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You must have heard that the new iPad Pro is out. Apple has never been one to shy away from making big statements and is presenting its latest tablet as the laptop replacement to end all laptops. Orange Senior Product Manager Yves Hauffman has tried and tested it. He feels it offers the most significant update since the very first iPad, but but found it slightly wanting as the ultimate alternative to a laptop.
This much is certain: the new iPad Pro is faster, thinner and more powerful than any tablet on the market, including all previous iPads. The downside is that it is also considerably more expensive, especially with the pen and keyboard, and even moreso if you want to complement your Wi-Fi with a mobile phone connection.
The biggest, lightest, fastest and most powerful tablet
According to Yves, no other tablet comes close to what the latest iPad Pro has to offer. The edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display (11” or 12.9”) has stylish, rounded corners and the image quality is truly stunning.
The new Apple Pencil 2 (€111.57 excl. VAT) and new Smart Keyboard Folio (€180.99 excl. VAT) are to be purchased separately and are much easier to use than the previous versions. The stylus snaps magnetically onto the side of the iPad and charges there. The thin keyboard also attaches to the tablet magnetically and, fortunately, no longer requires any folding. Like the most expensive iPhones, the iPad Pro now has Face ID rather than Touch ID. The new USB-C input is also used for charging.
"Apple does not compromise," Yves Hauffman says. They did not try to make a tablet that runs on a desktop operating system like Microsoft did with the Surface Pro. Tim Cook and his team have also abandoned the home button on the iPad Pro the way they did on the iPhone X, resolutely relying on touchscreen manipulation instead of a mouse or trackpad. The headphone jack, the connecting socket needed to connect a headphone, has also disappeared. Is this Apple’s vision for the future? One where we only work with native apps and the laptop, mouse and trackpad are nothing more than a vague memory?
Can it replace the laptop?
Will the new iPad Pro prove Apple’s claim true by convincing users to banish their laptops to the attic?
Yves Hauffman: "Speed is one thing, but what about the ergonomics? It’s something that Apple tends to be very good at, but I have not managed to get the same lean-back feeling as with a laptop. When you position the iPad Pro on your lap, it tends to tilt backwards."
iOS is not macOS
After spending a normal workday with the iPad Pro rather than his laptop, Yves came to the following conclusions. "It really is super powerful, but it is slowed down by the known iOS disadvantages. The apps you routinely use in the workplace – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Mail and Calendar – are still ‘stripped-down’ versions of the desktop/laptop applications. This resulted in small frustrations. Accurately selecting text, numbers and fields is still awkward in iOS. This is not easy in Excel unless you have the optional, rather expensive Apple Pencil. Including attachments in your email is a chore. Multitasking is actually limited to split screens. The USB port does not talk to USB flash drives so managing files is bothersome.
The conclusion: a stunning tablet, but no laptop replacement yet
"Used as a tablet to view and consume content, the latest iPad Pro is unsurpassed. However, for productive work, iOS unfortunately still throws too many spanners in the works to offer a real alternative to a laptop. Perhaps we need to wait for macOS for iPads?" Yves Hauffman concludes.
If you want the fastest, most powerful, graphically unrivalled tablet on the market and you are prepared to pay a lot of money (from 899 to 2,119 euros including VAT, depending on the version, screen size (11" or 12.9"), connectivity (Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + Cellular) and storage (64GB, 256GB, 512GB or even 1TB), plus of course the pen and keyboard), don’t hesitate. As a tablet, the iPad Pro 2018 will not disappoint.
If you are dead-set on replacing your laptop or notebook with a tablet, perhaps you should consider one of the hybrid tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro or the slightly cheaper Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. They easily switch between touch screen and mouse control. It might save you a lot of frustration.
If you can’t stop yourself, go for the iPad Pro by all means. Just make sure you keep your MacBook or another laptop on standby.