So fundamentally, I know that the iPad Pro can’t do all of the things my MacBook Pro can do. And, as of right now, the iPad is still not quite the computing savior that Steve Jobs predicted it would be five years ago. But I would still consider this a worthy runner-up to a laptop, or the one (non-smartphone) device I would take with me next time I travel — something I’ve never felt confident about before when it came to the iPad. This new iPad is powerful, it’s fast, it has a large display, and it never lagged when I was multitasking or switching between apps. It’s not better than my laptop, but makes far fewer sacrifices than I expected.
I honestly like the iPad Pro, but not because I have so much screen real-estate. I like it because I could use it to get real work done. And even as Apple SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller told me last month that the market for convertible devices like the Surface Book (which, to be fair, runs a desktop OS) was not growing, the company has essentially delivered its own hybrid device.
Nobody’s going to toss their iMacs and ThinkPads into the garbage tomorrow and instead lay a 12.9-inch tablet on everyone’s desk. If there’s a touchscreen revolution underway, it’s going to happen slowly, an app and an accessory at a time. That’s OK. The iPad Pro is a fantastic tablet, not to mention the first iPad in ages that has an obvious value next to our giant smartphones. It starts as a big, powerful, beautiful screen, and with the right accessories and apps can be almost any kind of device you want. So, yeah: size matters.
I want the iPad to eat the Mac, the way the iPhone ate the iPod. This iPad has already crept up to become as large as a Mac. But iOS needs to fully change with it. I need to connect to my old files and Web tools better, because that's what I need as a pro. I want it to become as flexible as a computer should be. The iPad needs to bridge the gap. The iPad Pro feels like the top half of a new futuristic superpowered laptop. I want the bottom half, too.
Bloomberg's Sam Grobart got a hold of the new iPad Pro, and he needed both hands to hold it. The Pro’s larger display means you can enjoy even bigger videos and draw and markup on bigger pages. It changes the idea of an iPad from being a very sophisticated viewing device to becoming a larger digital canvas. So do you need a Pro? Well, that may depend on how you plan to use it.
If you're the kind of person that wants a device that can seamlessly switch from typing to sketching to playing loads of great games to enjoying the best possible experience on a tablet, then this is just perfect for you. If you need to do more powerful things, like uploading photos while manipulating reams of text and having to refer to other information with a flick of the wrist, you'll struggle a little with the new iPad.
The iPad Pro’s true strength lies in its beautiful display and slick ease of use: slim and light enough to carry with you for all your web browsing and Netflix needs, but also capable of facilitating detailed sketching in a way that was impossible in the past. In naming it the Pro, Apple has indicated a desire to slot it into the heavyweight MacBook and Mac Pro divisions, and that's a plucky move. Limitations to multitasking and a lack of USB ports mean Surface die-hards will hate it, but I'm willing to bet that millions will disagree. After too many years in the shadows of the iPhone, the Pro is the iPad's time to shine.