My First Hour With the New iPad Pro


I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I went out and bought the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro from the local Apple Store. But one hour in, I’m now a true believer. Here’s why.

The first thing I noticed about my new iPad was the screen. From the moment I turned the device on, there was a noticeable difference in display temperature compared to my iPad Air. This is no accident; the iPad Pro’s True Tone technology, which controls display temperature based on lighting conditions, was already up and running. I began to appreciate the feature as I carried my iPad around the house. In darker rooms, the iPad Pro was far easier on my eyes than the Air, which was noticeably more blue and magenta.

Another feature which I discovered soon after turning on the iPad Pro was the new audio setup. The iPad Air, which I have used for over a year, has two speakers which fire in only one direction. For tablet speakers, they were good, but not great. The iPad Pro’s speakers are definitely a step in the right direction; the addition of two speakers to the top of the device creates a truly stereo sound, and although they’re nothing special, the speakers are certainly louder and better sounding.

A feature I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did was the camera. iPad photography isn’t practical, but I was really surprised by how good the cameras on the new iPad are. The sensors on the iPad Air 2 are 8 megapixels on the back and 1.2 on the front, akin to the iPhone 5s. The new iPad Pro is on par with the iPhone 6s, with a 12-megapixel sensor on the back and a 5-megapixel sensor on the front. This camera might be the first excellent camera in a tablet. I’m not sure if it’s improved internal image processing or simply and improved lens system, but the iPad has never been able to take shots like my iPhone could until now. I also really enjoyed the 60-fps video recording capabilities of the new iPad. Although there’s no optical image stabilization like there is on my phone, the iPad took crisp, smooth footage in my brief testing.

The real reason I have begun to love the new iPad is the Apple Pencil. The Pencil is nothing new (it’s been out since the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s release), but I haven’t had the chance to use it for an extended period of time until now. I consider myself a creative person, and over the years, I have tried too many digital drawing tools to count, but I can’t remember anything as intuitive and natural as the Pencil. Apple’s own Notes app is surprisingly capable and reliable for drawing, although the Pencil is also supported by various other apps. For someone creative, the natural experience of the Apple Pencil is the iPad Pro’s killer feature.

Overall, the iPad Pro is a marked improvement over its predecessor. It’s probably the best tablet out there, but if you’re not interested in the Apple Pencil, there may not be a major reason to upgrade from an iPad Air.