New Apple 12.9″ iPad Pro Quick Look

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My old iPad was fine, but it was the smaller of the iPad Pro line and the refresh that Apple announced for the new model caught my eye because of promised improvements in speed, power and the Liquid Retina display, and the announcement of a coming-soon keyboard with trackpad.

I was also intrigued by the LiDAR scanner. Beyond the obvious application to augmented reality, the potential applications for this technology are mind-blowing and since I did confirm that NASA uses LiDAR (a slightly beefier version) it has to be cool.

I selected the 12.9″ iPad Pro because some day, this may replace a laptop and I wanted additional screen real estate. I loaded it up pretty well with 512GB of RAM. I selected Wi-Fi only since in all the years I have owned an iPad, I have never wished mine came with cellular. Wi-Fi is nearly everywhere I go, so I didn’t see the need to add it.

I did pre-order the Apple Magic Keyboard for 12.9″ iPad Pro. At $349 it is absolutely, ridiculously, expensive. But if I am going to use a keyboard, it has to have a trackpad. I am simply too used to that and any claim that the iPad can replace a laptop (for me) hinges on the ability to use a trackpad. Your mileage may vary.

Since this new tablet from Apple also comes with 4K video capability and now TWO cameras – a wide and super wide, I also figured I might eventually use it for content creation. Given the speed and power in this new version, I am assuming I can do editing as well as capture, using nothing more than the iPad Pro.

The first thing I noticed was the screen, since that is the first thing you interact with when you turn on the device.

It’s got a 264ppi Wide Color Liquid Retina LCD display (same as the iPhone 11) with TrueTone. It is a laminated display and has anti-reflective coatings built in.

The place where (I THINK) a lot of the magic happens with the new iPad Pro display is ProMotion refresh technology. It’s a 120 Hz refresh rate that is self adjusting, depending on how graphics intensive your application.

I do not know the science behind this. Nor do I need to. I DO know that the new iPad Pro screen looks amazing and everything on this new model seems noticeably faster. When scrolling, the response is absolutely instant. Opening a document, moving screens around, it’s all very fast and a joy to experience.

There is some talk that the new chip driving the iPad Pro is not that much faster than the old chip. This is based on benchmark tests. I do know that it sure feels faster. It’s certainly faster than some of the entry-level laptops.

Of primary interest to many mobile creators will be the new camera setup on the iPad Pro.

The new cameras are set up as follows:

12MP Standard Wide-Angle f/1.8 lens
10MP Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.4 lens

Camera Specs:

Wide: 12MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture
Ultra Wide: 10MP, ƒ/2.4 aperture, and 125° field of view
2x optical zoom out; digital zoom up to 5x
Five‑element lens (Wide and Ultra Wide)
Brighter True Tone flash
Panorama (up to 63MP)
Sapphire crystal lens cover
Backside illumination sensor
Hybrid IR filter
Autofocus with Focus Pixels (Wide)
Tap to focus with Focus Pixels (Wide)
Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
Exposure control
Noise reduction
Smart HDR for photos
Auto image stabilization
Burst mode
Timer mode
Photo geotagging
Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG

The pictures look great coming from the iPad, although I personally have never used my iPads for photography. I do note that there are now five mics onboard the iPad Pro and if you’re reasonably close to your subject, you can get better than expected audio recording only with the iPad.

There is a 7MP, True Depth, FaceTime, HD camera. This is not important to me since I have a face built for radio, but many of you will like this camera, especially if you FaceTime often or you are a vlogger.

As for video, here are the video recording specs:

Video Recording Specs:
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps (Wide); 60 fps (Ultra Wide)
1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
720p HD video recording at 30 fps
Brighter True Tone flash
Slo‑mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps (Wide); 240 fps (Ultra Wide)
Time‑lapse video with stabilization
Cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p)
Continuous autofocus video
Noise reduction
Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
Playback zoom
Video geotagging
Video formats captured: HEVC and H.264

Note that the new iPad Pro supports crazy slow-mo capability, all the way to 240 fps! This is pretty cool and in a pinch, will give you some nice B-roll.

ONE THING I DO NOT LIKE

There is no HOME button on this new iPad Pro. Why does Apple get us used to using some radical new interface only to replace it later? This seems like a pattern. You can open the iPad Pro by touching the surface but it is a hassle.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

While not confirmed by Apple, the iPad Pro is thought to have 6GB RAM. The USB-C port is now good for something meaningful like plugging in a drive or a camera. Despite its large size, the iPad Pro weighs barely more than a pound. In my first tests I got about eight and a half hours out of the battery and I wasn’t trying to pay much attention to power conservation.

CONCLUSION

For mobile content creators who need their emphasis on MOBILE, the new iPad Pros offer a very stout, yet portable solution that is very capable of replacing a laptop computer. With the various iOS apps out there that enable every sort of video/audio/stills capture. There are also quite capable iOS apps for editing, teams, business and publishing. Apple understands this audience because Apple helped create it. That fact shows in the execution of the new iPad Pro and the iOS that supports it.

EVERYTHING about this new iPad Pro seems fast. The screen feels like one of the sharpest and clearest I have seen on any device, regardless of specs. This is Apple’s flag in the ground for those who want to say that an iPad can replace a laptop. I’ve only had the tablet for a few days but so far, I am super glad I upgraded. It’s probably too expensive. The keyboard is months away. There are less expensive solutions, but this one is the one for me.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


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Scott Bourne

Scott Bourne (ASINWP) is a professional wildlife photographer, filmmaker, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He’s been involved with photography for more than four decades and his work has appeared in more than 200 publications.

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