All Hands on Tech: iPad Pro review

After a couple weeks of using the iPad Pro, I’m convinced that this iPad is suffering an identity crisis.

Make no mistakes, the iPad has always been a device design with content consumption in mind. In many ways, the iPad Pro is the best tool on the market for that. It has the highest resolution display available from Apple. And there’s four speakers to deliver a high-quality stereo sound. And it has the best CPU installed in an iPad yet.

But with the iPad Pro, Apple was reaching for something more.

Microsoft and its OEM partners have been working to create a new hybrid PC category. It’s part tablet, part laptop, and Windows 10 is at the centre of it. If Apple is trying to compete in that market, I don’t think the iPad Pro is a fully adequate response.

Whereas Microsoft Surface gives us an OS with desktop capabilities in a mobile package, the iPad Pro comes at it from the other side. It’s trying to create a desktop experience for a mobile-first OS. That’s a problem.

There’s just some productivity losses you’re going to take as a result of using an OS that’s designed for mobile. For example, Chrome doesn’t support its browser extensions on iOS. So I couldn’t rely on LastPass to manage my passwords.

One of the big new features in iOS that’s really supposed to shine on the iPad Pro is the split screen view. It’s an improvement over no split-screen support, sure. But managing my apps this way just feels more clunky than juggling several open windows on a desktop.

If you want to get any real work done here, you’ll definitely need the keyboard cover. This is a great accessory since it’s thin enough to function like a normal iPad cover, and still a good keyboard. I did a lot of typing on this and it was satisfactory. It’s nice that the iPad is sturdy enough to sit on my lap when you fold this cover up into stand mode.

There is one place where the iPad Pro shines for content creation. The Apple Pencil is an amazing stylus. And this is coming from a guy that hates using a stylus. The tip is thin enough that you can be very precise, and the device is sensitive to tilt and pressure. So it really feels like you’re writing or drawing on paper with a nice fountain pen.

Bottom line? This is a great iPad. If you want a big screen with nice speakers to enjoy Netflix, or read comics, or even for some video editing, this is for you. If using a great stylus to write cursive notes or doodle some sketches appeals to you, you’ll be happy. But don’t expect the iPad Pro to replace your MacBook – or for that matter, your Microsoft Surface.

But don’t expect the iPad Pro to replace your MacBook – or for that matter, your Microsoft Surface.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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