For many users the “biggest” announcement at Wednesday’s Apple event came in the form of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. A few anointed members of the media got a chance to spend some hands-on time with the über tablet, and we’re going to share a sampling of opinions from around the net.
Wired, while noting the new Pro was huge, said it was surprisingly comfortable to hold in one hand. They also noted that the high resolution screen was “smooth and fast,” and praised the Apple Pencil stylus accessory, although they questioned how many users would be ready for a device like the iPad Pro.
The question will be, is it great for you? The iPad is still a tablet, and running iOS means it’s still going to be a little clunky—using Word, I found myself wishing I had all my keyboard and mouse shortcuts handy and didn’t have to keep picking up the Pencil or tapping the screen. And if we learned anything from the Surface, it’s that the world might not be ready for this type of device just yet.
Engadget was another outlet that expressed surprise over the tablet’s lightness, but noted that in portrait mode, the device could be awkward and top-heavy. It also was a fan of the Smart Keyboard accessory.
And what of that keyboard? It’s really too soon to put down a firm verdict, but tentatively, I like it. The cloth-covered keys feel nice beneath the fingers, and help give the illusion of control, despite the fact that these are otherwise some fairly flat buttons. As a bonus, too, the cloth covering helps make the keyboard splash-resistant, though an Apple representative here at the event wouldn’t go so far as to call it water-resistant, much less waterproof. In addition to the textured feel, I appreciated that the buttons offered at least a modicum of travel — not unlike the new Macbook, actually, which also has some deceptively flat keys. It would be disingenuous to say it’s as comfortable as the MacBook Air’s keyboard, but it should do in a pinch, especially if you’re using the iPad Pro as a travel machine; a stand-in for your primary computer.
The website was also an admirer of the Apple Pencil:
The accuracy is as well: The screen never once failed to register my Pencil presses. Thanks to a variety of sensors in the tip too, you can tilt the Pencil and the marks on the screen will be different depending on whether you hold it head-on versus making “shavings” with the side of the Pencil head. As with other tablets too (again, the Surface), the pen is pressure-sensitive, so your markings will look different depending on whether you press hard or drag the Pencil softly. Make no mistake, there are lots of potential uses for Apple’s new pencil; I just don’t think pressure-sensitive drawings are particularly buzzworthy. That said, even if this feature isn’t unique, it at least works well in practice.
It’s certainly as crisp and sharp as any display I’ve ever seen. If Apple’s ultimate tablet goal is to build a piece of glass onto which you can project your hopes, dreams, and apps, the iPad Pro feels like a realization of that dream.
During the keynote, Apple execs talked a lot about how difficult this screen was to create—but you’d never know. It’s smooth and fast; in fact, every part of the iPad Pro is smooth and fast. The $99 Pencil stylus feels like a particular triumph: It is, bar none, the most fluid and lag-free stylus I’ve ever used.
Anandtech found that the new larger size make the tablet better than the other iPads for productivity purposes:
The move from 9.7 to 12.9 inches really does make the iPad Pro far better for content consumption and productivity purposes. The increase in size does make it harder to maneuver when used purely as a multi-touch tablet. While a 9.7” tablet like the iPad Air 2 could be used for reading in bed or something similar, I have a feeling that the iPad Pro might be uncomfortable when using it for similar purposes. The tablet is definitely light though, as the density feels similar to the iPad Air 2 but scaled up to the larger size.
The iPad Pro hits shelves this November in, and will be available in Space Gray, Gold, and Silver color options. W-Fi models will be priced at $749 for 32GB of storage, and $949 for a 128GB model, while a 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular option will be available for $1,079.