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iPad Pro (2018) Review Roundup: Apple's fastest tablet cannot replace your laptop yet

A look at what early reviews say about the 2018 iPad Pro and updated Apple Pencil 2.

  • Published: November 6, 2018 9:39 AM IST
Apple iPad Pro 2018 (18)

Apple iPad Pro (2018), with 12.9-inch and 11-inch screens, were launched alongside the updated MacBook Air and Mac mini at an event in New York last week. The new iPad Pro models will start shipping to consumers starting November 7, and early reviews of Apple’s most powerful tablet yet are already here. The unanimous conclusion from all these review is that Apple’s new tablet fails to take advantage of its powerful hardware because of software limitations imposed by iOS.

iPad Pro’s Liquid Retina Display

The central element of the new iPad Pro models is the liquid retina display, which Apple calls edge-to-edge display despite visible bezels surrounding the display. However, reviewers note that this display along with its variable refresh rate of 120Hz is much better than the display on iPhone XR.

“Apple keeps saying the iPad Pro now has an “all screen design” that “goes from edge to edge,” but let’s just be honest: nothing about these bezels is edge-to-edge. It is, however, an extremely nice 264ppi LCD screen, and I continue to be a fan of Apple’s fancy technique to round off the corners of LCDs,” The Verge’s Nilay Patel writes in his review.

iMore’s Rene Richie writes, “Apple’s doing all the color management and individual color calibration you expect here, so iPad Pro looks dead accurate — so much so that, like iPhone XR, it can be hard to tell Apple LCD from Apple OLED in anything but the deep blacks and the off-axis. And yeah, that’s still impressive.”

Apple iPad Pro’s design is a winner

In the review for TechCrunch, Matthew Panzario writes that iPad Pro nails design with a strong appeal for business customers. “The overall aesthetic is much more businesslike and less ‘friendly’ in that very curvy sort of Apple way. I like it, a lot. The flat edges are pretty clearly done that way to let Apple use more of the interior space without having to cede a few millimeters all the way around the edge to unusable space. In every curved iPad, there’s a bit of space all the way around that is pretty much air,” he writes.

USB Type-C is a welcome addition but also limited

Apart from display and design, Apple has also decided to go with USB Type-C port instead of the lightning connector seen on iPhone and last year’s iPad models. The change is a profound and will shape the future of Apple devices, especially considering that Apple has already moved to USB-C all things with its Mac lineup. However, since its Apple, the USB Type-C remains useful but also limited to a point that is Apple-esque.

“I tried a handful of USB-C hubs with an assortment of USB-A, HDMI, card readers, and Ethernet ports, and everything worked as intended… other stuff didn’t work, though: printers didn’t do anything. A Native Instruments Maschine mk3 audio controller sat in silence. A Beyerdynamic USB-C microphone only worked when we used an A-to-C cable plugged into a hub. USB-C is still kind of messy and weird, so you’ll just have to try things and see what works for you,” Nilay Patel explains in his review.

Pocket-lint’s Stuart Miles found how the switch to USB Type-C means that you can use the same charger from your MacBook Pro to charge the new iPad as well. “Included in the box is a 18W USB-C charger that means you can charge much faster and if you’re a heavy user you’ll need it. Using USB-C means you can charge it with your MacBook charger and it also supports reverse charging – so you could use it to charge your iPhone if your battery is low.”

Watch: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Hands-On

Apple Pencil 2 does not get a lot of love

Alongside the new iPad Pro, Apple is also introducing the second generation Apple Pencil, which magnetically connects to the tablets and starts charging wirelessly. Most reviewers found this approach to be smarter than the older one, where you would need to insert the Pencil into lightning port of the iPad to charge. However, not everyone calls it a versatile tool. Some design professionals say the thickness of the new Apple Pencil 2 makes it impossible to use as a design tool.

“The new Pencil does not offer any upgrades in tracking accuracy, speed or detection. It works off of essentially the same tracking system as was available to the first Pencil on previous iPad Pros. But, unfortunately, the Pencil models are not cross-compatible. The new Pencil will not work on old iPad Pros and the old Pencil does not work on the new model. This is due to the pairing and charging process being completely different,” Panzarino writes for TechCrunch.

Gareth Beavis of TechRadar was less impressed with the new Apple Pencil and wrote, “We had a few issues with the Pencil. The first is with synchronization: when it clips on magnetically, it’s supposed to pair with the iPad Pro (which ours did) and then be ready to use when removed (which ours did not always do). It also came unclipped easily when the iPad Pro was taken out of a rucksack, with the Pencil slipping off into some dark recess rather often.”

Can iPad Pro replace your laptop? No

Since the launch of very first iPad Pro in 2015, the primary question has been whether it can replace the laptop. And in 2018, despite iPad Pro being more powerful than most laptops in the market, it fails to replace the laptop.

“I can see any number of ways for me to get rid of my laptop and use the iPad Pro as my main computer — using an iPad is extremely pleasant, and it’s nice to use a computer with a touchscreen. But over and over again, some annoying iOS limitation stopped me from making the switch. I don’t think I’m just stuck in some old way of thinking or that I need to spend more time inventing a new workflow out of Siri Shortcuts and glue. It’s just basic stuff, like plugging in a flash drive to grab a file or quickly changing the name of a document before emailing it off,” Nilay Patel explains why the iPad Pro cannot replace the laptop.

“It doesn’t feel like the world is ready to treat my iPad as an equal to a PC yet—even if that iPad is a lot more powerful and user friendly. Now that Apple has declared the iPad is a PC, it should take more of the guardrails off of iOS,” Jeffrey Van Camp writes for The Wired.

Apple iPad Pro (2018): India price

As mentioned previously, the new iPad Pro comes in two sizes – 11-inch and 12.9-inch – and features an edge-to-edge display similar to that of LCD iPhone. The new 11-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 71,900 for the Wi-Fi only model and Rs 85,900 for the Wi-Fi+Cellular model with base storage of 64GB.

The 64GB version of 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 89,900 for the Wi-Fi only model while the Wi-Fi+Cellular model will set you back by Rs 103,900. Alongside the new iPad Pro, Apple will be selling the second generation Apple Pencil with magnetic charging for Rs 10,900 and Space Grey Smart Keyboard Folio at Rs 15,900 for the 11-inch model and Rs 17,900 for the 12.9-inch model.

  • Published Date: November 6, 2018 9:39 AM IST