I Worked From the New iPad Pro For a Day and Didn’t Hate it

I Worked From the New iPad Pro For a Day and Didn’t Hate it

Apple last week quietly dropped a new top-tier iPad, the sixth-generation iPad Pro, and in my review of the unit, I couldn’t get past the fact this thing was so overly powerful and packed with features you’d expect from a laptop. So, I wanted to put it to the test: can the iPad Pro replace a laptop for work purposes?

The short answer: yes and no.

Using the iPad Pro as a work laptop

For complete transparency, this entire article was written on the iPad Pro. The only thing I couldn’t do was upload images to the CMS we use for publishing. I downloaded the Microsoft Word app (my choice of writing platform, a hill I’m always willing to die on), as well as a Chrome browser, the Twitter app, Slack app and there wasn’t much else I needed to perform my day-to-day tasks. I used the Notes app to easily link to stuff I had on my MacBook, but AirDrop also helped. All of this, however, was the usual effort you have to go to when setting up a new phone/laptop/tablet, logging into things, resetting passwords, getting search history to remember you, etc.

I need to shout out here that via the Files app, you can plug in an external storage device and use it much like you would via Finder on a Mac. Mind-blowing, I don’t remember knowing this (maybe I did?).

Magic Keyboard

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Magic Keyboard changing my mind about the use of an iPad for work. That was with the iPad Air and the majority of my complaints were about the size of the keyboard/display and the single-screen app thing. Both of those concerns are fixed in this scenario and it was genuinely a pleasant experience (once I got the teething issues out of the way) typing on the iPad Pro.

The Magic Keyboard is solid, allowing the iPad Pro to sit on my lap while I work. The screen size (12.9-inches) also is essentially the same size as my 14-inch MacBook, so everything is big enough, I’m not squinting, and to be honest, the iPad liquid retina XDR display is just stunning.

ipad pro work
Makeup stains simply from touching the Magic Keyboard. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Powerful specs

The iPad Pro packs the same M2 chip that debuted in MacBooks earlier this year. We had a lot of good things to say about the M2 MacBook Air, and similar things in our review of the M2 MacBook Pro. In the iPad Pro, this means the device can more than handle my 82 tabs (exaggeration) that I absolutely need for work. I said it in the review but it’s worth saying again – you wouldn’t get the iPad Pro unless you had a need for it. If I’m being honest, my needs for work are well below what the iPad Pro is capable of. I’m definitely not maximising what the tablet can do.

The iPad Pro, when paired with a Magic Keyboard, gives us the answer to: Why hasn’t Apple made a touchscreen MacBook? Because that’s basically what this thing becomes.

Unfortunately, you’re paying for it. To get the experience I had, you’re looking at a total of $4,197 (12.9-inch 1TB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil). The MacBook Pro I usually use for work is $3,749 (14-inch, M1 chip, 16GB memory and 1TB storage). Pricing is as per the Apple Store.

Software is where it’s at

A lot of the reason I now consider the 2022 iPad Pro to be Apple’s shot at a laptop replacement comes down to software. iPadOS 16 brought with it a lot of brilliant capabilities such as for collaboration and usability, but partnering these with the M2 chip gives you an elevated experience.

The biggest feature (for me, at least) is Stage Manager. This makes the iPad more like a Mac. You have a task bar, the ability to alt+tab, see minimised windows/apps on the side and spread the app you’re in to whatever size you need. But, it’s still a tablet and I can still treat it like one.

ipad pro work
Stage Manager. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

I could go on and on about the best features of iPadOS 16, but it’s clear Apple is nailing the tablet space and making it something you can use instead of a laptop.

In Mail, you can now undo send, schedule send and set up a time to be reminded of an email. Basically, the Apple Mail app is now more on-par with Gmail.

There’s also a tonne of collaboration features, if working together is your thing.

My thoughts on the iPad Pro as a work machine

After spending the day using the sixth-generation iPad Pro as I would my MacBook, I have to say the only thing I miss is Finder. Having documents/images stored on the desktop is something I have become so used to on a daily basis that with the iPad Pro, I’m having to find workarounds or compromises for things that I consider make me more efficient.

If I was to commit to the iPad Pro as my main work machine, I’m sure in a week I’d tell you everything was fine and I have new ways of doing things.

The screen is large enough that I can split the screen, but using Stage Manager, you’ve got the ability to resize and overlap apps – like you would on a MacBook. You can also hook up an external display, with resolutions up to 6K. And to reiterate, the addition of the Magic Keyboard is what makes it usable as a laptop.

My fake nails took some time to register the small spaces between the keys, but autocorrect did go some way to fixing that. The keyboard behaves exactly the same as a MacBook keyboard (click, drag, alt-tab, etc) and the addition of the Apple Pencil also adds to this overall ‘productivity workhorse’ Apple is flogging this tablet as.

You can definitely use the 2022 iPad Pro instead of a laptop, the only thing you’re missing out on is access to ports. But hey, Apple is notorious for not having enough ports already.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.