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Review

Apple iPad Pro 2018 first impressions: Redesigned with more power, sans the Home button

Here are our first impressions of Apple's new portable powerhouse - iPad Pro.

  • Published: October 31, 2018 9:19 AM IST
Apple iPad Pro 2018 (5)

Highlights

  • Apple iPad Pro prices in India start from Rs 71,900 and go up to Rs 103,900.

  • Apple Pencil and folio keyboard cost extra.

  • The new iPad Pro will go on sale in India from November 7.

Finally after years, the iPad is changing. It’s typically followed the iPhone, borrowing its design language and interfacing elements like it did when the Home button was changed to incorporate Touch ID in 2014. Four years later, Apple has taken the next obvious step with this year’s new iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch models. What’s new this year, beyond the usual hardware and spec upgrades is the inclusion of Face ID. What that obviously means is that the iPad now no longer has the Home button we had gotten so used to interfacing with.

Face ID

The implementation of Face ID on the iPad Pro is far better than that on the iPhone. Unlike the iPhone where you need to hold the phone in portrait mode, the implementation in the iPad is impressive. Apple said it has optimized Face ID for the iPad. You can now hold the device either in portrait or landscape and it will authenticate you just as seamlessly.

You can unlock your iPad by simply glancing at it. In case you have inadvertently covered the TrueDepth camera on the system, you will see a notification on the screen. If it can get a glimpse of you, whether in portrait or landscape, you’re good to go. Just like how you’d do on the iPhone X and above, you can register your face and off you go. Since the iPad is most likely to be used by other family members, you could also set up multiple Face IDs since iOS 12 enables registering multiple faces to unlock your device.

What’s good is this means you can purchase apps and features while in your comfortable workflow. And it happens all by a glance, rather than having to change your posture, or break away from your focus area to complete the transaction.

Build and design

After a long time, the iPad has taken a major design step up. It feels new and offers an impressive screen-to-body ratio. It’s only screen, with mechanical reinforcement at the edge. That’s what it is. With the Home button gone, there’s no real reason to have the ugly bezel on the bottom of the screen. Also, since the outline around the display is relatively thick and consistent, Apple can accomplish much without incorporating the notch on the display. The new iPad is a screen you interface with. Rather, it gets as close to that reality as is possible today.

Software

The latest iPad runs iOS 12 out-of-the-box. With iOS 12.1 rolling out, you enjoy support for group Facetime with up to all your friends at once. In addition, there’s also support for 70 new emojis that you could use while chatting away using the keyboard folio offered with the iPad.

Since both iPad Pros are also available in a cellular variant, and iOS 12.1 has added dual-SIM support, you could also use eSIM on the network operators that support it. Currently in India, that feature is restricted to Reliance Jio and Airtel users.

Hardware

With the new iPad Pro, Apple also announced the A12X Bionic chip, with its latest generation neural engine that is capable of processing 5 trillion operations per second, just like the iPhone XS and iPhone XR launched earlier this year. A 7-core GPU offers twice as much performance upgrade compared to the last generation iPad. And as a benchmark, this translates to 1000x faster performance than the first-generation iPad.

This year’s iPad Pro is also offered in storage options of up to 1TB. You’ll no longer have to bother about running out of space anymore. Considering that companies such as Adobe and Autodesk are offering closer support with Photoshop and AutoCAD, respectively, typically large files which can run into GBs can be opened smoothly and worked upon, at least as per the demos I saw.

In terms of connection and ports, USB type-C stands out as a key development with the iPad. You can not only connect accessories and devices such as cameras, but also charge your iPhone. The iPad will function as a power bank whenever you run out of charge on your iPhone. Apple says this year’s iPad Pro will support all-day battery.

Apple Pencil and Folio Keyboard

You can’t talk about the iPad Pro without mentioning the Apple Pencil and the Folio Keyboard. A creative person’s creation device, the iPad Pro isn’t meant to be a casual browsing and device for casual use. Its intended purpose it heavy duty performance and being pushed to do more. The Apple Pencil has now been redesigned to solve a lot of long pressing requests by its users. If you felt the Apple Pencil was easily lost due to the lack of means of latching it to the iPad, well Apple has finally noticed. Just like the Surface, there’s now magnetic snap on.

However, Apple went a step further and incorporated charging as well. As soon as you snap on the Apple Pencil to the side of the iPad Pro, it pairs and gets charged as well, with the charge displayed on the iPad screen.

The folio keyboard is as good as it gets too, allowing you the comfort of typing wherever you are, whether you work on your seat while typing on the iPad placed on your work table, or even if you’re lazing around with the iPad on your lap. A choice between tilt levels for the iPad ensures you can set it to be as ergonomic as you desire.

Initial impressions: The tough part

Beyond the tough aluminum body, what’s capable of hitting you hard is the starting price of Rs 71,900 for the 11-inch Wi-Fi model. The Wi-Fi + Cellular variant starts at Rs 85,900. Similarly, 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 89,900 for the Wi-Fi variant, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular variant will set you back by Rs 103,900.

Apple Pencil (second generation) and Folio Keyboard cost extra. That would come up to Rs 10,900 for the Apple Pencil. The folio keyboard is priced at Rs 15,900 and Rs 17,900 for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, respectively.

As I’ve mentioned before, the iPad Pro means business. It means the power to perform. And just getting it to do Candy Crush isn’t what it’s supposed to do. The iPad Pro has come a long way since the first iPad. And that performance boost is what you’re paying for. However, all of that stands on paper. We’ll be able to have a verdict only once we get our hands on a device. Till then stay tuned to BGR.in.

  • Published Date: October 31, 2018 9:19 AM IST