In Review

iPad Pro 2018 reviews: time to ditch your MacBook?

Critics deliver their verdicts as orders open for the new tablet

Orders have opened for the new iPad Pro, a week after Apple revealed the new tablet at its product keynote in New York.  

The iPad Pro is available in either 11in or 12.9in form and features a new edge-to-edge LCD display. The new device also gets Apple’s hi-tech Face ID security system, which first appeared on the iPhone X last year.

Tweaks have been made to the tablet’s styling, too, with sharper edges than its predecessor and no physical buttons on the front panel.  

Arguably the most significant upgrade, however, is the new A12X processor. Apple says the chip is powerful enough to render 3D graphics on par with Microsoft’s Xbox One S games console.

So is it time for MacBook owners to ditch their laptops for an iPad Pro?

Price
iPad Pro

Apple

Prices for the entry-level 11in model with 64GB of storage starts at £769. That rises to £919 for 256GB of storage, £1,119 for 512GB, and £1,519 for 1TB models. 

Above the 11in sits the 12.9in iPad Pro. This can also be specced in 64GB, 246GB, 512GB and 1TB storage capacities, with prices ranging from £969 to £1,719. 

Both versions can be specced in either Space Grey or Silver, while the option of inserting a Sim card will cost you an additional £150.  

The new iPad Pro’s pricing puts it directly beneath Apple’s entry-level laptop, the £1,199 MacBook Air, and just above the old 10.5in tablet, at £619. 

Display

Although Apple insists the screen is an edge-to-edge display, The Verge says the noticeable bezels around the front panel might be seen to contradict that claim.

Still, the 264ppi (pixels per inch) LCD is “extremely nice”, with Apple transforming relatively old display technology into a panel that resembles some of the market’s hi-tech OLED screens, the tech site says.

All the same, the LCD panel fails to offer “the same stunning effect you get from an OLED display”, such as that on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4, according to TechRadar.

Given the iPad Pro’s high price tag, the absence of an OLED display is a disappointing omission, the tech news site says.

Performance

The new A12X processor found in the iPad Pro is an upgraded version of the chip that powers the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max.

The result is a tablet that is “extremely fast in every way”, The Independent reports. 

The performance offered by the new processor should allow users to make the most of power-intensive apps such as the upcoming Photoshop CC package, the news site says.

Indeed, Apple Insider claims the iPad Pro boasts more grunt than a late-2016 MacBook Pro.

But the tablet is held back by its iOS 12 operating software, the rumours site adds. This system is not sophisticated enough to feature a proper file system, nor to run media editing apps with countless tools and effects, in contrast to Apple’s laptops. 

Verdict

Buyers may want to replace a MacBook, or equivalent Windows laptop, with an iPad Pro provided they have “the right kind of occupation, and a lot of patience and determination”, says Wired.

The iPad Pro excels in “drawing capabilities” and is more “natural to hold and use” than a conventional laptop, the website says. But a more traditional computer will offer better web browsing options, and apps such as Pages and Word are arguably easier to use on a laptop.

Meanwhile, The Verge says there “isn’t a single other tablet on the market that can compete with the raw hardware of the iPad Pro, and there aren’t many laptops that can either”.

However, the simplicity of the iPad Pro’s iOS operating system may ultimately deter buyers from making the swap.

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