10.5-inch iPad Pro review: Slightly bigger and a whole lot better

When Tim Cook first introduced the iPad Pro he called it the clearest expression of Apple's vision for the future of personal computing. But that clarity seems to have taken some time to achieve.

For years, it felt like a great debate was going on within Apple: Should iPad stay the simple, incredibly approachable appliance that empowered hundreds of millions of people to make it their first effective computing experience? Or should it become sophisticated enough that even long-time computer users can fit their workflows to it? And, if the latter, should it do so by becoming more like the Mac, or by becoming something different — something next?

My argument has always been: Let iPad be iPad. Forget the Mac, forget the PC. Unconstrained by Intel, AMD, or Nvidia, unbound from decades of comp-sci cruft, make iPad the best computing experience possible, period.

Apple took a step in that direction with the first, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, though the company seemed unwilling to commit to better camera systems at the time. Apple took a leap with last year's 9.7-inch iPad Pro, though it seemed stuck on the original display size. And the two models were so different you basically had to choose between a larger screen and a better screen, faster data transfer and charging or sharper cameras.

Now, with the 2017 iPads Pro, Apple isn't just stepping — it's dancing. To jazz. Willing and able to question everything, improve everything, we now have two machines identical in every way but size — including one with a new 10.5-inch display— cameras as good as the latest iPhone (if not the latest iPhone Plus) and screen technology that's significantly better.

Then there's iOS 11, previewed last week and coming to iPad Pro this fall. It promises as big an advance in software as we're already getting in hardware.

So, spoiler, I love this brightest timeline. Apple is giving me everything I've been asking for for years. Still, there are some questions left for this review to answer:

Are the new iPads Pro compelling upgrades for existing iPad owners, especially existing iPad Pro owners? Should Windows ultrabook and laptop owners seriously consider cross-grading? Should MacBook and MacBook Air owners start looking for what's next?

Let's find out.

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About this review

Along with my colleague, Serenity Caldwell, I had a chance to try out both the new 10.5-inch and the updated 12.9-inch iPads Pro following Apple's WWDC 2017 keynote.

Since then, I've been using a 10.5-inch iPad for about a week. Typing on it. Drawing and compositing on it. Gaming with it. Taking photos and filming with it. Reading and watching on it. Traveling with it and using it in coffee shops on both Wi-Fi and LTE (roaming with a Rogers SIM). In other words, living with it.

And yes, that includes writing this review on it.

For people who want:

  • Bigger 12.9- or 10.5-inch displays
  • High density, wide gamut, high dynamic range, adaptive refresh and color temperature displays
  • Blistering fast processors
  • iPhone 7-level camera system
  • Access to all the tablet apps in the App Store
  • Pro-level tablet computers

Not for people who want:

  • Smaller, sub-10-inch displays
  • OLED displays
  • x86 processors
  • Access to native Mac or Windows apps
  • Cheap video and gaming tablets

In brief

The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has gotten a major upgrade thanks to a significantly better display, processor, and camera system — even if it's still lacking a rose gold color option.

The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro may seem like a smaller upgrade, but offers a larger and better display, more powerful processor and camera system, and faster data transfer and charging options.

iPad Pro isn't for those who want a cheap video or gaming tablet, or for people who still need to run macOS or Windows. More than ever before, though, iPad Pro is for everyone who wants a cutting-edge, touch-native, incredibly accessible, privacy-and-security first, powerhouse of a personal computing experience.

And one that's going to get even better this fall with iOS 11.

Previously, on iPad...

The new iPads Pro build on the all the iPads that have come before. Rather than repeat material from any of those reviews, please find the most recent ones here:

iPad Pro new size

The original iPad shown off by Steve Jobs in 2010 had a 9.7-inch display and so has every standard-sized iPad since. iPad mini might have gone smaller; the first iPad Pro might have gone bigger. Up to and including the fifth generation iPad introduced early this year, though, 9.7-inches has been the sweet spot.

Until now.

With the second generation iPad Pro, Apple is keeping the larger 12.9-inch display size that was introduced in the fall of 2015 but replacing the 9.7-inch iPad Pro from 2016 with a new 10.5-inch version. And, what a difference those 0.8-inches make.

You don't really notice it at first. Especially if you don't have a 9.7-inch iPad laying around to compare it to. All that stands out are the thinner bezels. Once you've used it for a while, though, the difference becomes evident. Especially if you try to go back to 9.7-inches.

At the risk of making a terrible analogy, it's like getting a new pair of your favorite shoes that are just a quarter size bigger. They feel incredibly comfortable and then, when you slip the old ones back on, you realize they've always been just ever-so-slightly tight.

With the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the canvas is just a little bigger. The keyboard is just a little more spacious. And even though it's only a little, when you use it all day, every day, a little adds up to a lot.

At 2224 x 1668, the 10.5-inch iPad has about 20% more pixels than the 2048 x 1536 of the 9.7-inch model. That's still nowhere near the 2732 x 2048 of the 12.9-inch model. Here's how they look side-by-side, 9.7-inches (left), 10.5-inches (middle), and 12.9-inches (right):

What the difference is not is big enough to give you full-sized iPad apps (regular size classes) in 50/50 mode. That means you still get iPhone-style apps (compact size class) like on the 9.7-inch. It makes navigating in-app slightly slower but content in apps bigger, which I've come to conclude is a fair trade off.

I like that Apple was willing to make this change. Some might think 9.7-inches was the ideal, set in stone since the origin of iPad, absolute and unchangeable. Apple seems to understand that the ideal is the ideal, and that it has to change and evolve given the needs and technology of the time.

That's what Apple's done now, and iPad is better for it.

iPad Pro new display

Retina high-density on iPad 3 was enthralling. Pixels disappeared and all you saw were glossy photos and crisp, sharp text. DCI-P3 wide color gamut on iPad Pro 9.7 was engulfing. Reds, magentas, even purples and greens, were so deep, so rich, you felt like you were falling into them. True Tone, also introduced with iPad Pro 9.7, was soothing. Dynamically adjusted white balance matched ambient room temperature, removing overly cold blue or warm yellow casts and making the display look more like paper. And now they've gotten better still, thanks to two new technologies.

The first is a new level of brightness — 600 nits. That's a 20% increase over the previous 9.7-inch model and a 50% increase over the older 12.9-inch model. Combined with an anti-glare coating that reduces reflectivity down to just 1.8%. Even better, it enables real high dynamic range (HDR) for video.

HDR is a concept most of us are already familiar with from photography. The gist is, with HDR you don't have to choose between blowing out the highlights or muddying up the shadows. You get more detail in both the bright and the dark.

Higher-end televisions and some other mobile devices have begun offering HDR alongside 4K, but many of them have lacked the brightness levels to really show it off.

Unfortunately, there's precious little HDR video available to watch on tablets at the moment. Last year, though, I was able to watch a Dolby comparison of The Force Awakens in 4K vs 1080p HDR. The HDR version, despite being lower resolution, blew away the 4K version. The difference was eye-popping.

That's why I'm happy Apple is offering the support now so that, as the content begins to flow faster, we'll be all set to enjoy it.

The second new display technology on the iPad Pro is ProMotion. Apple's brand name for up to 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate, it lets the display ramp up to 120 fps for tasks like drawing with Apple Pencil, so you get ultra-low latency — 20 milliseconds! To the right, you can see an example of Apple Pencil on the old iPad Pro (left) and new iPad Pro (right).

It's the adaptive part that's both so cool and so important. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro introduced variable refresh, which could ramp down from 60 Hz to save power when the higher refresh rate wasn't needed. Adaptive refresh can do that too — but it can also ramp up. That's important, because 120 Hz takes more power. So, mixing it up with 30 Hz or even 24 Hz when you can balances things out and helps iPad Pro retain it's Apple-estimated 10 hours of battery life.

To do that, iOS has what's essentially a dispatcher: Apps can ask for the refresh rate they want, and iOS figures out what it can give them, when, and how to best match it up with the demands of any other apps that happen to be active at the same time. (Apple Pencil gets 120 Hz any and every time its tip hits the display, of course.)

So, glee-inducingly, iPad Pro can do things like showing you a 24 fps moving in one split view pane while pushing the other at 120 Hz for scrolling or drawing. (Because, math; specifically division.). You can see an example to the left, though neither GIF nor other displays can really render the 120 Hz experience.

What it does is totally avoids the "soap opera effect" you typically see when forcing 24 fps cinema into TV mode, and the "motion smoothing" nonsense that TVs try to sell but many of us turn off the moment we get them home.

Combined with True Tone, laminated panels, Retina, DCI-P3, HDR, and the raw speed of iPad Pro, it makes not only the display but everything on it closer to a moving magazine than anything I've seen before.

Once you see video playing, Pencil drawing, and even text scrolling on the new iPad Pro, it's really, really hard to go back to any less advanced displaying.

And that's always one of the best tests for any new technology — how much you miss it when it's gone.

ProMotion: Everything you need to know

3D Touch-less

While iPad Pro offers pressure sensitivity through Apple Pencil, it doesn't offer the built-in 3D Touch of iPhone. That's likely due to the current technology not effectively scaling to the bigger screen, the lack of navigation necessity, and the potential collision with Apple Pencil technology and economics. Here's the longer explanation:

iPad Pro new Touch ID

The new iPad Pro has the new, faster, second-generation Touch ID sensor originally rolled out with iPhone 6s and later added to the 2016 MacBook Pro.

It's roughly twice as fast as the original so you can unlock your iPad Pro, open apps, authenticate your identity, and authorize transactions sometimes even faster than you realize it's happening. It's still a physical button, though, not a virtual one like on iPhone 7. And... it feels weird to me now. The brain is a strange and wonderful thing and once it resets what it considers to be normal, everything that came before is suddenly... not.

Absent 3D Touch and the Taptic Engine (see above), there'd be no way to make the iPad Pro Home button virtual in the same way as iPhone 7. Still, after 9 months of using the virtual one, I want it everywhere.

Consistency is a user-facing feature. So, it does make me wonder just how long it will take until Apple starts to virtualize all buttons on all devices. It would cut down on mechanical failure and open up the hardware to more diverse, more flexible control possibilities.

iPad Pro new chipset

A10, introduced with iPhone 7 last fall, is a "fusion" processor. (Don't call it LITTLE!). It fuses a high-performance core with a high-efficiency core. That lets it handle demanding tasks blazingly fast without sacrificing battery life on the less demanding tasks.

iPhone 7 had two fusion cores. The new iPads Pro have three. According to Apple, it makes A10X 30% faster than the A9X found in the original Pros. It also has a twelve core graphics processor, 40% faster than A9X — all while maintaining the same 10 hours of battery life mandated for iPad since the original.

I haven't had time to put the new iPads Pro through the battery ringer, but the 10.5-inch model running iOS 10 has been more than fine during Apple's typically taxing Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC).

The speed, though, is apparent. You can feel it in everything from switching apps to scrolling web pages. It's even more shocking when you think your colleague, Serenity Caldwell is exporting images only to find out she's exporting videos faster than you would have previously thought possible.

According to Geekbench 4, which benches such things for geeks, my previous generation 9.7-inch iPad Pro with A9X on iOS 11 beta 1 (I wait for no update) scores:

  • Single-core: 2,675
  • Multi-core: 5,015
  • Metal: 15,161

The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro with A10X on iOS 10.3.2 scores:

  • Single-core: 3,935
  • Multi-core: 9,299
  • Metal: 27,131


What's more, Apple's shared memory architecture — and yes, tangent, 4 GB on both models this year — and Metal frameworks let apps target that power in a way tradition, split, desktop CPU and GPU architectures can't.

Apple says it makes iPad Pro more powerful than many PC laptops. I'm sure it's more powerful than some but to me it's really something different entirely. Old Intel architectures feel like massive transport planes. iPads Pro feel like drop ships out of sci-fi.

I've been incredibly impressed with the work of Apple's silicon team since they were the first to jump to 64-bit on mobile with the A7.

Their multi-threaded performance is always more than competitive, especially core for core, but their single-threaded performance is increasingly unmatched, and that's vital for things like maintaining responsive interfaces and the feeling of direct manipulation.

I rarely if ever saw any apps peg the A9X. I've only ever seen Portrait Mode and maybe some incredibly intensive photo filters peg the A10. I don't know what it would take to peg the A10X. But I can't wait to find out.

iPad Pro new radios

iPad Pro can still do 802.11ac, multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) Wi-Fi at up to 866 Mbps.

LTE, though, has gotten better. Apple SIM is still included, of course, but now there's support for 25 bands at up to 450 Mbps. That's two additional bands and 150 more Mbps than last year's 9.7-inch iPad Pro. In other words, you can use iPad Pro on LTE in even more places, at even higher speeds than ever before.

(Even if, realistically, you'd have to be living on the other side of The Leftovers, sitting alone atop the cell tower, to get anywhere near the theoretical speeds.)

Best of all, Apple's doing all of this on a single modem, not two different modems like iPhone 7. That means, as long as you buy an LTE iPad Pro, you can use it on Verizon and Sprint in the U.S.A, or any GSM carrier around the world.

I suspect we're all paying a hefty Qualcomm tax for that privilege, even outside the the U.S., but the simplicity is nice all the same.

iPad Pro new* USB-3 and USB-C

* For the smaller iPad Pro, that is.

Excitingly, the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro can now do fast USB-3 data transfer and fast USB-C power charging, just like the original 12.9-inch model could. Not having those features on last year's 9.5-inch iPad Pro was vexing, so I'm glad Apple corrected for it. I'm less glad that you have to buy the USB-C charging adapter separately. Including it in the box would make iPad Pro feel even more "Pro".

Also, given what can happen with shipping schedules, it was sort-of understandable when the September 2016 iPhone couldn't plug (straight out of the box) into the October 2016 MacBook Pro. It's less understandable when the June 2017 iPad Pro can't. If Apple can go USB-C only on laptops, it can and should go USB-C, with adapter, in the iPad box as well. Consistency is a user benefit.

With the Lightning to USB 3 adapter, you can also plug in USB-A keyboards, microphones, Ethernet adapters, and more. Which is great, because you only get USB 3 transfer speeds with the Lightning to USB 3 and Lightning to SD adapters, not with the Lightning to USB-A or USB-C cable. It's a bit of a bummer. I'd have loved it if the Lightning to USB-C cable could handle USB 3 speeds straight to my MacBook Pro.

iPad Pro new cameras

One of the most disappointing aspects of the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro was its anemic camera system. When I first heard about a display that size and chipset that powerful, I thought I'd be getting the 4K viewfinder of my dreams. Apple seems to have agreed and, with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the company brought the first really modern, really good camera system to an iPad.

You easily see the difference on the back of the 10.5-inch iPad (middle) compared to the old 12.9-inch model (bottom) and old 9.7-inch model (top).

Thankfully, the second-generation iPad Pro not only brings an even better camera system to the new 10.5-inch model, it brings it to the 12.9 as well. For anyone who wants to both ingest and edit video natively on the biggest iPad Pro, the cameras alone make the upgrade worthwhile.

The new camera system is the same one found on iPhone 7. Not iPhone 7 Plus, mind you. There's no second, "telephoto" lens, which means no optical zoom, no Portrait Mode, and no computational photography to come that depends on data pulled from dual lenses.

There is a 12-megapixel sensor that can capture in DCI-P3 wide color gamut, the ability to stitch together 63-megapixel panoramas, and the ability to shoot 4K (2160p) video or up to 240 fps slow motion.

On the hardware side, it's got hardware optical image stabilization (OIS) for better low-light and steadier video, and a quad-LED flash for better temperature matching and more accurate skin tones.

Thanks to the image signal processor (ISP) in the A10X, it's also got faster focus, better local tone mapping, and more accurate white balance.

All of that translates into clearer, steadier, more natural looking photos and videos. And with the giant 10.5 or 12.9-inch viewfinder, you can make sure whatever you want to shoot is framed perfectly and the focus is tack sharp.

Same with the front-facing camera. It's 7-megapixels now, also DCI-P3 wide color, and offers about the biggest Retina Flash experience you can imagine.

I don't know what the hold up is with FaceTime conference calling — whether it's the endless patent lawsuits Apple is going through, or they're working on something even more forward thinking and functional to replace FaceTime — but these displays and cameras are begging for it.

WWDC 2017 kept us so busy we didn't have time for a full-on camera shooting showdown — we'll get to it soon, though! — but I did spend a couple days shooting with the 10.5-inch model around the San Jose area. And I was smiling constantly.

iPad Pro apps and accessories

iPad Pro can use any of the hundreds of thousands of tablet-optimized apps in the iOS App Store. It's a number so large that quantity alone can no longer be used as a measure. Only quality.

Luckily iPad has been pushing the state of the app art since it was introduced, with iWork and GarageBand showing early on just what big screen mobile apps were capable of achieving. Since then, iPad has gotten apps from Google, Microsoft, Adobe, and a strong group of indies who can and do often code circles around the major players.

The trick, as ever, will be sustainability. Can iPad apps that take full advantage of everything the A10X and ProMotion have to offer, including new frameworks like ARKit coming with iOS 11, reach and keep enough of an audience, at enough of a price point, to stay viable?

Affinity Photo (opens in new tab), announced alongside the new iPad Pro, is a great example of something that might only be possible at its current level of polish and performance on iPad Pro. It lets you finger or Pencil paint with distortion waves and feather mask with a swipe, all for just $20.

iPad Pro

iPad Pro (Image credit: iMore)

For accessories, there's a new, roomier Smart Keyboard for the new, roomier 10.5-inch iPad Pro. There's also a new Leather Sleeve with Apple Pencil holder on top.

The Sleeve isn't for me. I find it too long and I'd rather have the Pencil on the side than on the top. I haven't had a chance to try the new Pencil Case, which sleeves only the Pencil, but I don't think it's for me either.

The new Keyboard is great, though. I know many will prefer an updated version of the Logitech, but I love the slimness and water resistance of the Smart Keyboard. (You can use a previous generation Smart Keyboard if you really want to, it just won't fit perfectly and will be either too floppy or too small in cover mode.)

For those of you who, like me, were hoping for a new Apple Pencil to go with the new iPad Pro, sadly, we'll have to keep hoping.

The idea of something that pairs as easily — and as obviously in the interface — as AirPods do with the W1 chip is compelling. So is some form of direct attachment and, as my colleague Serenity Caldwell is so fond of pointing out, variant nibs to better simulate different types of pens.

Other than that, while you'll have to get specific cases and covers for the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, both new models are broadly compatible with existing Lightning and Bluetooth gear, and both can connect to and control the increasing number of HomeKit accessories on the market.

iPad Pro and iOS 11

Apple was smart to wait and announce the new iPad Pro alongside the preview for iOS 11. If the new iPad Pro had been announced back in March, some of the conversation would have centered around the software trailing the hardware, and iOS holding back the iPad. Now it's mostly along the lines of impatiently wanting iOS 11 as soon as possible, which is a much better problem to have.

And it's easy to see why.

iOS 11 is a huge update, especially for iPad. It brings marked improvements to the split-screen multi-windowing system, including a new, always-accessible Doc and a new App Switcher that's not only integrated with Control Center but saves all your spaces (side-by-side layouts).

It also brings secure drag and drop, which prevents previewing on cross-app drag but also prevents unintentional data leakage on drag-over. Not only that, but the entire system from icon rearranging to list reordering has been rewritten to take advantage of the advances in drag-and-drop.

There's new and better Apple Pencil integration, so you can start a note with just a tap on the Lock screen, and annotate everything from a screen shot to a PDF quickly and easily. Plus, you can search for your handwritten notes, in English and simplified Chinese for now, and more languages to come.

Files.app, something I've been asking for since iOS 4, is an optional download that lets you browse not only your local directories but iCloud and third-party providers like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box as well.

ARKit will even let you layer a virtual world on top of the real one for games, education, navigation, and more.

Available as a free update this fall, it'll make iPad Pro even more creative and productive.

iOS 11: Everything you need to know

iPad Pro Pricing and availability

One thing that didn't get bigger with the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is price. 64 GB starts at $649. You can also get 256 GB for $749 and 512 GB for $949. Add LTE, and those prices go up to $779, $879, and $1079 respectively.

If you want to escalate to the full 12.9-inch experience, you're looking at $799, $899, and $1099, or with LTE, $929, $1029, and $1229.

It makes for a more reasonable cost of entry and storage capacity at the low end even as it adds a more expensive, more expansive model at the top.

You also have the option for AppleCare+, which provides an additional year of coverage (for a total of 2 years), and up to two incidents of accidental damage repair for $49. That's over the phone, online, or at your local Apple Store and Genius Bar.

All of the new iPads Pro are available to order now and should be shipping by the time you read this.

iPad Pro conclusion

It's hard not to gush about the new iPads Pro. Apple took what were already the most popular tablets on earth, by a wide margin, and made almost everything about them substantively better.

The displays are even more advanced, the chipsets are even more powerful, the Pencil experience is even better, typing is improved on the now-slightly-less-small version, the cameras as impressive as iPhone 7 and, come this fall, they'll get everything iOS 11 has to offer, including Metal 2, Drag and Drop, Files, augmented reality support, Swift Playgrounds 2, and a ton more.

Sure, there are a few things that still irk me — the tragic lack of a rose gold option at 12.9-inches, no second-generation Apple Pencil 2, Lightning to USB-C not being included in the box and not being able to do USB 3 speeds without an adapter, and so on.

Hopefully, Apple will address all that, and more, in the next update. For now, Apple has really done what I wanted the company to do most — let iPad be iPad. Let it be that clear expression of Apple's vision for the future of personal computing. Not forced to be the same or different from the Mac but allowed to be its own thing.

That's what the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro feel most like to me — iPads set free.

For those looking to update, owners of the previous 9.7-inch iPad Pro should look at the small but perhaps significant updates to display size and technology, processor, data transfer, quick charging, and cameras. Owners of the previous 12.9-inch iPad Pro should look, hard, at the much more compelling updates to display technology, processor, and cameras.

For those looking to buy for the first time, if you need to run macOS or Windows, you'll still need to get a MacBook or a Windows hybrid or tablet. If you just want an easy to use entry level tablet, check out the 9.7 inch iPad (5th generation).

If you want a next-generation, touch-native, incredibly accessible, privacy-and-security first, powerhouse of a computing experience, the answer has never been more clear — get iPad Pro.

See at Apple (opens in new tab)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I see no reason to buy this when a Surface offers so much more ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Surface also includes Windows 10. That is reason enough to avoid it.
  • Never heard that one before...
  • Obviously your response is sarcasm but naddy6969 makes a valid point
  • Obviously he doesn't considering Windows 10 market share is 5 times that of the MacOS, which would indicate many people enjoy and frequently use Windows 10, contrary to your opinion of it.
  • And if you do some searches online you'll also find Windows 10 has 5 times as many issues, which would indicate that some people want to avoid it
  • No...you don't get to make up B.S statistics. The numbers I gave are verified. Not ones that I pulled out of thin air. https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=...
  • Ok, the "5 times" was a hyperbole, but it's a fact that Windows has more issues than macOS and you will see this if you do some research. People will choose macOS over Windows because of stability
  • It's also a FACT that more people own and consistently use Windows. So your argument is pointless. We aren't talking what has more issues. We are talking about what the people prefer.
  • naddy6969 started this by saying that _he_ prefers macOS because Windows has issues, it was you that challenged his preference. No one here apart from you is arguing over the majority of preference
  • Correction, I challenged the notion that Windows 10 was a bad os that people should stay away from by pointing out it's popularity based on the numbers which can't be refuted. Thus proving it isnt as bad as you claim otherwise it wouldnt hold the market share it holds. You came in talking about Windows having 5 times more issues which isn't a proven statistic. I don't care what you prefer. I prefer MacOS. But I'm not blind to reality.
  • Just because something is popular doesn't mean it's good. Take Facebook for example and all the issues that it has. I already stated that the 5 times thing was a hyperbole, but it's a fact that Windows has more bugs than macOS which is why naddy6969 said what he said
  • GM sells way more cars than BMW or Mercedes. Which is better? So market share doesn't always matter and matters even less in this situation. Also comparing a Surface Pro to an iPad Pro is just not a great comparison. As a full blown computer, the Surface is far superior. As a tablet, the iPad is far superior. But if I wanted a laptop, I'd buy a Mac unless there was some specific application that required the only thing I can't get from BootCamp which is a truly high end graphics card. So this is an argument that was silly then and it's sillier now. If you're in the market for a new laptop and want a heavy tablet with mediocre app experience, and you're ok running Windows, your decision is obvious. If you're looking for a tablet first and foremost but want to do more from time to time, the iPad Pro is a fantastic option.
  • Windows 10 is pretty great; I understand though that these things are purely subjective.
  • Windows 10 is by far better than Mac OS. Hard drive is always full on a Mac even after deleting all sorts of stuff. Macs are over rated. Surface Pro all the way.
  • Eh wha…? You gave _one_ "supposed" reason as to why Windows is better, and that reason is something I've never even heard of before. I've never had an issue with the hard drive getting full, but you'll be happy to know there's a fantastic app for this problem, called "DaisyDisk". As for Windows 10, I've found it to have many more issues than macOS, so no, it's definitely not "far better" than macOS. After having used Windows for 15+ years, and macOS for around 3 years, it speaks volumes when I say that I want to stick with macOS and don't want to return to Windows
  • I repeat windows 10 is better than mac OS.
  • You obviously have no life. I'm a Met fan despite their rough year. Does it make any sense for me to go onto a Dodger web site and proclaim how much better my Mets are? You don't actually think you'll convert somebody with that nonsense do you? There's a reason why the actual percentages of Mac and Windows users stays pretty steady as does Android and iOS users. People invariably believe they made the correct decision and learn how to deal with the good and bad consequences of it. They're not really interested in the other side other than being safe in the knowledge that if there's a feature the other side has that's worth stealing, it will be stolen at some point. And by the way, I'm saying that as someone who lives in both worlds, actually all four worlds.
  • Its better in the sense of it can run desktop quality apps, but as a tablet experience, the iPad is so much superior to anything else. If you don't need to run those types of apps, then the iPad is a better all around product.
  • The Mets suck too!
  • What are "Mets"?
  • I haven't tried the latest Surface (just announced) but previous ones were digitizers like Wacom and iPad Pro drawing experience is far better in my experience. (I used Wacom for decades.) Also, some people prefer non-Windows OS, so it's great to have alternatives. I'd also argue Apple is making better silicon these days.
  • Not liking Windows is certainly a valid reason.
  • I get that you want to troll but the Surface is junk which is why it isn't selling and has a high return rate. It does lots of things but none of them well. Especially as a tablet.
    Try this with people who don't know anything.
  • The Surface is junk? OK...
  • Actually it is great hardware, but running a junk OS. I liked my sister's surface 3 when it was running 8.1. She got tricked into installing 10, now it's not nearly as nice.
  • Tricked? That's an old and false argument.
  • It might be old but it's not false, plus he was speaking in past-tense so it's certainly valid, or were you hiding under a rock whilst Microsoft was sneakily upgrading people onto Windows 10
  • Nope, I wasn't hiding, and saw the whole situation unfold. They might have used some questionable tactics to push 10 to people, but nobody was "tricked" into installing it. Either they opted in during the initial phase, or didn't opt out when they got the prompt saying it would install.
    But then, we live in an age where people [accept] terms and conditions without ever reading them.
  • When the Windows 10 upgrade popup appeared, clicking the close window "X" which in terms of window prompts also means "Cancel", actually triggered the "OK" option. They violated UX interface design in order to trick people into installing it, hence the questionable tactics. So yes, people were definitely tricked. Even technically literate people would expect that clicking the close window "X" button would cancel it. If you don't believe me, create yourself a test webpage with a "window.confirm" function. You'll find that both clicking "Cancel" and the close window "X" both trigger the same action, only the "OK" button will complete the task
  • As I said before, I remember the situation. A message would appear, telling the user that their upgrade to Windows 10 was scheduled, based on their Windows Update settings to install updates automatically. It gave them a link to change the settings or cancel it, but obviously not everybody read the message before dismissing it.
    We could argue the points of UX interface design, but a "X" button is not a "cancel" button; rather, it's a "close" button, much like the red button on a MacOS window. Obviously we have different expectations of closing a window, like, should the application for that window shut down, or continue to run in the background? Should it simply close whatever was open on it, without saving, or should it prompt to save changes, or auto-save without prompting?
  • The fact is regardless of what that button does, you're not confirming the action. If you get a window saying "Do you want to complete this action", you've got something like "Yes, No" / "OK, Cancel" or close the window. Only if you click Yes/OK should the action complete, this is the utter basics of UX, no ambiguity. Following the basic logic, closing the Windows 10 upgrade window shouldn't upgrade the OS, but it did. Also, it upgraded regardless of whether the updates were scheduled to install automatically, so that argument is invalid. It wasn't considered as an update, but an update triggered this prompt to appear. Another point is the fact that there was no clearly visible cancel button, see here:
    https://blogs-images.forbes.com/gordonkelly/files/2016/02/Screenshot-201... Whichever way you look at it, closing the window shouldn't install the upgrade, it's not a Windows update. When have you ever received an update to casually upgrade from XP to Vista, or Vista to 7? It was a prompt which should've been to optionally upgrade the OS, but it was engineered in such a way that it was practically mandatory unless you knew the exact right way to cancel it, and even technically inclined people didn't realise that it was going to auto-upgrade. That's called tricking people.
  • It wasn't asking confirmation, it was informing that it was already scheduled. It's the same logic that Apple used when they upgraded my account to two-factor authentication after an iOS update. I simply clicked next, because it was in the same location as previous screens' progress message. And then I was stuck, having to change my password, and couldn't go back to it after disabling two-factor. And then it got me again on the next update, and I've given up on fighting it.
    So, did Apple trick me? Or was I simply careless?
  • And it was scheduled without the user's consent. No one was ever forced to upgrade on any prior versions of Windows, why this one? What happens if your computer won't run it very well? What happens if the new OS doesn't support some of your applications? Are you saying that it being scheduled automatically with no simple way to cancel, is fine despite the possible issues that may occur from upgrading the OS?
  • You didn't even answer my question. :P
    If someone's computer got upgraded to Windows 10, there's an option to roll back to their previous OS. They have a whole month to test and decide what to do. That has been the case since 10 was released, and is still the case two years later.
  • That's not the point, rolling back takes up time. Just because you can reverse a problem doesn't mean that problem shouldn't have existed in the first place, and there were also some people who had their OS corrupted from the automatic upgrade, so no rollback for them. And to answer your question, yes technically Apple tricked you. That being said, enabling 2FA which is a security feature with no real downsides, is very different to upgrading a whole OS which can have several issues
  • Surface is junk, wait for it, now he's going to tell you he bought one himself and return it. 😂😂😂
  • He most likely has his reasons, even if it's just issues with Windows 10 which I can attest to
  • The reasons are obvious... it's part of Apple's ecosystem. If you are a Windows fan and use a Windows phone or Android, and need a desktop OS in a "tablet", then no, you wouldn't buy this. But if you're an Apple user, and have an iPhone and a Mac, why would you chose Surface over this? That really is the correct question. For one, the iPad Pro is just as powerful as the Surface generally speaking, but is lighter and thinner and a true tablet. The Surface is a hybrid, something between a tablet and laptop. Also, there's a huge advantage for the iPad when it comes to apps. The better app experience on a tablet is by far on the iPad. So being an Apple user, I can't see a reason to get a Surface over an iPad Pro. What would I gain? I use no Windows 10 applications, don't need to, it's heavier and thicker, and it won't integrate into my Apple/iCloud life. So I see nothing the Surface offers more of, it actually offers an Apple user much less, especially when iOS 11 drops onto the iPad. People just need to remember that ecosystem counts and some folks actually want to and enjoy being locked into an ecosystem. Everything just works together so well. Not going to drop an entire ecosystem investment for a hybrid tablet with a trackpad, or other some cherry picked features I don't care about. But obviously, the iPad is not for you, and that's fine.
  • +1
  • That's an awesome argument for it. And it's part of why Apple does so well. Microsoft wants to be in every ecosystem, and Apple wants you in theirs, alone.
  • The Mets suck too!
  • What are "Mets" ?
  • ProMotion addresses a gripe (scrolling blur) I've had with ipads. I don't read nearly as much on one because of this. Other stuff just looks like the usual updates. I do agree that a USB-C to lightning cable should be included as it offers faster transfers, faster charging that many will remain ignorant about. Would this be an upgrade for me? Sure. But it wouldn't really change my usage much. Drawing, viewing comics, fooling with pics (more fun on an ipad for me), pdf mgmt (receipts, copies, my kids stuff, you name it..i'm obsessed..lol), and a few games are basically it. I'd really like to be able to plug in Mac and use as wacom as a mac is missing ways to markup or sign anything. IOS 11 is so important here that there's no rush to get one. It may be better to wait. I'd probably just consider a wifi only model and middle tier on the storage and wait for the holiday deals later this year.
  • Totally fair. If you were looking to update, though, you can get the hardware now then the software bonus in the fall.
  • "iPad Pro still doesn't include 3D Touch like iPhone." Yay!!! 3D Touch is nonsense. Why add cost and complexity when the same effect can be had with a simple tap and hold? Wish they'd get rid of it from the iPhone.
  • For myself and others that I know who have an iPhone, use 3d touch often, if not every day. The beauty of it is if you know it's there then it can make app use that much more efficient (if the dev supports it properly). Sure, you can mimic the functionality using long-press but overall experience is better with 3d touch than without it.
  • Agreed. I wish Pencil could trigger home screen and other shortcuts. Like Clear All notifications.
  • 100% agree
  • "I don't like this feature so NO ONE SHOULD USE IT" - jyrbain
  • Simple tap and hold? Have you even tried that on a non-3d touch iDevice? That will put the apps in a 'move' / 'delete' mode.
  • Tap and hold is lame, plus it's very easy to accidentally activate. 3D touch is great, I use it every day
  • How do you accidentally tap and hold your finger on an icon?
  • Happens more on Android due to OS lag than iOS, but even still you might want to rest your finger on the screen, either in preparation to scroll or just resting it in general. Now you've activated the long press.
  • you just generalize the entire android platform. I'm using a 2 years old Galaxy S6, and there is no sign of OS lag. I don't know where you get that idea from.
  • Regardless why would you want a long press over 3D touch? That's like saying you'd like iMessage to be a separate application to normal SMS. Why would you want something inherently worse?
  • "I don't like this feature so NO ONE SHOULD USE IT and I'm going to rub it in people's faces that I don't like it and how I'm glad the iPad doesn't have it" - OldAndBusted
  • Agree and Disagree. I love 3D Touch on the iPhone and use it multiple times daily. Touch and hold takes longer and isn't the same interactive experience for quick shortcuts. Now on the iPad, I don't think it needs it, and might not even be practical given how the iPad is handled generally by human hands. So I agree there's no need on the iPad, but disagree on the iPhone and love it there.
  • I think it'd work on the iPad, you're still touching the screen generally in the same way. Even if you're using different fingers it should be just as easy to press the screen down
  • Lovely review. I'd like to see some comparisons to older iPads in terms of display and performance. In particular the iPad Air 2. Any pointers would be appreciated. John
  • Oh, night and day. Anything specific you'd like to see?
  • In particular, performance difference in bright sunlight, and also just general calculation and display of graphical info. I'm a flight instructor and my key application is ForeFlight Mobile. They do a good job of pushing the iPad to it's limit, and I'm starting to feel slowness during certain operations. Also, screens that are easier to read in sunlight are always appreciated. https://foreflight.com Thanks, Rene John
  • I notice in your review (thx, daily user experience = great way to test), video as photo as well, still a lot of display reflectance. This is for me the most important one right now while summer season and outside usability is key. I use it to work, look television (particularly sport like tennis) and read. My ipad air display 'washes out' with the strong sunshine right now. Please advise based on your experience so far.
  • "Are we finally at the point where iPad Pro is the best computer for highly mobile professions?" Nope, still no Xcode for iOS.
  • But Xcode doesn't have Byte 😂
  • What do you mean by "doesn't have Byte"?
  • I think it'll come eventually, just Apple as usual rolling new features out as slow as ****
  • I repeat, an Ipad is not a laptop 😂 No matter how big you make the screen. Is just an oversized iPhone. 😂
  • I'd like to think this is sarcastic. The "oversized iPhone" rhetoric got old in 2010
  • Excellent read, thanks for all the information, it’s definitely going to help me prepare for my new iPad! 😁
  • Will it allow me to display and edit raw photos?
  • Sure, you just need an app that handles RAW. Adobe makes one. so does Pixelmator.
  • Even better, the new Affinity Photo that was demoed at WWDC! Far more powerful than Pixelmator, much closer to Photoshop in terms of features.
  • +1, Affinity Photo is fantastic
  • Thanks for the recommendation. I use Pixelmator and love it, but there are some features that are missing or not as functional as I would like. I'll give Affinity a try. For most minor editing I use the photo app on my iMac and that's where I store my originals, there and on icloud. I really wish the Apple photo app on the iPad would let me make edits to the raw photos stored on the cloud.
  • I upload and edit raw photos to iCloud using Apple's photos app on my iMac. I would like to be able to edit the raw originals from Photos on my iPad as well.
  • Very, very tempting, but I'm not replacing my aging iPads until Apple adds NFC. These are mobile devices, or they aren't. iPads fit my work and my life better than iPhones, and I am more likely to leave the home without the phone than the pad.  watches must, in my view, work with iPads, not just iPhones. And with Apple now allowing developers access to NFC, the iPads risk being even further out of the loop.
  • Great review. I'm even more excited for mine to arrive tomorrow. I have to ask.... how and where did you get watch The Force Awakens in 1080p HDR?!?! I'd love to if it's available somewhere.
  • Dolby Labs demo, and it was just the trailer :)
  • Why is there no Smart Case for this? Is it because Apple wants us to buy a Smart Cover *and* the sleeve if we want to protect the back? I'm an iPad Air 2 owner and I'm interested in this to gain pencil support, but for now I'm waiting to see if a third party smart case with an pencil holder appears.
  • Double post [edit]
  • That is odd...
  • Great review!!
  • does iOS11 give the screen more rows and columns for the dvesktop icons on the 12.9 screen. Come on I this is on the iPhone Plus so it should be here too. The drag and drop sounds ok but I would still rather do that with a mouse.
    With keyboard mouse and touch inputs it seems a little like refrigerator toaster blender. If I am doing a lot of typing and using the Smart Keyboard I want to be able to do that with a mouse. Moving hands from keyboard to screen sounds so windows 10 - But I recognize that in the long run the touch drag n drop is a step on the road to oneOS for all devices.
  • If you want to use a mouse then you want a Mac. Using an iPad with a mouse destroys the whole purpose and definition of an iPad
  • That's wrong and extreme. I had to go read Apple's sales/marketing page (https://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/) to see if they really claim the purpose/definition of an iPad is, "a device without a mouse." If anything, they claim it will replace your computer, multiple times. And for most people, a computer still uses a mouse.
  • The dictionary definition of a computer does not state that it needs a mouse. The iPad is obviously "a device without a mouse.", considering it has no native support for mice within the OS
  • See, that's a different argument. You claimed the iPad's definition didn't include a mouse. Now you claim a computer's definition doesn't include a mouse. If you want to go that way, the definition of a computer does not include a screen, either. It's simply a device that processes data.
    I think it's a pity that the iPad does not support a mouse, especially when Apple claims the Pro model is better than most computers. Personally, I'd love to use a mouse on an iPad for high precision work.
  • But that's what the Mac is for, what you want a hybrid machine (which the Surface is), but Apple seems keen on keeping the iPad and Mac separate.
  • Perhaps. I got the feeling that Apple is pushing the iPad Pro more towards being a Mac replacement, though. I won't be surprised when Macs finally run on Apple processors, and they blurred the line between MacOS and iOS so much, that it won't be a hybrid machine, just an Apple machine.
  • They do want to push the iPad Pro towards being a Mac replacement, but they still want it to be an iPad. That means it'll continue to run iOS, and won't get mouse support, but you could be very right that in the future there will be a different or hybrid product that will essentially just be an Apple machine
  • Yeah. Considering iOS and MacOS come from the same roots, I can see Apple hyping up a device that's the same hybrid concept that they mocked, yet is done so much better because it has an Apple on it. ;)
  • Amazing review as always! I´m currently an happy iPad Air 2 user (completely replacing my laptop) and in the fence on the 10.5 vs 12.9. 90% of my iPad usage is done in Split View mode. Dou you think those 20% really make a difference (for exemple, right now on the 9.7 Air 2 when I'm on 50/50% split view with Microsoft Word and Safari a lot of zooming is necessary. Do you think the screen real estate of the 12.9 really makes a difference in my single use case?
  • iPad Air 2 here too. I'm getting the 12.9in with iOS 11. I wouldn't need to zoom in on Safari and with iOS 11 there will be alot more room. I would say get the 12.9in if you can. Screen size will make a big difference and it will definitely feel like a new iPad
  • There's a mistake. HDR on displays and HDR on digital cameras aren't exactly alike. On a digital camera, an HDR exposure basically uses bracketing and combines the multiple images of varying exposures to create a final image where highlights and shadows are evenly balanced so that detail is preserved as much as possible. On a display made for mobile devices or a television, HDR aims to increase a display's contrast ratio. This means that while the dark areas will be kept as dark as possible, the bright areas will be brighter, creating a more dramatic image that makes a very stunning first impression, which also helps retain detail, as you don't wanna wash out the shadows in making a brighter image. HDR on displays also help widen the color range, of which HDR on cameras do not. They have similar basic principles, but their effect isn't exactly alike.
  • Looking forward to the 12.9 iPad which I'll get when iOS 11 is released.
  • I am going to wait until iOS 11 comes out before pulling the trigger on this one. I am looking forward to upgrading my Air 2 to the 10.5 inch. The previous generation just didn't seem to have much for me, this one with it's bigger screen, better camera, Better keyboard., and most important "Files" app ( I know all iPads will get it). As Rene would say, the perfect Shuttlecraft to my iMac.
  • Best review I've seen so far, Rene! iMore always has thorough reviews like this, and I really appreciate it.
  • So I"m sitting here with my 10.5 and Smart Keyboard and a naked rear end (the iPad's, not mine). What do I cover the back with? While priced absurdly, I thought maybe the Apple Leather Sleeve at least might help but mixed answers on whether it fits and in the store, they told me I might squeeze it in but it's going to eventually damage the sleeve. And no, I don't see the Logitech product as a solution. I've had every iPad but the Pro 9.7 in 7 years and tried similar products from Logitech, Belkin Zagg and one other and the problem is always the same. Using the device with the keyboard works fine. But using it without means either taking it off and leaving it somewhere and that's 90% of my use case because I'm grossed out by simply wrapping the keyboard around and feeling keys. With Apple's product (I have a 12.9) it's simply a typical iPad cover with a hump and it's just the fiber against my hand. So my Smart Cover and the back case from Apple simply live on my 12.9 all the time. But I went 10.5 to get the weight down to a more comfortable level (the 12.9 will simply live at home most of the time). But no more Apple back cover and no clearly defined Smart Keyboard compatible back covers out there. Some say they are but they're not. Any suggestions? I'm not careless. The back cover is more for scratches and dents rather than full blown drops. And no I don't want two separate things because I don't want to take the iPad in and out and eventually doing so would wear out the cover and it won't fit tightly anymore. I'm sure there will be options in 1-2 months but is there something out there now? Maybe I should buy the 12.9 sleeve but that just seems wrong :)
  • I have the same concern. My iPad Pro 9.7 has the Smart Keyboard and rear silicone case. It's a perfect solution with excellent fit and finish. Why no silicone case for the iPad Pro 10.5 and new 12.9? FWIW, I've been told they're coming, just a little later. They debuted after the release of the $329 iPad as well. There have been issues, a number of them, with the silicone cases cracking (mine hasn't), so they're working on the material. How reliable this information is, I don't know, but my source does work for Apple, and not in a retail shop. Given that Apple makes a fortune on accessories like that, I'm inclined to believe it.
  • for now just very simple kitchen drawer/book cover style adhesive vinyl, cut roughly to shape?
  • Rene, thanks for taking the time to write this excellent review. I just have one question - what is your recommendation for doing heavy text editing using iPad Pro as your only solution? Background note: I tried last year replacing my laptop with an iPad Pro 12.9 and actually the power and software were all there for me. Most of my work is writing and editing documents. The writing part worked easily with Scrivener, Word, other apps + the Smart Keyboard. But I never could get into a flow with heavy editing on the iPad Pro. With the keyboard on, you end up using your finger or Pencil for precise text insertion copying and that gets old fast (hello, gorilla arm anyone?). On the other hand, the two finger trick with the software keyboard is pretty darn good (but of course, not useful when you have a Smart Keyboard attached). Is the trick for good text editing workflow on an iPad Pro to ditch the Smart Keyboard for editing sessions and use the software keyboard with the two finger "mousepad/insert" trick? I am open to suggestions because if I could solve this one issue, iPad Pro could work as my only mobile computing device.
  • I can't think of an existing solution to your issue, but how about this for an approach? I want Apple to offer a separate software keyboard for iOS devices. Why? In part because I have adapted to and enjoy typing on glass and don't want my separate keyboard to force me back to electro-mechanical. What I want from a separate keyboard is the same typing experience I get on iOS devices, but typing into a full screen that is no longer half obscured by the onboard software keyboard. Multitouch on this separate software keyboard would allow me to two-finger edit from the remote keyboard — just as I can with the onboard keyboard —without requiring that I touch the screen. Genius! The connection to i-devices would be via Bluetooth or the special connections for those devices that have them. Bluetooth might allow them to work for iMacs as well. Apple TVs too. Bonus! If these keyboards included fingerprint sensors, they could remotely unlock devices and even make payments online and in apps. And no need for these to eat battery power for the display. The onboard keyboards are grey and white and that's good enough for the remote. E—ink perhaps? These keyboards could come in a variety of sizes, appropriate to devices, and some larger ones might permit independent resizing of board and keys for perfect matches to hands and habits. Until Apple creates this device, I would appreciate if they allowed existing iOS device keyboards to type directly into text fields and writing apps on other iOS devices using Bluetooth. For example, I could thumb-type my iPhone and have the result immediately appear full-screen in Mail or Pages etc. on my iPad Pro. Or vice-versa if I were writing a long document using an iPad but wanted the phone's cellular connection to send it right away. Or sometimes to type between large and small iPads, just to get the full-screen benefit. This iOS change could happen tomorrow. What a nice feature it would be. Interim like.
  • Excellent review.