DisrupTech: Should I buy the new iPad Pro?

Greetings techies…tech geeks…disruptors…?

Being the era of broken promises (in the morning shaking hands with one and in the evening pledging alliance to the other), please pardon me for breaking last week’s promise of continuing my ‘Monetising on YouTube in Sri Lanka’ series with an exciting tech review I’ve been waiting to embark on from the day this product was announced. I will continue the second part of the Monetising series next week; I swear on the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Lo and behold: The 2018 iPad Pro was launched, and out for review for a week. There are two sizes to choose from; the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch model. They both come with 64GB storage, but Apple has stretched the top-offering to a terabyte if you can dish out the cash. I will not, in this short preview/review, delve into the technical specs, which are impressive to say the least, making most laptops seem last gen. If you want the full specs, you could always use Google. Now, let’s get to the juicy stuff.

The great stuff

· That design!
The ‘Liquid Retina’ display, as Apple likes to call it, is still gorgeous, and the high refresh rate even makes the mundane task of scrolling smooth as silk. With an almost edge-to-edge display and visibly boxier footprint, this iPad looks more suited to the modern age of bezel-less designs we are more accustomed to.

The entire chassis is 5.9mm thick, which is only slightly above the average length of a red ant (yes I Googled it!), makes for an insanely thin-feeling tablet to hold. Following the trend of iPhones, now there is no home button on the iPad Pro and it just uses Face ID, thankfully Face ID that works on any orientation.

· No more ‘where is my $#$%#%&^# pencil??’
Where to store the Apple Pencil used to be the bane of many iPad users in the past, but this time around Apple has solved this predicament by redesigning the iPad to have flat sides, and a square Pencil that magnetically attaches to the side. Hear this: It is wirelessly charged, while being magnetically attached to the side of the iPad!

· Giddy-up horsey!
The iPad Pro 11, according to most benchmarks, is one of the most powerful mobile devices on the market now. If you’re not bothered about the numbers, Tech Radar claims this: The iPad Pro 11 offers more than double the power of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which is an incredibly strong Android phone.

The not-so-great stuff

· Jack, where are you??
Yes, you guessed it! Apple did their Titanic item again with the iPad Pro and ditched the headphone jack. While for many this is not a deal breaker, hear this: With its powerful chipset and higher price point, the iPad Pro is definitely positioning itself more as a powerful laptop replacement than a casual tablet to watch videos and do word processing on the go. However, if you are a video editor looking to edit Pro Media workflows, which almost always requires low-latency audio monitoring, this omission is a costly one.

· Vehicle loan, housing loan, iPad loan?
In our consumer economy, to review anything without finally considering the price is a farce. With the base model starting at approximately Rs. 150,000 (this is only a guesstimation as only the almighty will know how much it will really cost here in Sri Lanka with our depreciating currency), this is not a cheap tablet.

It really doesn’t make it any better that Apple does not include anything in the box; no Apple Pencil, keyboard, or AirPods (they took out the headphone jack remember? So, the only way for you to consume media right out of the box is through the built-in, albeit great, speakers). Hence, to have the complete experience, prepare to dish out another $ 199 for the Smart Keyboard Folio, $ 129 for the Apple Pencil, and $ 159 for those AirPods. If you are as bad at math as I am, that would easily bring your total tab to over Rs. 240,000 (at least!).

My verdict: 
The iPad Pro is a beautifully designed, extremely powerful media tool, and easily the best tablet out there on the market. It’s designed, as the name suggests, for the professionals. This is the caveat: If you are a regular user who does not need massive computing power it is a luxury that you can do without. However, if you are a power user who can harness everything the iPad has to offer, then this investment could be justified, but, you will have to weigh that against buying a MacBook Pro or a similarly powerful Windows laptop.
As always with Apple, you will get a great product that feels great, looks impeccable, and works like a dream. However, at the back of your mind, you’ll always know you are paying a little bit more than what it’s actually worth.


By Janeeth Rodrigo
Janeeth Rodrigo is the General Manager, Digital, of the Derana Media network. He is also the General Manager of IdeaHell, the first and only YouTube MCN and Creator Space in Sri Lanka.