The new 2020 iPad Pro brings in a lot of exciting features such as the mouse and keyboard compatibility. This makes the tablet a laptop competitor, but it is not there yet.
Apple targeted the ultraportable laptop segment when it released the iPad Pro. The iPadOS has a wide variety of apps to choose from, which is comparable to most laptop software, if not better.
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The most exciting accessory that puts every iPad keyboard to shame is the upcoming Smart Magic Keyboard. This keyboard has a scissor-switch mechanism, which is also found on the new Apple MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. These new switches give a tactile feel and are great for travel.
Despite all the bells and whistles introduced alongside the new iPad Pro, it still not a huge threat to ultrabooks in the market. Here are four major reasons why.
1. Lackluster browsing experience
For someone who uses Google Chrome or any browser for work-related tasks, the browsing experience on the iPad is lackluster. The browser pretty much looks like a phone app that is stretched to fit a larger screen.
The amount of data on the screen is limited, unlike laptop browsers that can show multiple images or data at once.
The iPad Pro takes another hit for Chrome users because it has no bookmarks toolbar. Google Chrome syncs multiple devices for a seamless experience. This allows bookmarks to be available on several devices, which saves a lot of time while working.
Handling .doc files and PDF files is another con for the iPad. Laptop browsers handle Google Docs on a separate tab. Once a .doc file is opened on the iPad, it opens the Google Docs app separately. PDF opens whatever PDF app is available as well.
The browser is fine for single tasks, but it takes too many steps to get things done on the iPad Pro.
2. Limited ports
The MacBook Air has limited ports. It only has a headphone jack and two USB-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3. The new iPad Pro only has a single USB-C port with no support for Thunderbolt 3.
Even with the addition of the Magic Keyboard’s USB-C port, it still cannot compete with most of the laptops available in the market. The Magic Keyboard’s USB-C can only be used as a pass-through for charging. This leaves the iPad with a single port for expansion.
Sure, there are USB hubs available in the market, but that is another added cost for the user.
3. Small storage compared to other laptops
Compared to the new MacBook Air, the iPad Pro only offers 128GB of storage. That is not enough by today’s standards. Even the MacBook Air ditched that storage option for the larger 256GB base storage.
To be fair, the iPad Pro is on a different class and it is still considered a tablet. Apple’s target market for the iPad Pro mostly uses cloud storage.
4. Very expensive laptop alternative
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro retails for US$999 [AU$1,587], which is not bad considering the features, software, and the build quality Apple is known for. Add the smart Magic Keyboard worth $350 and the price skyrockets to $1,350.
Here is a breakdown for a fully accessorized iPad Pro:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro – $999
- Smart Magic Keyboard – $350
- Apple Pencil – $130
This basic setup sits at $1,480 in total. To double the storage, that is an extra $100. If mobile data is important, then the 5G version is $250 more.
In comparison, the new MacBook Air with Intel Core i3 and 256GB of storage starts at $999. The base model 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,300. On the Windows side, the Dell XPS 13 with an Intel i7 processor and 4k display retails for $1,100.
Given that the iPad Pro has a different target market and is more inclined to people on the go and artists who prefer working on a tablet, the price hike is ridiculous.
The idea of upscaling the iPad Pro into a laptop competitor is great, and Apple’s initiative is worth commending. However, the apps are half-baked to be a full-fledged laptop alternative.
Basic functions such as web browsing are limited while multitasking is not yet comparable to laptops. Both of which are essential for a daily device.
Apple developers are already working on smoother user experience and that’s for sure. The question is, when will it roll out?
Until these quirks are ironed out, the iPad Pro is still a step away from becoming a laptop killer.
Images courtesy of Apple