In a move that mimics their laptop offerings, Apple has introduced yet another iPad Pro adding another entry into its line of upper-tiered, higher-powered Tablets. This time, they’re taking the power of the extra large iPad Pro 12" that debuted last year and stuffing it into the 9.7" form factor that made Apple’s tablet famous from the start.
To preface our time with the iPad Pro, Apple broke a long-standing tradition and actually gave out review units well in advance of launch. Typically, journalists would get their Apple gear a few days after launch. Whatever the PR thinking was behind this, we can definitely assume that part of it was a supreme confidence in the product itself, specifically the combination of the ever-improving iOS software and this new, more powerful processing that drive the iPad Pro.
Tucked into the familiar form - the 9.7" Pro is a doppelganger for its casual iPad Air brethren - are improvements that can only be seen through usage on a level that legitimately earns the name professional. Better color trueness in the improved screen and a bolstered camera that’s on par with the excellent one utilized in the iPhone 6S means shooting and editing high res images, or 4K video are a cinch. This is also the first time we’re seeing the ability to use an iPad to shoot the animated Live Photos that were introduced last year. Social integration on the perpetually connected device made sharing any of our work on the infinite social platforms out there a mere tap or two away.
One of the signature features of the Pro line of iPads is integration with Apple’s Pencil. This was our first deep experience with the Pencil and, even though we were staunchly against a stylus in the past, it made believers of us. It paired in just a few seconds, and we were immediately drawing, signing and taking notes with an unprecedented level of control thanks to its extremely responsive quickness and the accuracy with which it captures pressure and stroke.
Couple the iPad Pro’s horsepower with the Apple Pencil and the extensive suite of Adobe apps and this new hardware is an absolute dream for a creative professional, whether they’re in the office or on the go. It’s not just Adobe’s apps that are paramount here either. Adding Goodnote’s app to the mix instantly made paper obsolete, turning our handwriting into searchable, exportable text files, a brilliant upgrade for college students or tech writers looking to bang out copy about a new tablet. Of course, if you’d prefer to be a stickler and type the old fashioned way, Apple’s fantastic keyboard smartcover attachment is also a Pro-only option that quickly and easily attaches to the iPad Pro 9.7" and offered us a surprisingly effective upgrade over the on-screen touch keyboard. Apple isn’t hiding it; they’re taking aim at Microsoft’s surface in a big way with their Pro line of tablets.
Don’t let the Pro tag sway you into thinking this iPad is niche. Far from it. The iPad Pro 9.7" handles high-def movie playback without a stutter and absolutely enhances even the most demanding game graphics we’ve seen. With Apple making this kind of power available on their line of tablets, we can only imagine that game developers will continue to push the boundaries of the mobile games they’re offering on the App Store. The iPad Pro 9.7" is the surest piece of evidence we’ve seen that the iPad will continue to be a frontrunner as the easiest and best way to create and consume content.