This is a 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro with an M1 processor and 16GB of RAM.
It is already the fifth generation. It is more powerful than absolutely any existing tablet in the world – and by a huge margin. Even not so: it is faster than most laptops in the world and, quite possibly, faster than your own computer, including a stationary one.
Even the RAM in it is now at least one and a half, and perhaps 8 times more than in your iPhone.
And yes, he is just amazing from a technical point of view. As well as outwardly. Lightweight for its size, with good cameras and LiDAR. And it also has the first mini-LED screen in Apple devices with gigantic brightness and contrast, which was impossible on previous models.
However, this is still precisely the iPad. Not a computer, but an iPad. The most powerful, simply space hardware has been asking for freedom for several years in a row – the will of opportunities that iPadOS does not yet have.
The new 2021 iPad Pro could be your perfect computer, but whatever you say, it’s not a computer yet. This device is from the future for those who know for sure why they need it: they represent the specific tasks they solve and understand why they will give from 80,000 to 230,000 rubles.
For others, I recommend taking iPad Air 4. Because the iPad Pro is now real for those very Proand nothing else.
A review of a professional-oriented device after literally a day of use cannot be complete, so there are still purely impressions, and just facts that I have noticed so far – but not the whole picture. Well, there are many more photos, of course.
Design and body. Became heavier and thicker, but for the cause
If you’ve ever seen an iPad Pro, you won’t notice any difference between the new and previous models. Exactly the same body – chopped, made of aluminum. The same display frame in front, in which Face ID is hidden.
But there are changes. Firstly, The small of the new iPad Pros is lighter, while the larger one is heavier:
▪ 11-inch: was 471 grams, became 466 grams
▪ 12.9-inch: was 641 grams, now 682 grams
increase 40 grams for a large model should theoretically be noticeable, but here is an interesting observation on the topic.
So far, I’ve been using 11-inch iPad Pro models (here’s an overview of the 2020 version). It would seem that a large 13-inch tablet and its 220 grams on top should have seemed noticeable … but no. No one in their right mind would use it with one hand without support. And with a support or in two palms, the new 40 grams are not noticeable at all.
The difference in thickness is 0.5 mm.
And secondly, the large model has become thicker. Literally in a matter of millimeters: from 5.9 mm it swelled up to 6.4 mm. Given the size of the tablet, you do not notice this moment, even if you take both in your hands. Moreover, for a large model, this can even be beneficial, albeit the same theoretical one – it should be easier to hold it this way.
Why all these reductions and increases? It’s just that the hardware inside has been redesigned to accommodate the M1 processor. And the 12.9-inch model received an all-new mini-LED backlit display. And battery increased a little.
That is, Apple again took the path of thickening for the sake of introducing useful features, as it did recently in the iPhone 12. I don’t see anything wrong with this, because “apple” gadgets already have some of the thinnest cases in any of the device markets.
The second change, and then barely noticeable – new front camera. Now she ultra wide anglecaptures about 120 degrees around itself and allows tablets to create one of the most practical features that I have seen in modern devices over the past five years.
Center Stage or how the iPad Pro became the best webcam in general
Center stage or In the spotlight – a new feature of the new iPad Pro, which appeared thanks to the new camera. It works in any applications in general, does not require additional settings, and, if necessary, is turned off for specific programs in Settings iPadOS.
So how exactly is Center Stage open?
The ultra wide-angle camera sees you almost always and from almost any angle, as long as you are in front of the screen. The M1 processor and built-in neuron determines your location in the frame, and then virtually “points” the picture at you, correcting lens distortion in the process.
The first time you activate the front camera in video calling apps, iPad Pro displays the Center Stage welcome screen.
A system is only as ingenious as it works well. It is hard to convey the surprise when you walk back and forth, sit down and stand in front of a stationary tablet – and at the same time, he still always shows you to the interlocutor.
Moreover, Center Stage zooms in and out of the frame if necessary to catch you inside. It turns out almost 3D-tracking, which completely works by itself, without the need to correct anything. Virtual camera movements are very smooth, even a bit cinematic.
That is, I can stand up, turn my back, step aside during a conversation and show something that initially would not even get into the frame – and the iPad Pro with M1 will never lose sight of me. You can move fast or very slowly and you will still be more or less in the center of the image.
Finally, when two or more people enter the frame, the Center Stage finds a way to fit them all. In real time.
Center Stage is fire. A couple of times during the two hours of testing the call, I noticed how the camera twitches for a split second, as if I touched it with my hand. Doesn’t interfere, just a slight glitch in the algorithm. In 99.9% of other cases, the feature works magically well. Now let’s go to Center Stage in Mac…
mini-LED display. Very bright, even though the photo does not convey
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes with a display mini LED – for the first time in the history of Apple gadgets. The technology itself is young and new. From conventional displays akin to those installed in the 11-inch version of the tablet, it differs in a completely different backlight structure. Instead of a few “zones” under the matrix, there are thousands of single points.
This illumination allows not only increase peak brightness from 600 cd/m² to 1000 cd/m²but also before 1500 cd/m² when playing HDR content. At the same time, the screen contrast increases – now it is 1,000,000:1.
Translating: the display of a large version of the new iPad very very bright. It can actually shine more powerfully than any existing MacBook. However, it’s not easy to capture this in a photo, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
On the left is the previous iPad Pro, on the right is the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
A high contrast ratio and a new backlight system make blacks noticeably closer to natural, which is a huge plus when watching any video.
Again, the photos almost do not convey this, but when compared live, the difference is noticeable. This display also makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro the best device for editing and generally working on HDR content.
All photos in this review have a table Tabula Sense Light. I talked about it in 2017 in a separate review.
The Tabula Sense Light features two rows of gadget cutouts that hold your portable items vertically, from any compact AirPods to this 12.9-inch iPad. It helps a lot to have order on the table, without occupying its usable area, and leaving the devices themselves fully functional.
All wires can fit both in a special recess in the center of the table, and in a separate leather pocket at the bottom of the table top. Charging an entire fleet of vehicles is convenient and easy thanks to three USB ports on the end, one more, hidden, for the dock cutout and wireless QI pad.
Tabula Sense Light is designed and manufactured in Russia and can be configured with regular or telescopic legs.
It is pleasant to sit at this table, work, watch a movie. Its style and design are universal and will find a place in any modern interior. You can read more about the features and functionality of Tabula Sense Light on the official website of Tabula Sense.
Watch movies in HDR from the Apple TV app on a new screen – clean bliss. Huge resolution, large diagonal and powerful backlight turn the device into the ultimate portable cinema.
In terms of color reproduction in domestic use, I did not notice a difference with the previous iPad Pro, and there should not be any. All in all, if you love watching movies in HDR and just want to stop noticing dark bars around most videos on the Internet, the display will please even those who do not do video and photo editing at all.
Iron and performance tests. King
The new iPad Pro has a USB 4 port with Thunderbolt, which greatly increases the bandwidth and allows you to connect any top-end accessories or even Apple Pro Display XDR – with full native resolution output.
Apple, of course, beauties. The iPad Pro is the biggest flex in front of the entire gadget industry. First, they showed how to make tablets. Then they proved to everyone that they can do them better. And now in Cupertino they are simply dancing in the center of the entire market over long-lost and forgotten competitors, increasing the gap every year.
And all these people say to them: they say, Guys, that’s it, that’s enough, we understand! And from there you can only hear the answer: here you have + 15% productivity, + 30% productivity …
What am I all for? Probably a fraction of a percent of 1 percent of all iPad Pro users asked Apple to make the device more powerful. Because he is already so fast that there is nothing to wish for in this part. You know who said the 2018 iPad Pro processor is weak in 2021? That’s right, nobody. The tablet is three years old, and it is relevant to this day.
But Apple decided in its own way: catch the M1 right from the latest Macs. And on top of 8, or as much as 16 gigabytes of RAM. Because they are still smeared next to the finished CPUs. This is how the 2021 iPad Pro turned out. We look at all this in shock, surprise, even bewilderment. I just want to say something like “wow … well, OK …”
Of course, there are already ways to get the most out of the hardware on the iPad Pro. There have been noticeably more of them over the past two years, and this cannot but rejoice: there is also a LumaFusion video editor, and Procreate has become a mega machine, and even for musicians there is more and more unique software that requires a good percentage and a lot of RAM.
It’s just that the vast majority of people do other things on tablets, and for them 16 gigabytes of RAM and 4 gigabytes are the same thing.
Therefore, it is important to understand the main thing: the iPad Pro may be the best TV show player in the world, but it will really show itself only in the hands of those who make these series. And such units.
The table in all the photos in the article is Tabula Sense Light.
Anyway. I got a little carried away, but the idea is clear. M1 in iPad Pro is very professional and very cool. Between the two generations of the iPhone, there are not as big jumps in power as between the 2020 firmware and the new one. And the first (and also, perhaps, in the next two years the only) where you will notice this is, of course, benchmarks.
I love numbers, I have been playing with benchmarks for many years in a row. And I don’t remember that there was such a gap between the two generations of Apple devices:
Results from Geekbench 5 on the App Store, a popular way to compare the performance of Apple devices.
The performance level of the iPad Pro 2021 is comparable to the iMac on the M1 processor, which I talked about the day before yesterday in the review. Only now in a 4 times smaller case and with its own battery. And also with a touchscreen and iPadOS on board.
These are mind-boggling numbers for a portable gadget. To give you an idea, the 16-inch MacBook Pro with an 8-core Intel Core i9 processor (I kindly call it a “stove”) scores not much more.
Results in Antutu, the well-known performance test for iOS and Android. Free on the App Store.
Also, the new iPad Pro is tearing the Antutu benchmark to shreds. Last year’s model scored about 750 thousand points, which made it the leader of the entire standings at the time of release. Now points 1 million. Or 950 thousand, if he was severely tormented or a backup from iCloud is being restored in the background.
Well, you get it, right? cartoon in Antutu, it’s generally like. And this is an honest million, not from the world of Android, where smartphones demonstrate similar performance in half thanks to hacks or simply sharpening for a short-term peak load.
Wild Life Extreme is a new 3D test for portable devices. Free on the App Store.
Okay, last benchmark. Relatively recently, 3D Mark updated their Wild Life app to be multi-platform. There is an Extreme benchmark, which is merciless to mobile chips. So or was merciless, and now he was tamed.
So, the top Android smartphone scores a little more than 1500 points here, while tablets have even less. The leader is the 2020 iPad Pro with 3500 points.
Let’s see what the new firmware will show:
5000 points. The average FPS is 30 fps versus 21 for last year’s model, 15 fps for the iPad Air 4 and 14 fps for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
That is, there is approximately 30% increase in pure video chip power compared to the 2020 iPad Proa twofold advantage over the flagship iPhone and more than threefold advantage over the top things from the Android world.
There is nothing to add.
From this we can consciously conclude that the 2021 iPad Pro is an absolutely killer thing for games, as well as working with 3D in general. However, why guess. You can quickly buy and run the freshly released port of Divinity: Original Sin for iPad, with top-end graphics. Look at it from the screen of the tablet and say “WOW”.
We will definitely write about this game separately. That such things are even possible on a mobile device seems like a miracle.
A logical question arises: benchmarks are good, but in reality, how? Let me just show you.
Each of the apps above fully loaded as the iPadOS multitasking animation ended. The 2021 iPad Pro seems to never be thought of at all. Just tap and you’re done. The only thing that could stop it for a second would be your internet speed. Otherwise, it does absolutely all basic iOS tasks exactly at the moment when you click on the button.
That is, we can confidently say that this is the fastest iOS device in history. So it goes.
Or here’s an example, I did a simple thing: I took and rendered a video in iMovie in 4K. iPad Pro c M1 coped in 42 seconds, and the previous generation – in 1 minute and 17 seconds. Seems like a small difference in seconds. But the more complex and larger the video, the greater the gap in favor of the novelty. And again he not less than 30%.
The djay app with the function of automatic mix of tracks through neuron and machine learning.
Okay, you say. Like, I could wait half a second on the 2020 iPad Pro, and that rarely happened. I will answer – think correctly, but at the same time incorrectly. Because there are those very advanced and applied tasks for professionals, where even seconds decide everything.
If you’re working in LumaFusion, the extra RAM along with the faster processor will turn into bread: more effects in the timeline, faster rendering, more editing options. Are you using Procreate? After the update, you will get one and a half or even three times more maximum layers, greater responsiveness of brushes and the ability to work without brakes on long-term canvases that could make the old iPad think or even “fly out”.
The huge amount of RAM in the 16 GB model gives professionals even more benefits than the speeds of the M1: almost all heavy programs and especially multi-window workflows previously rested on the “RAM”. And now there is a model where there is plenty of it, and this is very good.
We can talk about M1 and iPad for a very long time, but the conclusion is actually simple. We’ve never seen so much performance in such a portable device. How much it will be in demand specifically for you is a question of a completely different plane.
Although no, not really. There is one moment. He does not keep up with the hardware of the new tablet at all, so he seems to keep it on a leash while it strives to take off. This moment is called…
On the new iPad Pro with an M1 processor, the operating system iPadOS works just like iPadOS.
And it’s kind of sad. And not because the system is bad. On the contrary, in the 14th version, well, a lot of good and right things were done. Yes, and it works well.
But I just look at it and see how the gigantic potential of new hardware in the iPad Pro disappears. Yes, there are many applications that can cause a very slight, purely nominal semblance of strain on the M1 in a tablet. But the system itself does not seem to be ready for such a processor and does not even know what to do with it. Which is directly reflected in how the owner’s work and entertainment process is built.
A multitasking system with such hardware can be much more functional and convenient. Desktop too. The principles of interaction with files and applications require a revision towards, if not macOS, then at least something hybrid.
iPadOS on the 2021 iPad Pro, the most powerful portable device ever, adjusted for the speed of opening applications in exactly the same way as on a simple 2020 iPad. For the second, this is a huge plus, and for the first, it is exactly the opposite.
For the novelty in iPadOS, there are no unique workflow optimization features or even some just curious features, with the exception of Center stage. Therefore, I see no point in discussing the issue further. This “proshka” could do much more, but it is not yet possible for her. Fingers crossed looking forward to WWDC 2021.
White Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
I’m sure you’ve spotted the new keyboard for the iPad Pro more than once in photos. An all-white model appeared along with the announcement of the new iPad.
For a 12.9-inch tablet, it is also quite a bit changed – adapted to the increased thickness of the case. There are no other differences. It would be unrealistic to visually distinguish the previous black model from this one, they are exactly the same.
The white color of the outer coating is as bright as possible, it has no shade. And it, as before, is polyurethane. That is, it is easy to scratch, and dirty too.
The new white Magic Keyboard looks great and matches both silver and iPad Pro space gray equally well. As always, this is a premium accessory that combines a second USB-C port for convenient charging, a swivel stand, keyboard and touchpad like straight from the new MacBooks.
All these advantages, as well as the features of the accessory, I revealed in the 2020 review.
The model for the 12.9-inch “firmware” has full size keyboard with large keys, which increases the convenience of typing several times. I used the smaller version for a year, got used to the narrow buttons. But the bigger ones are definitely better.
There is a white version, however, an obvious minus. It will get dirty very easily.if often carried. Apple recommends monitoring its condition and warns about it on the accessory box. But now it seems to me that this “cover” needs another one. Over time, it will obviously darken from interaction with hands and surrounding objects.
So the white model is worth picking up if you’re super tidy, ready to clean every surface – or just use it permanently in your own workplace at home or in the office. Black remains a practical choice.
The Magic Keyboard costs RUB 28,990 for the 11-inch iPad Air and Pro, and RUB 32,990 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
How much is the new iPad Pro with M1
The new iPad Pro has risen in price a little in Russia. The prices are:
▪ 11 inch model: from 77,990 rubles for 128 GB to 190,990 rubles for 2 TB with an LTE + 5G modem.
▪ 12.9 inch model: from 106,990 rubles for 128 GB to 219,990 rubles for 2 TB with an LTE + 5G modem.
If you take the new iPad Pro, then personally I would miss the overall excellent 11-inch model. Yes, it will fit into bags and backpacks more easily, and it is generally easier to wear one. Plus, it is noticeably cheaper, has the same M1 processor and a new front camera.
But there is no mini-LED display, no full-size Magic Keyboard, and the performance itself will still be a few percent less. Like the battery, it is also smaller, which makes itself felt in medium and energy-saving tasks, where the display takes more percent of the battery than iron.
If you have already decided to take the iPad Pro, then you need to grab a large one. The choice between the amount of memory is now also separately important: the amount of RAM depends on it. The 1 terabyte version seems to be the most logical.
You should get an iPad Pro with an M1 processor if…
► If you want an absolutely space gadget in terms of technology. What Apple has done with the iPad Pro lineup over the past three years is nothing short of cosmic. Processor, memory, display, speakers, portability, even a USB 4 port with Thunderbolt – everything is at some mind-blowing level, as if Apple engineers are testing the limits of the device’s form factor on the tablet.
► If you need a super screen for watching movies or editing HDR video. This is only installed in the 12.9-inch model, and in compatible content (read – HDR, Dolby Vision and the like), the difference in contrast is amazing. The mini-LED also exhibits a very low level of black brightness, which makes it easier to watch movies and videos with black borders at the bottom or sides of the display: they are often indistinguishable from the body frames.
► If it is important to actively use multitasking and multi-window. Several dozen programs lie quite quietly in the memory of the tablet and instantly open in the same place. Keep in mind that only the 1TB and 2TB models have 16GB of RAM, while the rest have 8GB. This is also a lot for the current version of the operating system.
► If you work in resource-intensive programs and earn with them. The new iPad Pro with M1 processor promises a noticeable increase in power and usability. More layers, faster rendering, higher ceiling of possibilities. It may need to wait until the apps themselves are updated: there is evidence that, without updates, you will hit about the same level of performance as with past generations of tablets in the line.
► If you are looking for the absolutely MOST powerful device based on iOS. Everything is clear here. M1 is at least 30% faster than the processor not only of the past iPad Pro, but also of the iPhone 12. It’s hard to imagine that iOS and the latest generations of Apple devices made you want to speed up hardware – but if there was something, then with the new “firmware” such there shouldn’t be a problem.
► If you use iPad as a camera for video conferencing. The ultra-wide front camera and Center Stage do wonders for keeping you in the frame no matter what you’re doing in front of or even on the edge of your tablet. You no longer need to correct the tablet, look for some specific angle: set it, call it and forget it.
► If you need maximum memory on an iOS device. Only the iPad Pro with the M1 processor is available with 2TB of storage.
You shouldn’t get an iPad Pro with an M1 processor if…
■ You have an iPad and it suits you. In basic tasks and at the level of the mass consumer, the difference between the entire range of Apple tablets, whether it is an affordable “simple” iPad or the top-end iPad Pro, is not so big that it is easy to notice. Both play videos, open pages, work in popular applications in approximately the same positive plane of impressions.
■ You don’t have an iPadand you want to try such a device for the first time. Then the iPad Air 4 will be just right. Or even a budget version of the iPad, since it was updated last fall. It is better to start with simpler models and understand how to integrate such a device into your rhythm of life.
■ You choose between laptop and iPad. Time you choose and not exactly know how and what you will do on the new Apple tablet, it is better to take a laptop.
You can replace your computer with an iPad Pro. I did it and I will not say that it was somehow difficult. Rather unusual.
But, no matter how you twist and update the hardware, iPad is still iPad. Many sequences and features of your usual work activities do not work in the world of iOS. Here, almost everything is done differently, and if you don’t want to relearn almost from scratch for a month and change workflow, then the iPad will not completely replace a regular computer or laptop.
iPad Pro with M1 is ready to fly into space, it remains to let it go
For several years in a row, my iPad Pro reviews, like those of hundreds of other journalists and bloggers, end up in much the same way. Yes, the iPad Pro is incredibly good and cosmically powerful. But the operating system on which it runs does not allow you to use all this hardware. This shadow follows year after year the most powerful mobile device that Apple has ever created.
We all want iPadOS to move further from the roots of iOS. Gave more opportunities to implement settled workflows, familiar tools, speed up and facilitate work in the flow. Until this happened. It is not known if this will happen at all.
Now we are waiting for the summer WWDC 2021. Because it cannot be that Apple just pumped an already leading tablet in terms of power to sky-high performance heights.
And the iPad Pro with the M1 processor is gorgeous, no doubt about it. The very case when it is appropriate: who needs it, he knows and will take it. Everyone else and iPad Air 4 will be very, very cool.
PS As usual, open to questions and requests. I can test anything you want. Write in the comments what you would like to know. Since I did not part with the tablet for only a day, I could lose sight of some moment. I will definitely return to the device later, after WWDC 2021. In the meantime, I continue to monitor this motorcycle on a rocket.
Ultimate thing with a reserve for the future.
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