All work And play

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH -

Since its in­cep­tion in 2010, the de­sign of the iPad has re­mained fairly un­changed. Ap­ple did ex­per­i­ment with the dis­play size by launch­ing vari­ants such as the Mini and Pro, while keep­ing the cir­cu­lar home but­ton in­tact. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro re­places the one launched in Oc­to­ber 2015, and com­petes head on with Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face range. The dis­play is su­per bright –boast­ing 2,732 x 2,048 pixel res­o­lu­tion – and the de­vice is sleek at 6.9-mm thick­ness. It is light – weigh­ing 677 gm – and eas­ily slides into a 13-inch lap­top sleeve.

Ap­ple’s touch ex­pe­ri­ence is un­par­al­leled and now has been fur­ther en­hanced with its Pro­Mo­tion tech­nol­ogy which is pow­ered by a sep­a­rate core in the iPad’s pro­ces­sor. The Pro­Mo­tion tech­nol­ogy de­liv­ers re­fresh rates of up to 120Hz (most de­vices come with 60Hz re­fresh rate) for fluid scrolling, greater re­spon­sive­ness and smoother mo­tion con­tent. On the new iPad Pro, de­pend­ing on the con­tent on the screen, the re­fresh rate varies from 24Hz to 120Hz. For in­stance, the home­screen has a lower re­fresh rate, but while watch­ing videos or play­ing games the re­fresh rate in­creases.

The touch re­sponse, for both fin­ger touch and the Ap­ple Pen­cil Sty­lus (needs to be pur­chased separately), has been im­proved. Cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als will be de­lighted at the re­spon­sive­ness of the sty­lus on this new de­vice. Ap­ple has also added the A10X fu­sion chip, which is 30 per cent faster than the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion iPad Pro, of­fer­ing a far better ex­pe­ri­ence while edit­ing 4K videos or photos which can be taken from the 12-MP rear cam­era on the iPad (same as on the iPhone 7). Pro­fes­sion­als can use spe­cial edit­ing apps like Affin­ity Photo, Plota­graph, Adobe Pho­to­shop Light­room, etc, too.

A lot of credit goes to the pro­duc­tiv­ity fea­tures and en­hanced UI of the iOS 11. The high­light of the iOS 11 is the app dock where one can add favourite apps on the left and sug­gested apps – based on us­age across iPhone or Mac – ap­pear on the right. Swip­ing up from the bot­tom brings up the dock along with the app switcher for mul­ti­task­ing and the con­trol cen­tre for short­cuts. Switch­ing be­tween apps is quick and iOS 11 re­mem­bers the com­bi­na­tions of apps mul­ti­tasked with pre­vi­ously. Apart from split screen view, which the pre­vi­ous iPads, too, sup­port, the new one has ad­di­tional fea­tures such as drag and drop be­tween apps. For in­stance, I could sim­ply drag an im­age or a URL from the Sa­fari browser and drop it into notes or even an email when Split View is open.

The new Files app brings to­gether files from apps, cloud and even Drop­box in one place; recently worked-on apps can also be ac­cessed from the Re­cent tab within the app. There is a new doc­u­ment scan­ner in the Notes fea­ture that au­to­mat­i­cally scans doc­u­ments, and en­ables dig­i­tal sig­na­tures us­ing Ap­ple Pen­cil. The Pen­cil sty­lus can also be used to mark up screen­shots and PDFs with In­stant Markup. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch is still ship­ping with iOS 10, but we in­stalled the Pub­lic Beta ver­sion of iOS 11 to test th­ese new pro­duc­tiv­ity fea­tures. The fi­nal ver­sion of the iOS 11 will be re­leased later this year. Ap­ple also claims to of­fer search op­tions for hand­writ­ten notes, but it did not work for us.

The full-size smart key­board en­hances pro­duc­tiv­ity man­i­fold. Typ­ing is in­tu­itive; it also sup­ports key­board short­cuts for switch­ing be­tween apps and com­mands such as copy, cut, paste and more. While this orig­i­nal key­board is priced on the higher side, there are sev­eral third-party Blue­tooth key­boards that you can con­sider. Our re­view unit came with the Ap­ple Pen­cil and the smart key­board. When used as the pri­mary de­vice, the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was im­pres­sive – be it typ­ing, switch­ing be­tween apps or the drag and drop fea­ture.

Us­ing the Pages app (Ap­ple’s word pro­ces­sor), I was able to share doc­u­ments with non-Ap­ple users. The only thing I missed was the Archive folder as in the Out­look Mail on my lap­top. Another let-down is the lack of a USB port for plug­ging in flash drives – one has to in­vest in spe­cial drives with light­ing con­nec­tors. It also falls short on the stor­age front – 64-GB stor­age in the base model is in­ad­e­quate for a pri­mary ma­chine. The bat­tery back-up was im­pres­sive even when used as a pri­mary ma­chine; a sin­gle charge lasted a day with close to ten hours of us­age – doc­u­men­ta­tion, brows­ing, stream­ing videos and play­ing games.

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