The most extreme iPad Pro is the thinnest

Apple continues to raise the bar with the iPad 14 years after creating this new category within the world of personal computing.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 04:29
3 Reads
The most extreme iPad Pro is the thinnest

Apple continues to raise the bar with the iPad 14 years after creating this new category within the world of personal computing. Steve Jobs thought back in the day that the jump from desktops and laptops to tablets would usher in a new era that he called Post PC, but that paradigm shift has never been complete. Computers are still very much alive, so for many years Apple's purpose has been to try to put the iPad on par with them and even surpass them. The new iPad Pro presented last week is his masterpiece.

Exceptional in everything, the new professional tablet contains a compendium of technology condensed in a highly stylized design, the thinnest device in the company's history. The 13-inch iPad Pro is only 5.1 millimeters thick while the 11-inch is 5.3 millimeters—a little more space was needed for the battery. The first weighs half a kilo less than its predecessor (and it shows). There are many things that have contributed to that design.

To begin with, the first thing that catches your attention: its screen, dubbed Ultra Retina XDR. For the first time, an iPad has an OLED screen, a system in which each light pixel turns on and off individually, which means that the black areas are completely off pixels and, therefore, perfect. These types of screens are very thin, and tend to avoid high brightness because they are made of organic material that can deteriorate, but the iPad Pro's is not a normal one. In reality, they are two overlapping.

The system is called Tandem OLED and combines the light from both to obtain a brightness well above what this technology allows. Thus it can reach a peak value of 1,600 nits and 1,000 nits at full screen. The result is, simply, the best screen we can have on a portable device, be it a computer or tablet. Watching any quality video is a magnificent experience with this iPad Pro, compatible with the main HDR systems: Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG.

To complete that audiovisual experience you have to listen to its four speakers, which make the user wonder how they were able to fit them into such a small space and make them sound so good. It also has four quality microphones that can be used to capture the voice in recordings and video calls that rely on artificial intelligence to include or eliminate ambient sound.

One of the great novelties of the iPad Pro 2024 is its M4 chip, which arrives only six months after the launch of the M3, to add more AI power and to drive its dual-panel OLED screen using a new screen engine. On the other hand, the neural engine of this chip, which is the one that assumes artificial intelligence tasks, has 16 cores that give it the capacity to perform 38 billion operations per second, the most powerful thing that Apple has put in a machine for these tasks. Apple's new operating systems will arrive in the fall and we will know if their devices will have internal AIs, without the need to connect to external servers. This chip can handle that task in excess, according to company sources.

During the presentation of the M4 last week in London, Apple officials said that it had the same features as the M2... with only a quarter of the power. It has two configurations. The most powerful is that of the unit tested, with a ten-core central unit (CPU) (four for performance and six for efficiency), along with 16 GB memory. The graphics processor (GPU) is ten cores. The result is a superb experience in any condition. It is very difficult to push this tablet to its limits. Therefore, for the professional audience, Apple has created new enhanced versions of video editing programs (Final Cut Pro) and music composition programs (Logic Pro).

In performance tests, the Geekbench 6 app shows that in single-core the new iPad Pro obtains 3,677 points, well above the previous generation with the M2 chip, which obtained 2,534. In multi-core, it is also much higher: 14,563 compared to 9,622 for the previous model. In one of the tests of the 3D Mark graphics performance app, the iPad Pro 2024 obtains 8,729 points, which allows it to be a long way from most computers and tablets. That score is better than what 92% of them get.

To improve the thermal performance of the M4, Apple has used graphite throughout the internal system and placed copper on the rear logo of the iPad Pro to dissipate up to 20% more heat.

More about design. Until now, the iPad had always had its front camera on the top frame when in a vertical position. The new model has it in the upper frame when it is horizontal. This facilitates a better video calling experience placed on the new Magic Keyboard. Apple has done a great job of refining this accessory. Not only is it thinner than the previous generation, it is also better finished, in aluminum and with a larger trackpad.

The new Magic Keyboard is more precise, adding a new row of keys for functions such as volume, brightness, playback and other common keys on a computer. Pressing the keys, backlit according to the ambient light, is also better. Perhaps the most uncomfortable point is the opening when it is closed. The system closes quite well and sometimes it is difficult to open it. The experience of working with the iPad Pro and this keyboard is comparable to that of a quality computer.

In connectivity, the tested unit has the possibility of an eSIM card, but it no longer has a tray for a physical card. The configuration is very simple. If it is to swipe the same card that a previous iPad already had, the system asks if it should ask the telephone company for activation. In a moment it is already underway. iPad Pro has a single USB-C connector that supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 data transmission technology, allowing you to connect it to external displays such as the 6K resolution Pro Display XDR. The Wi-Fi standard is 6E. Perhaps Apple could have reached here the new Wi-Fi 7 standard that several devices and modems on the market already have.

In terms of cameras, the first thing you notice is that Apple has removed one of the two that the previous iPad Pro had. It does not seem that the tablet is the most suitable device for using multiple lenses and it is not something that the user is going to miss. . In exchange, it has a new rear ambient light sensor that serves to better adjust the automatic brightness of the screen. The main camera is 12 megapixels, capable of recording video in 4K (at 60 frames per second), even in the professional ProRes format. The LiDAR scanner allows you to capture scenes with applications like SketchUp that are amazingly realistic and almost in a breeze.

Along with the new iPad, Apple on Tuesday introduced a new digital pointer, the Apple Pencil Pro, which offers new functions such as squeezing, which opens menus of the app being used around the tip area, or rotating, which places the layout as desired by the user and allows painting with a flat brush stroke. It also has haptic feedback. A vibration signals when the options are activated. It also has the Find My function that allows you to find it with another device such as the iPhone if it is lost. The experience of these functions varies depending on each application, in some it is very good, in others it is not very useful. Only some apps are now compatible with the new pointer. You have to give it time.

Anyone who has used a 13-inch iPad Pro until now will discover that the new 2024 model has many of those things that were missing. The first is the weight reduction combined with the Magic Keyboard. The second is its dizzying performance. It doesn't matter what app is used or what video game. Everything runs smoothly continuously. In the London demo, Apple showed the great capacity of its tablet in video games such as Diablo, which requires compatibility with technologies such as ray tracing to correctly illuminate objects and reflections, for example, in water.

Lastly, the design of this tablet is spectacular. Very delicate. Very exquisite. Can it replace a computer for domestic and professional tasks? It depends on each user, but the iPad Pro has the capacity to be the main computer in both cases. The software is usually the great excuse for not making the change, but with the arrival of ARM (Apple Silicon) chips to Macs, the adaptation of the software makes having versions for the tablet increasingly easier. And in a few months, external app stores will arrive, so the dilemma is now limited to a question of preferences, not the capabilities of the machine.

Along with the iPad Pro, Apple also presented the new iPad Air, also in two sizes of 11 and 13 inches. It is Apple's mid-range tablet, superior in performance to the normal iPad. The best reflection that can be made about the new model is that it has an M2 chip, like the iPad Pro that we had until today. The performance of this one is magnificent and, in addition, it is also compatible with accessories such as the Magic Keyboard of the previous generation (the new one is thinner) and with the Apple Pencil Pro. A great option to have a Pro model at an Air price (the The cheapest of the first is 1,199 euros and the cheapest of these is 699 euros).