There is no need to speculate any further. The 2018 iPad Pro has been in the hands of reviewers for four days. And while that is not a lot of time for a complex new device, most of them are ready to pass judgment. And the judgment seems to be nearly universal. The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever made, perhaps overkill with regard to the hardware. But is ultimately a mediocre laptop stand in due to iOS.
Perhaps mobilesyrip said it best when they called it “More than a tablet, less than a computer.”
“That said, the 2018 iPad Pro isn’t without its problems, particularly when it comes to the challenges of using it as a productivity device. The limitations of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system remain at play with the iPad Pro.”
DigitalArts was extremely positive about the device. But they still had the same reservations about pro apps and a true professional workflow.
“The new iPad Pro is a staggeringly powerful creative tool. But the additional performance of the new chips will only be a benefit if app developers really find a way to take advantage of them – the current iPad Pros don’t feel like laggards – but it will be interesting to see what Adobe, Affinity, Autodesk and others can make of the potential of these new iPad Pros.”
Almost all of the reviews spent the time to highlight the price of the tablet and accessories that are sold separately, but are a necessary part of the package. The Apple Pencil is a must for artists. And there is little effort on Apple’s part to present it as a useful tool for anyone else. Every reviewer saw the Pencil as a drawing rather than a writing tool. It will run you $129.
The Smart Keyboard Folio is $179 for the 11″ and $199 for the 12.9″. Writers looking for a commuter computer will need to pony up the extra cash. Be prepared to add these prices to the $799 entry level 11″ iPad Pro and $999 12.9″ iPad Pro. Storage and LTE options will send the price much higher.
That wouldn’t be a problem for the reviewers if the iPad Pro could be a stand in for a professional notebook computer. However, they all agree that while the hardware is ready for that price tag and use case, the software is not.
iPad was initially invented as a middle ground between the smartphone and the laptop that competed with netbooks. The OS and software were optimized for those experiences. It was never intended to replace a professional computer. Yet Apple is now positioning the iPad Pro to do just that. And it certainly could if it were only a matter of hardware. But the iPad Pro is still held back by software that was optimized for more casual experiences.
This has left reviewers confused about who the iPad Pro is for. Is it really just for artists? If so, they should be very happy. Is it for writers, bankers, videographers? All of those occupations would be better served with a comparably priced laptop that might be slower, but does not compromise workflow.
It is too much tablet for casual tablet users with hardware and cost that cannot justify that use case. But it also might be too little computer for those with professional workflows who rely on $1,500 laptops to do their heavy lifting. The better iPad Pro hardware gets, the more limited iOS feels for professional workflows. Despite these reservations, most reviews rated the device between four and five stars.