For Apple iPad Pro 12.9, new chip is a step forward amidst calming familiarity
The big upgrade for the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 is the new M2 chip, alongside new features for the Pencil and at best is an incremental step forward
There is no other way of putting it. Apple’s H2 2022 has been rushed. New iPhones, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the most diverse Apple Watch portfolio till date, newer generation of the AirPods Pro and even a generation upgrade for Apple TV 4K. The year isn’t over yet, and we can perhaps expect some more developments on the hardware front. Nevertheless, the matters at hand involve the new iPads.
The latest iPad line-up saw the additions of the 10th generation iPad as well as the new iPad Pro models (that’s 11-inch and 12.9-inch). If you feel that the iPad range has become a bit too complex, you would perhaps be hitting the proverbial nail on the head. In fact, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (now in the sixth generation) isn’t a whole lot different from the one it succeeds. So much so, we can count the big changes on one hand.
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There’s the new M2 processor, support for the Wi-Fi 6E standard across all variants, the Hover feature for the Apple Pencil and ProRes format video recording. If you already have a fifth generation iPad Pro 12.9 working well enough (it most likely would be), there should be no rush to upgrade with immediacy. The other side of that coin – the iPad Pro, particularly in the 12.9-inch size, remains by far the best tablet your money can buy.
That is also because while there is a bit more power than before (let us not underestimate the Apple M1 processor; it is no slouch), the core of the experience remains the same – the mini-LED display, similar storage and memory combinations, the same Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio compatibility as well as the exclusive use of Face ID for user authentication.
Speaking of the Magic Keyboard for a moment – the lack of a function key row, ala the MacBooks and the iMacs, is a bit bothersome. It becomes a jarring switch from the physical keys to swipe down on the Control Center to adjust the brightness, and back.
Absolutely no changes visually. It is the exact same chassis, so much so that the dimensions are on-the-dot consistent. Except that the new iPad is one gram lighter. One gram. The continued support for the keyboard accessories is one of the reasons why the design hasn’t seen any changes. Good thing, for those who’d inevitably upgrade. Also, we’ve grown to like the design symmetry between the iPad Pro, the iPhone 14 series and even the latest generation MacBook Air.
Samsung Galaxy smartphone (particularly the erstwhile Galaxy Note series) users would justifiably be sitting in a corner, grinning. This is what they’d classify as “been there, done that”. Apple is finally adding the Hover feature for the Pencil. Albeit only for the latest generation of the iPad Pro, the ability to preview content on the screen will have its moments. Highlighting text, for instance, before you set about editing or sharing it.
That said, Hover still doesn’t do everything you’d expect it to do. Ideally, hover and stay over items on the screen should be able to replicate how long presses presently work on an iPhone. Preview web pages or emails. Quick access app-specific features from home screen icon. Preview photo to share. Just some examples. Yet, Hover doesn’t do any of this. For now. Samsung has done all this and a lot more with the S Pen stylus over the years. Apple will have to, gradually.
Under the hood sits a pretty important upgrade, though typifying Apple’s recent leaning towards understated revisions of performance benchmarks. The Apple M2 chip is definitely more powerful than the already very powerful M1 – the processor is up to 15 percent faster while the additional two graphic cores bump the graphics capabilities by as much as 35 percent. It remains imperative to repeatedly emphasize the power of the M1 itself, which gave Intel and AMD many sleepless nights in the long-drawn search for an equalizer.
Yet, it may be difficult (at least initially) to perceive a significant performance jump when you’d start off with the new Apple iPad Pro 12.9. Think of this as the M2 adding more horsepower at the top-end of the band, which you’d probably best utilize with extreme multi-tasking or the “pro” use cases such as multi-stream video editing.
For the rest, there aren’t any noticeable differences in battery stats either. The new Apple iPad Pro 12.9 lasts around the same as last year’s M1 powered sibling. Which in itself is significantly more than any Android tablet can manage. A more powerful processor doesn’t take away any battery stamina, or the bragging rights.
There are two ways of approaching the potential intersection of new Apple iPad Pro 12.9 and your credit cards. If you already have the M1 powered generation, there really isn’t any need to rush to the nearest store – it makes sense to wait for a while, and let some interesting deals filter through in the due course of time.
But, if you’re still rocking an older iPad Pro 12.9 or this will be your first iPad Pro device, it makes absolute sense to buy the absolute latest and the greatest there is – the sixth generation Apple iPad Pro 12.9. Unlike a phone where a previous generation may do the job, a computing device (for the sake of longevity, performance, and long-term compatibility) should ideally be the present generation.
In the case of the Apple iPad Pro 12.9, now in its sixth generation, think of this as a step forward in some respects but continuity for the rest.
Which also means, our wish-list for the 2023 update for the iPad Pro 12.9 includes a landscape orientation positioning for the FaceTime camera (where it sits right now, continues to be a bit odd for video calls), a new OLED display (those would look absolutely gorgeous, wouldn’t they?) and Touch ID fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button (sometimes, low ambient light can be frustrating). Could Apple bring the MacBook’s MagSafe to the iPad Pro? How about some colours too?
Unlike the iPad Pro 11 which does have the argument of the latest generation (and significantly more mature) iPad Air to contend with, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 doesn’t have any of those troubles. It is pretty straightforward, as long as you have the budget for it. Prices start ₹1,12,900 which isn’t entirely dissimilar from the generation it succeeds.