iPad Pro M4

These are the 2024 iPad Pros. They’ve had a pretty big redesign. They are shockingly, almost concerningly thin. They have a new chip, they have new display, new accessories. Long story short, these are the highest end, probably the most expensive tablets in the world. I did not expect to be in this position. I use a smartphone, a smartwatch, a smart fridge, a smart air purifier, hell, I even use a Smart toothbrush. But the one thing that I’ve really struggled to grasp is tablets. Tablets were awesome, phones were tiny, so there was a real need for size. Tablets had better quad-core processors and significantly more advanced software compared to those simple phones. But then, phones got good.

Tablet Appeal Revisited

Their screens doubled in size, they got a lot faster, they could handle multiple tasks at once. And as soon as that happened, the whole appeal of an iPad or an Android tablet evaporated for me. Like, why take around something that does what a phone does but needs a laptop’s worth of space without being able to do what a laptop does? That’s the exact reason why in the 2015-2016 era, there was a massive drop-off in general Tablet interest. But then, why am I sitting here right now, like the world’s biggest hypocrite, about to spend basically a small car’s worth of money on a tablet? Well, that’s what I want to explain. For starters, I expected this thing to be thin.

iPad Pro: Thin and Powerful

I mean, watching the Apple keynote, they didn’t exactly hide the fact that the 11-in iPad Pro is just 5.3 mm, and that the 13-in is just 5.1 mm, and therefore Apple’s thinnest device ever. But even then, when I picked it up for the first time and I turned it around in my own hands, it still feels absolutely insane that I’m holding a full-on computer with an M4 laptop quality chip inside because this thing is 579 G, okay? To give you some perspective, I take this remarkable Writing Tablet with me almost wherever I go.

Embracing Simplicity: E-In Tablet Experience

I found that no matter how much I do love my laptop and my phone, there’s times when we move home, sometimes you just want to sit in a coffee shop and brainstorm ideas or draw up concepts for a product. It all needs a pen, and this thing, this black and white 10-in e-in tablet that does, well, basically one thing, this is just over 400 G. I mean, I don’t even normally care too much about the weight of stuff.

iPad Pro: Lightweight Bliss

I think for something like this, much more than on a phone, it’s important to be this weightless because this 13-in iPad Pro is just light enough. And I say just because it is on the line, and after about 20 minutes I was feeling it. But for me, I can just about comfortably hold it with one hand and write with the other, and so this is starting to feel like it could perfectly slot into my life. Instead of this, but just with the perks of being able to do a lot more. Like, for example, potentially replace my laptop too. And I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, because trust me when I say I love my MacBook.

Tablet Evolution

When I use this new iPad and the new Pro pencil and the new magic keyboard all together, this is the first time since like 2013 that it really felt to me like tablets are not just big phones, that their capability feels like it has reached a tipping point. At which point I’m actually sitting here questioning if I even need this. Because, well, this.

Magic Keyboard Experience

This is the new magic keyboard. And while it might look like one of those cheap Amazon folio cases from the outside, using it is actually crazily similar to using a Mac. So on the inside, there’s a metal finish. Now, the trackpad is bigger, this is a charging port, and then if you want to plug in other things, you can use the other USB port on the iPad itself. But what was very cool to me is that the second you snap the iPad into the case, it also controls like a Mac. It’s like every bit of muscle memory that I’ve had from years of using a MacBook, it all translates perfectly.

iPad’s Intuitive Gestures

The swiping gestures, the quick shortcuts, you can also just hold the command key at any time to see all the shortcuts available within any app you’re using. But even the quick functions like brightness control, volume control, the search bar, I was just so surprised by how usable the iPad is without even touching the screen. Also, the hinge. Now, there’s obviously no way that you’re going to be able to get a laptop quality hinge like this fitted into a thin iPad case. But what’s quite cool is because the new iPad basically weighs nothing, you don’t really need one.

iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Review

When you see the case, it definitely raises doubts about being usable in a car or on your lap. But my first impression from actually typing on it is actually that it’s way more solid than it looks. It’s not perfect though. The downside seemed to be that the trackpad is still not quite full MacBook Pro size, and the hinge doesn’t go all the way back, it locks around here. Here in the UK, and it doesn’t seem like the iPad Pro works with any other magic keyboard.

Apple Pencil Pro Impressions

So you have to buy the new one. And then there’s also this new Apple Pencil Pro, which has its own perks compared to the normal Apple Pencil. I do find it so funny the way they talk about all their products, like I’m pretty sure they introduced this with, It takes the pencil experience to a whole new level. Apple Pencil Pro. It takes the pencil experience to a whole new level. Now, in my brief time with it, I did find it a little bit fiddly. Like, there’s quite a few times where I very interesting.

Pencil Innovations: Barrel Roll & Menu Shortcut

There’s some new stuff here that I’m not too bothered about, like barrel roll, which thanks to new gyro sensors, can allow you to rotate your pencil just like using a real pencil, and using different parts of the nib for different thicknesses. But then on the other hand, the fact that you can now just squeeze it to bring up your menu, that’s awesome. That’s going to save you a lot of time because I mean the old pencil didn’t have any kind of buttons, so your thumb had nothing to do, it was like a lost function.

New iPad Pro: Enhanced Performance & Features

The fact that there’s now a vibration motor inside which creates this satisfying little snap when you’re doing things, and also the fact that you can now add it to Find My in case you lose it pretty important because I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose it. So it looks like a laptop but does it run like a laptop? Well, Apple didn’t actually just kit this new iPad Pro out with the same M3 chip that you get on the latest MacBook SS. They actually went one further and announced a whole new generation M4 chip that goes in here. How much faster is it than M3.

Apple’s Performance Comparisons

The way that Apple talks about performance jumps is actually really annoying because sometimes they compare to M3, sometimes they compare to M2, sometimes they compare to M1, and they’ll always give you numbers based on really niche use cases as opposed to the more general ones that would matter to all users like app opening speeds. But I think the high-level takeaway should be probably not a massive jump from M3. But because the iPad hasn’t actually been updated since the M2 chip and because this new iPad has better thermal design that can keep temperatures more under control, actually pretty huge. And it’s going to be a lot faster than like Samsung current tablets.

iPad vs. MacBook

They’re still using phone chips, which is one of the key reasons that I’ve been hesitating moving to one of those. We should get one thing clear: this is only about 50% as powerful as my MacBook Pro. And if you’re actually going to kit it out with the pencil and the keyboard and everything, then you’re actually paying a lot more per unit of performance than you do on Mac. And it isn’t even going to do 100% of what a Mac can do because iPad OS, which is based on iOS, is designed to be simpler. But the way that I’ve started to see this is, I mean, as soon as something like this can do the things that normally require this, surely it’s an absolute no-brainer to be doing those things on the iPad.

iPad Versatility

And for my uses, I feel like today might be the day where we’ve just reached that level. I mean, if I can swap both my massive very heavy laptop and my remarkable tablet for just one iPad in totality, that would change my life. I would be cutting the weight and the size of my tech by about five times. But also I feel like in a lot of ways the iPad can actually do things even better than the Mac can. Like, I think for the most part, mobile apps are a lot better designed than computer apps. Like games, I mean, gaming on a Mac kind of sucks. And I genuinely think I would get a lot more gaming utility from this ironically less powerful device than I do my current SPC to the max MacBook just because iOS and iPad OS, they’re built for games.

Mobile Apps: Superior Design

But also even bigger picture, I just feel like a lot of mobile apps are way better designed than their laptop alternatives. Like mobile photo editing is now so good that half the time I actually sending stuff from my laptop to my phone to make edits. And it’s not just cute little phone apps on the iPad. I was literally today using the exact same pixel meter app that I currently use on my Mac. It didn’t seem like any function was missing or cut back, and every single command that instant on my Mac was also instant on the iPad.

Shifting to iPads

The only times I noticed a difference were when there were super intense things that required loading bars, and then those loading bars did last about 50% longer on the iPad. But yeah, like we’re currently in the process of planning out our smart future home and everything is controlled by apps.It’s all designed to work off well basically iPads because times have changed. Ten years ago, we were living in a PC-first world, and swapping your laptop for an iPad it would be seen as a move only filthy casuals would make. But I’m starting to feel pretty strongly like that’s not the case anymore.

Tablet Apps vs. Websites

The apps are designed around phone touch screens and phone hardware more often than not, I find them way more intuitive and optimized. Tell me if you feel the same, but I always feel way better when a product tells me to use their app than when they direct me to a website. And so the iPad, which is the biggest, most powerful form that you can experience those optimized apps in, is becoming way more appealing to me. So then I’m thinking, okay, what else do I do on my laptop that I might struggle with here? Google Docs, but that’s actually better on iPad cuz you can actually browse all your stuff even while offline, which you can’t do on Mac.

Final Cut Pro on iPad

But the point is iPad has Final Cut Pro as well now. They actually just announced Final Cut Pro 2 just for the iPad. I don’t actually think it’s a Final Cut Pro successor like the name might imply, but it is very much a full video editing experience. I did find it pretty fiddly when trying to use Final Cut with the touchscreen. It just feels like a strange intersection that can never really be as efficient as using a precise trackpad. But when I tried it with a keyboard attached different story. In moments, I actually forgot I was using an iPad.

Mobile App Versatility

It almost feels like all the perks of a laptop when you want one but combined with all the perks of a mobile when that suits you more, you know, everything being a sleek app instead of a clunky website, which is definitely the way to go for most banking services, social media, Uber, deliver actually Netflix too movies is a massive one. To be honest, because almost all of these video streaming platforms, they are all infinitely better on phones because they actually let you download stuff offline.

iPad Screen Advantages

It all feels a bit silly to me, but essentially because computer OSS are more open, it would be easier to pirate things if you could download offline on there, but on an iPad, well, it kind of gets a free pass because it’s still running a mobile operating system, but a mobile operating system with the media experience of a high-end laptop. Oh, we should probably talk about this screen actually. So this is an OLED screen. Well, technically actually, it’s two OLED screens stacked on top of each other to be able to get the deep contrast benefits of OLED, but also the ultra-high brightness that Apple wants for HDR. Apple is basically saying that this is the best screen they’ve ever made for a consumer device.

Ultra Retina XDR: Stunning Display

They’re calling it The Ultra Retina XDR Display, and it looks, unsurprisingly, very good. The contrast is the biggest thing that I noticed, like when you watching stuff with blacks, those blacks are so deep it’s like you’re staring into a void. And again, it feels so trippy, there’s such a big disconnect because you don’t expect to screen this good on a device so thin like if you ordered a monitor for your computer andIt was this thin you would already be an awe and yet this isn’t just your monitor; this is your full-on computer. It’s your camera, it’s your touchscreen, it’s kind of crazy.

Nano Texture Screen

Now they’ve also added in the option for a nano texture screen, which they’re saying scatters the ambient light to reduce glare but also without any reduction in brightness. It definitely seems to work as advertised, and it might actually solve the MacBook’s visibility issues. But this is also how the cost starts to rack up. This is how I got where I ended up because you basically have to spend a minimum of $2,000 to get a nano coating on your 13-inch iPad. Also, one thing Apple didn’t mention: battery life. At all during the presentation, their site says that the new one has about the same battery life as the old one, but given that we’ve now got two panels firing at the same time, it’s definitely something that I want to keep a very close eye on while I’m testing.

Enhanced Camera Features

And then the final sort of extra perks: the cameras are, while not the priority, definitely better on the iPad than even the top-end MacBook Pros. A, because you actually get a camera on the back, which I mean you obviously don’t, yeah, although it is weird that they’ve removed the secondary ultra-wide camera that they used to give you on the back on the last iPad Pros. And then B, for the front, it’s an ultra-wide camera that’s now on the horizontal bezel so it keeps you centralized and can also use something called Center Stage when you’re on calls to keep you in the middle even as you move around the room.

iPad Cellular Connectivity

I’m also just thinking iPads can have cellular, like what if instead of worrying about Wi-Fi all the time, my main computer is permanently connected with its own internet connection? I’m not particularly keen on paying a whole extra monthly contract, but it’s a tantalizing idea. And then also, just like the Mac, iPads can also hook up to SD card readers, SSD storage drives, even going into bigger monitors for when I’m docked into my desk at home, with a whole system called stage manager that’s kind of designed for big screen multitasking AI during this presentation, but they didn’t really show a lot of AI things, so I feel like that’ll be them.

iPad vs. Mac Dilemma

But this could also be a big mistake because I mean is this going to be fast enough to do all those things I normally do without feeling sluggish or fiddly? Is the iPad going to force me to switch my phone over from a Samsung to an iPhone because it doesn’t have many ports and I’m going to have to rely on more Wireless proprietary Airdrop stuff? There’s the fact that, let’s be honest, Apple doesn’t want you to buy an iPad instead of a Mac; they want you to buy both.

iPad Limitations: File System and Storage

So in what ways is the iPad artificially limited so that it doesn’t cross over with the Mac too much? The file system system. The one major remaining advantage that I feel like PC still has is that it’s designed for granular organization over files. I need to find out if I can actually have that same control or find a way around it. And then finally, what I’m going to do about storage? The iPad Pro goes up to 2 terabytes which is great, but I’m an 8 terabyte kind of guy on my MacBook, become better at managing my files, or just keep a small storage drive.