Apple’s sixth-generation iPad Pro doesn’t have any major upgrades over last year’s version, but it continues to add the tools needed by its target demographic of professional users and creative workers.
The 2022 iteration of Apple’s flagship tablet is both best-in-class and powerful.
Even with the robust M2 chip, Apple has maintained the status quo on pricing. If you want style – and have some cash to spare – this is the device for you, but keep in mind that it still falls short of the capabilities of a fully armed MacBook.
The appeal of the iPad is obvious: the iPhone maker remains the leader in the global tablet market.
Apple held about 51 percent of the tablet market in the third quarter of 2022, nearly double Samsung’s 29 percent, according to Statcounter data.
The new iPad Pro comes in two sizes: 11 inches (28 centimeters) and 12.9 inches, the latter of which we’re reviewing.
2022 iPad Pro vs 2021 iPad Pro: what’s the difference?
In terms of design, nothing has changed between the new iPad Pro and its predecessor — they are dead heat in terms of weight and dimensions.
Apple continued with the same design it introduced in the iPad Pro update in 2018, with rounded corners and flat edges similar to all other devices since the release of the iPhone 12.
Apple could have given the new iPad Pro a landscape camera, similar to what it did for the latest entry-level iPad. This feature would give users a more comfortable and centered angle when used in landscape mode and/or with a folio or keyboard attached.
However, keeping it only for the regular iPad could be a test to gauge how consumers respond to it.
Based on our review, we believe it will be well received and could be a part of all iPads in the future.
Performance: Apple Pencil’s new cursor placement feature
The iPad Pro’s position as Apple’s top tablet goes hand in hand with its performance: it’s built for those working with graphics-intensive content like photo and video editing, as well as other creative functions.
Apple says the M2 chip gives the iPad Pro a 15 percent performance boost, which isn’t bad.
Despite the addition of the M2 chip, the CPU cores remain at eight. However, Apple has added two more graphics cores, which means the device is more capable of processing content without the risk of freezing or crashing.
This results in an increase in graphics performance of up to 35 percent, according to Apple. And thanks to the 16-core Neural Engine, the new iPad Pro can process 15.8 trillion operations per second, which is 40 percent more than the M1 chip.
The iPad Pro also has support for the second-generation Apple Pencil, and the company has added an interesting trick: a hover function similar to the Air capabilities of the Samsung S Pen, but with additional features.
This allows the iPad Pro to detect a pencil up to 12 millimeters – or 1.2 centimeters – above the display.
You will then see a preview of the mark, such as a brush stroke, complete with how big it will be and the color used. If you intend to mix colors, the preview will also show how the combined shades will look.
You can also use cursor placement to preview web pages in Safari by pointing the pencil at the tabs.
On YouTube, users can preview content, similar to how the hover feature does on the desktop version. Apple says more third-party developers are working to incorporate the hover feature into their apps, so expect the feature to roll out sooner rather than later.
The addition of the hover function is a plus, especially for creative users, due to the preview and precision features.
It also encourages more use of the stylus, even for those who don’t use it that often: it unlocks the activation of certain features you’d normally find on a desktop or laptop, like YouTube.
That said, the new iPad Pro is fast, and that’s especially evident in the speed of the Apple Pencil’s hover feature.
Meanwhile, the iPad Pro’s main 12MP camera can now record 4K video in Apple ProRes, a codec that enables the delivery of high-quality content designed for demanding features such as broadcasts, commercials and Blu-ray without taking up too much space.
That’s another reason for content creators to upgrade or switch to a new device, especially when you factor in Apple’s ecosystem: shoot in ProRes on an iPhone or iPad, then export content to a Mac for editing and/or post-production for more focused work.
Apple continues to guarantee “all-day” battery life on the new iPad Pro, which translates to up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi and up to nine hours on mobile.
However, given that the iPad Pro now has an M2 chip, we were surprised it didn’t receive an upgrade on that front.
The M2 chip was developed to consolidate operations on Apple devices to increase energy efficiency, so we feel that this is missing from the new iPad Pro when we expected at least a two-hour increase in battery life.
How long the battery lasts depends on how you use it. During a typical work shift — playing some videos and games in between — we had about 10 percent battery life left at the end of the day.
You can extend the battery life to two days if you use it to browse the web or check social networks – and you don’t leave it open all day. Lowering the brightness also helps.
In our hour-long YouTube test at full brightness, the new iPad Pro lost 12 percent of its battery.
However, the charging time is slow. Using the 20-watt charging pad that comes with the device, it took 30 minutes to reach a quarter of its capacity and one hour to reach just under 50 percent.
After two hours, it reached 86 percent and finally reached full capacity in just under three hours.
We understand that the iPad has a larger battery that takes longer to charge, but we hope that Apple will find a solution to speed up the process, as this will greatly benefit users who rely on iPads for work.
The new Apple iPad Pro is getting a nice upgrade with ProRes and Pencil hover, but if you look at the bigger picture, these are updates that cater to a specific group of users.
This means that most users may have little reason to upgrade their tablets. Apple also skipped updating its folio keyboard with functional keys, unlike what it did for the latest entry-level iPad.
Also worth considering is the price, which is similar to the M2 MacBook Air. Still, it’s Apple’s best iPad by far, despite the fact that upgrades have been limited this time around.
But as we pointed out in our iPad review earlier this week, we see these updates as the beginning of a turning point in Apple’s tablet lineup.
If we were to make a prediction, it could be the same two-tiered path as the iPhone: entry-level iPads, including minis and amalgamations of regular and Air iPads, and Pro models.
Timing is a key question, however, as the iPad Air update could come late in the first quarter of 2023, which would be too early for updates for the latest iPads, while there is no word on the mini.
If Apple is going to consolidate its iPad lineup, it deserves its own special event, or at least at its next Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2023.
Updated: October 27, 2022, 3:30 am
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