Design

Arguably the largest change to the new iPad is in its design choices, and Apple has made some bold choices here which deviate significantly from the previous models. Apple calls the latest iPad Pro a “Window onto your work” and the company has taken design inspiration from its iPhone lineup with the reduction in the screen bezels to achieve this window onto your work.

The smaller bezels preclude the use of the Home button, which had already been deprecated in the iPhone, so it isn’t a surprise to see it removed here as well. The removal of the Home button also introduces the use of the same gesture based navigation already seen in the iPhone, except in a larger form factor. It also introduces Face ID to the iPad for the first time.

Due to the fact that the bezels required for a tablet are proportionally larger than a phone, there’s no need for a notch, and the Face ID camera sits almost hidden in the upper bezel. Unlike on the iPhone though, there’s no guaranteed way that you’ll be holding the iPad, and if you are holding it in landscape it can be very easy to have your hand over the camera. If that’s the case, iOS will let you know the camera is covered and show an on-screen arrow pointing to where it is. And, of course, the same caveats that go with any facial recognition system come into play with the iPad Pro. You have to be sure the camera can see you, so if the tablet is sitting on a table as you are using it, you may have to contort yourself slightly or pick it up if Face ID is required. It’s not quite as simple as Touch ID was, but it’s very quick and reliable.

If there is one major annoyance with Face ID on the iPad Pro it is the login process, which is overly cumbersome. Turning on the iPad will initiate a Face ID login, but Apple requires a swipe-up gesture to finish the unlock process. This is compounded on the iPad by the fact that the swipe must originate from below the bottom of the screen as if you were going to Home. Since your hand is likely not to be there, it is a less than ideal gesture for something that must be done so many times. If Apple just allowed the swipe up anywhere on the screen, it would be a big improvement.

Still, the removal of the Home button does make for a much more modern looking device, with the smaller bezels we have gotten used to over the last couple of years, and Apple continues its attention to detail by having the display corners match the radius of the device corners.

The other big design change with the iPad Pro is that Apple has moved to an almost-squared off edge, compared to the more rounded, tapered edges on the older models. This design change was almost certainly to facilitate the new Apple Pencil storage location, which has it magnetically attach to one side of the device. There’s a small RF transparent window there to allow the Apple Pencil to wirelessly charge when attached to the iPad, and a new pencil will sync with the iPad just by attaching it, which makes it a very seamless experience to get it up and running.

The squared off edges don’t provide the great in-hand feel of tapered edges though, but the iPad is thin enough that it is not a huge issue. It’ll also likely spend most of its life in a case, which is unfortunate since it is a great looking piece of technology. Apple has also done a great job of incorporating the various antennae into the design with symmetrical lines on the top and bottom which separate the metal at the top and bottom with the rest of the device.

Finally, Apple has continued its use of a quad-speaker arrangement on the iPad Pro, although with most things on the new iPad, they’ve been refreshed as well. There is now two speakers at each corner, with both a tweeter and a woofer which Apple says offers better sound with less space allocated for the speakers.

Overall the design of the latest iPad is quite striking, and the reduction in bezels provides a much more modern looking tablet. It keeps all of the attention to detail that Apple designed devices are known for. The iPad continues to lead the segment in design, and 468 grams for the 11-inch model we have for review, it is very easy to hold in one hand and use. The lack of rounded sides is somewhat masked by the 5.9 mm thickness, and despite internet rumors, the iPad Pro won’t bend in half just by holding it. The squared edges make it feel quite sturdy, although if you tried to bend it you likely could. But since it will likely live its life in a case of some sort, the proper care to prevent this shouldn’t be extreme.

Introduction Accessories - Pencil & Folio
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  • WasHopingForAnHonestReview - Thursday, December 6, 2018 - link

    The foundation of your entire at point is questionable at BEST. A tablet is bought for a few major reasons, without which, there would be no tablet.
    1) a portable device that requires no extra components to do its primary function which is..
    2) browse net, absorb entertainment and read on while being ultra portable and low effort to accomplish.
    3) Ease of use. Simplicity above all else. "So easy a child can use it".

    The iPad can do all of these, but where it begins to fail is in the uses youve laid out. If you render a video for your youtube channel you better have your charger nearby. (Hurts #1 above).
    If you plan on doing ANY EDITING, you better have a mouse and keyboard nearby. (Hurts all 3 above.)
    If you plan on playing graphic intensive games on it, you better have a controller laying around or in your bag.( kill all 3)

    The point is what Apple is trying to do with this device defeats the PRIMARY PURPOSES of a tablet. Therefor I would suggest you simply go buy a laptop to accomplish all the feats you just mentioned.

    I find the roundation of our point to be ludicrious. So ludicrious I cannot believe youre that silly to get a tablet to show your buddies how fast Apples new cpu is (which it is) then post here how you love it. Your comment reads like a paid shill post which I see here all the time. Or you have Apple stock.

    Either way, this tablet from apple has an impressive cpu/gpu that is completely squandered for 99% of the people who would buy it. Its a development misstep by Apple. Writing this I wonder if they will do some data recon to see whos actually using their cpu/gpu to decide on the future path of the line.

    My bets for the future would be low power cpu/gpu thag give you days of 1,2,3 before having to charge again. Thats the proper path.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Thursday, December 6, 2018 - link

    Your reasons are for refuting are dubious.
    1. Do not need to bring charger as iPad hardly uses any power when rendering videos.
    2. Can edit fine with the Apple pencil for precise adjustments
    3. Not all games need a controller. Some like civ vi, are even better with touch.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Thursday, December 6, 2018 - link

    Although I do not edit a lot of videos, I do edit lots of photos using Lightroom CC. Compared to a traditional laptop.
    1. Battery life is tremendous. Can get around 8 hours of usage compared to 4 in the 2017 13” MacBook Pro. Also in complete silence compared to fans blaring half the time on the Mac.
    2. Using the pencil has been great when needing to be more precise. In some cases even better tan mouse when selecting areas of an image.
    Reply
  • Socius - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    1) You should try working with 4K video in LumaFusion before you talk. It doesn’t skip a beat. And the device doesn’t get hot. Nor does it drain a lot of battery.

    2) That’s your usage for the tablet. Not mine. If that’s all I wanted to do, my iPad Air 2 is more than sufficient for the task.

    Also why do you need a keyboard for editing video or photos? Have you seen how amazing it is using your hand and the pencil together? It works like a Wacom device. Touch input is used for image size/position manipulation, as well as tool selection/adjustment. It doesn’t interfere with the work the pencil does. And yes. I do have 2 Wacom devices as well.

    Regarding gaming, it depends what you’re playing. I love playing racing games like Grid Autosport, rpg games like final fantasy, or simulation games like civilization. If I want to play hardcore games, I do it at 4K 144Hz with HDR on my desktop.

    You talk about needing a mouse and keyboard to be productive. But here’s the thing. I have an i7 surface pro with keyboard and pen. And I honestly find it harder to use. While there is more flexibility in apps and what you can do, it can’t do it as easily as iOS can. The surface pro is a portable desktop. iPad Pro is a different type of device. If you can find the right apps to cover your usage needs, it’ll be far easier to use than the surface pro. I even do my server management on the iPad Pro.

    But I appreciate your personal attacks and insults towards me. They say far more about you as a person than they do about me. Also, it’s ludicrous. Not ludicrious, as you misspelled twice. Maybe if you had an iPad Pro, you could take advantage of auto-correct.
    Reply
  • Calista - Thursday, December 6, 2018 - link

    In many ways an amazing product, packing so many outstanding features in such a small package. At the same time I can't shake the feeling it's a product looking for a real use-case for all its power. What can be properly done on the Pro which can't be done with far less power? Read pdf files? Play the light games the app store offer, watch some media etc. I could easily be doing all of it with a 100 dollar tablet with a Snapdragon 400. And when talking "real work" Windows or OS X is far more versatile compared to iOS. Reply
  • Sailor23M - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Agree with Calista and others earlier. I have an ipad 4, a ipad mini, an ipad Air2 and the new education ipad+pencil in my family. I frequently use the iPad Air 2 to take notes and send emails but do not use it for core productivity like ppt/excel - primary reason is lack of a defined local file storage structure and inability to connect to a usb drive - cloud storage is clunky at best for people on the move in trains/public transport. Reply
  • Socius - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Why don’t you use a locally synced cloud service like iCloud, google drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, etc? The “files” application on the iPad Pro is really lacking on some very fundamental features such as file compression and decompression. But...it does give full access to browse all apps folders. Even across apps. So you can use apps like iZip or Documents by readlle, to extract, compress, move around, manipulate, edit text, look at pictures/videos etc. etc. you can access all those files in your other apps. It’s definitely flawed and limited, but usable. You also can use usb drives. But not directly in the files app. Has to be imported from a 3rd party app. Reply
  • heywally12 - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Back in the day, used to be a tech guy (well, sysmanager/dba anyway) and a lot of the stuff on this site is over my head now. But at the risk of wasting space, let me thank you for a thorough and excellent review that is understandable to me. Reply
  • DaQi - Friday, December 7, 2018 - link

    Been a user of the original iPad Pro since it came out. I use it for taking notes and have completely eliminated paper note taking in my life. Was very interested in this new version but two things make it a non-starter and they are very subtle. The physical width of it is slightly wider and thus I can't comfortably hold it in my hand while writing on it. The second thing is that the keyboard when folded has the keys sticking out instead of tucked in like the original. Don't get me wrong the original has a lot of problems. It is a bit of a love hate relationship I have with it but I do use it all the time every day with the pencil and I was looking forward to a new version but this very small and simple change makes it totally a no go - so sad! Reply
  • peevee - Monday, December 10, 2018 - link

    "Due to the fact that the bezels required for a tablet"

    Required by whom?
    Reply

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