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October 30, 2018

2018 iPad Pro Hands-On Impressions: ‘Might Be the Truest Embodiment of a Tablet Yet’

by John_A

Members of the media have now had a chance to get their hands on Apple’s latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro following today’s event in New York. The new iPad Pro includes an updated Liquid Retina LCD display, slimmer bezels, Face ID, a thinner body, and A12X Bionic chip.

Image via Dan Seifert/The Verge
So far, it appears that initial impressions of the new tablet are largely positive, with The Verge describing the iPad Pro as “just a giant, beautiful screen” thanks to the reduced bezel size. The edges of the iPad are now flat instead of rounded, which reminded The Verge of the iPhone 4 through 5S design, and the overall feel of the tablet was “much denser and pro” than previous generations of the iPad Pro.

The transition to Face ID allowed Apple to make the iPad’s side bezels slimmer than ever before, and the result might be the truest embodiment of a “tablet” yet. This thing is just a giant, beautiful screen. The 11-inch display is housed in a device similar to the size of the previous 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the 12.9-inch model is physically smaller than its predecessor. The rounded edges of the last few iPads have switched over to flat edges reminiscent of the very original (or the iPhone 4 through 5S).

The overall feel of the thing is way more squared off than I was expecting — it feels much denser and pro than before. The LTE version has large antenna lines on the back, you’ll definitely notice them.

Engadget says the iPad Pro is starting to feel more like a proper computer, thanks to the angular “no-nonsense design” and the A12X Bionic chip. The site says the iPad Pro is shockingly comfortable to hold, far more comfortable for long sessions of drawing with Apple Pencil than the previous 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Image via Chris Velazco/Engadget

At the risk of sound a little repetitive though, this design still feels like a huge step forward. That’s thanks in large part to the edge-to-edge display Apple adopted this year — it’s a Liquid Retina panel like the ones we recently saw in the iPhone XR, but it retains the same high resolution as last year’s big Pros. That was a very long-winded way of saying that the iPad Pro’s screen looks amazing, but that’s hardly anything new here — I never really had an issue with earlier Pros, and Apple’s ProMotion screen tech still allows for a super-slick, 120Hz refresh rate.

Despite liking the overall design and performance of the iPad Pro, Engadget did question Apple’s removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack:

Much as I like this new design, there is one thing that rubs me the wrong way, and it has a lot to do with the mixed messages Apple is sending. In its presentation, Apple made it clear that music professional like DJs have been fans of the iPad for a while, and that the new power afforded to them by the A12X Bionic chipset would help them spice up their performances. That’s cool and all, but I wonder how those DJs feel about the iPad Pro lacking a headphone jack. Seems kind of important, no?

SlashGear agrees that the new iPad Pros feel easier and more comfortable to hold, and the tablet’s palm detection means that you won’t accidentally interact with the touchscreen as you handle the device. For the site, the biggest downside of the new iPad Pro was Apple’s pricing:

Image via SlashGear

Therein lies the new iPad Pro’s downside: the price. The range kicks off at $799 for the 11-inch and $999 for the 12.9-inch. Those numbers spiral up dramatically as you add more storage and cellular connectivity. Want the new Apple Pencil 2? That’ll cost you another $129. The fancy new Smart Keyboard Folio – which hooks to to relocated connectors now on the rear of the tablet, not the edge – is $179 for the 11-inch model, or $199 for the 12.9-inch.

All in all, you’re looking at MacBook Air pricing at least, or easily MacBook Pro levels if you go crazy with the options. Apple’s argument is that, for creative professionals, the arrival of apps like true Photoshop in 2019 will make this not only a replacement for your notebook but the better choice.

We’re going hands-on with the new iPad Pro at Apple’s event in New York, so be sure to keep an eye out for more coverage about the new tablets, MacBook Air, and Mac mini on our front page and by following @MacRumors on Twitter.

Related Roundup: iPad ProTag: October 2018 eventBuyer’s Guide: 10.5″ iPad Pro (Buy Now), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Buy Now)
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