With its M1 chip and a mini LED screen, the new iPad Pro 12.9 is as fast and versatile as a computer. The device is a lot of fun in everyday life – if you can afford it.
The new iPad Pro fits seamlessly into the new MacBooks Air and Pro series that were introduced last year: From the outside, there is no difference to the previous model, but under the aluminum lid, hardly anything has remained the same.
The most notable innovation is the M1 chip. So far, the processors in Apple’s tablets have always been variants of the chips that were in the iPhones. For example, the iPad Pro of 2020 was called A12Z Bionic and was, so to speak, the lowered turbo version of the A12 Bionic, which served as a drive for the iPhone XS. On the other hand, the new iPad Pro has the same processor as the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, and the new iMac, the M1.
On the one hand, this shows how versatile Apple’s new chip is, and on the other, how efficient it is. In direct comparison with the previous model, the new iPad Pro achieved more than 50 percent higher values in the performance measurements of the test app Geekbench – which roughly corresponds to the measurements I carried out on MacBooks and iMacs with the same processor.
One thing is clear: the new iPad Pro is fast enough. Comprehensive photo editing apps like Affinity Photo and Pixelmator Photo make him smile. The same goes for music software like Garageband and Korgs Polysix.
The computing power is currently more used for things like the Apple app Clips. It can be used to record videos in which one appears to be standing in a vast garden as a dwarf and in which virtual graffiti is placed on furniture and the floor. The chip also helps with things you can do with the Apple Pencil, such as converting handwritten notes into digital writing.
For the endurance test of the device, I deviated from my standard procedure this time: Instead of having the new iPad show a video until the battery was empty, I played a song in an endless loop with the new and old models next to each other in a virtual synthesizer to let. The result: After four hours and 15 minutes, the 2020 iPad Pro switched off. The battery of the new model was still a quarter full.
Lots Of Light And Shadow: The Display
The other significant innovation is the screen of the 12.9-inch model, which is now based on what is known as mini-LED technology. The remarkable thing about it: 10,000 tiny LEDs are installed behind the display, each of which can be controlled in four groups. Because the 2500 dimming zones created in this way can be regulated more finely than with older screen types, extremely high contrasts can be achieved. Apple specifies a contrast ratio of 1,000,000: 1 here.
This is particularly noticeable in dark areas of the image, in which this system can make more details visible. In my comparisons with an iPad Pro 12.9 from 2020, the difference seemed smaller than I expected, which also speaks for the predecessor’s quality.
The higher maximum brightness of the screen caught my eye more clearly. In typical operation, the new iPad is just as bright as its predecessor: 600 nits. This is usually sufficient, even outdoors. If you look at HDR content, i.e., photos and videos with an extended contrast range – including those taken with an iPhone – the maximum brightness increases to 1000 nits. Light areas shine more intensely. In dark areas, more shades of gray can be seen.
With HDR content in exceptionally bright image areas, the screen can achieve up to 1600 nits. In combination with the small dimming zones, this sometimes results in an astonishingly better display than the previous model. This can be seen in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” for example, when Kylo Ren activates his lightsaber in gloomy surroundings on the planet Exegol at the beginning of the film. On the old iPad, a clear halo can be seen around the glowing sword, while the sword on the display of the new model is sharply demarcated from the dark background and shines visibly brighter.
However, one consequence of the new display is that the new model is half a millimeter thicker than its predecessor. In advance, there were fears that it would no longer fit into the 400 euro Magic Keyboard of the previous model. However, the test showed that it works. A small gap can be seen when it is closed. But that’s no reason to throw away the old keyboard if you get the new iPad.
A Camera That Follows You
The cameras on the back have been adopted unchanged from the previous model: the wide-angle camera has 12 megapixels, the ultra-wide-angle camera 10 megapixels. The photo quality is good, but who wants to take photos with an iPad, especially the large model? What is more important is what has changed with the front camera: not only because its resolution has almost doubled from seven to twelve megapixels, but above all, because its field of view now covers 122 degrees. It is almost as wide as the 125 degrees of the ultra-wide-angle camera in the back.
Apple uses this optic for a technology called Center Stage. During video conferences, it should ensure that you always remain in the center of the picture. In Apple’s FaceTime, it looks like someone is constantly tracking the camera while you are moving. The software that recognizes the head and torso actually relocates, but only the image section. This worked very well in the test, but some participants found it irritating.
Center Stage also offers an additional function: if someone stands or sits next to you during a video call, the camera’s field of view is automatically expanded so that you don’t have to huddle next to each other. This technology also worked in the test with other video chat services such as Webex and Teams. It should also be compatible with Zoom.
5G And Thunderbolt
With the new iPad Pro, Apple offers a 5G cellular module as an option for the first time. The 170 euro extra should be particularly useful if you regularly have to load or send large amounts of data in 5G well served areas. Otherwise, of course, the whole thing also works with LTE. Where possible, WLAN will be preferred anyway, which is supported up to version Wi-Fi 6.
In the meantime, professionals, in particular, should be pleased that the USB-C socket on the iPad Pro is now a Thunderbolt port, which can be used, for example, to connect fast complex disk arrays or, as in my case, audio interfaces.
If you need a lot of storage on the device itself, you can order it simultaneously: Apple now offers the iPad Pro with up to two terabytes of storage space. But then it gets costly: The device costs 2579 euros, including the 5G module.
Also Read : Apple Is Getting Colorful Again.
👍 Very high performance
👍 Perfect screen
👍 Extensive equipment
👍 Lots of storage space for a surcharge
👎 Memory cannot be expanded
👎 High prices
With the new iPad Pro, the boundaries between computer and tablet are blurring. The flat computer, which is 6.4 millimeters thick, contains more power than most notebooks and many desktop PCs. Video editing, image processing, and music composition are no problem. If you use the new Thunderbolt socket, you can also use external screens and storage media. On the go, you can easily do the same work with the device on your lap.
The iPad Pro 12.9 is such a real workhorse. There is also a great entertainment gadget, but with prices starting at 1199 euros it is too expensive – unless you buy it instead of a computer. In any case, the device has enough power for this, and all the necessary programs, from Office to Photoshop, are also available.