While it was initially mocked by some critics as embodying little more than a dumbed-down (yet sizably blown-up) iPhone, it wasn’t long after Steve Jobs unveiled his company’s first-generation iPad tablet back in the spring of 2010, that it quickly became one of Apple’s best-selling products.
Over the last eight years, I’ve been afforded the opportunity of owning, using and ultimately observing the gradual evolution of Apple’s iPad: from the original 9.7-inch slate with its 1 GHz CPU, no camera hardware and big fat bezels; to the latest, most advanced iPad Pros with their cutting-edge technologies like Face ID and edge-to-edge displays.
Whether the original or Retina-equipped iPad, the lightweight iPad Air, the portable iPad mini or powerful iPad Pro — Apple’s tablet has become an indispensable source of entertainment, productivity, creativity and so much more for over 360 million people the world over.
Life with the New 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018)
Consistent with the company’s tendency to overhaul its major product lineups every three to four years, Apple for 2018 released the third-generation iPad Pro lineup. The new lineup most notably features a thorough top-to-bottom redesign — borrowing aesthetics and internal components largely from the latest iPhone XS and XS Max.
The iPad Pro’s massive 12.9-inch Retina display literally butts-up against the outer shell of the device and is something truly remarkable (and hard to put into words).
Not only is the redesigned 2018 iPad Pro housed by an aluminum unibody shell that’s about 25 percent more compact than that of its predecessor, but Apple’s engineering team even further managed to thin everything down to an impressive 5.9 mm.
On top of all that, Apple re-introduced elements of its fan-favorite iPhone 5 design, with both the 11- and 12.9-inch models adopting flat backs with slightly protruding camera lenses, smooth, rounded corners and boxed-edges all the way around.
This unique design renders the tablet incredibly lightweight, easy to grasp and hold — especially with just one hand, while using the other to navigate menus and apps.
The bezels are incredibly thin, measuring in at about 6 mm at their thinnest, which is most remarkable of all considering they house (in its entirety) Apple’s TrueDepth 3D camera system, complete with Face ID security, Animoji and other cool 3D imaging features.
What’s more, Apple redesigned the iOS interface for its 2018 iPad Pros, borrowing similar adaptations of its popular new gesture-based input options which were introduced on the edge-to-edge iPhone X last year.
And, by the way, gestures are absolutely out of this world regarding how fast, responsive and easy to execute they are on the tablet’s massive display. It’s truly a remarkable experience; if you’ve ever used the new touch gestures on iPhone X, XS or iPhone XR, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. But at the same time, you won’t, really, unless you hold this sheet-of-paper sized tablet for yourself, flick through a couple of menus and brace yourself to be blown away.
One very minor (and sort of ridiculous) problem I encountered using the tablet, however, is that its bezels were actually a bit too thin for my very large hands, which resulted in the tablet occasionally slipping from my grip.. Luckily, I seem to have solved this issue (at least for the time being) by installing two of these expandable and collapsible Pop Phone Grips around back, which have actually enhanced my ability to hold the tablet (comfortably, for extended periods of time) without fatigue.
iOS 12 Reimagined
As previously mentioned, the iOS 12 user experience on the new iPad Pro has been completely reworked to fuse Apple’s new touch-based gestures with its existing iPad-exclusive features like advanced multi-tasking, picture-in-picture video playback and rich, desktop-quality web-browsing experience.
Powered by the tech-giant’s PC-crushing A12 Bionic CPU — with its octa-core configuration, dedicated 7-core graphics processor and advanced Neural engine — the overall user experience, in plain English, represents the company’s most formidable embodiment of a laptop-esque iOS interface yet. One, which in my honest and unbiased opinion as a life-long PC user, actually holds its own — and could potentially serve as an on-the-go laptop replacement for some users.
Is it a perfect, Mac-mimicking experience? Absolutely not… But, what I believe Apple did — not just in releasing this dramatically re-designed and capable new iPad Pro, but also a slate of new and improved Smart Accessories designed to help users get the most out of them — is it proved, for possibly the first time, that iPad Pro does have “laptop potential.”
In our previous write-up outlining the biggest reasons why we think Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro is a viable laptop replacement (for some users), we detailed some of the third-generation iPad Pro’s most noteworthy feature additions and enhancements. With its adoption of a USB-C port for ultra-fast power and data transfer speeds, its octa-core CPU which has already proven itself more powerful than some MacBook Pro devices, and with its seemingly limitless potential for expansion using compatible accessories like this 6-in-1 USB-C expansion hub — there really are now more reasons than ever before to consider investing in Apple’s latest iPad Pro. Pick up the new 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro here.