Pro is that the apps are its greatest strength, but also its weakness. If what you like doing can be done in an app, it's amazing. If it can't, you're out of luck.
Not every app has been fully updated to take advantage of the iPad Pro's massive size or features, either. This is Twitter running on the iPad Pro. Note the sick amount of wasted space.
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