Technophile

Apple’s iPad Pro 2021 gets superpowers

Mala Bhargava | Updated on July 15, 2021

This king of tablets may look much the same, but its new M1 chip gives it unbelievable speed

When the world’s fastest tablet gets even faster, you have to wonder what’s up. It’s all about a certain little chip called the M1 which has brought an unprecedented speed boost to Apple’s top level tablet, which people are beginning to refer to more frequently now as a ‘computer’.

Apple has a good collection of iPads, each model suiting a certain customer base. From the relatively affordable almost-pocketable iPad Mini to the ‘regular’ iPad, to the speedy iPad Air and finally to the professional-grade iPad Pro. The two iPad Pro

2021 models, 11-inch and 12.9-inch both now come with the new M1 chip for which benchmark tests show record breaking power.

On the design front, there’s hardly any difference between the iPad Pro 2021 and the previous year’s model. I’m looking at the 12.9-inch for both and find a slight increase in thickness and weight — and just about nothing else.

The Magic Keyboard from the previous model can actually fit the new one adequately, but for every fraction of a millimetre to be just right, Apple has made a specific keyboard for the new tablet, in white to go with the Silver model and in black to go with the Space Grey.

 

Brightness and light

You would never know that the iPad Pro’s screen is not actually an OLED display, it’s so vivid.

The Liquid Retina XDR display uses Mini LEDs in groups of four to achieve an extremely high contrast ratio and directs certain areas of the screen to be brighter as needed.

The display is capable of 1,600 nits of brightness where needed - that’s about 200 per cent brighter than what is found on other tablets.

The screen is good for HDR content, for general consumption but most of all for clarity for professionals who work with images and video. Apple goes for a more natural look with its screens so it may not look as dazzling as on Samsung’s richly coloured and contrasty displays. You do need HDR content to really see the difference in the screen and leverage the new technology involved .

The 11-inch iPad Pro, incidentally, does not come with the XDR display.

 

Sheer power

The M1 chip, used now on new MacBooks including the Pro, is blazingly fast. If you’re a creative professional you’ll see the difference when you work with images and video. Apps like LumaFusion and PhotoShop, Pixelmator and Procreate all get a shot in the arm.

For the rest of us who use the iPad for more everyday tasks, the boost in speed is still visible specially when multi-tasking which has also become faster and more capable because of iPadOS 15.

The M1 processor is paired with a lot of RAM, 16GB on the highest end iPad Pro in the line-up, with 2TB of storage space to go with it. This is just fine for professionals who need to work with really large files. For the rest of us, RAM begins at 8GB, which is also unusual for a tablet,

The new iPad Pro comes with Thunderbolt that works with the existing USB-C connectors and allows for an extensive ecosystem of accessories for iPad Pro such as storage, displays and docks to be connected and for high speed transfers to take place.

 

Stay centre stage

It’s the age of video conferencing like never before. The iPad Pro’s front-facing 12MP TrueDepth camera is nice and clear, but more than that there is a great feature that is designed just for video calls. As you move around, the camera will keep your face is focus so it’s more like the room moves a bit around you.

The camera is wide-angle so there’s a lot of scope for some movement and for it to follow the face. This feature can be disabled if needed. The rear cameras are 12MP and 10MP.

The iPad Pro is undoubtedly the most expensive tablet in the world, but it’s every bit as powerful as some of the most powerful laptops from Apple as well. Add the cost of essential accessories to the cost when considering buying one.

Published on July 14, 2021

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