iPad Pro gets a new size, re­freshed specs

The long-ru­mored 10.5-inch iPad is now avail­able to buy – and fur­ther chal­lenges the tra­di­tional lap­top

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS - BY Alan Stone­bridge

Bring­ing the bat­tle to the tra­di­tional lap­top.

Af­ter just 14 months on sale, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is no more. Ap­ple has re­placed the smaller of its pre­mium tablets with a new 10.5-inch model, equipped with a 2224x1668-pixel res­o­lu­tion to main­tains the Retina dis­play’s den­sity of 264 pix­els per inch.

Ap­ple has ac­com­mo­dated the larger screen by re­duc­ing the borders around the panel by al­most 40 per­cent, and slightly in­creas­ing the de­vice’s width and height over the 9.7-inch model by 0.2 and 0.4 inches, re­spec­tively. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.12 oz more than its 9.7-inch pre­de­ces­sor; how­ever, its thick­ness re­mains the same.

Size isn’t the only dis­play change to the re­freshed iPad Pro lineup. Both the 10.5- and 12.9-inch mod­els come equipped with a Pro­Mo­tion dis­play, which sup­ports a re­fresh rate of 120Hz, dou­ble that of any pre­vi­ous iPad. This en­ables ul­tra-smooth mo­tion wher­ever it’s of ben­e­fit, and iOS is able to dy­nam­i­cally ad­just the re­fresh rate to suit what you’re do­ing at any given time. For ex­am­ple, it might be re­duced if you’re read­ing iBooks, for which re­fresh­ing 120 times per sec­ond is un­nec­es­sary.

The big­gest prac­ti­cal ben­e­fit of the higher re­fresh rate is ev­i­dent when you’re us­ing an Ap­ple Pen­cil. Ap­ple’s sty­lus de­liv­ered im­pres­sive re­sponse times even with a first­gen­er­a­tion iPad Pro. How­ever, the new dis­play fur­ther re­duces la­tency

to just 20 mil­lisec­onds to give a more nat­u­ral im­pres­sion in re­sponse to your in­ter­ac­tions with the Pen­cil.

There are other changes beyond the screen, too. The new size and its larger 12.9-inch sib­ling are each equipped with an A10X Fu­sion chip, which has a to­tal of six pro­cess­ing cores: three for high per­for­mance and three for high ef­fi­ciency, with the load man­aged by an Ap­pledesigned per­for­mance con­troller, just as in the first gen­er­a­tion. The chip also in­cludes a 12-core graph­ics pro­cess­ing unit.

Ap­ple says the new spec­i­fi­ca­tions don’t af­fect bat­tery life com­pared to older mod­els. It says to ex­pect 10 hours of surf­ing the web, watch­ing

The Pro­Mo­tion dis­play en­ables ul­tra-smooth mo­tion wher­ever it’s of ben­e­fit

video, or lis­ten­ing to mu­sic. In­for­mal test­ing con­ducted by Mac|Life in our first few days with the new 12.9-inch model sug­gested that this may ac­tu­ally be a con­ser­va­tive fig­ure; af­ter a mix of web brows­ing, us­ing Ap­ple Pen­cil in var­i­ous art and note-tak­ing apps, and lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, it lasted more than 44 hours on standby and around 14 hours and 45 min­utes in ac­tive use.

Cap­tur­ing pho­tos and videos with these iPads is also im­proved, thanks to the ad­di­tion of the same cam­era sys­tem found on the iPhone 7.

That means you get a rear cam­era with a 12-megapixel sen­sor – that isn’t any dif­fer­ent be­tween the 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch mod­els, but it’s a sig­nif­i­cant boost from the orig­i­nal 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s 8-megapixel pho­tos.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the rear cam­era has gained op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion, an f/1.8 aper­ture – pre­vi­ously f/2.4 (10.9-inch) or f/2.2 (9.7-inch) – and a six-el­e­ment lens, up from five in the first-gen­er­a­tion mod­els.

There’s also a quad-LED True Tune flash to de­liver more nat­u­ral-look­ing il­lu­mi­na­tion, which is some­thing the orig­i­nal 12.9-inch model lacked.

Each iPad Pro’s front-fac­ing cam­era has an 8-megapixel sen­sor, a rea­son­able boost over the old 9.7-inch model’s 5 megapix­els and a mas­sive in­crease on the lack­lus­ter 1.2 megapix­els of the very first iPad Pro. The aper­ture in both mod­els is un­changed at f/2.2, but the FaceTime cam­era matches the rear one in cap­tur­ing the wide color gamut.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of trans­fer­ring pho­tos taken with a DSLR to a first­gen­er­a­tion iPad Pro was dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on which screen size you picked, as 9.7-inch mod­els lim­ited cam­era ac­ces­sories to USB 2 speeds. Now, though, it doesn’t mat­ter which of the new mod­els you choose, as all are ca­pa­ble of USB 3 trans­fer rates – that’s a real time-saver if you’re copy­ing large num­bers of pho­tos or long videos to the tablet.

Fur­ther boost­ing the iPad Pro’s po­ten­tial as a pro­fes­sional tool or an al­ter­na­tive to a lap­top, Ap­ple has dou­bled stor­age ca­pac­i­ties across the range. In­deed, the $949 and $1,099 mod­els now match the $1,599 12-inch MacBook Pro in terms of room for your data.

Come the fall, iOS 11’s im­proved mul­ti­task­ing fea­tures look set to turn the iPad Pro into an even more ca­pa­ble MacBook re­place­ment – you can read more about that in our fea­ture start­ing on page 16.

With a re­fresh rate of up to 120Hz, the new iPad Pro works even more smoothly with the Pen­cil.

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