The new iPad Pro just went on sale from Apple online Wednesday and will be available in your local Apple store location on Friday. This newest toy from the still-reigning tech champs, Apple, is set to be the biggest iPad yet, following the current tech trend of increasingly larger devices.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has made the claim that the iPad Pro will replace your laptop. But it’s still not looking like the iPad will be replacing your trusty laptop anytime soon. The new iPad Pro does feature a larger screen, an attachable Smart Keyboard (sold separately for a hefty $170, in addition to the $949 iPad itself) and a $100 Apple Pencil stylus (also sold separately, of course). But it’s just not enough to replace the laptop yet.
One problem that the early reviews keep coming back to: it’s just a little awkward to work on like you would with a laptop. Even with those cases that allow you to prop the iPad up into an upright working position, and with the keyboard attached, it’s still uncomfortable.
Even if you’re working at a desk with a solid surface to perch your iPad on, it’s just small enough that it’s a pain to type on. And in general, feelings towards the keyboard are mixed. People acknowledge that it’s much better than any “smart” keyboard they’ve experienced from Apple in the past, it’s still just awkward to use and occasionally lags.
Something all the early reviews of the iPad Pro agree on, however, is the improved display screen and smoother running of complex programs. But these are also upgrades that the latest iPhone received in the iPhone 6S Plus. So it’s not all that thrilling.
In that respect, the iPad Pro is still what everyone originally mocked the debut of the iPad as being; a giant iPhone. And now it’s even bigger.
Oddly enough, the new iPad Pro does not feature the 3D Touch technology that Apple gushed about in the new iPhone 6S Plus release. Which reviewers say is especially weird, because the 3D Touch tech would make much more sense on a larger screen and would be more useful on programs that you’d use your iPad for, rather than your iPhone.
Improved Multitasking for a Multitasking Age
A nice feature that the new iPad Pro offers is the improved ability to multitask, use split-screen functions, and switch from one program to another with relative ease. The early versions of the iPad would tend to freeze up before crashing if you had too many tabs open, or ran multiple complex apps at once. The iPad Pro has made work more fluid.
The iPad Pro is Still a “Sometimes Computer”
Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica had one of the most brilliant summations of the iPad Pro, and the claims that it could replace your laptop. According to Cunningham, the iPad Pro is an “iPad shaped peg for a Mac-shaped hole,” and that despite Cook’s bold claims, “the iPad still feels like a ‘sometimes computer.’”
Another issue that tech reviewers continue to circle back to is the simple fact that a touch-screen “laptop” doesn’t feel right. It could be just that we’re all so accustomed to trackpads, mice, traditional keyboards, and the standard laptop accoutrements. But a touch-screen as a replacement for a laptop still feels too foreign for anyone to use it consistently over their laptops.
The generation of kids who are growing up with touchscreens and iPads may feel differently. In a few years, more people may find that touchscreens do seem like the more intuitive option. But for now, the laptop and it’s old-school buddy, Mr. Mouse, aren’t going anywhere.
Despite the iPad failing to dethrone the laptop, many Apple fans will continue to purchase the new iPad Pro for reasons other than Cook’s plan of replacing their laptops. Many people use iPads as a kind of in-between from a laptop and an iPhone or other smartphone. Even the new bulkier design is still relatively portable, and it’s good at the same in-between functions… stuff you wouldn’t want to attempt on your tiny iPhone screen but stuff you also don’t need to use your larger laptop for.
So using the iPad Pro for serious day-to-day work doesn’t seem appealing from the picture that’s being painted from the early opinions rolling in. But for small work applications on-the-go, the iPad is a handy (if slightly unnecessary) extra tool to stash in your bag, just in case you want to use it for that specific function.
People use it to pacify their kids on long car rides, as a surprisingly good (if extremely unwieldy) camera, or as a tool for creative purposes like drawing, composing, or video editing. Because it is a new-and-improved version of older iPads, the new iPad Pro will be slightly better at doing whatever it is you bought it for in the first place.
The Optional, Expensive Add-Ons are Purely Optional
While most reviewers praised the Apple Pencil as being one of the better styluses they’d worked with recently, it’s still an unnecessary purchase. The iPad Pro itself is expensive. So why tack on another $100 tech purchase that you don’t really NEED?
It’s handy if you use your iPad to do delicate work like drawing. But otherwise, it’s probably a waste of money for the average iPad user.
The same goes for the highly-touted Smart Keyboard. This is the extra purchase that’s supposedly to seal the deal in the iPads-can-replace-laptops claim. But again, it’s expensive. And again, it’s ultimately unnecessary.
The Smart Keyboard is more useful to the average iPad user than a stylus would be, but you can still use your iPad for plenty of things other than typing at it. Plus, although the Smart Keyboard is reportedly pretty smart, there are other cheaper keyboard alternatives that would do the job just fine.
So despite the additional purchases that are meant to be the bells and whistles of the iPad Pro, whether or not you choose to buy it is entirely up to each consumer. If you’re looking for an upgraded iPad; get it. If you’re looking for something to replace your laptop; hold off on this one.