While the company and its soft-spoken CEO have prompted the idea in past ad campaigns and off-the-cuff interviews, the verdict is unfortunately still out as to whether or not Apple’s iPad Pro is indeed a suitable laptop replacement.
One thing is certain, regardless of what the pundits say, though: Cupertino has been churning-out increasingly powerful, capable and compelling iPad lineups, year-after-year, which only persist to blur the lines of how PC-power, laptop portability, and cutting-edge features can blend together so harmoniously in an “all-day, take-anywhere” form-factor.
Having spent the weekend with Cupertino’s latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro, we can safely say it represents the best-yet — and likely the closest-ever — shot the company will take at blending a traditional PC and tablet user experience. Read on to discover 5 key ways Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018) could be your perfect laptop replacement.
5 Design, Dimensions & Form-Factor
Apple went back to the drawing board with its latest iPad Pro models, and both the new 11- and 12.9-inch variants borrow design hues mainly from the company's iPhone X.
Accordingly, not only do the new iPad Pros feature nearly edge-to-edge displays with ultra-thin bezels surrounding them on all sides, but they also do away with Apple’s iconic Touch ID-enabled Home button, rendering the new slates essentially a giant, absolutely immersive screen that you truly have to hold in your hands to appreciate!
Apple was also able to significantly reduce the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s physical footprint — by a generous 25 percent — in relation to its predecessor while slimming the chassis down to an astonishingly thin 5.9 mm. The body, itself, also underwent a significant redesign, borrowing more aesthetic elements from the iPhone 5 and 5s including flat aluminum backs featuring soft, curved corners and boxed edges (as you can see in the photos below).
The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s refined form-factor also weighs in at 1.39 pounds, which, although just slightly less than its predecessor, results in a device that’s much more comfortable to hold, comparatively speaking.
4 Stunning 12.9-inch Display
One of the most noteworthy iPad Pro features is its stunning 12.9-inch LED-backlit IPS Retina display, which, similar to its predecessor’s, clocks in at a 2048 x 2732 resolution and boasts a rich pixel density of ~265 ppi.
This bright, gorgeous and expansive panel, which inherently touts a number of Apple technologies like TrueTone, NightShift, P3 Wide-Color and more, also occupies a whopping ~85.4 percent of the redesigned tablet’s front-facing area.
Notably, that’s much more than the ~76.4 percent screen-to-body ratio of its predecessor, the mid-2017 iPad Pro, which essentially boils down to the new model boasting more screen real-estate in significantly less space (It honestly looks more along the lines of a standalone MacBook display, with rounded corners, thin bezels, and super-sharp clarity, than anything else.)
Additionally, the panel features an impressive 120 Hz refresh rate, which results in zero lag when navigating menus, websites and apps. Simply put, the iPad Pro’s revamped interface is smooth-as-butter, and the iPhone X-style gestures being carried-out on the much larger display is a truly seamless and fluid experience.
Top all of that off with built-in support for the all-new Apple Pencil, and the new iPad Pro is the ultimate creative canvas.
3 PC-crushing Power & Top-notch Security
We’re not mincing words when we say Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro models are absolute beasts! This is, of course, thanks in large part to the company’s custom-designed silicon — the A12X Bionic, which features an Octa-core CPU configuration built on the same class-leading 7-nanometer fabrication process as the powerhouse A12.
The A12X System on a Chip (SoC) also features an Apple-designed 7-core GPU rendering phenomenal graphics performance, a Neural Engine for managing advanced augmented reality (AR) applications and more.
Couple this with the major speed, security and performance enhancements baked into iOS 12, and it may come as slightly less of a shock to learn that the new iPad Pro handily beat several desktop PCs equipped with 7th- and 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processors in the latest benchmark tests.
What’s more, the tablet — albeit by a small margin — even outperformed Apple’s own Intel Core i7-equipped MacBook Pro (2018) in the same tests.
Last but not least, instead of Touch ID, the new iPad Pros feature Apple’s lightning fast and accurate Face ID security for unlocking, password, Apple Pay authentication, Animoji and more. The TrueDepth camera equipment making this all possible is hidden within the tablet’s top-center bezel, and Apple has engineered the feature to work the same whether you’re using the iPad in portrait or landscape.
2 Universal USB-C Connectivity
Apple’s decision to swap out its signature Lightning port for Intel’s USB-C port on the 2018 iPad Pro is among the biggest new feature additions to bring the tablets in line with modern PC offerings.
Notably, USB-C (v3.1) is the new universal USB connectivity standard which Apple just finished transitioning its entire Mac lineup too. It delivers ultra-fast power and data transfer speeds, among other benefits, over USB 2.0.
The iPad Pro has only one USB-C port, but that one port has opened up a wealth of new possibilities that were previously unavailable to users, such as the ability to interface with third-party hardware, including but not limited to musical instruments, external 4K displays, USB-C multi-port hubs and much more. Click here to see all the USB-C accessories and peripherals that are compatible (and incompatible) with Apple’s new iPad Pro models!
1 Desktop-Grade Apps, Accessories and Final Thoughts
Perhaps the most formidable argument against iPad Pro’s potential as a laptop replacement is, quite simply, that it’s not a laptop at all.. It is, by definition, a touchscreen tablet — albeit boasting PC-grade components.
And the fact of the matter is, no matter how well they’re eventually made to work together in future updates, macOS and iOS will always be distinct and independent operating systems, serving distinct purposes on their respective hardware products.
Apple has already assured us it has no plans of developing a fully-fledged Mac with a touchscreen display, or an iPad running macOS.. But the good news, for those who may have been hopefully anticipating such a product, is that the 2018 iPad Pro will come close for some users.
No, it’s certainly not going to be right for everyone, and we acknowledge that — but with the inclusion of key new features like USB-C (for connecting peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse or multi-port hub) — and a powerful, class-leading desktop-grade CPU — Apple’s clearly built its latest tablets to meet and exceed to the expectations of Pro users.
And the company’s new Pro accessories, including the all-new iPad Pro Smart Keyboard Folio and re-engineered Apple Pencil with magnetic charging and gesture-based input, lend even further proof that the tablets can be configured more akin to a laptop than ever before. Click here to see additional laptop-style keyboard cases arriving soon!
And now that developers have access to the latest hardware and software, we can reasonably expect even more high-end macOS and PC apps to continue making their way over to the iOS App Store, especially as the company inches closer to unveiling its secret weapon — the most legit macOS/iOS cross-platform experience we will ever get, Project Marzipan — at next year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).