The 10.5-inch iPad Pro represents Apple deciding to make a tablet with absolutely everything crammed in. The best in audio performance, the cream of the company's mobile screen tech, and all the power that can be crammed inside the metal walls of a digital slate.
Make no mistake: the new iPad Pro is the device that Apple wants you to buy to replace your laptop if you're not going to pay out for a new MacBook.
Ironically, the price is such that – when paired with the necessary accessories– it's not far off the cost of such a device, but the iPad Pro offers something a little different.
It's an entertainment hub that flips to become a mobile work station – the iPad Pro's strength is that it can do many things well, and in a compact form.
There's only so much manufacturers can do to update a tablet these days beyond increasing the specs, as the use case for these devices hasn't altered much over the years, beyond them now being able to serve as pseudo-tablet replacements with the addition of a keyboard.
That said, Apple has shoved all the high-end specs it can into the new iPad Pro, and it really does make a difference – but are they the sorts of things that will really impress consumers, and is it enough to warrant the higher price?
To find out, we're going to try and do what we didn't manage with the first iPad Pro, and write this entire review on the new iPad Pro 10.5 – including photo processing and editing, and with our hands-on pictures of the tablet shot on the iPhone 7 Plus, which has a comparable sensor to the new iPad Pro – and see how easy it is to achieve.
The issues we encountered in 2015 revolved around the ease of switching between apps and uploading pictures to our content management system, as well as the usefulness of the Apple Pencil in replacing a mouse – so will this year be any different?iPad Pro 10.5 price and release date
Let's not mess about here: the price of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro borders on eye-watering. It's £619 / $$649 / AU$$979 for the base model without cellular data – and that's if you only want 64GB storage.
That'll be acceptable for some, but many users will probably want the 256GB model, which hikes the price up to £709 / $$749 / AU$$1129 – and it's £889 / $$949 / AU$$1429 if you want the 512GB model, although that's probably a bit overkill for anyone who doesn't need the security of half a terabyte of space.
This is a surprising jump in price, given that last year's iPad Pro 9.7 cost $$599 / £499 / AU$$899.
There are some key upgrades to the chipset and screen size / technology, but considering that last year's model was perfectly adequate in many ways it's curious that Apple is pushing the cost up once again, and explains the decision to remove the 9.7-inch tablet from its stores.
In terms of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro release schedule, the tablet will begin shipping from June 12 in selected markets, including the US and the UK.Design
If you're familiar with any kind of iPad, then the new iPad Pro isn't going to be a surprise. You've got the same rounded metallic back (and now there's no plastic cut-out at the top of the device for the antennas, which improves the aesthetic) and it's incredibly light in the hand at 469 grams.
Even with the Smart Keyboard attached it's almost impossible to detect the presence of the new iPad Pro when it's thrown in a bag, and on its own it's a great tablet to hold for extended periods.
The protruding camera on the back irks slightly – you'd think that on a device this size there would be space to make it flush – but given that it's using the same sensor as in the iPhone 7, we can see the choice Apple made here.
Keeping the components smaller this way means there's more space for the speakers, which have large resonance chambers to amplify the sounds coming out from the new iPad Pro. We're so glad Apple decided to do this, as the audio from this tablet is just sensational – more on that later.
It's perhaps a shame that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro isn't waterproof, as Apple clearly has the ability to make it so, as it demonstrated with the iPhone 7.