Hands-on with the iPad Pro

Susie Ochs gets her hands on Ap­ple’s XL iPad

iPad&iPhone user - - IPAD & IPHONE USER -

Five years af­ter its launch, the iPad is grow­ing up. The new iPad Pro, in­tro­duced at Ap­ple’s media event on Wed­nes­day, blurs the line be­tween iPad and MacBook just a lit­tle more, with a 12.9in screen ca­pa­ble of run­ning two apps side by side with­out ei­ther of them feel­ing cramped in the slight­est.

But as large as it is, the iPad Pro doesn’t feel un­wieldy, even to me, an avowed fan of the iPad mini. We’ve learned from the iMac and the iPhone both that peo­ple love gi­ant screens with tons and tons of pix­els crammed on to them, and that’s what the iPad Pro de­liv­ers, along with per­for­mance

that should let more peo­ple than ever leave their lap­tops at home.

Thin and light

The iPad Pro is only 713g, which is as­ton­ish­ing since my first-gen­er­a­tion iPad is still in ac­tive ser­vice at my house, and it weighs 730g. The iPad Pro is so much big­ger but doesn’t feel un­bal­anced or awk­ward. I could hold it easily, but – and I re­alise you’ll make fun of me for this, and that’s okay – I sort of wished it had a kick­stand like the Sur­face Pro.

But once you have it propped up just how you like, the iPad Pro’s screen looks amaz­ing. At 2732x2048 res­o­lu­tion, it’s got 5.6 mil­lion pix­els, and the short side has as many pix­els as the longer side of an iPad mini. I was im­pressed with the re­spon­sive­ness of iOS 9, as I easily pulled out the side­bar and en­tered Split Screen view.

Pen­cil power

You don’t need a sty­lus to use any iPad, and the iPad Pro is no ex­cep­tion. Luck­ily, the Ap­ple Pen­cil isn’t a sty­lus. It’s not aimed at point­ing and tap­ping things you can reach just fine with your fin­gers, thanks. Rather, it’s for pres­sure-sen­si­tive draw­ing and paint­ing in apps as sim­ple as Ap­ple’s own Notes app, or as com­plex and pro­fes­sional as the demon­strated Pro­cre­ate or Au­toCAD.

The Pen­cil felt great from the mo­ment I picked it up. It feels like a pen­cil, very nat­u­ral (although you can say the same for other smart Blue­tooth sty­luses on the mar­ket), and us­ing it felt nat­u­ral too. Sen­sors can de­tect the pres­sure and an­gle, so it was ef­fort­less to cre­ate lines of dif­fer­ent thick­nesses. The Notes app even has a ruler that let me draw per­fectly straight. Us­ing the side of

the Pen­cil’s tip cre­ated re­al­is­tic shad­ing, like us­ing the side of a pen­cil lead.

A Light­ning con­nec­tor hid­den in the end of the Pen­cil lets you plug it right into the iPad Pro for charg­ing. An Ap­ple rep told me that its quick-charg­ing fea­ture lets it grab enough juice for another hour or so of work in just a few min­utes, and a full charge should last all day. You can plug it into an AC charger with an adap­tor that I didn’t get to see.

Ap­ple also cre­ated its own Smart Key­board, sim­i­lar in ap­pear­ance to the Touch Cov­ers that Mi­crosoft makes for the Sur­face tablets (see page 9). It closes around the front of the iPad Pro and flips back to form a stand, just like the Smart Cov­ers Ap­ple has made for a while. But it has a built-in, fab­ric-sur­face key­board with short key travel sim­i­lar

to the new MacBook. Third-party key­boards will be able to use the iPad Pro’s Smart Con­nec­tor, which pow­ers and pairs the key­board for you au­to­mat­i­cally – Log­itech just an­nounced one.

More of the same

Ap­ple talked about how much faster the iPad Pro’s A9X chip is than the A8X in the iPad Air 2, but re­mained quiet about de­tails like how much RAM it has. Ap­ple has teamed up with IBM to cre­ate iPad apps to be used for all kinds of work, since any­thing a clip­board can do, an iPad can do so much bet­ter, and hav­ing a lap­top-qual­ity iPad Pro on the high end of the line can open up more pos­si­bil­i­ties for peo­ple who need big power in a pack­age that’s lighter than the MacBook. My demo run­ning split-screen Mi­crosoft Of­fice apps was im­pres­sive, but when de­vel­op­ers put the pedal to the iPad Pro’s Me­tal, it’s go­ing to be fun to see what hap­pens.

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