The embargo has lifted on reviews of Apple's new iPad Pro, providing a hands-on look at the device before orders beginning arriving to customers this Friday. Key new features include Apple's custom M1 chip for impressive performance improvements, a brighter mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch model, Thunderbolt 3 support, and 5G on cellular models.

ipad pro m1
The Verge's Dieter Bohn said the mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a "dream screen" and functionally equivalent to a high-end OLED TV to his eyes:

The joke I've been telling people is that the display is so good that Tenet actually makes sense when you watch it on this iPad Pro. HDR content is incredible on this screen. I am not a display quality enthusiast, but this screen is functionally equivalent to a high-end OLED TV to my eyes, especially in a dark room.

While the new iPad Pro is around 50% faster than the previous generation model with the A12Z chip, some reviewers believe this impressive performance improvement is held back by the iPadOS operating system.

Caitlin McGarry at Gizmodo:

The iPad's hardware is a non-issue at this point. Apple's tablet gets better with every iteration, and the M1 iPad with miniLED display is truly impressive. There are no other tablets that can compare.

But the iPad Pro isn't competing against other tablets. It's competing against the Mac. And though the iPad is very, very capable, its software often feels hamstrung compared to the Mac's. I give this example all the time, but my most-used app is Airtable, a project management tool I use for my job all day every day. The iPad app looks and works perfectly, just like the Mac app, until I have to do a random task and it boots me to Airtable on the web, which would never happen on the Mac.

CNET's Scott Stein said iPadOS's limitations extend to the iPad Pro's new Thunderbolt 3 support:

Monitor support is a big example. The iPad Pro can only use an external monitor for apps that choose to support it, which is limited now to some games, video-editing tools... and that's mostly it. It doesn't extend your iPad to a second desktop area, or allow multiple apps on different screens. This is what you'd expect monitor support on an M1-equipped iPad would add, and yet here we are. Apple's developers conference (WWDC) is weeks away, and should reveal where the next iPadOS is heading. I'd expect big changes for the M1 iPad to be announced, but it's hard to predict anything yet.

Jason Snell at Six Colors said 5G support on cellular models is a "big deal" if you live in an area with mmWave 5G coverage:

I know that 5G is an eye-roll-worthy buzzword and that in most parts of the country 5G isn't too much faster than 4G if you can even find it.

However, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere with high-speed millimeter-wave 5G available, you will find that it enables broadband-like data rates. Apple made a big deal about 5G on the iPhone, but I think the iPad Pro is a better fit since it's a device you’re more likely to use for applications that require that level of bandwidth. I went to San Francisco's Marina district and while sitting on a bench next to the Palace of Fine Arts, downloading data at two or three gigabits. My home cable connection theoretically offers one gigabit, and I almost never see speeds that approach it. If you're someone who frequently works on an iPad in an area covered with the ultra-fast form of 5G, this will be a big deal.

The Loop's Jim Dalrymple said one of his favorite new features on the iPad Pro is Center Stage. Enabled by the iPad Pro's new Ultra Wide front camera, Center Stage automatically keeps users perfectly framed during video calls:

One of the features I love the most on the iPad Pro is Center Stage. Using the TrueDepth camera system, a new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera, and the machine learning capabilities of M1, Center Stage allows users to move around while using FaceTime, and the camera will keep them centered in the frame. It's pretty amazing to see it in action.

I started a FaceTime call seated at a desk, I stood up and took a step back, and the camera zoomed out a little to make sure I was in the frame. As I walked back and forth, the camera would pan side to side, following my movements, always keeping me in the center of the window (except if I went to the extreme side). If someone else comes into the frame, it will zoom out, ensuring that the camera can see both people in the frame.

More Reviews

Video Reviews and Unboxings






Check out our complete roundup of iPad Pro unboxing videos.

The new iPad Pro became available to order starting April 30, and orders will begin arriving to customers on May 21.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: Reviews
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

dantracht Avatar
13 months ago
Here's hoping iPad OS 15 is the star of WWDC.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adamjackson Avatar
13 months ago
iPad is held up by software has been the issue for 4 years. It's powerful enough to run desktop class software but isn't running desktop class software.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DanTSX Avatar
13 months ago
False. It is empowered by the simplicity of iOS.
Give it a desktop OS and people will complain it’s not a tablet any longer.

Apple knows better than these reviewers making controversial statements for click revenue.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IIGS User Avatar
13 months ago
Of course the new iPad is hamstrung by the limitations of iPadOS.

My 2018 iPad Pro is hamstrung my IPadOS and it's two years old.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Razorpit Avatar
13 months ago

some reviewers believe this impressive performance improvement is held back by the iPadOS operating system
Some of us were skewered for even suggesting that after the reveal. :rolleyes:
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
1258186 Avatar
13 months ago
Improving iPadOS is only part of the equation. They need to persuade developers to upgrade their apps so they have the same functionality as their Mac equivalent.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

2022 civic

Review: 2022 Honda Civic Adds Available Wireless CarPlay

Tuesday December 28, 2021 11:49 am PST by
Wireless CarPlay is seeing increasing adoption across car manufacturers, and one of the most recent to adopt the technology is Honda, which debuted it in the 2021 Accord and has now expanded it to the Civic for 2022. I recently had a chance to spend some time in the new Civic, which delivers a familiar infotainment experience with several handy additions. My test vehicle was a top-end...
macbook pro 2021 verge

MacBook Pro Reviews: Fast Performance, Added Ports, and ProMotion Displays Check All the Boxes

Monday October 25, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Apple's new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will begin arriving to customers this Tuesday, October 26, and ahead of time, the embargo has lifted on the first reviews of the notebooks across media publications and YouTube channels. Image Credit: The Verge We've rounded up more video reviews of the new MacBook Pro models in a separate story, while highlights from written reviews can be ...
nomad base one

Review: Nomad Launches 'Base One' Official MagSafe Charger for $130

Tuesday March 1, 2022 9:02 am PST by
Nomad today announced the launch of the Base One, its first official MagSafe wireless charger. For a long time, Belkin has had the only official MagSafe charging options, but that's starting to change now that third-party accessory companies are able to get Apple's Made for iPhone-certified hardware. The Base One is using MagSafe components sourced directly from Apple, so it is able to...
2022 lexus nx

Review: 2022 Lexus NX Brings an All-New Infotainment Experience With Wireless CarPlay and Built-In Apple Music

Tuesday November 30, 2021 11:53 am PST by
Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus are starting to roll out an all-new infotainment system with large touchscreens, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and more, and I recently had a chance to go hands-on with one of the first vehicles to get the new system, the 2022 Lexus NX. My test vehicle was an NX 450h+ AWD plug-in hybrid priced at nearly $60,000 that comes with a spacious 14-inch main...
chipolo card spot 1

Review: Chipolo's Find My-Enabled 'CARD Spot' is Ideal for Keeping Tabs on a Wallet

Thursday February 24, 2022 9:48 am PST by
Chipolo is an item tracking company that has embraced Apple's Find My network, and last May, it came out with one of the first Find My-enabled third party accessories, the Chipolo ONE Spot. Identical to the AirTag in almost every way, the Chipolo ONE Spot didn't have an edge over Apple's own item tracking solution, but Chipolo's $35 CARD Spot accessory beats out the AirTag when it comes to wallet ...
mophie charger 1

Review: Mophie's 3-in-1 MagSafe Charger is Great for Travel

Wednesday March 2, 2022 12:56 pm PST by
Mophie in January introduced the 3-in-1 MagSafe Travel Charger, an official MagSafe accessory that directly competes with Apple's MagSafe Duo. Unlike the MagSafe Duo, Mophie's Travel Charger can charge three devices at once rather than two, plus it comes with an included power adapter, USB-C cable, and carrying case. Priced at $150, or $20 more than the $130 MagSafe Duo, the 3-in-1 Travel...
ipad 2021 cnet

9th-Generation iPad Reviews: An Even Better Value With More Storage and a Better Front Camera

Wednesday September 22, 2021 9:09 am PDT by
In addition to the sixth-generation iPad mini, the ninth-generation iPad also saw its review embargo lift today, with reviewers generally feeling that the iterative update hits most of the right notes in terms of prioritizing upgrades to storage, performance, and the front camera. Photo via CNET As an overall take, CNET's Scott Stein argues that the "good enough" entry-level iPad actually...
mac studio size reference

Mac Studio Reviews: Faster Than a $13,000 Mac Pro

Thursday March 17, 2022 6:12 am PDT by
Apple's all-new Mac Studio desktop computer launches this Friday. Ahead of time, the first reviews and unboxing videos for the Mac Studio have surfaced, providing us with a closer look at the machine and its companion Studio Display. Performance While the Mac Studio resembles a larger Mac mini, it is far more powerful. The computer can be configured with the same M1 Max chip available for...

Popular Stories

anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...