WWDC 2017 Round-up

A sleek, smooth iPad Pro with more screen space

A participant checking out the ARKit augmented reality tool on a new iPad Pro at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, last week. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is powered by the new Apple A10X Fusion chip, which Apple claims is
A participant checking out the ARKit augmented reality tool on a new iPad Pro at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, last week. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is powered by the new Apple A10X Fusion chip, which Apple claims is faster than the main processors in most laptops.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Apple has introduced a 10.5-inch iPad Pro (starting from $968), replacing the 9.7-inch version. Trevor Tan takes a sneak peek.

DESIGN

If you put the 10.5-inch iPad Pro beside the 9.7-inch model, you would not be able to tell the difference at a glance.

They look similar, with the same sleek aluminium solid unibody chassis and chamfered edges. The locations of the volume buttons, Smart Connector, SIM card tray, camera and True Tone flash are the same.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro even has the same 6.1mm thickness of the 9.7-inch model, but it is slightly wider and taller. However, I found that the new tablet could fit snugly into the tablet compartment of my laptop bag, which was designed for old iPads.

At 477g (Wi-Fi + 4G model), the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is only 33g heavier than the 9.7-inch version. But it is 0.8mm thinner and 215g lighter than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The weight loss and smooth surfaces mean it is great to hold the 10.5-inch iPad Pro in your hands without fatigue setting in.

It is also a good amount of weight off your shoulders when placed in your backpack.

DISPLAY

You would think the slight 0.8-inch increase in screen size would be minimal. But, in reality, it gives you that extra screen real estate without the bulk of the 12.9-inch model.

  • 30% How much faster the new Apple A10X Fusion chip, which powers the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, is supposed to be compared with the A9X chip found on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

    40% How much faster its graphics performance is supposed to be.

The 10.5-inch (2,224 x 1,668 pixels) display supposedly comes with the best anti-reflective coating in the industry. While seeing your own reflection is inevitable, I do find watching movies or playing games to be less intrusive.

The display's ProMotion technology delivers refresh rates of up to 120Hz. Whether it is swiping on the screen or doodling on Notes, I found the response to be smoother than that of previous iPads.

PERFORMANCE

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is powered by the new Apple A10X Fusion chip that Apple claims is faster than the main processors in most laptops.

It is supposed to deliver up to 30 per cent faster processing performance and 40 per cent faster graphics performance than the A9X chip found on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

The new model scores 4,144 (single-core) and 9,797 (multi-core) in the Geekbench 3 benchmark test. By comparison, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro scored 3,076 in the single-core test and 5,291 in the multi-core test.

There is no lag when playing the graphics-intensive game Implosion. Textures are smooth and the lighting effects are fantastic.

ACCESSORIES

Along with the launch of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, there is now a new Leather Sleeve ($188) that comes in brown, taupe, black and blue. It has a soft micro-fibre lining to protect the iPad. On top of the sleeve, there is a holder to store your Apple Pencil. Finally.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro has its own Smart Keyboard ($248). Its magnetic strip docks with the iPad Pro's Smart Connector. Folded, it works like Apple's usual Smart Cover to protect the display. Unfolded, it becomes a full-sized keyboard.

As it is a direct connection and draws power from the iPad, you do not need to charge it or pair it using Bluetooth. Just unfold, dock the iPad Pro and type away.

I found that you can tuck the 10.5-inch iPad Pro - with the Smart Keyboard attached and folded - into the Leather Sleeve. These two accessories are all you need on the go.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'A sleek, smooth iPad Pro with more screen space'. Print Edition | Subscribe