Arguably the largest change to the new iPad is in its design choices, and Apple has made some bold choices here which deviate significantly from the previous models. Apple calls the latest iPad Pro a “Window onto your work” and the company has taken design inspiration from its iPhone lineup with the reduction in the screen bezels to achieve this window onto your work.

The smaller bezels preclude the use of the Home button, which had already been deprecated in the iPhone, so it isn’t a surprise to see it removed here as well. The removal of the Home button also introduces the use of the same gesture based navigation already seen in the iPhone, except in a larger form factor. It also introduces Face ID to the iPad for the first time.

Due to the fact that the bezels required for a tablet are proportionally larger than a phone, there’s no need for a notch, and the Face ID camera sits almost hidden in the upper bezel. Unlike on the iPhone though, there’s no guaranteed way that you’ll be holding the iPad, and if you are holding it in landscape it can be very easy to have your hand over the camera. If that’s the case, iOS will let you know the camera is covered and show an on-screen arrow pointing to where it is. And, of course, the same caveats that go with any facial recognition system come into play with the iPad Pro. You have to be sure the camera can see you, so if the tablet is sitting on a table as you are using it, you may have to contort yourself slightly or pick it up if Face ID is required. It’s not quite as simple as Touch ID was, but it’s very quick and reliable.

If there is one major annoyance with Face ID on the iPad Pro it is the login process, which is overly cumbersome. Turning on the iPad will initiate a Face ID login, but Apple requires a swipe-up gesture to finish the unlock process. This is compounded on the iPad by the fact that the swipe must originate from below the bottom of the screen as if you were going to Home. Since your hand is likely not to be there, it is a less than ideal gesture for something that must be done so many times. If Apple just allowed the swipe up anywhere on the screen, it would be a big improvement.

Still, the removal of the Home button does make for a much more modern looking device, with the smaller bezels we have gotten used to over the last couple of years, and Apple continues its attention to detail by having the display corners match the radius of the device corners.

The other big design change with the iPad Pro is that Apple has moved to an almost-squared off edge, compared to the more rounded, tapered edges on the older models. This design change was almost certainly to facilitate the new Apple Pencil storage location, which has it magnetically attach to one side of the device. There’s a small RF transparent window there to allow the Apple Pencil to wirelessly charge when attached to the iPad, and a new pencil will sync with the iPad just by attaching it, which makes it a very seamless experience to get it up and running.

The squared off edges don’t provide the great in-hand feel of tapered edges though, but the iPad is thin enough that it is not a huge issue. It’ll also likely spend most of its life in a case, which is unfortunate since it is a great looking piece of technology. Apple has also done a great job of incorporating the various antennae into the design with symmetrical lines on the top and bottom which separate the metal at the top and bottom with the rest of the device.

Finally, Apple has continued its use of a quad-speaker arrangement on the iPad Pro, although with most things on the new iPad, they’ve been refreshed as well. There is now two speakers at each corner, with both a tweeter and a woofer which Apple says offers better sound with less space allocated for the speakers.

Overall the design of the latest iPad is quite striking, and the reduction in bezels provides a much more modern looking tablet. It keeps all of the attention to detail that Apple designed devices are known for. The iPad continues to lead the segment in design, and 468 grams for the 11-inch model we have for review, it is very easy to hold in one hand and use. The lack of rounded sides is somewhat masked by the 5.9 mm thickness, and despite internet rumors, the iPad Pro won’t bend in half just by holding it. The squared edges make it feel quite sturdy, although if you tried to bend it you likely could. But since it will likely live its life in a case of some sort, the proper care to prevent this shouldn’t be extreme.

Introduction Accessories - Pencil & Folio
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  • melgross - Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - link

    Eh, OLEDs don’t do it either. Last year I went to an audio trade show I go to every year, and Sony was demo’ing among other things, two large TVs. One was an OLED, and the other and LCD. Both were expensive at $9,000.

    I asked the engineer which he would recommend for HDR and he said the LCD. The truth is that OLEDs simply don’t get bright enough. Black levels aren’t as important.
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, except for from a strict ""adherence to specifications" view. In reality, past a certain level of brightness, a TV with better contrast will look superior in an environment with controlled lighting than a brighter display that has visibly worse contrast.
  • mlambert890 - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    These reviews all seem to ignore that the iPad Pro 10.5 ever existed.

    This is weird because for all the talk of “this is the iPad Apple always wanted to make!” its largely the iPad they made last year, but for a fair bit more money and with more marketing hype.

    Sure the CPU/GPU is even faster than the A10X, and there is now ML acceleration, but hardware hasn’t mattered on the iPad since the Air 2. There is literally nothing that runs poorly on the 10.5 at all. It even has the same 120hz “Liquid Retina” screen. Unless you are in the tiny niche of people who edit 4K video *on the iPad* (or pretend to need to), there is really no benefit from the extra CPU power.

    The “revolutionary design” looks exactly the same to 99.9% of people. Especially once in a case. And in exchange for this design, you get .5” of screen, but lose the home button, fingerprint reader and headphone jack. You also lose accessory compatibility in both directions. So there is real drawback there.

    For someone wanting to jump on an iPad Pro now, the new one obviously makes sense. But this is always true. Pretending that this latest iPad is more than just iterative is really disingenuous, yet every single article is treating it like we’ve gone from Air 2 -> Pro 11”
  • markiz - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    I don't get it why do you think it's so hard to compare performance between OSes and devices?
    Who cares what are the absolute scores for the SoC itself, what matters is real life performance.

    Is there no such benchmark, that would measure some common (or less common) scenarios, like:
    - take a camera where you have some video
    - transfer it to a pc
    - do whatever editing you need to do

    Or, like, loading and scrolling through 100 most popular webpages?

    Paying your bills in online banking?

    Buying a thing on amazon?
  • The Garden Variety - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Well thank goodness you so clearly defined the methodologies—"do whatever editing you need to do"—so it should be a totally clear and reproducible set of results within your comparison. Oh wait. What are we measuring using your system, again? Time? Against what scale? What if one task requires a different set of procedures on one operating systems than the other, which is your baseline?

    I don't mean to be a complete prick, but I don't think I'm too far out of bounds here to call your entire message one of the stupidest fucking things I've read yet today. But the day is young, so you've got that going for you.
  • sonny73n - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Many fanboys here are praising A12x which is faster than A11 but considering the price of the iPad, is it faster than the mobile Ryzen 5 or the Core i5? And for an additional 936GB of storage, you have to pay $750 more. I thought 1TB of NAND flash cost about $130 now. What a ripoff! This is straight up robbery and I refuse to be the victim.
  • WasHopingForAnHonestReview - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Comments are filled with paid social media posters. This thing is absolutely overpriced and you STILL dant do everything you want on it. (Ios)
  • Oyeve - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    At the end of the day it's still an ipad. ios is so limited. Why doesnt apple just make a MBP in an ipad sized format?
  • blackcrayon - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    With an A12X chip? I think they're working on that.

    With intel chips, you're basically asking for a 12" Macbook - iPad sized, but hampered by what intel is able to give us in that form factor.

    Also at the end of the day a MBP is just a MacBook Pro, so I'd still prefer they offer what the iPad can do as a separate product for now.
  • isthisavailable - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Please compare this to the Core M series fanless chips from intel. Apple is probably already ahead of core M.

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