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In Depth: A month with the iPad Pro

Michael deAgonia | Dec. 21, 2015
Apple’s big tablet is the ultimate (literal) laptop, and with the right accessories, a pretty good desktop replacement.

Thor on iPP 
Content consumption, a.k.a. watching movies like Age of Ultron, can be an immersive experience with the large screen and four speakers. Credit: Michael deAgonia

Another surprise has been watching movies; they’re surprisingly immersive. That has everything to do with the great display, as well as the incredible sound the iPad puts out. This is accomplished via four speakers near each corner of the device that have been engineered to deliver really good sound. No matter which orientation the iPad is held, the top speakers play high frequencies while the lower speakers emphasize bass. During a recent trip to New York, I watched the film Interstellar for the first time and was totally caught up in the experience. I had to remind myself that I was watching this on a portable device.

Which brings us to my next point: the iPad is much larger than the iPad Air 2 -- as I mentioned before you can sit two iPad Air 2 tablets in portrait mode over an iPad Pro in landscape mode. The overall footprint of the device brings it to notebook-sized levels, but the thinness and weight make this an easy device to tote around. Using just the iPad and the virtual software keyboard, I've been able to be productive in locations that make it awkward to bring a full notebook, doing tasks that aren't ideal on even my large screen iPhone 6S Plus.

Conclusions

There's a good reason I think the iPad Pro will suit a broad audience: Its inherent flexibility. It serves a broader range of needs than any previous iPad, especially when you factor in the Pencil and physical keyboards, which allow it to be used more effectively when precision is needed.

With the productivity features of iOS 9, I think the iPad Pro is a remarkable tool. The size and weight make it more portable than my MacBook Pro; the built-in LTE access makes me long for the same in my notebook; and the battery life lasts the 10 hours Apple promises.

Even better, the TouchID fingerprint system built into the Home button doesn't trade portability for security; you can have both. Opting for the LTE model with GPS makes more sense for road warriors when you consider that as long as there is a cellular signal, you’ll be connected. And you can use Apple's Find My iPhone feature to track down the exact spot if the iPad Pro is ever misplaced.

There's a lot to like here. No wonder Apple has been attracting attention from business; and this iPad Pro is clearly a play for more. Even without additional accessories, it can be used in more instances as a standalone device rather than as a desktop companion; when you factor in the Pencil and keyboards, it can indeed servce as a real-world desktop/notebook replacement.

 

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