iPad Pro 10.5 Review

Preface

If you are looking for an editor’s review of the iPad Pro 10.5 or are a big Apple fan, you may wish to stop reading here. However, if you are looking for an honest review of the iPad Pro 10.5 by an early adopter, then read on.

Introduction

Like many others out there, I have been holding out for an updated iPad Mini to compliment my Retina MacBook Pro.

A lightweight tablet that I could use as an ebook reader, consume multimedia, surf the web, and perform lightweight tasks such as composing emails, blog posts, and documents while laying/sitting on my bed or cafe – the situations where a laptop would be too big and or inconvenient.

After waiting 6+ months and still no sign of an updated iPad Mini is on the way, I decided to settle for an iPad Pro 10.5.

iPad Pro as a Laptop Replacement

Obviously, I did not buy the iPad Pro with the intention of using it to replace my Retina MacBook Pro (or any other laptop for that matter). But as it is a hotly discussed topic, I thought I would shed some light on this discussion from firsthand experience.

The iPad Pro cannot replace a proper laptop. Period. (well not anytime soon anyways, maybe in another 2 years time depending on how iOS evolves).

I believe the confusion started with Apple’s strategic marketing (which have worked miraculously for them by the way).

Due to the lacklustre of innovations and sales of the iPad lineup, Apple needed a way to meet the ever increasing revenue targets the stock market has expected of them.

So, how does one increase revenue? You either sell more products/services or you increase the price of your products/services.

In order for a price increase, there needs to be a valid justification for it. The usual suspects are increased costs or innovations.

What happens when neither of the above justifications can be used?

You get creative of course! No really! You get creative.

One of these creative ways is to pivot/market the product to another demography.

All in all, it’s another way for Apple to increase the price of its iPads. Cos hey, it’s now in the price range of laptops and not tablets.

Hopefully, this will put an end to the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement debate.

Box Contents

It feels like with every release. Apple is including fewer accessories with their products.

A prime example is starting with the late 2016 MacBook Pro, the power extension cord is no longer included and is a separate purchase.

It would have been nice if Apple included a cleaning cloth, given that the iPad Pro is all about the screen. But all you get along with the iPad Pro is a mains to USB-A charger, USB-A to lightning cable, and the usual documentation. (and a SIM slot pin for the LTE model).

It should be noted that the USB-A charger Apple included with the new iPad Pro does not support fast-charging. To use fast charging, you will need to buy a separate USB-C charger (and a USB-C to lightning cable if you do not already own one).

Since all of the new MacBook lineups already use USB-C. There is no reason to still include the old USB-A charger and cable with the new iPad Pro – just another Apple tactic to increase its revenue.

Maybe Apple might screw us, early adopters, over again. Just like they did to us with the late 2016 MacBook Pro. Releasing an updated MacBook Pro with significantly better internals less than 6 months in, and all while dropping the price.

I can already envision Apple bundling the USB-C charger and cable with new iPad Pros within the next 3 months. Nice way to thank your early adopters Apple!

Design and Build

There is not much to say about the design and build of the iPad Pro 10.5. Apart from the slightly bigger screen and the device itself being a tiny bit bigger than its predecessor – the iPad Pro 9.7. Everything else has remained more or less the same.

Display

Unless you are planning to draw a lot with the Apple Pencil. The improvement in the display would be barely noticeable.

Some may argue about the decreased reflection of the screen. But this can easily be resolved by buying a cheap screen protector. And I would imagine most will likely have a screen protector of sorts on their iPad Pro anyways.

Performance

Besides being bulky and heavy AF, the other reason why I disliked the original iPad and stayed away from the iPad for so long is its slow performance.

Over the years the speed of iPads has increased significantly. But like what happened to the desktop x86 processors, the stage of exponential growth has been reached. Any further performance improvements will not be noticed by the user.

Sure. An existing app may load significantly faster than a 3 or 4-year-old iPad. But compared to the previous generation the difference is minimal.

So despite benchmarks showing the Apple A10X chip had the performance to rival a laptop/desktop x86 processor. The actual user experienced performance gain is minimal.

Unless you use extremely resource intensive apps.

Conclusion

Do not get me wrong. The iPad Pro 10.5 is undeniably the best iPad Apple has made to-date and is currently the best iPad/tablet money could buy. But it is not a laptop replacement.

If you are on the market for a new tablet and Android is not your cup of tea, then the iPad is really the only option available.

I cannot recommend the other iPad models due to their crippled chips. The new iPad (2017) has a near 2-year-old Apple A9 chip inside and the iPad Mini has an even older A8 chip.

It is a real shame Apple has resorted to such tactics to force its buyers to fork out significantly more to get an up-to-date iPad. I guess it is a means to make up for the slower cycle users update their iPads – 3 to 5-years versus 1 or 2-years for an iPhone.

At the time of writing this review, there is a significant lack of third party case/keyboard combo that is compatible with the 10.5″ iPad Pro. The ones that are compatible are in the high end of the price range and come with compromises.

Product Photos

Figure 1. Semi-open Box.
Figure 2. iPad Pro 10.5 sitting in box.
Figure 3. All contents of box.