A first look at the iPad Pro
14 September 2015

A first look at the iPad Pro

A first look at the iPad Pro targeted at corporate and creative markets

The iPad Pro comes with a 12.9-inch display, compared to the 9.7-inch display on the iPad Air and the 7.9-inch display on the iPad mini. That's 78 percent more screen space than the next-largest iPad.

Price

RRP: From $799 USD

Pros

  • Extreme processing power
  • Big screen
  • Audio power and rebalancing

Cons

  • Loses many of the portability advantages of other iPads
  • Price

Build And Physical Design

The iPad Pro follows the general design principles of the iPad Air 2, but on a significantly larger scale. Its general layout, material, edging and so on all match, while the positioning of the buttons, the Lightning and headphone ports and the Touch ID-equipped Home button are the same as on the smaller iPad Air 2.

Aside from the increase in screen area, there are some key design differences, each corresponding to a functional difference.

One is that there are four speakers, as opposed to the twin speakers on the iPad Air 2 (and those positioned too close together to have any real beneficial effect). This results in far more volume output, of course, and Apple says the device is also smart enough to adjust audio balance between the four units to maintain a consistent performance as you hold the iPad in different ways.

There is a new type of connector on the lefthand side of the iPad Pro. Apple calls it the Smart Connector, and it's designed to fit the new Smart Keyboard accessory. Look out for third party accessories. That connection has a lot of possibilities.

Display Surface

The iPad Pro comes with a 12.9-inch display, compared to the 9.7-inch display on the iPad Air and the 7.9-inch display on the iPad mini. That's 78 percent more screen space than the next-largest iPad.

A diagonal measurement of 12.9 inches makes for a device that is both sharply differentiated from the smaller iPads and a convenient size in terms of productivity and ease of use.

The iPad Pro's screen is also sharp, with a massive screen resolution of 2732 x 2048, the largest resolution ever seen on an iOS device. That's the same pixel density - 264.68 pixels per inch (ppi) - as the iPad Air 2, stretched across a much bigger screen.

With a total of 5.6 million pixels on show, Apple boasted that the iPad Pro has more pixels than the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

Quad-Speaker Sound


The iPad Pro features four speakers rather than the twin speakers in the iPad Air 2. A quad-speaker design is a long-time wish for iPad owners, given their devices' traditional weakness in terms of audio.

Processor

The iPad Pro gets a super-powered A9X processor chip, one that Apple claims is close to twice the speed of the iPad Air 2's A8X.

IPad Pro Accessories

At the same time as announcing the iPad Pro, Apple unveiled a pair of intriguing new accessories to accompany the device's launch. These will be sold separately, but only US prices have been revealed so far.

IPad Pro And Apple Pencil

Intended to offer pressure-sensitive drawing and painting rather than simply a standard control method.

A stylus could make more sense for the iPad Pro than for other iOS devices. Designers, artists and other creative types represent a strong potential audience for a big-screen iPad.

The Apple Pencil plugs directly into its Lightning port - this is how it charges, and it does so very quickly indeed. Apple has claimed that 15 seconds of charging time is enough for 30 minutes of use.

Apple Fine-Tunes Design

The difference between Apple and a company like Samsung, though, is that Apple only ships a tiny proportion of the designs it comes up with. Apple focuses on simplicity - not just simplicity of design, but also simplicity in its range of products it sells.

Apple has since diversified and there are now three iPhone screen sizes and, prior to this launch, there were only two screen sizes for the iPad.

The Work Station IPad

Five years after its launch, questions still remain over the iPad's ability to operate as a primary work tool - because its screen is smaller than almost all laptops, because iOS is limited in many areas, and because the iPad can't multitask. Some or all of these shortcomings can be addressed in a 12-inch iPad Pro. It's big and powerful enough to run multiple apps at once, and there's a compelling, large keyboard accessory that will appeal to business types on the go. Microsoft is well on board with its range of productivity apps.

Apple also pushed the creativity angle hard, with page-layout and photo-editing demoes from Adobe and videos of artists creating beautiful art with the Apple Pencil stylus. And gamers will love the super-fast A9X processor.

In Summary

The iPad Pro has significant processing power, its screen technology and the design skills that have squeezed such a big display in a slim and lightweight package.

Apple Introduces iPad Pro
Hands on: iPad Pro and Apple Pencil with Adobe Sketch, iOS 9 Markup