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Gadgets & Gizmos: Upping The Game

With the new iPad Pro 10.5-inch model Apple has finally achieved a true laptop-class tablet, one that can serve the broad work needs for most

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It's been seven years since Apple launched the first iPad, and through the initial euphoria and eventual plateauing of the segment, the iPad has stood alone, with few competitors matching the overall package of power, design and app selection that Apple brought to the table. With the new iPad Pro 10.5-inch model though, Apple seems to have turned the corner and finally achieved a true laptop-class tablet, one that can serve the broad work needs for most, without having to lug around a heavy laptop.

A lot of it comes down to small design changes in this model. Sure, this is familiar iPad territory — aluminum body, chamfered metal edges and the stellar build quality, but by shaving down the screen bezels, Apple’s packed in a noticeably bigger screen without significantly expanding the dimensions. The bigger screen real estate in a carry-around-all-day form factor is why many are calling this the Goldilocks iPad Pro — not too big, not too small — the size is just right.

That new screen is the star of the show, with its anti-reflective coating, high brightness levels, and wide colour gamut, all of which lend themselves equally well to media consumption and pro-grade image editing work. And then there’s the True Tone tech, which measures the ambient light and matches the display’s colour temperature to its surroundings. The big upgrade this time around is variable screen refresh rate, doubled to a maximum of 120Hz, which means that the iPad Pro can go all the way from 24Hz to 120Hz depending on the content you’re viewing — fast for animations, scrolling websites and an almost zero-lag experience using the Apple Pencil…and slowed all the way down for ebooks or regular TV content. This approach lets Apple deliver that extra-slick experience without murdering the battery, and the iPad Pro still manages the 9+ hours battery life that gets me through a full day of work. The camera’s gotten better too — Apple has shoehorned the iPhone 7 front and rear cameras into the iPad Pro, and the results are impressive.

Now, calling the iPad Pro performance laptop-class would be a tad misleading, since the iPad scorches past most similarly priced laptops — the A10X Fusion is a beast of a chip with enough grunt to run the most demanding apps. For everyday tasks like typing this piece out in Microsoft Word, the difference wasn't as stark, but consider this — I could edit a 4K movie file in iMovie on the iPad or apply photo filters in the new pro-grade Affinity Photo editing suite and everything remained buttery smooth. Doing the same stuff on my year-old Core i3-based work laptop was all jumps and shudders. Of course, to get the most out of this iPad, you’ll want to pick up the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil. The latter is the perfect partner for arty types, but be warned — the accessories don't come cheap!

But here’s the thing. The iPad Pro, as good as it is, isn’t half as good as it will be when iOS 11, with its iPad specific multi-tasking and file management features, rolls around later this year. If you can stomach the price with all its accessories, the iPad Pro’s screen and productivity features are unparalleled, and for anyone with content creation needs, this is the tablet to buy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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gadgets & gizmos ipad apple magazine 19 August 2017

Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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