Here’s our first look at the new, supersized iPad Pro
We’re live at Apple’s iPhone press event where, in addition to two new handsets, the company unveiled the long-rumored iPad Pro. As the name would suggest (and as leaks already told us), this is a supersized tablet, with a 12.9-inch screen, an optional pen (excuse me: pencil) and a click-in keyboard. I just had a chance to play with the new Pro and its accessories for a few minutes. I’ll be updating this post soon with proper impressions but for now, here’s a bunch of hands-on photos to whet your appetite. Have a look — and check back frequently as I return with some early thoughts.Slideshow-318499
Where to begin? With the hardware, I suppose. It’s so obvious — the larger screen, the keyboard, the pencil. At the same time, all of these features would be fairly useless without the apps; without software designed to help you take advantage of that extra screen real estate. But I won’t get ahead of myself here. Before we talk about what you can do with a 12.9-inch iPad, or why you might want one, let’s take a brief tour of the hardware. As we’ve by now established, this is a big tablet, measuring nearly 13 inches diagonally. All told, it weighs in at 1.57 pounds, roughly the same as the original iPad. I know we tech blogger say this a lot in hands-on posts, but it feels lighter than it looks. That’s not to say I’d want to use this much in portrait mode; it feels a little too top-heavy in-hand. But in landscape, the height is actually on par with the iPad Air 2; it’s just wider. That makes it pretty manageable in horizontal use, which I suspect is how most iPad Pro-optimized apps were meant to be used anyway.
Other than the size, this looks, at first glance, like other iPads you’ve seen, with a matte aluminum finish, available in three colors (silver, space gray and gold), and all the usual buttons and openings — namely, a volume rocker and Lightning port. What’s new here is a special connector at the bottom designed to accommodate the optional keyboard, dubbed the Smart Keyboard. Whereas other two-in-one devices rely on Bluetooth to power their keyboards, this one draws power through that power connector. Similar to other keyboards, too, there’s a flap in the back that folds up to help prop up the tablet when it’s docked in. Unlike other tablet keyboards, though, including the Surface’s, it only holds the tablet at one angle; you can’t adjust it. Good thing, then, that the Retina display has wide viewing angles.
And what of that keyboard? It’s really too soon to put down a firm verdict, but tentatively, I like it. The cloth-covered keys feel nice beneath the fingers, and help give the illusion of control, despite the fact that these are otherwise some fairly flat buttons. As a bonus, too, the cloth covering helps make the keyboard splash resistant, though an Apple representative here at the event wouldn’t go so far as to call it water-resistant, much less waterproof. In addition to the textured feel, I appreciated that the buttons offered at least a modicum of travel — more than I expected on a such a thin, flat keyboard. It would be disingenuous to say it’s as comfortable as the MacBook Air’s keyboard, but it should do in a pinch, especially if you’re using the iPad Pro as a travel machine; a stand-in for your primary computer.
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