2020 iPad Pro Reviews: Minor Upgrade Today Paves Way for New AR Capabilities in Future
The first reviews of the new iPad Pro have hit the web and we've rounded them up below.
Given that trackpad support is coming to all modern iPad models with iPadOS 13.4, set to be released later today, the actual hardware changes to the 2020 iPad Pro are rather minor. Reviews confirm that the device's new A12Z Bionic chip has very similar CPU performance as the previous A12X chip, and beyond that, the only additions are an Ultra Wide camera, LiDAR scanner, and better sounding microphones.
Moreover, the LiDAR scanner is more about the future than today. The Verge's Dieter Bohn noted that the sensor "improves some current apps for free, but there aren't any third-party apps that take full advantage of it yet."
"As I used the iPad Pro this week, I kept coming back to that LIDAR sensor," said Bohn. "It's a powerful and interesting sensor and Apple's total control over software and hardware means that it 'just works' to improve existing apps. But as powerful as it is, I'm not super sure a lot of users will be able to take advantage of it — it's an extra thing they may not even use."
There are some benefits to the LiDAR scanner today. For example, all existing ARKit apps will now have instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion, while the Measure app can more quickly calculate someone's height.
Apple has been heavily invested in augmented reality for years, and with rumors suggesting that the company is working on an augmented reality headset, the LiDAR scanner will likely have much more significance in the years to come.
As for the A12Z Bionic chip, Apple told WIRED's Lauren Goode that it has enhanced thermal architecture, meaning that it should heat up less when pushed to the limit. And while the A12Z does not move the needle with CPU performance, it does have an eight-core GPU — up from seven in the 2018 iPad Pro — for a modest boost in graphics performance.
The new Ultra Wide camera is mostly what you would expect based on the iPhone 11 Pro, enabling 0.5x zoom for those who take photos with an iPad.