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Home / Technology / Review: 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro: a tamed beast [Video]

Review: 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro: a tamed beast [Video]

2018 iPad Pro is the most compelling new iPad to be released since the original. While all previous iPad models more or less have had remarkable but incremental improvements and improvements, this new 2018 iPad is the tablet Apple has longed for.

2018 iPad Pro looks vague as the original version, but that's where the similarities end. This machine is an absolute monster in so many areas, from the front panel to the entire screen, to the ridiculous CPU, to the large amount of storage capacity and memory.

But performance is just a part of history. 2018 iPad Pro contains many more enhancements and improvements, and more direct response to complaints on previous hardware releases.

Unfortunately, iOS is still a big tower in the side of iPad users. IOS has improved in recent years, but it still boils the hardware with much needed oxygen. The good news is that iOS 1

3 is less than a year away, and it is rumored to bring changes and improvements to the iPad that will remove some of the friction that currently prevents the experience.

See our complete iPad Pro Handsfree Unboxing and Review for more details.

Synology RT2600ac: AirPort Extreme replacement.

A Visually Amazing Screen

It's hard to explain with just words how different the new iPad Pro looks and feels like from the newly developed chassis. The display certainly dominates this iteration as no version before it. It is decided to go from an iPhone 8 to an iPhone X, but it is even more eye-catching given the simple size of the device.

But it's not just the edges or the lack of it, and not just the rounded corners make for such eye candy. It's the culmination of years of improvements sewn together. It's True Tone, which balances the white point on the display to match the ambient light around you, and it's P3 wide gradient that gives eye-colored colors on such a big screen.

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These products, combined with 600 brightnesses and an impressive anti-reflective coating, provide a display that feels almost 3D in nature. Text and images appear to fluctuate almost on the display surface due to color depth, clarity, accuracy, brightness and ambient light rejection.

And let's not forget about ProMotion. It was undoubtedly the flagship improvement for last year's release, and of course, it appears in 2018 the iPad Pro models. ProMotion will automatically adjust the display refresh rate, up to a 120Hz butterfly based on your current task.

Two Screen Sizes

Like last year, there are two screen size options for iPad Pro users, except this year, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has been replaced by an 11-inch model. The two sizes are still distinctly different, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro feels a little less manageable thanks to the updated design.

Doing no mistake, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is still very big and a challenge to hold a hand for a long time, but Apple says it has 25% less volume, something that results in a dramatically reduced footprint. If portability is your primary concern, you can still prefer the 11-inch model, as it's easier to carry around, but the decision will not be as black and white as last year.

With the larger version, you can run two fullscreen programs next to it, and you'll also get a slightly better Smart Keyboard Folio experience. The 11-inch screen is still as functional as it's beautiful, but movies, games, websites, and almost everything else are more sealed on the 12.9-inch screen.

Insanely thin

The original iPad that Steve Jobs revealed back in 2010 was only 13mm thick – at that time it was an extremely thin tablet computer. The 2018 iPad Pro is on a completely different game room when it comes to thinning, as it measures only 5.9mm thick. To put it in perspective, if you cut the original iPad in half, you still need to shave an extra 0.6mm off to the same size of the new iPad Pro.

Last year the iPad Pro models were already very thin, with a 12.9-inch model measuring only 6.9 mm. The new iPad Pro shaves a further 1.0 mm – 15% thinner than before – and it makes a noticeable difference in your hand.

No Home Button

iPad has long-functionality controls, but removal of the home button marks the beginning of a whole new era for the tablet line, where the gesture controls take the helm. Like iPhone X, and subsequent iPhone releases on the Home button, everything on iPad, without a few exceptions, is done with the help of gestures.

There have been several iPad-centric changes in iOS 12 that foreshadowed this inevitable feature, so it's not surprising that the new iPad forces users to trust gesture control.

Movements allow you to invoke App Switcher, quickly switch between apps, navigate back to the home screen, etc. It takes some time to get used to not having a home button, but it usually felt after a few hours of to use iPad Pro.

TrueDepth Camera

The TrueDepth camera system, which initially made a big splash with the launch of iPhone X, makes the way for the iPad for the first time. TrueDepth combines different technologies in a single sensor housing that is used to perform more features on iPad Pro.

Unlike iPhone, there is no so-called hack on iPad Pro because the sensor housing is hidden inside the board's bezel.

The TrueDepth camera system allows iPad users to enjoy features like Animoji and Memoji for the first time on an iPad. Just as you can do on iPhone X-era phones, users can create Animoji and custom Memoji avatars – share them via messages and Group FaceTime conversations.

TrueDepth makes portrait mode sellers possible with Selfie Scenes in Apple's own Clipboard. Third-party developers can also take advantage of the camera's detailed deep-depth capabilities to create new experiences through downloadable apps.

Face ID

The new iPad loses Touch ID, an accident of the Home button removal, but it even gets better: Face ID. A more convenient biometric authentication option compared to Touch ID, Face ID is a technology that has been tested on iPhone X.

Face ID on iPad works just like it does on iPhone, except it's even more capable thanks to its ability to handle different directions – portrait or landscape – and different viewing angles common to iPad Pro.

Face ID lets you unlock iPad Pro, pay with Apple Pay, and sign in with apps just by looking at the TrueDepth camera. Technology provides one of the best improvements in the machine, and goes a long way towards removing friction from the iPad experience.

Refurbished 12 Megapixel Camera

Due to the extra slim parts of the new iPad Pro, there are much less room available to accommodate a camera behind the pelvis. Apple's website notes that it redesigned the 12 megapixel camera to fit into the smaller area just behind the fitting of the new iPad Pro.

Instead of the secular element lens found on last year's iPad Pro models, the 2018 version downgraded to a five-element lens, obviously due to lack of space. More specifically, optical image (OIS), a feature that makes it easier to capture images with handheld, and enhances low-light photography, has been omitted throughout this year's update.

Because OIS requires physical lens motion, it probably also needs more space than it was available behind iPad Pros slim borderline. To be sure, this is a disappointing reality for people who regularly shoot photos and videos with their iPads. The lack of OIS results in video footage that is not so happy compared to photography with last year's iPad Pro model.

That said, there are some remarkable camera enhancements for the 2018 iPad Pro. First, Smart HDR, a feature launched on iPhone XS, is here. With the help of the neural motor, Smart HDR enhances exposure to images with outstanding highlights or shadows, compiles multiple images together to give a steady final image.

Together with Smart HDR, there are now stereo and 4K24 / 4K60 resolution / video frequency options for video players. In addition, if you have 60 FPS set in the rear camera settings, the TrueDepth camera will shoot 1080p at 60 FPS.

Enhanced Speakers and Microphones

A new woofer and tweeter pair looks in all four corners of iPad Pro. The layout provides a wider stereo audio stage for a more kinematic experience. Apple notes that this is the thinnest speaker system than it ever designed, but it sounds better than last year's iPad Pro, which was already surprisingly high.

Still, with these improvements, the iPad Pro physics denies the kind of rich deep bass that you want from a proper stereo with more space to move the air. The speakers sound good for what they are, but the sound still comes from a 5.9mm thin cabinet. Put your expectations accordingly, and pack a pair of headphones if sound sounds loud for you.

In addition, there are now five microphones on the 2018 iPad Pro, compared to a dual microphone setup of last year's model. The extra microphones provide better FaceTime ring quality, and stereo recording when shooting video.

A12X Bionic

It's no secret that Apple has definitely killed the chip design game in recent years and the new A12X Bionic is the biggest testament to the fact so far. This piece is an absolute animal, and it's running circles around last year's model, which was already fast.

A12X Bionic is a landmark in Apple chip design in many ways. First and foremost, there is an eight core sample that is 35% faster than the previous generation in single core operations, and a 90% madness in multi-core surgery.

Thanks to a custom performance controller, all eight CPU cores can be used simultaneously, a first to iPad. It results in performance from the MacBook Pro class, which is absurd, as it is placed in a passive cooled 5.9mm thin chassis.

But it's not just the CPU that gives impressive results. The 7-core GPU gives up to a 2x performance increase over the previous generation hardware, which means that Apple refers to Xbox One S-Class GPU performance.

Flash Storage and Memory

iPad Pro comes in 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and for the first time in an iOS device, 1TB flash storage. Having 1TB onboard flash storage is a big win for professionals, especially those who edit RAW images and videos.

As you may have guessed, the 1TB iPad Pro models are extremely expensive, almost $ 2000 after tax. However, it is a great advantage that the 1TB SKUs have over every other iPad Pro model: 6GB of RAM.

Apple actually contains an additional 2GB of RAM in its high end 1TB iPad Pro models, a remarkable upgrade that can help increase the life of the tablet.


The effect of Apple's motion from Lightning to USB-C on iPad Pro is followed immediately as soon as you remove the device. Inside you will find a USB-C charging cable, along with a new 18 W charger that can fill the battery faster than the old 12 W charger.

In addition to the new USB-C charger, Apple produces several USB-C dongles to use with iPad Pro. There is USB-C to SD card reader, USB-C to headphone jack and USB-C to USB adapter to name a few.

Users can also connect third-party USB-C devices, such as hubs, Ethernet adapters, microphones and more. Unfortunately, iOS still lacks the ability to interface to mass storage devices, so the connection of a USB stick or SSD is still out of the question at the moment. Here I hope that iOS 13 will create much needed changes in this area.

Apple Pen and Smart Keyboard Folio

There are two accessories for iPad Pro users, and it is surprising that they are Apple pencil and smart keyboard Folio.

The second generation Apple Pencil is a brand new device with a brand new design and functionality. The original Apple pencil was rewarded for low latency and ease of use, but the design was far from perfect.

Charging, pairing, storage and cap errors were common criticisms. The new Apple pen gives answers to each of these complaints.

A new magnetic connector on the iPad Pro page allows users to:

  • Store Apple Pencils via Magnetic Attachment
  • Leave Apple Pencil Voltage via Inductive Charging
  • Pair the Apple Pencil

When it is connected to the Magnetic Connector, iOS will show a short popup showing the current battery life of Apple pencil.

The second generic pencil tension also removes the removable cap, which was easy to lose or default on the original version.

Apple Pencil 2 gets a new dual handshake movement that allows users to switch between the current tool and the eraser in the Notes app. The movement can be further configured in Settings> Apple pencil, and third-party apps can incorporate custom gestures into their own apps.

As Apple Pencil 2, Smart Keyboard Folio puts itself out to address common complaints from previous iteration. A major complaint about the latest generation of Smart Keyboard is that it did not provide coverage on the back of iPad Pro. The new "folio" form factor seeks to solve this concern.

Another concern had to do with the lack of viewing angles. In response, Apple provides two magnetically fixed viewing angles that can be adjusted on the fly. And a stronger magnetic system makes the catch to write a lot more comfortable and confident.

As you can see, the 2018 iPad Pro is one of the most impressive hardware updates we have ever seen from Cupertino. The A12X CPU and GPU provide massive performance gains, and Neural Engine supports things like enhanced reality and Smart HDR for images.

The significantly reduced square and Liquid Retina screen that elegantly follows the corner radius of the iPad's chassis, looks bright for last year's iPad Pro. And it's not just about looks, but the reduced shapes give a noticeably smaller footprint, especially for the 12.9-inch model. The 2018 iPad Pro is also thinner than previous generations, and adopts flat 90 degree corners that look modern.

FaceID relieves much of the friction associated with unlocking the device and logging into apps and websites. And the long-rumored movement of USB-C, but not quite where we want it at the moment as far as peripheral support is concerned, already pays off with its faster 18W power adapter package.

Apple has responded to wishing customers on many fronts with the 2018 iPad Pro, including its two must-have peripherals – Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard Folio. Apple pencil, with its inductive charge and magnetic attachment, is now sure to go several places with iPad users, and be ready for use with an always charge setup. And the Smart Keyboard Folio, which now covers both the front and back of the iPad Pro, has a much stronger attachment thanks to a revolutionary magnet system and two viewing angles.

This is actually hands-down a marked improvement over the previous generation iPad Pro, but it comes at a price. Just over $ 2000 for the desirable 1TB version with 6GB of RAM when configured with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio – iPad Pro is not just professional by name but it's waiting for territory where people expect to be able to make money back via the productivity that the device offers.

Unfortunately, as we have demonstrated, iPad Pro, beastly as it is, is still handcuffs of iOS in a number of important areas. Simple things, like transferring files from an SD card, did not work at all for me. And the fact that media can only be dumped into the Photos app means that iCloud storage can be unnecessarily tight with large files.

Despite Apple adopting USB C, mass storage devices such as external SSDs and USB flash drives are still not bueno as long as iOS has something to say about it. For a machine that has been around for 8 years, and now costs as much as a well-equipped laptop, it's just unacceptable.

Yes, many people can get things done in a professional workflow with iPad as it stands now. And even those of me who struggle with the heavy hand of iOS may make it work by adjusting my front-end workflow, and skipping through different other hoops. With a $ 599- $ 999 machine, I would consider living with it, but I would not accept it for a device that is as expensive as the 2018 iPad Pro.

Fortunately, iOS 13 is less than a year away, and it is rumored to address some of the pain points currently associated with iOS on iPad. Here the WWDC 2019 hopes to be where the animal loosens.

What do you think of Gals and the boys? Sound off under comments with your thoughts and opinions.

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