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First impressions: The iPad Pro is 'wicked fast'

Michael deAgonia | Nov. 16, 2015
Using Apple's new tablet is a joy; the hard part is actually getting the one you need

Audiophiles will be pleased, both at the level of volume those four small speakers emit and the clarity and tone they produce. Your eyes will naturally be drawn to the big screen, but your ears will love the sound.

No 3D Touch?

One of the big advances offered on the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus is 3D Touch. On those devices, the screen can detect the amount of pressure applied with a finger press. That press triggers different actions, based on the pressure. That's how "Peak and Pop" views are activated, or how you can get to quick shortcuts for apps. 3D Touch delivers an added layer of usability that I've quickly grown accustomed to on my iPhone 6S Plus. (The same is true about Reachability, which allows easier one-hand access to icons at the top of the larger phone screen.)

The iPad Pro is a natural for these new features, but it doesn't have either one. I miss them. Apple hasn't said why 3D Touch isn't part if the iPad Pro package, or whether it's a hardware issue related to the technology or an intentional omission. (I'd assume it's the latter. While the first-generation iPad Pro doesn't have 3D Touch, I bet future generations will.) The lack of Reachability on the iPad Pro is also puzzling, though it makes more sense, given that one-handed use of the big tablet isn't as easy as it is with the phone.

Something else I've noticed -- and this isn't Apple's fault -- is that some popular iOS 9 apps haven't been updated to take advantage of the larger screen. Case in point: The current Facebook app shows a lot of wasted space. It looks great on the iPad Air 2, but on the iPad Pro, it's simply been scaled up in size. For now, I'm accessing Facebook through the Safari browser because Safari utilizes space better.

Facebook on IPad
Michael deAgonia On the iPad Pro, the Facebook app (left) shows much less content than you can see by viewing Facebook through Safari (right).

No doubt, that will change as third-party developers update their apps. And Apple is already highlighting iPad Pro-worthy apps in the App Store.

Final thoughts (for now)

As nice as the hardware is, as great as the display is, in the end the iPad Pro experience depends on the quality of the software available for it. That's true whether you see it as more of a content-consuming tablet or a business-centric productivity device. In my time with the iPad Pro, I've found it fantastic for consuming media, especially comic books and high-definition videos. Games look great, too. But as noted, apps that haven't been rewritten for the iPad Pro's display size and resolution end up wasting a ton of screen real estate. The recently-introduced multitasking capabilities of iOS 9 -- the split-screen option allowing you to use two apps at one time -- really make use of the additional space, but I'm already wondering if that's enough.

 

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