iPad Pro Review Roundup: Powerful Creative Canvas, but Not Quite a PC Replacement

Apple released the iPad Pro online and in stores earlier today, and the embargo has now lifted for hands-on reviews of the new 12.9-inch tablet.

The consensus opinion is that the iPad Pro is an excellent device for content creation, with powerful hardware for intensive apps and multitasking, but not quite a PC replacement due to its iOS limitations. The tablet's experience will be better realized once more developers update their apps to take advantage of the larger canvas.

iPad-Pro-Trio

From left to right: iPad mini 2, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro (Image: WSJ)

iPad Pro reviews praised its large display, which at 2,732×2,048 pixels has a higher resolution than the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and most early adopters claim the tablet meets or exceeds its advertised 10-hour battery life. The new Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard also received positive reviews.

Ars Technica - Andrew Cunningham

It's best to think of the iPad Pro as a starting point, especially for iOS 9. These multitasking features are still brand-new, and there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick in future iOS 9 revisions and into iOS 10. My biggest gripes with the iPad Pro are with the software rather than the hardware, and that means that most of them can be fixed given enough time and enough feature requests. It took Microsoft three tries to really nail down the Surface Pro concept, and given a couple of iOS updates the iPad Pro has room to grow into a more versatile laptop replacement without necessarily giving up the things that people like about iOS.

For the rest of us, there's still the Mac.

CNET - Scott Stein

I want the iPad to eat the Mac, the way the iPhone ate the iPod. This iPad has already crept up to become as large as a Mac. But iOS needs to fully change with it. I need to connect to my old files and Web tools better, because that's what I need as a pro. I want it to become as flexible as a computer should be. The iPad needs to bridge the gap.

The iPad Pro feels like the top half of a new futuristic superpowered laptop. I want the bottom half, too.

MacStories - Federico Viticci

The iPad Pro is positioned as a more productive take on the iPad for those who need to get work done on it. My recommendation couldn't be more straightforward: if iOS is your main computing platform, or if you plan to turn an iPad into your primary computer, you'll want an iPad Pro. Its powerful hardware, multitasking interface, and extensible nature are superior to every other iPad. I don't see myself using a Mac as my primary computer ever again.


Mashable - Lance Ulanoff

It certainly has some impressive benchmark numbers. Its Geekbench single-core (3,218) and multi-core (5,455) numbers blew away virtually everything else (in the mobile space), including the A9 chip in the iPhone 6S/6S Plus. It even outperforms the new MacBook's Intel Core M processor (2,367 and 4,489 for single-core and multi-core, respectively). What’s more, the iPad Pro’s single-core score rivaled desktop performance on the Microsoft Surface Book (beating the sixth-gen Intel Core i5 and coming close to a sixth-gen Intel Core i7). The multi-core scores lagged behind both systems, but not by the margin you might expect.

TechCrunch - Matthew Panzarino

…iPad Pro absolutely, 100% could be the central computing device for a home. […] But there is a certain (sorry) norm-core computing demographic that could very well end up with an iPad Pro as the ’enhanced’ component to their smartphone, which is their real computer. Somewhere on the same level as other use-case-based devices like wearables and an interconnected home.

TouchArcade - Eli Hodapp

I'm not sure how anyone can walk away with a first impression that's any different from, "Wow, this is comically large." Unboxing my iPad Pro and getting it in my hands for the first time brought all the memories of the original Xbox rushing back, as everything about that console (particularly the launch day unit) from the size of the Xbox itself to how huge the controller is just felt absurdly huge. […]

If you want a good size comparison without leaving the house, look around for a normal sized magazine. For whatever reason I've got an issue of People on my coffee table, and the screen of the iPad Pro is basically the exact same size. Add in a little extra around the edge for the bezel, and there you go.

The Verge - Lauren Goode

But even this split-screen mode isn’t enough for lots of the "laptop" things I need to do on a daily basis. This is still a mobile OS we’re talking about. It’s nice that it’s at least familiar feeling, unlike the foreign hybrid OS that Microsoft introduced with the first Surfaces. But I can’t manipulate more than two app windows at a time on the iPad Pro. I can’t control things with a trackpad. I can’t run Final Cut Pro on the iPad Pro. Entering data into cells in the Google Sheets app on the iPad Pro is still onerous. There’s no way to hand over the iPad to someone else and let them quickly log in as a "guest" user.


The Verge
- Walt Mossberg

You can get a lot more done with iPad apps than with the paltry selection of tablet / touch-first apps available for the Surface. But, because Apple hasn’t made a great keyboard, the iPad Pro isn’t a complete replacement for a great laptop like the MacBook Air — even for a tablet guy like me.

The iPad Pro will no doubt make a lot of Apple users happy, especially if they use it for graphics. But I won’t be buying one, and I don’t recommend that average users do so either.

The Wall Street Journal - Joanna Stern

The Pro may seem wedged between iPads and MacBooks, but it will be your main computer in the future. As our phablets push smaller tablets into retirement, the big tablet and its accessories will do the same for our traditional computers. For now, however, it may be easiest to step back and see the Pro as a… really good, really big iPad.

More Reviews: Bloomberg, Daring Fireball, Fast Company, TechRadar, The Telegraph, Wired and Yahoo Tech

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forums: iPad, iPad Accessories

Top Rated Comments

gsmornot Avatar
81 months ago
s p a c e b e t w e e n a p p i c o n s i s t o o m u c h
...but I like the screen size.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dilster3k Avatar
81 months ago
It's a niche product, it's practically an experiment on Apples end to see how much demand there is for a product like this.

This will do well in enterprise for sure, because for the longest time those mid-aged people keep saying they want "bigger" iPads. But I really doubt real professionals can implement this device into their work flow, it just seems like an inconvenience. It gets really suspicious when its main selling factor is it's stereo speakers, really...?

And don't get me started on that (ugly) 99$ stylus which doesn't seem to be well thought out, Jesus Christ.

Let's be honest, the only pro thing about this device is its price.
I even dare say that the Surface line by Microsoft surpasses this product
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mr_bam Avatar
81 months ago
Where's the external storage? Where's the file system? How do you run a local web server? Where's Xcode? How do you even get comfortable to sit in front of and use an iPad as a work tool? How do I connect it to my Cinema Display? Okey... I'm not the target audience, clearly. I'm a way off ditching my Mac. I have now ditched my Mac Pro and I'm now running everything from a MacBook Pro via a Thunderbolt dock. It's an awesome setup and still extremely portable for me if I want to leave the office and head to the coffee shop (only problem, there isn't one). I have an iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6S. I'll wait and watch how the iPad Pro develops with interest. Exciting times. Good luck to early adopters ditching their MacBooks.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NikeSG Avatar
81 months ago
Apple needs to take an L on this device, but that means sheep need to not support a product that has almost no place in the market. iPad Pro should absolutely have an OS that differs from iOS by a great measure. As it stands, however, the iPad Pro is the product of laziness from a comfortable and overly confident Apple team.

This device does absolutely nothing different from any other iPad other than, yet again, having a different screen size and having a pencil tool. Spec bumps do next to nothing when you don't have a file management system. More of the same.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LovingTeddy Avatar
81 months ago
It is way to expensive, at least in Canada. 128GB WiFi only iPad Pro cost 1249 CAD plus 129 for Apple Pencil plus 229 for the keyboard (Seriously? Charging 229 for the keyboard? Surface keyboard is less than that)? Plus 13% HST equals 1815.91...

How can anybody justifying this price? For the price, I might as well my the MacBook... At least it runs OS X.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OllyW Avatar
81 months ago
Sorry but who thought what the Wall St Journal thinks about tech is in any way relevant?
This bloke did...

Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...