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October 31, 2018

iPad Pro 2018: 5 features we love, 5 features we don’t

by John_A

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple’s new iPad Pro is finally here. Following months of rumors and leaks, the company officially announced the new device at its hardware event in New York on October 30. The new iPad Pro comes in two different sizes — the 11-inch model and the 12.9-inch model –and brings along Face ID, a new A12X Bionic chip, support for USB-C, and more, all packed into its slimmest design yet.

While Apple’s new device offers plenty of additions to be excited about, there are also things we aren’t too keen on. Here are five features we love about the iPad Pro, and five that we don’t.

Features we love:

Face ID

Following the release of the iPhone X, Apple made it clear that it’s slowly phasing out its Touch ID technology on its devices and replacing it with Face ID. Thanks to the addition of a TrueDepth camera, facial-recognition technology is now on the iPad Pro, too. Rather than using your fingerprint, you’ll now be able to unlock your iPad Pro and use Apple Pay by simply looking at the display. The 7-megapixel 3D-face scanner is also redesigned to work in any direction — whether you’re holding it in portrait mode or landscape mode — so there’s no wrong way to unlock it.

The removal of Touch ID also means there is a new way to navigate the device. First introduced in iOS 12, you use the same gestures you would on the iPhone X. You have to swipe down to the left of the device to access the notification page and on the right side for the Control Center. You can access the dock by swiping up from the bottom, and continue to swipe up to access the App Switcher. To continue to use your most recently used apps, simply swipe along the bottom edge. There is also the ability to use split view by dragging and dropping apps, along with the slide over feature which allows you to quickly use an app and swipe it away once you’re done.

Large Liquid Retina display

While the new iPad Pros have even larger displays, Apple made sure that didn’t mean the dimensions of the devices were also bigger. This year, both models are 5.9mm thin — the thinnest the iPad has ever been — which should make it much easier to carry and travel with.

As mentioned before, the iPad Pro comes in two sizes: An 11-inch model and 12.9-inch model. Both feature an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with rounded corners, that’s also found in the iPhone XR, packed into a smaller frame with slimmer bezels. The 11-inch iPad Pro has the same footprint as the 10.5-inch model — but it boasts a bigger display and more pixels while still weighing only a pound. As for the 12.9-inch display, it has a 25 percent reduction in volume in comparison to last year’s iPad Pro model.

Equipped with a USB-C port

As with Apple’s latest lineup of MacBooks, the iPad Pro now has a USB-C port, replacing the Lightning connector found on its predecessors. In addition to using it to charge the device (the iPad Pro will ship with an 18-watt USB-C power adapter), you will be able to connect your iPad to external displays and docks along with instruments and cameras. Using a USB-C to Lightning cable, you also have the ability to use the iPad to charge your iPhone.

Brings the A12X Bionic chip

For the very first time, the iPad Pro packs Apple’s A12X Bionic chip. Apple says single-core performance is up by 35 percent, while multi-core workloads are 90 percent faster. There is also a seven-core GPU that delivers graphics that are up to 1,000 times faster, allowing for a richer and more immersive experience, especially when it comes to gaming. In terms of battery life, the company claims it can last up 10 hours but of course that’s all dependent on use.

Apple Pencil connects magnetically, charges wirelessly

Tired of misplacing your Apple Pencil? With the new iPad Pro, that most likely won’t be a problem anymore; the Apple Pencil now attaches magnetically to the device. But it doesn’t stop there, the Pencil will automatically pair and wirelessly charge as soon as you connect it to the iPad. Once connected, the display will indicate the Pencil is charging and will also showcase the battery percentage it’s currently at.

With the Apple Pencil, you can also now switch between different modes with a double tap and you can automatically launch the Notes app as soon as you tap on the display.

Features we don’t love:

High price tag

Pricing for the iPad Pro is still a bit high (and slightly more expensive than the 2017 iPad Pro models), starting at $800 and going all the way up to almost $2,000 — depending on the model and configuration you purchase. If you want Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, an extra $150 will be added to the original cost of the device. While it does come with a few new capabilities along with a much sleeker and thinner design, you’ll have to be willing to put down more if you’re looking to get a device packed with plenty of storage and cellular connectivity.

No 128GB storage option

The iPad Pro comes in a few different configurations — 64GB, 256Gb, and 512GB. For those who need even more space than 512GB, there’s also a 1TB option available. We wish Apple would have omitted the 64GB model completely, in exchange for a 128GB iPad Pro as the base model. Especially since the 64GB configuration isn’t cheap — the 11-inch model starts at $800 while the 12.9-inch model starts at $1,000, and that is without cellular connectivity on either one which costs extra. It’s tough to justify shelling out that much money on an iPad with such a small amount of storage that will fill up quickly.

Say goodbye to the headphone jack

Not only is Apple doing away with the Lightning connector, but the company has also removed the 3.5mm-headphone jack from the new iPad Pro. While it’s unclear whether or not it will ship with a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle, you’ll need one either way if you still want to use your headphones with the device. Otherwise, you will probably want to consider switching over to wireless headphones.

The camera bump

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

As with its latest lineup of iPhones, Apple still included the same camera bump on the back of its iPad Pro. While the front of the iPad Pro looks sleek and streamlined, the camera bump looks out of place and unnecessary. Unless you have a case on it, the bump also keeps the device from laying flat on the table causing it to rock back and forth instead.

Needs more console-like games

With its A12X Bionic chip and seven-core GPU, Apple says the new iPad Pro delivers up to twice the graphics performance that provides console-quality graphics — apparently making it as powerful as the Xbox One S. But while there are a number of games like Civilization VI and PUBG Mobile for the iPad Pro, we do wish there were more console-like games out there for us to play on the device in order to take full advantage of its ramped-up performance. At its event, Apple announced that NBA 2K will soon be available for the new iPad Pro so hopefully, this means there’s even more games to come in the near future.

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