M1 iPad Pro: Calmed down after the hype, maybe it’s not for us

When the M1 iPad Pro was announced on the 20th of April, I was so hyped because I was trying to upgrade my 2016 MacBook Pro set-up. iPad Pro supporting the Apple Pencil with the processing power of a laptop? Yes, please. Once I have calmed down from the excitement, I gave this new iPad some thought – is it really the one?

M1

Let’s be honest, M1 in an iPad Pro is nuts. When Apple announced their latest processing chip in the Mac Mini, MacBook Air/Pro November last year, they had the consumer tech world losing our mind. With their second-to-none performance and energy efficiency, it makes very little sense to even consider buying Intel Window laptop at this price point. Now they have taken a step further and put it into their iPad Pro. Fully committing themselves to “Your next computer is not a computer”. 

In reality, A12Z bionic chips in the iPad Pro 2020 is more than fast enough for any iPad apps on the market. The chip is not the limiting factor here. Unless they start allowing us to run professional-grade apps such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro or Xcode on iPadOS, the even faster chip is like giving a few more millions to a billionaire.

Display

The new 12.9″ iPad Pro has the all-new mini-LED display which carries the spec of Apple’s £4600 Pro display XDR. 1600 nits peak brightness, 1000000:1 contrast ratio, 2500 local dimming zone and P3 wide colour gamut. A display that sets the new standard for portable devices for professional use. More accurate colour for photo/video editing and colour grading.

In reality, unless you are getting paid to edit/colour grade and needing the best of the best tool on the market, an average Joe like me and you probably don’t need it. Certainly not needed for those selfies on Instagram or dance battle on Tik-Tok.

Storage and RAM

This year is the first year that Apple let us expand the storage up to 2TB in an iPad. And for the 1TB and 2TB version, they also come with 16GB of RAM. If we put the over-charging aside, it is some seriously good news for those productivity powerhouses with their main device being an iPad Pro. A bigger storage option means you won’t need to carry an external hard drive/SSD with you all the time and higher RAM means more apps can run in the background.

In reality, the majority of the apps running on the iPadOS is optimised for 6GB RAM. An upgrade to the 8GB of RAM is a welcomed gesture to give the device a small boost. But how on earth is an iPad Pro going to utilise 16GB of RAM…

5G

Personally never need the cellular option in an iPad. Although, if you are one of those people in a coffee shop that always has one sip left of your pumpkin spice latte in your mug so no one can judge that you were already sitting there for 5 hours, you might appreciate this new up and coming cellular option to keep you steadily connected for those hours, continue to ignore that poor ol’ granny trying to find a seat to have her cappuccino.

Never buy a tech product based on the promise of future software updates

Should you get the M1 iPad Pro?

iPad Pro has never been more like a laptop until this year Apple decided to put their laptop-standard processing chip into it. The hardware in this year model, for a tablet, is absolutely mind-blowing. But the limiting factor has never been the hardware. Even the previous models, iPad Pro is always at the peak in terms of hardware and benchmark performance. The true limiting factor that is stopping a lot of people to fully migrate to using iPad Pro as their main computer is iPadOS. At least till this moment, iPadOS is not designed to be fully run as a laptop. Don’t get me wrong, they have come a long way. Having multi-tasking, mouse and trackpad support, better file management system etc. It can certainly go head-to-head compete with a lot of ultra-book on the market and out-perform the majority, if not all, of them. But by adding so many “Pro” features like the XDR display, 16GB RAM, thunderbolt 3 port etc, Apple is clearly making a statement here that they want this iPad Pro to be a computing beast rather than an email-writing, note-taking and YouTube-watching device.

If you just want an iPad that does what an iPad already does well, like simple computer task, drawing/note-taking with an Apple pencil, I don’t think this year model is for you. Instead, Amazon is doing a very good deal on the 2020 iPad Pro which will satisfy everything you will want an iPad to do.

But if you are hoping this to be the ultimate mobile work station for you? I would hold out for now as well, at least until the 7th June WWDC event. With what Apple has done with this year iPad Pro, I find it extremely hard to believe that there isn’t any ambitious iPadOS plan in the pipeline to utilise all these powers. They might even let the iPad runs a modified version of MacOS on the iPad Pro seeming they are essentially a laptop with a touch screen and Apple Pencil support. But as a wise man once said, “Never buy a tech product based on the promise of future software updates.” 

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