First look: Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch)

Apple has launched the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is priced from  $968.
Apple has launched the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is priced from $968. PHOTO: AFP

Apple has introduced a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro (starts from $968) that replaces the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Here is a sneak peek.

DESIGN

If you put the 10.5-inch iPad Pro with the 9.7-inch model side by side, you would not be able to tell the difference at first glance.

They look similar with the same sleek aluminium solid unibody chassis and chamfered edges. The location 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 due to its bigger screen. I found that the tablet compartment of my laptop bags, which has been designed for old iPads, to be able to fit the new tablet snugly.

At 477g (for the Wi-Fi + 4G model), the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is only 33g heavier than the 9.7-inch model. 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. 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.

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.

Furthermore, the display now comes with ProMotion technology that delivers refresh rates up to 120Hz. So whether it is swiping on the screen or doodling on Notes, I found the response to be smoother than previous iPads I have used.

PERFORMANCE

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is powered by the new Apple A10X Fusion chip, which Apple claims to be faster than the main processors in most PC 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 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.

In addition, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has its own Smart Keyboard ($248). Its magnetic strip docks to the iPad Pro's Smart Connector. When folded, it works like Apple's usual Smart Cover to protect the display. Unfold the Smart Keyboard to use it as 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.