A year with Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Pro: the ideal worker's tablet

Posted:
in iPad edited July 2018
Introduced as a new iPad screen size replacing the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in July 2017, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has been available for almost an entire year. AppleInsider takes another look at the Apple Pencil-equipped performance tablet to see how it's fared 12 months after launch.



It's been about a year since Apple released the 10.5" iPad Pro, the first iPad to ever sport a 10.5-inch screen, and I've gotta say, it's almost perfect. Apple slimmed the bezels and slightly enlarged the frame of a traditional 9.7-inch iPad to fit a larger screen, making it more sleek and modern compared to other models in the range, even the similar-specification 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Apple started marketing the iPad Pro as a notebook replacement after the release of iOS 11. Given some of the features it introduced around the time, Apple was right to be confident it could handle the workload.

Apple iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

iOS productivity improvements

Two of the most important software based features are a Mac-style app dock and drag-and-drop support, two additions that work perfectly together. You can easily tap and hold a file or photo with one finger, swipe up on the screen with another finger to bring up the dock, and drag and drop the files into compatible apps.

If the app you want isn't on your dock, you can even go back to your home screen and open the required app while still dragging files.

Apple iPad Pro home screen iOS


The new Files app should take the most credit for making iPad Pro a notebook replacement. As the first true iOS file manager, Files lets users can store, organize and manage many different file types from a central location.

You can import files by using Apple's Lightning to SD Card adapter. With iOS 12, the Files app gets even more powerful with the ability to import and edit RAW photos.

Split-view in iOS 11 works incredibly well, allowing for easy multitasking, just like a Mac. You can also easily scan and sign documents, or quickly add custom signatures to downloaded forms, PDFs or images.

Apple iPad Pro iOS 11 Split Screen


That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to iOS 11 on iPad Pro, with a lot more features added to make working with it a lot better.

The iPad Pro also uses Apple's Smart Keyboard, and it really does make the tablet feel more like a notebook. The keyboard is responsive and robust, with a sealed switch design that means you don't run the risk of having your iPad Pro keyboard fail, like certain Apple MacBooks with butterfly keys.

Apple iPad Pro Smart Keyboard

Powerful enough for anyone

As for performance, we pitted our iPad Pro against a MacBook and ruled that yes, it can actually replace a fully-fledged notebook.

In fact, the 2017 iPad Pro is the first iPad ever to outperform a current-generation MacBook, with higher scores in both single and multi-core tasks. Looking at graphics benchmarks, it destroys the 12-inch MacBook, and even matches the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro!

Apple iPad Pro GPU performance benchmark


The iPad Pro models ship with an impressive 64GB of storage at its base price of $650, and you can get capacities of up to 512GB. It also has 4GB of RAM, impressive for a tablet.

For battery life, iPad Pro lasts just as long as it did when we first acquired it. We ran the GeekBench 4 battery life test and it achieved one of the best scores we've ever seen, lasting 10 hours and 5 minutes.

Apple iPad Pro battery benchmark score

Display performance

Perhaps the best thing about the 2017 iPad Pro is the ProMotion display. It basically means that the screen's refresh rate is doubled to 120hz, making all of the animations and browsing super fluid. In fact, there's currently an industry trend where TV's and monitors are supporting higher refresh rates, which is especially useful for gamers.

The most innovative part about ProMotion is that the refresh rate is actually variable depending on the content you're viewing. If you're watching a 24fps video, the refresh rate goes down to 24Hz, saving battery life, but if you're browsing the web or drawing with your Apple Pencil, it goes back up to 120Hz.

Apple iPad Pro ProMotion


This invention itself has garnered iPad Pro an award for being the first mainstream computer product to have a screen able to adapt between 24 and 120Hz.

With the new display, you also get a massive 600 nits of brightness and beautiful P3 wide-color gamut support. On top of all of that, ProMotion helps the Apple Pencil's input lag drop down to 20ms, which is the best in the industry.

Apple iPad Pro display


The iPad Pro is basically a powerhouse within a gorgeous, premium and modern design. The 10.5" model looks even better with slimmer bezels, with it easily able to take care of all of your notes, files, photos, and signed documents.

Graphics designers will probably find this to be one of the best tablets they can buy. If they need a bigger screen, they can simply opt for the 12.9-inch model.

Reading all of the other reviews about this iPad Pro model, it's pretty easy to say that this is as close to a perfect tablet as you can get. Add in Apple's hefty investment in software updates to make it more like a MacBook, and is sure to remain competitive for years to come.

The competition: 2018 iPad

That said, the 2017 iPad Pro's main rival is none other than Apple's own 2018 iPad. For this year's iteration, the processor has been changed to an A10 Fusion chip, which sits right in between the A9X and A10X in terms of performance.

Apple iPad with Apple Pencil support


The biggest update to the 2018 iPad, however, is the addition of Apple Pencil support, which until now hasn't been available on a non-Pro iPad.

Considering its $329 price tag, the iPad should give the 2017 iPad Pro a run for its money. However, the Apple Pencil experience is still much better on the Pro thanks to both ProMotion integration and a laminated display.


The future

In September, there'll be even more features coming to iPad via iOS 12, such as an updated News app, Books app, Voice Memos app, and new Stocks app with interactive charts and related news articles on stocks built right in.

Import speeds using USB 3.0 SD card readers get a big speed increase, on top of being able to import RAW photos.

Apple iPad Pro


The most exciting tidbit in the first iOS 12 betas is that iPad's clock has been moved to the left side of the screen, just like on the iPhone X, suggesting Apple plans to bring the TrueDepth camera and Face ID to next-generation hardware. There even new gestures for the iPad taken straight from the iPhone X.

We're not sure when the next-generation iPad Pro models will be released, but the line is overdue for a refresh. We can't wait to see what it will bring.

Looking to buy a 10.5-inch iPad Pro? Apple authorized reseller Adorama is offering readers exclusive discounts on many models with promo code APINSIDER. Look for the green price tag icon next to eligible models in our iPad Price Guide.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    wrod59wrod59 Posts: 4member
    I think there is an error in the following line:

    "The iPad Pro also uses Apple's Smart Keyboard, now with backlighting, and it really does make the tablet feel more like a notebook. "

    Wish it did have backlighting :-)
    seanismorris
  • Reply 2 of 33
    I have a 9.7 iPad Pro and it works great also...  (I have a pen but don’t use it)

    But the IPad design is looking dated.  The basil looks huge vs. modern screen designs.

    I don’t think you can get rid of it entirely because you need something to hold on to, but I think you can cut it in 1/2 to 2/3 without harming gripping.

    Looking for big changes in 2018 for the iPad...
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 33
    ilovemomilovemom Posts: 10member
    Since iOS 11 i’m very happy with my iPad mini 4 (again) Even thinking about nog replacing my MacBook Pro and buy aan iPad Pro. It just works zo great. 
    christopher126williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 33
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 266member

    I find the Files app disappointing, as it largely mirrors the way we have managed files since the 128K Mac.  Smart folders and ABFR were tentative steps in the right direction but they didn’t take the concept nearly far enough.

    With ‘big data’ coming our way in the form of hundreds of thousands or even millions of files we will manage on our work devices, the concept of hierarchical folders will cease to be a useful paradigm.  The file system as we know it needs to morph into a relational database, with automatic and custom file tagging made standard, which will permit instant search and sort capabilities based upon tags.

    I get that it’s hard for many to wrap their heads around it because they've been working with folder-like directory structures for 30+ years.  But everyone who uses an iPad, Mac or PC should ask themselves how much time they spend managing their hierarchical folders and naming conventions.  Not terribly productive and time not well spent IMO.  We need a file system that’s a lot more dynamic and powerful than what we've got now.

    MplsPradarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 33
    My primary iPad use is an illustration machine, and I currently use the first gen 12.9, while I love the canvas size.. it’s too big. 

    I skipped the last upgrade. But when the next iteration hits  I kinda want to go small again. 
  • Reply 6 of 33
    JustAnotherLonelyVoiceJustAnotherLonelyVoice Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    The 2018 iPad Pro should NOT have the Notch. The thickness of the FaceID camera tech should denote the border around the entire screen. Borders help to not obscure content when holding the device, and especially with a black border help the content to 'pop' visually. The thickness of the notch on the iPhone X is so small anyway, that a border like that around the iPad would barely be noticeable and would alleviate all the notice obscuring content complaints. However, it galls me to say this but Apple needs to fire it's current UI designers, having to pull down from top right for control centre is effing annoying on the iPhone X, but it's utterly pathetic on a device that can be as big as the iPad 12.9". And the bezel swipe up and hold is such a ridiculous contrived and stupid gesture. Apple needs to clean house, they used to understand design, and now with their ruined typography (tiny grey fonts on light grey backgrounds) they have lost everything that made Apple...Apple. Having a notch on the 2018 iPad Pro would just prove that point again.
    baconstangunbeliever2[Deleted User]steveau
  • Reply 7 of 33
    pfluxpflux Posts: 1member
    I must admit that I have a love-hate relation with my iPad pro.
    It’s an impressive piece of technology, fast, reliable and clearly what I want to have with me when I’m mobile.
    BUT: dear AppleInsider, you keep on praising Apple blindly so that I came to the point to wonder if you seriously work with the iPad pro.

    Some examples:
    • What is so impressive about the files-app of Ios11? It’s so incredibly basic, that it almost hurts. Why on earth cannot you at least create folders on your iPad locally? I don’t get that
    • Why on earth cannot I still simply connect external drives? How can you handle large files (which is totally necessary for a lot of professional users) if I have no possibility to i.e. connect a fast an reliable external SSD? Try to work with a large amount of video files on the iPad pro ... good luck.
    • Apple has fantastic pro-applications on Mac. I’m constantly using FinalCut and Logic. I cannot understand why Apple is not able to port at least FCPX to the iPad to show what incredible power this device has. Instead you need to stick around with a totally useless iMovie and Garage Band which won’t satisfy any professional user. I tried LumaFusion and I’m impressed how well you can edit high quality videos on the iPad. Yet this is a roadblock because there’s so far no way to export LumaFusion projects to FCPX. Shame on Apple for not showing the world that the iPad pro could be the perfect mobile video editing device.
    • How can you praise the Apple Smart keyboard? I both own the Smart Keyboard and the keyboard from Logi. The Smart Keyboard is nice and thin, but typing on it feels absolutely clumsy - especially if you compare it to the Logi keyboard. Not even to mention that Apple could have perfectly added keys for media control, search etc ... but well
    All in all the iPad pro feels for me like an unfinished device, brought down by an iOs which cannot decide whether it should better satisfy consumers or professionals. As of now the iPad pro only half deserves the “pro”.

    MplsP[Deleted User]williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 33
    I've had many iPads including the original pro, which proved too big for my liking. But I have to say that my current 10.5 Pro iPad is perhaps my favorite piece of Apple hardware I've ever owned. I use it for work, it's actually becoming more useful as time goes on. Love it.
    steveau
  • Reply 9 of 33
    tpf1952tpf1952 Posts: 55member
    pflux said:
    I must admit that I have a love-hate relation with my iPad pro.
    It’s an impressive piece of technology, fast, reliable and clearly what I want to have with me when I’m mobile.
    BUT: dear AppleInsider, you keep on praising Apple blindly so that I came to the point to wonder if you seriously work with the iPad pro.

    Some examples:
    • What is so impressive about the files-app of Ios11? It’s so incredibly basic, that it almost hurts. Why on earth cannot you at least create folders on your iPad locally? I don’t get that
    • Why on earth cannot I still simply connect external drives? How can you handle large files (which is totally necessary for a lot of professional users) if I have no possibility to i.e. connect a fast an reliable external SSD? Try to work with a large amount of video files on the iPad pro ... good luck.
    • Apple has fantastic pro-applications on Mac. I’m constantly using FinalCut and Logic. I cannot understand why Apple is not able to port at least FCPX to the iPad to show what incredible power this device has. Instead you need to stick around with a totally useless iMovie and Garage Band which won’t satisfy any professional user. I tried LumaFusion and I’m impressed how well you can edit high quality videos on the iPad. Yet this is a roadblock because there’s so far no way to export LumaFusion projects to FCPX. Shame on Apple for not showing the world that the iPad pro could be the perfect mobile video editing device.
    • How can you praise the Apple Smart keyboard? I both own the Smart Keyboard and the keyboard from Logi. The Smart Keyboard is nice and thin, but typing on it feels absolutely clumsy - especially if you compare it to the Logi keyboard. Not even to mention that Apple could have perfectly added keys for media control, search etc ... but well
    All in all the iPad pro feels for me like an unfinished device, brought down by an iOs which cannot decide whether it should better satisfy consumers or professionals. As of now the iPad pro only half deserves the “pro”.

    I totally agree. As tempted as I might be to perform post production work with Affinity Photo for iPad, there’s no way I would take this on. Even if it’s possible to load several raw images onto the iPad, exporting them is a time-killing nightmare. Forget the concept of working on images that might number in the hundreds. The iPad must be able to work with an external storage device to make photo or video post production viable. 
  • Reply 10 of 33
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,428member
    JWSC said:

    I find the Files app disappointing, as it largely mirrors the way we have managed files since the 128K Mac.  Smart folders and ABFR were tentative steps in the right direction but they didn’t take the concept nearly far enough.

    With ‘big data’ coming our way in the form of hundreds of thousands or even millions of files we will manage on our work devices, the concept of hierarchical folders will cease to be a useful paradigm.  The file system as we know it needs to morph into a relational database, with automatic and custom file tagging made standard, which will permit instant search and sort capabilities based upon tags.

    I get that it’s hard for many to wrap their heads around it because they've been working with folder-like directory structures for 30+ years.  But everyone who uses an iPad, Mac or PC should ask themselves how much time they spend managing their hierarchical folders and naming conventions.  Not terribly productive and time not well spent IMO.  We need a file system that’s a lot more dynamic and powerful than what we've got now.

    I am close to clocking up a year with this iPad Pro plus pencil. Awesome combination.  The power, portability and convieihce of using it on public transport compared with a laptop is awesome, and then there is its performance for my use case, natural disaster reporting in the field. Absolutely the most fit for purpose device.

    The biggest irritant/limitation for me is the files app. I am going to disagree with JWSC here. It needs to work with a full hierarchical file directory. Access to directories is a problem in real world use.  This is simply because workplace file systems and servers ARE organised that way.  To be a useful tool, it has to be that way to fit the workplace and access those servers.  Access to network servers is a must, local and remote, just like a laptop. Because I still need to take a laptop with me on trips because I find access on an iPad via the clunky solution of Citrix so irritating.

    So sure, look for a better file paradigm all you like, but if MS got its act together and offered a decent tablet with GPS, LTE etc. I can tell you that many workplaces, with IT departments being the MS shops they are, will shut off iPad as a purchase option immediately. They would use lack of access to the network compared with the MS product as a key reason.

    In the longer term the iPad must be the better portable solution by being better at competing portable products at even the things that other portable products have always been good at, or those products will copy the good things about the iPad and take away its reason to be. Accessing workplace file systems is a key lack of the iPad pro.
    edited July 2018 steveau
  • Reply 11 of 33
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 266member
    entropys said:
    ...  It needs to work with a full hierarchical file directory. Access to directories is a problem in real world use.  This is simply because workplace file systems and servers ARE organised that way. ...
    Don’t disagree with most of what you say.  But what makes you conclude that, from a users point of view, user management within an HFS structure or management within a relational database are mutually exclusive?  Who says tags within a file’s record in a relational database could not include HFS location data?

    As we go into the future with ‘big data’ I’ll ask again, how is the user supposed to handle millions of files down the road?  I’m not buying any argument that implies that HFS is in any way appropriate for handling so much data.
    edited July 2018 williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 33
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,428member
    Those are not mutually exclusive, in fact I agree that Apple, of any company, could be the one to come up with a new paradigm for file management, as I said.  However, that does not negate the need to be currently better at doing what competing products do well too, including HFS management.  

    Network server access could be made available in the files app as easily as cloud server access currently is. that would increase the power of the ipad as a tool quite markedly.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 891member
    pflux said:
    I must admit that I have a love-hate relation with my iPad pro.
    It’s an impressive piece of technology, fast, reliable and clearly what I want to have with me when I’m mobile.
    BUT: dear AppleInsider, you keep on praising Apple blindly so that I came to the point to wonder if you seriously work with the iPad pro.

    Some examples:
    • What is so impressive about the files-app of Ios11? It’s so incredibly basic, that it almost hurts. Why on earth cannot you at least create folders on your iPad locally? I don’t get that
    • Why on earth cannot I still simply connect external drives? How can you handle large files (which is totally necessary for a lot of professional users) if I have no possibility to i.e. connect a fast an reliable external SSD? Try to work with a large amount of video files on the iPad pro ... good luck.
    • Apple has fantastic pro-applications on Mac. I’m constantly using FinalCut and Logic. I cannot understand why Apple is not able to port at least FCPX to the iPad to show what incredible power this device has. Instead you need to stick around with a totally useless iMovie and Garage Band which won’t satisfy any professional user. I tried LumaFusion and I’m impressed how well you can edit high quality videos on the iPad. Yet this is a roadblock because there’s so far no way to export LumaFusion projects to FCPX. Shame on Apple for not showing the world that the iPad pro could be the perfect mobile video editing device.
    • How can you praise the Apple Smart keyboard? I both own the Smart Keyboard and the keyboard from Logi. The Smart Keyboard is nice and thin, but typing on it feels absolutely clumsy - especially if you compare it to the Logi keyboard. Not even to mention that Apple could have perfectly added keys for media control, search etc ... but well
    All in all the iPad pro feels for me like an unfinished device, brought down by an iOs which cannot decide whether it should better satisfy consumers or professionals. As of now the iPad pro only half deserves the “pro”.

    You’re spot on. I purchased a 12” ipad as a laptop replacement and tried for several months to make it work and realized that I often dreaded using my ipad for certain tasks because it was so clumsy. The last straw came when I was taking a flight and going to do some work, only to discover that the emails I had checked that morning were conveniently inaccessible when I was in the air and off wifi. 

    The files app in iOS 11 is a huge improvement, only because ios 10 basically had no files support. I also find it way too rudimentary and basic, making me go through contortions to do things that are simple on a laptop. 

    The Logi keyboard is awesome - it’s the keyboard that Apple should have made. I dont’ understand why more companies haven’t made keyboards that use the side connector, but at least the Logi is a great choice. 

    All in all, the iPad Pro with iOS 11 feels more like a glorified iphone with a few enhancements that let you think about working rather than a slimmed down laptop. Maybe iOS 12 will be better, but as it is, my iPad Pro ended up being a nice ipad, not a true work machine.
    cropr
  • Reply 14 of 33
    As an ipad pro 10” owner, I’m always amazed by claims that the ipad is in any way a replacement for a laptop for any use that is considered pro (in the classic use of the word pro) . I mean sure, if your job is to read email or type unformatted text its a laptop replacement, but those are not “pro” use cases for a computer. 

     Now, dont get me wrong my iPad is awesome for marking up lecture notes and very simple note taking, but for anything remotely “pro” even my old spare 2011 mac book is more usefull. Sure, I can get some tasks done on the ipad, but the UI and file system is so crippled its painfull and frustratingly slow and feels like working with one hand tied behind your back. 

    Also, using some simple websites with an ipad is impossible as the retarded web designers insist on trying to scale the site with javascript which breaks menus, now I know that is not the ipads fault but the end result is I need a laptop to use these sites (unfortunately I have to use these sites and cant change them).

    Now, my wife can kind of get by without a laptop, she only occasionally needs to use my laptop, like for banking. There is an app but the app does not offer some of the account features, and the web site does not work properly on ipad (i guess they figured they have an app). Having said that, my wife only requires the ipad to run kindle, netflix and safari, so hardly a “pro” use case, although she works as  a professional.

    So, in my experience as a “pro” user the ipad is a nice way to carry lecture notes, mark up pdfs, but is in no conceivable way a replacement for a computer pro. And no, while a lawyer is indeed a professional, that job does not fall into the category of “pro” in the computer sense of “pro” user, although these days I guess the word is loosing its original meaning in this space too. 

    I actually think microsoft is getting closer to making something usefull with their surface line, its not there yet, but if apple but there spin on concept, the idea of carrying an iPad Pro and docking it as the screen / e tra SSD drive to my mac book pro, would indeed be amazing!  
    edited July 2018 [Deleted User]
  • Reply 15 of 33
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,860member
    I echo the sentiments about the Files app being better than nothing but still far too basic. It's like typing with chopsticks, you can usually get the task done but it's rather cumbersome to do simple folder related tasks like moving or copying files between folders. A split screen format that allows multiple folders to be viewed simultaneously would be an improvement. However, I'm even reluctant for Apple to attempt incremental tweaks to the existing Files app. The entire tree/folder/file model just doesn't work well in a touch centric user interaction model. The Yoink app may provide some hints about where some of the folder/file management needs to go, but let's see what Apple's UX wizards can come up with. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 33
    I could never go back to a screen smaller than 12.9" for the iPad Pro. If anything, I think they could go even larger in the future with the bezel reduction + lighter weights. 
  • Reply 17 of 33
    If the 2018 +/-12.9" iPad Pro has just about no bezel and Face ID like my iPhone X, I'm sold
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 18 of 33
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    People can use things like Documents by Readdle if they want some place to store things (it's free) and it works pretty well with files too.

  • Reply 19 of 33
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,158member
    I used to have an iMac, MacBookPro, iPad, iPhone, and an ATV... ~$5K

    I currently have a 2017 MacBook, iPad mini 2, and SE, an Apple Watch  (w/Apple charging pad and AirPods) and the ATV.... ~$2,500

    Seriously, thinking of going all in with iOS. iPadPro 10" the new Se, new watch, next gen. ATV...$1,900

    Sell all the MacOS stuff and my old iOS stuff and I may get it all for under a $1,000. Yippeee!

    Best


  • Reply 20 of 33
    JWSC said:
    entropys said:
    ...  It needs to work with a full hierarchical file directory. Access to directories is a problem in real world use.  This is simply because workplace file systems and servers ARE organised that way. ...
    Don’t disagree with most of what you say.  But what makes you conclude that, from a users point of view, user management within an HFS structure or management within a relational database are mutually exclusive?  Who says tags within a file’s record in a relational database could not include HFS location data?

    As we go into the future with ‘big data’ I’ll ask again, how is the user supposed to handle millions of files down the road?  I’m not buying any argument that implies that HFS is in any way appropriate for handling so much data.
    What do YOU think “big data” means? Lol.
    I’ve only ever heard that term in reference to how companies like IBM, Google, etc. are using machine learning to look through enormous data sets for decision making, such as autonomous driving choices, made from untold amounts of simoultaneous sensor data & the like.
    All this sensor data obviously wouldn’t be stored in user folders to be casually perused as you’re looking through your downloads.
    I haven’t heard any mention of this new paradigm shift, where we are going to move from the several important folders we’ve had for the last 30+ years (my documents, my downloads, etc.) each with maybe a few hundred files, suddenly to thousands of folders w/ millions of files.
    Wtf are you talking about?? 
    Please describe to me the “millions” of files I’m going going to need to swiftly individually access via a file manager on my iOS device in the near future.
    radarthekat[Deleted User]dewme
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