Ap­ple’s latest of­fer­ing is smart, has a big­ger screen and is so fast you may be at risk of mo­tion sick­ness

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK TECHNOLOGY -

IT’S been al­most a month since I started us­ing Ap­ple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. I’ve no­ticed a few things im­me­di­ately. First, it’s no­tice­ably quicker than the older iPad Pro. Sec­ond, its larger screen makes a dif­fer­ence to mul­ti­task­ing: split­ting the screen into two pan­els (a word pro­ces­sor on side and say, email or Sa­fari on the other) is now my de­fault set­ting. This helps pro­duc­tiv­ity a lot.

This lat­ter el­e­ment prob­a­bly helps the thing that Ap­ple wants to pro­mote most – the iPad Pro as a gen­uine lap­top al­ter­na­tive for work­ing peo­ple.

New fea­tures in iOS 11 are also ex­pected to give this prospect a good shot. For ex­am­ple, you can now drag and drop files from one lo­ca­tion to an­other.

Ap­ple’s new Files sys­tem also lets you change the way that you set up your work­flow.

You can store and work with doc­u­ments and images that are stored ei­ther lo­cally on the ma­chine or in com­monly used cloud ser­vices, such as Drop­box, Box or iCloud Drive.

There’s also a new cus­tomis­able Dock that pro­vides quick ac­cess to fre­quently used apps and doc­u­ments from any screen.

How­ever, iOS 11 won’t prop­erly be pol­ished un­til Septem­ber, so I’ ll leave those soft­ware up­grades un­til then.

The new tablet has a screen that is big­ger by al­most 20pc com­pared to its 9.7-inch pre­de­ces­sor.

De­spite this, how­ever, the over­all size of the unit has only in­creased by 7pc.

Ap­ple has done this by thin­ning out the bezels around the screen, mean­ing that you sim­ply get more screen in proportion to the over­all de­vice size.

The screen is brighter and more in­tel­li­gent at dis­play­ing colours and white bal­ance ar­rays than pre­vi­ous iPads.

A higher re­fresh rate of 120Hz means that scrolling on the iPad Pro’s screen seems con­sid­er­ably more fluid, with much smoother con­tent mo­tion.

This tech­nol­ogy (which Ap­ple calls ‘Pro­Mo­tion’) also gives Ap­ple’s Pen­cil an ex­tra edge, re­duc­ing its la­tency (the ap­par­ent time be­tween the sty­lus tip touch­ing the screen and regis­ter­ing a mark on the screen) to 20 mil­lisec­onds. This is faster than pretty much any other sty­lus sys­tem.

There is one funny lit­tle side-ef­fect to the improved screen re­fresh rate that I hadn’t con­sid­ered be­fore.

It’s now so smooth and fluid that I some­times per­ceive some­thing ap­proach­ing mo­tion sick­ness when I scroll non-stop. It’s a sim­i­lar thing to wear­ing a VR head­set for a while.

There is a newly-re­leased (re­sized) Smart Key­board to go with this iPad Pro. It’s slightly big­ger than the last one (for the 9.7-inch model) but I re­main a fan. The only dis­ad­van­tage is that it’s not, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, back­lit. That puts you at a dis­ad­van­tage if us­ing it in dark lo­ca­tions.

While I’ve never re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated a cam­era on an iPad, many peo­ple use it. So Ap­ple has in­cluded the same cam­era sys­tem from the iPhone 7 into the new iPad Pro. That means a 12-megapixel rear lens and a 7-megapixel FaceTime selfie cam­era.

What I do ap­pre­ci­ate (lots) is the ex­cel­lent speaker sys­tem that iPad Pro mod­els have come with. Like its pre­de­ces­sors, the new model comes with four speak­ers. This is more im­por­tant than you’d think, es­pe­cially if you like to use the de­vice for a bit of Net­flix, Sky Go or other stream­ing op­tions.

As one might ex­pect, Ap­ple has added a bit more power to the engine un­der the hood. This comes in the form of an A10x pro­ces­sor, which it says de­liv­ers over 30pc faster per­for­mance than the pre­vi­ous iPad Pro ma­chines. I def­i­nitely ex­pe­ri­enced this.

Along­side all of this is more in­te­gra­tion with Ap­ple’s Pen­cil. Prob­a­bly the most im­pres­sive new Pen­cil fea­ture is the abil­ity to scribble notes in an app such as Notes, close the app and then search for what­ever you’ve scrib­bled in Spotlight later on. This is ex­actly the type of func­tion­al­ity that might make sty­lus scep­tics re­con­sider the Pen­cil.

Like other iPads, you can get this one with or with­out a 4G ser­vice op­tion. It starts at 64GB (€749 wifi-only) and goes up to 512GB of stor­age mem­ory.

In a nut­shell, this ma­chine is get­ting a lot closer to the work­flow stuff that reg­u­lar lap­tops can do, as well as keep­ing its pacy, quick­start, ‘al­ways on’ feel­ing.

For me, it’s close to per­fect. I’ve been some­thing of a con­vert to pro-tablets for over a year as they fa­cil­i­tate quicker, bet­ter ac­cess to files and work­flows than lap­tops in short bursts. They’re also way more prac­ti­cal to trans­port.

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