Apple has said countless times that they will never converge iOS and Mac OS, which means that laptop and desktop computers, and tablets and smartphones will continue to exist in their own universes with very little crossover. But the iPad Pro represents the closest thing to a converged device in that it is an iPad through and through, but has the power and size to challenge MacBooks and PC notebooks.
Even after three weeks with the device, I’m still adjusting to its large size which makes the iPad Air 2 look as tiny as the iPad mini by comparison. The iPad Pro reminds me of the very first MacBook Air, which was strange and expensive, and didn’t seem to fit into any norm of usage. Geared toward creatives by way of the excellent Apple Pencil, while also trying to turn on enterprise users with the promise of a tablet that can slice through ‘pro’ applications, the iPad Pro is really a rare beast and one that presents an intriguing, albeit expensive, fork in Apple’s iOS tablet roadmap. The iPad Pro is a showcase device that could only be pulled off by the most valuable company in the world, and it shows just how formidable Apple has become in building a device top to bottom. The A9X processor is blazingly fast and takes full advantage of iOS 9’s major multitasking, dual screen, picture in picture, and graphics muscle. Graphics capability is similarly off the charts as evidenced by the iPad Pro’s ability to edit various streams of 4K video simultaneously without breaking a sweat. The gorgeous 12.9-inch display is one of the nicest, most detailed screens on the market today. The fact that it works seamlessly with the Apple Pencil makes this a true feat of engineering. The Apple Pencil is, to be quite honest, the best reason to get the iPad Pro. If you illustrate, paint, or draw for a living, this is likely the closest thing to creating on paper or canvas. And while the price of the iPad Pro plus Pencil could equal what one would spend for multiple years’ worth of art supplies, I predict these products will together transform various industries quickly because they are natural and easy to use. Using Apple’s Smart Keyboard (which is a case that features a molded taffeta QWERTY keyboard), I can easily type on the iOS version of Microsoft Word without a hitch. Bluetooth pairing is one of the biggest headaches when dealing with accessory keyboards, but because the Smart Keyboard is powered by the Smart Connector, you don’t need to charge or pair the keyboard case.