Apple has spent a lot of time tinkering with the iPad – there have been more than a dozen iterations of the device since it was first introduced about seven years ago.
What was first seen as a comfy way to browse the internet or watch videos is now capable of so much more, with the tech in the new iPad Pro models putting it on par with laptops. In some ways, such as the screen, they’re better.
The latest model features a slight bump in screen size from 9.7-inch to 10.5-inch. Prices start at $1099 and they’re on sale in New Zealand now.
The first iPad Pro (12.9-inch) came out in late 2015 followed by the smaller 9.7-inch model in early 2016. That smaller model has now been replaced with a 10.5-inch screen.
It doesn’t sound like that much of a difference but it means 20 per cent more pixels. It gives you a little extra room for everything, especially the on-screen keyboard.
Both models have a faster processor and a new, brighter screen that features HDR (high dynamic range) which makes images appear more realistic by using more accurate colours, brighter whites and darker blacks.
It also has what Apple calls ProMotion, which is technology that lets the screen’s refresh rate change. For example, if you’re drawing on the screen, it works at fast 120 frames per second but if you watch a movie it’ll drop down to 24fps. It’s smart tech but it’s hard to notice the difference.
One other upgrade is the camera, and the iPad Pro now has the same rear 12MP camera as the iPhone 7. The front camera has also been boosted and you can do video calls in full high definition (1080p).
The other feature that can be considered new is iOS 11, the new operating system that is due to be released in September. It will allow you to have a dock for your apps (just like a Mac does), a new Files app (similar to what a Mac has), and the ability to drag and drop apps anywhere on your screen.
These are what help differentiate the Pro from a standard iPad. There’s a pencil ($159) which turns your tablet into an artistic tool, and a keyboard ($259) which turns it into a productivity tool.
The pencil works really well and is fun to use. Anyone with a creative streak will love using it with design and drawing apps.
The keyboard, which clips on using magnets, works well too. If you find the on-screen keyboard frustrating or you type a lot, then it’s worth considering. However, I wouldn’t swap the iPad and keyboard setup for my laptop for writing purposes.
Other than choosing which colour (silver, gold, grey, rose gold), the biggest decision is the amount of storage you need.
The 64GB model ($1099) should be enough for most people, especially if you’re not storing a lot of video on your device.
If you want to play it safe or if it will be your main device, then 256GB ($1259) might be better. The cost of the largest size ($1579 for 512GB) means you could buy a laptop for about the same price.
The other option to consider is whether to get a model with cellular connectivity, which means you’re not dependent on wi-fi. This adds $220 to the price and is only worth it if you’re out and about with your iPad all the time. If you do need to get on the internet when away from wi-fi, you can always connect it to your iPhone.
IPAD V IPAD PRO
The standard iPad got a name change (it used to be called the iPad Air, now it’s just the iPad), an update and a price reduction (starting at $539) in March.
At half the price of the Pro model, it’s pretty clear where each model sits.
If you enjoy lying around on your couch browsing the web or watch movies, then the 9.7-inch iPad is perfect.
However, if you want your iPad to double as a laptop or are a professional designer or photographer and need a portable, powerful device, then take a look at the Pro model.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a great device. It’s well designed, fast and fun to use. However, it probably has more tech than the average user needs and costs more than you need to spend.
As the name suggests, it’s designed for pros.
You can save about $500 and get a standard iPad, which is thicker and slower, but more than adequate for everyday computing.
The only caveat is for the person looking to retire their computer and make it their main device. It’s powerful enough to do this, but if you do a lot of typing, I’d stick with a laptop.