Apple iPad Pro Review Roundup: Laptop Killer or No?
Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook made a bold claim that once you owned an iPad Pro, you would never need a full-function PC ever again. Obviously he’s smoking something, but how close do you think he comes to the truth?
With the iPad Pro going up for sale today, and the first reviews coming in, now is our chance to find out whether Apple’s thousand dollar appliance computer truly is a laptop killer.
The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern thinks it could be. She calls it the jack of all trades, and the master of most:
The iPad Pro is like one of those Magic Eye posters. You can look at it for hours and still keep asking yourself: “Wait… what is it?”
It’s Apple’s first tablet/laptop convertible! No, it’s an artist’s sketchbook! Never mind, it’s totally an enterprise-focused tablet for filling out forms! Actually, it’s a college-bound textbook-turned-notebook-turned-TV!
It turns out Apple’s new giant, 12.9-inch iPad, which starts at $800 and goes on sale on Wednesday, is all of those things—if you shell out for the $100 Apple Pencil and $170 Smart Keyboard, that is.
The Verge’s Walt Mossberg disagrees:
You’d think an iPad guy like me would be over the moon about the iPad Pro, despite its hefty base price of $799 for a Wi-Fi-only model with 32GB of memory, which stretches to $949 with 128GB of memory, and soars past $1,000 with cellular capability.
But I’m not.
But, for me — a person already using his laptop a lot less in favor of the iPad — the Pro is just not likely to eliminate my laptop use entirely. And I say that knowing that, for instance, there will be better keyboard covers and cases. There already is one: I prefer the the Logitech Create I used to write part of this column. But it still doesn’t work nearly as well in my lap as a MacBook Air, partly because, like Apple’s keyboard, it only has one angle.
But, even if the iPad Pro doesn’t fully replace a laptop, it does have a killer app: graphics, in all its forms, when used with the optional $99 Apple Pencil.
MacStories' Federicco Vitucci thinks this is a work machine:
This is less of a "just for media consumption" device than any iPad before it. The iPad Pro is, primarily, about getting work done on iOS. And with such a focus on productivity, the iPad Pro has made rethink what I expect from an iPad.
The iPad Pro is positioned as a more productive take on the iPad for those who need to get work done on it. My recommendation couldn’t be more straightforward: if iOS is your main computing platform, or if you plan to turn an iPad into your primary computer, you’ll want an iPad Pro. Its powerful hardware, multitasking interface, and extensible nature are superior to every other iPad. I don’t see myself using a Mac as my primary computer ever again.
Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff agrees:
If you think the iPad Pro is simply about a bigger iPad, you’re missing the point. Apple’s iPad Pro is a new front in the quest to grow the productivity and business market for the iPad. Consumers are likely a secondary consideration. The iPad Pro does everything a smaller iPad can do, but its size, especially when paired with the Smart keyboard and Pencil, offers benefits tiny tablets can only dream of.
I honestly like the iPad Pro, but not because I have so much screen real-estate. I like it because I could use it to get real work done. And even as Apple SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller told me last month that the market for convertible devices like the Surface Book (which, to be fair, runs a desktop OS) was not growing, the company has essentially delivered its own hybrid device.
Buzzfeed’s Nicole Nguyen liked the tablet but found long term use to be a strain:
Arm fatigue is real. I started using the Apple Pencil as a selector because I was so tired of lifting my wrist. Apple founder Steve Jobs actually said it best in 2010: “After a certain amount of time, your arm wants to fall off … it’s ergonomically terrible. Touch surfaces are meant to be horizontal.”
I write words for a living and so, I love keyboards. Unfortunately, longterm keyboard-iPad use makes me want to dunk my hand in an ice bucket. But as a digital notebook, the iPad Pro is amazing. I just don’t need that right now. But you might.
Bloomberg’s Sam Grobart thinks this could be the perfect tablet for some users:
But I would venture to say that, while not everyone uses tech the way I do, many—maybe even most—people do. We read things on the web, we check email, we write things. For those kinds of activities, a laptop is still the most elegant answer to the questions we have. The iPad Pro has a bit of feature creep around it. It’s a tablet! With an attachable keyboard! And a stylus! It’s extremely good at all of those things—I’m just not that interested in the things it’s good at.
So I’m not the customer for the iPad Pro. But I think I know who is
Wired’s David Pierce thinks the hype is overblown:
For those of us who still cling to laptops and desktops, the iPad Pro just doesn’t feel like a serious machine for serious work. We need our keyboard shortcuts and our mice, our apps that work just how we like them. We need our accessories. A touch-first interface just doesn’t feel right, and the iPad Pro can’t overthrow our existing workflows and tools. Maybe we’ll catch up to Tim Cook’s vision of work someday. Maybe. But for right now, we have work to do, and no time to reinvent how we do it.
Nobody’s going to toss their iMacs and ThinkPads into the garbage tomorrow and instead lay a 12.9-inch tablet on everyone’s desk. If there’s a touchscreen revolution underway, it’s going to happen slowly, an app and an accessory at a time. That’s OK. The iPad Pro is a fantastic tablet, not to mention the first iPad in ages that has an obvious value next to our giant smartphones. It starts as a big, powerful, beautiful screen, and with the right accessories and apps can be almost any kind of device you want. So, yeah: size matters.
TechRadar’s Gareth Beavis agrees that the iPad Pro will come up short for most power users:
The iPad Pro isn’t a laptop replacement in the way power users will hope. But it is, by some distance, one of the most brilliant tablets I’ve ever used. However, the key thing here is how happy you are with the extra heft…If you’re the kind of person that wants a device that can seamlessly switch from typing to sketching to playing loads of great games to enjoying the best possible experience on a tablet, then this is just perfect for you. If you need to do more powerful things, like uploading photos while manipulating reams of text and having to refer to other information with a flick of the wrist, you’ll struggle a little with the new iPad.
You’ll find more reviews in the comment section of this post.