Software UX

For those that are unfamiliar with our other articles, we reviewed iOS 9 at its release back in September. If you aren’t familiar with what has changed in the move from iOS 8 to iOS 9 I highly recommend reading it as for the most part I have nothing new to say in the context of what was covered in that review. Instead of treading old ground, it’s worth discussing the specific aspects of the user experience that are unique to the iPad Pro.

The first, and perhaps most obvious change is the display size and resolution. While the aspect ratio is the same as the iPad Air, the significantly increased display size and resolution also affects applications. For the most part I haven’t noticed any issues here. However, in some cases there are still applications that haven’t been properly redesigned for the larger display, so they end up simply being purely upscaled versions of applications designed to fit 7.9 and 9.7 inch displays. This tends to look fairly ugly in my opinion but it does work without issue when dealing with backwards compatibility.

In cases where applications are updated to fit the iPad Pro, designs are generally well-executed and take advantage of the additional screen real estate. It’s probably not a surprise to know that most applications fall under this category, but it’s worth mentioning at any rate.

The larger display size also greatly enhances the utility of split-screen multitasking on the iPad Pro, as it’s generally quite useful to be able to run two almost iPad Air-sized apps simultaneously on the iPad Pro. As discussed in the Apple Pencil section of this review, being able to read a PDF and take notes/do problem sets based upon a document opened in Safari is incredibly useful and helps with productivity. There are other applications here to be sure, but I think an education setting was where I found the most value. However, it's worth mentioning that the multitasking UI feels like it isn't really designed for a future where hundreds of applications will occupy the slide-out multitasking menu.

For the most part, iOS is smooth and performant on the iPad Pro. However, there are a few notable cases where I did notice frame drops. For whatever reason, this seems to be basically limited to the Notes application. It seems that as time has gone on it has become increasingly difficult for anyone shipping a mobile OS to make everything smooth all the time, likely a product of their increasing complexity and larger code base.

Overall, I don't have as much to say here. When the only two competing tablet operating systems worth discussing in comparison to iOS are either neglected (Android) or heavily reliant upon legacy applications that really need a mouse and keyboard to be used properly (Windows), iOS stands alone as basically the only touchscreen OS worth using. I don't think the solution to the problem of the keyboard with the iPad Pro means that it needs a touchpad, nor should using both keyboard and touch simultaneously in the deployed mode be the dominant method of interaction. Trying to do the former is basically just emulating a really terrible laptop, while the latter makes for poor ergonomics almost universally.

While it may be appealing to make a tablet that is also a laptop due to the nature of legacy Windows applications, trying to make such a convergence device is a great way to make either a compromised laptop or a compromised tablet. The other half of the functionality is almost never going to be used in practice if my experiences with Surface Pro are anything to go by. Android showed arguably even more promise than iOS as a tablet OS due to its more traditional computer than appliance OS structure, for whatever reason the promise that came with the structure of Android didn't pan out in execution.

As a result, the iPad line stands alone in software, for better or for worse.

Smart Keyboard Camera, Misc.
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  • Alecgold - Sunday, March 13, 2016 - link

    Funny you know so well what Apple should(n't) do.
    Did you look at the tear-down from iFixit on the Pencil? It has some nice, even wonderful, technology inside. It's not a "dumb" pencil that costs 50-65 bucks on a Wacom board and only holds a copper coil. (I know, yes, I'm exaggerating.)

    I bought a power- adapter and it came with 4 different wall-plug-prong-thing-adapters. I just needed one, lots of companies do ship region/country specific these days. Did I pay extra for them? No. Did I pay for them? You bet. Even if it was just 15ct. But it's not just the 15ct, it's also the waste that was generated.
    Could Apple include everything to the iPad Pro, complete with kitchen sink? Yes. Would I appreciate it? Most likely not, don’t you think? I think most people wouldn’t appreciate it, they already have a kitchen sink.

    As I wrote before, it is expensive. But it's not like it is a Louis Vuiton bag, Bugatti Veyron or golden Mont Blanc pen. And even if it is in the same category for you, why don't you buy an Android or Windows tablet?
    If you don't want the iPad Pro, don't buy it. If you can't buy it, I'm sorry for that, but it's not something that is going to be solved by grumbling on Anandtech.

    One other thing. Am I a professional? Well, according to the Oxford dictionary:
    1 Relating to or belonging to a profession: young professional people
    1.1 Worthy of or appropriate to a professional person; competent, skilful, or assured:
    - his professional expertise
    - their music is both memorable and professional
    2 Engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur

    I pretty sure both 1.1 and 2 apply to me, so I guess I’m a professional.
    Being a professional I do have another life and while my professional life might keep me busy burning the midnight oil every now and then, I prefer to do so in a well lit environment.
    And at a desk or at the diner table or… It’s much better for your posture to sit upright and not slouch about. Try it!
    If I need to read large amounts of text, I snap the keyboard off and sit relaxed with just the tablet.
    Reply
  • ams0129 - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    I do not think it is fair to compare and iPad pro with a Surface. The Surface has a full operating system while the iPad pro does not. To me a true iPad pro would pack a core processor and OSX. However, this would create a problem for Apple as it would take away sales from the MacBook Air line. Reply
  • darwiniandude - Monday, February 29, 2016 - link

    iPad already far outsells Mac line. And iPhone even more so. There are a billion active iOS devices in use. OS X and iOS share the same kernel and much of the same API's and frameworks. Except one is designed for touch, and the other for classic computing duties. This "full operating system" phrase I hear thrown about makes me laugh because Windows is still a pain to maintain and has no proper audio support, and requires constant hand holding. A secure, reliable, sandboxed Unox application platform (iOS) is far more productive for me. Reply
  • Delton Esteves - Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - link

    That's a joke, right? Reply
  • s.yu - Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - link

    Very informative review as usual! The performance of the A9X was certainly lower than what the initial hype indicated. Other aspects can basically be summed up by reading a dozen other not-so-informative reviews;)
    One thing is that AdobeRGB was not tested for, but from the looks of it the screen certainly doesn't cover it either, another aspect that's not as "pro" as Apple made it seem. That said, SP4 as well as MSB are too "consumer" too, in terms of color coverage.
    Reply
  • SL1990 - Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - link

    Anyone notice while charging Ipad Pro back metal area can feel the vibration. It's that normal?? Reply
  • Constructor - Friday, March 11, 2016 - link

    Yes, pretty much, for any devices which have a metal case and no grounding lead on the mains power plug.

    It depends on the circumstances, but basically it has to do with some very small residual capacitive coupling of the supply AC through the charger. Depending on your electrical installation it may go away when you just plug the charger in the other way.

    But it's not dangerous (there is no actual connection to the power grid), just a minor inconvenience. It's not Apple-specific, though.
    Reply
  • ifrpilot - Friday, April 29, 2016 - link

    Funny comments here. If you like iOS and iPad, buy one. If you like Android or a Windows device, buy one of those. As for people making comments about less professional software for iOS - that's just crap. Just the medical industry alone has hundreds of pro apps, let alone aviation, product management, delivery, management services and more. If someone is so anti Apple, why are you wasting your time reading this article, go read about someone else's hardware. Reply

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