Apple last week quietly dropped two new iPads: the 10th-generation iPad and a sixth-generation iPad Pro. I’ve spent a few days with both of them and I’m convinced the Pro is made to replace your laptop.
This has to do with a combination of the nearly 13-inch screen size, the addition of a Magic Keyboard, use of the Apple Pencil and the super capable iPadOS 16. It’s price is also more aligned with a laptop than a tablet.
Sixth-generation iPad Pro
The sixth-generation iPad Pro, probably easier to call it the 2022 iPad Pro, offers nothing overly new to tablet enthusiasts. It features the same flat edge design that the iPad Pro has been sporting since 2018 and it keeps the front-facing camera located on the top edge of the tablet.
What’s new is the guts – it’s been updated with the M2 chip that debuted earlier this year in the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air, keeping the iPad Pro as powerful as the company’s flagship laptops.
The 12.9-inch screen means the device is huge. It measures 280.6 mm x 214.9 mm x 6.4 mm and the Wi-Fi model weighs 682 grams, 684 grams for the Wi-Fi + Cellular device.
As we just noted, 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.
The Apple M1 chip was leaps and bounds ahead of what other professional-grade laptop/tablet chips were capable of when it was first revealed in 2020, and the M2 takes that a step further.
Usually, we don’t bother benchmarking tablets – it’s something reserved for laptops – but I’m convinced the iPad Pro could replace your laptop, and wanted to be proven wrong. (Spoiler: I wasn’t).
Also usually, benchmarking is done via Cinebench, butttt the whole iPad thing means we had to do it through Geekbench. So just keep that in mind.
- Geekbench 5.4.5 single-core score: 1891
- Geekbench 5.4.5 multi-core score: 8470
For some comparison, the 2022 M2 MacBook Pro got:
- Geekbench 5.4.5 single-core score: 1936
- Geekbench 5.4.5 multi-core score: 8820.
This is more than enough (plenty, almost too much) to run everything you want.
But you can also use the tablet as a movie shooting and editing studio, a place for drawing and, yet again, a day-to-day work machine (thanks to Stage Manager, which gives you the ability to resize and overlap apps – as you would on a MacBook).
We also put the sixth-generation iPad Pro through the Chrome tab test. But, because the iPad is smart, it doesn’t keep playing the vid from one tab on YouTube when you’re in another one. I had a combination of Gizmodo Australia articles, YouTube Tabs, Apple Store spec pages, the CMS we use to publish articles (42 tabs in total) and Rick and Morty was still playing in a little square, and only then were things the tiniest bit laggy.
On every device we can (laptop, phone), we do the Avengers: Endgame test. That is, we stream the three-hour movie from Disney+ on the highest quality, brightness all the way up and volume at max. We see how much this drains the battery.
After 1.5 hours, the iPad dropped to 88 per cent and at the end, 68 per cent. I then used the iPad Pro to write this article, fiddled with a tonne of things, drew in Procreate, took some photos and I was down to 34 per cent when I put it on my coffee table before dinner. Apple says “all-day battery life” and they’re right.
The display is stunning. The 12.9-inch liquid retina XDR display results in gorgeous graphics that are rich and true to life. The sixth-gen iPad Pro offers 1,000 nits of brightness (1,600 peak), ProMotion 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and the whole screen is powered by over 10,000 Mini-LEDs. If you opt for the smaller, 11-inch tablet, you’ll get a good display, just not as good. 600 nits of brightness, with a liquid retina display.
Video stream is so crisp and clear – I don’t usually sit down to watch Avengers: Endgame when I perform the battery test, but had to, the graphics were gorgeous. The display and responsiveness of the whole thing is…..yep, another compliment for the display, I’m so sorry.
Working outside, the display was clear. Unfortunately trying to photograph this didn’t look true to life.
I will dive into using the 2022 iPad Pro as a work machine later on, so stay tuned for that deep dive, but for now, it’s clear from the pure power of this thing that it’s what Apple is hoping for.
Worth touching on here is the sound quality. The sixth-gen iPad Pro has support for Dolby Atmos and there’s no vibration hum that happens when the tablet is resting on a table and you have four-to-six people talking during a meeting. The sound from Disney+ when watching Endgame was also clear, crisp and didn’t need to be all the way up (it did for the test, however).
While you’re not exactly going to be running around with this thing as a photo-taking machine, video calls is where I saw the sheer quality of the Pro’s camera shine. The selfie cam is a 12MP ultrawide camera with a 122-degree field of view. Centre Stage tracks you while you’re in a video call, which although I’m still not used to this, is a great feature for making sure you’re in the frame. The true-depth camera also allows for Face ID.
On the back, you’ll find a 12MP wide camera and 10MP ultrawide. Both of these cameras are fine – you could easily grab footage that would look good enough, if not great, if your iPhone is out of reach.
The cameras actually boast LiDAR Scanner, touted as helping to capture the perfect photo or video, or even set up a multi-camera filmmaking rig (think depth-sensing). This isn’t something I could sufficiently test, but can only imagine the camera quality, mixed with the software smarts and Apple’s M2 would actually produce this quite well.
What I can sufficiently test is a snap taken in severe low light from the front camera.
The clarity from the camera viewfinder is worth a shoutout, too, as it seems better than real life.
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 (Stage Manager), but partnering these with the M2 chip gives you an elevated experience.
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.
The sixth-generation iPad Pro is very powerful. It’s also not a tablet I’d recommend unless you’re going to push the M2 chip to the extreme – video editing, design, working. It’s not a tablet to sit there and play Candy Crush on and scroll Instagram. For that, I’d send you to the 10th-generation iPad (which, mind you, is still a more than good enough tablet).
It’s a heavy bit of gear, especially when connected to the Magic Keyboard, but so is a MacBook Pro. I’m struggling to say something bad about the 2022 iPad Pro because everything would be just so nitpicky. My only issue is the price and the fact this thing is just so laptoppy, almost for no reason. It’s a very, very powerful machine.
Apple is very smart (duh). They’ve created four different versions of the same thing and have somehow made it so every one of them offers something completely different to every person in the market for a tablet. The 2022 iPad Pro is for pro users, especially due to how much you’re going to hand over for this bad boy.
Where to buy the 2022 iPad Pro
The sixth-generation iPad Pro will be available in Australia from Wednesday, October 26. Pricing via the Apple website is:
11-inch iPad Pro:
- 128GB (Wi-Fi) $1,399, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $1,649
- 256GB (Wi-Fi) $1,579, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $1,829
- 512GB (Wi-Fi) $1,929, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $2,179
- 1TB (Wi-Fi) $2,629, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $2,879
- 2TB (Wi-Fi) $3,329, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $3,579
12.9-inch iPad Pro:
- 128GB (Wi-Fi) $1,899, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $2,149
- 256GB (Wi-Fi) $2,079, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $2,329
- 512GB (Wi-Fi) $2,429, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $2,679
- 1TB (Wi-Fi) $3,129, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $3,399
- 2TB (Wi-Fi) $3,829, (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $4,099
- To fit 11-inch iPad Pro $489
- To fit 12.9-inch iPad Pro $579
- Second-generation $219
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). For a bit of comparison, the 512GB M2 MacBook Air will set you back $2,349 and the 512GB M2 MacBook Pro (13-inch) will cost $2,299. Worth noting, I didn’t need the cellular version and it’s likely you won’t either.
This article has been updated since it was first published.
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