Is the Apple iPad Pro Worth It? 6 Factors to Consider
Apple has always positioned its iPad Pro line as the computing device of the future. That vision continues to take shape with 2020 models.
Let’s take a look at three reasons to jump in and purchase the 11-inch iPad Pro, plus three reasons Apple’s premium tablet might not be for you.
Reasons to Buy the 11-Inch iPad Pro
While the iPad Pro might not be for everyone, here are some great reasons to upgrade.
1. It Brings iPhone Technology (and More) to the iPad Line
While Apple always introduces its most cutting-edge features on the iPhone, the iPad Pro has also received many of the same technologies. You won’t find those on other iPad models.
One of the best features of the iPad Pro is Face ID. This biometric feature takes the place of Touch ID and uses special technology to recognize your face and unlock the device. It’s more secure than Touch ID and is seamless to use.
As a big plus, since there’s no need for a home button and fingerprint scanner, the screen can take up the majority of the device. That means saying goodbye to bezels (mostly). Another advantage compared to the iPhone is that the iPad’s Face ID works in both portrait and landscape mode.
The 11-inch iPad also sports a similar dual-camera array to that found in the iPhone 11, with a wide and ultra-wide lens. That can help you find the perfect framing for a photo or video.
And the iPad Pro even offers something no current iPhone does—a LiDAR scanner. The technology determines distance by measuring how long light takes to reach an object and reflect back. The tool will help improve augmented reality features in the future.
2. The USB-C Connection Opens Up a World of Possibilities
Another key feature of the 11-inch iPad Pro is smaller than the screen, but easily as important. Instead of a Lightning connector for charging, Apple has made the move to USB-C.
That vastly expands the number of accessories you can use with an iPad Pro . Some of the options include the ability to transfer data to and from devices like cameras; it can even drive up to a 5K external monitor.
In fact, you’ll be able to charge an iPhone using the USB-C port on the iPad Pro, as long as you have the correct cable. The USB-C connection even allows you to plug in external storage devices like a hard drive or flash drive.
As USB-C continues to become the standard across the industry, Apple is setting up the iPad Pro to be a true computer replacement now and in the years to come.
3. The Apple Pencil and Apple Magic Keyboard Upgrade the Tablet
The iPad Pro is great on its own. But the optional Apple Pencil and Apple Magic Keyboard can take the tablet to its full potential.
Now that iPadOS fully supports trackpad and mouse input, the tablet is one step closer to being a true MacBook replacement. And the Apple Magic Keyboard is the best way to take advantage of this feature.
Along with a full-sized backlit keyboard similar to what you’d see on a MacBook, there’s also a built-in trackpad. So instead of using your finger to interact with the iPad Pro, you can use the trackpad for a more traditional experience.
It also supports a number of multi-touch gestures, just like the MacBook. For example, you can open the dock by simply sliding your finger down past the bottom of the screen.
The second-generation Apple Pencil sports a number of much-needed improvements. The best news is that the annoying cap and Lightning connector are gone. In its place, the Apple Pencil magnetically attaches to the tablet for both charging and pairing.
When using the stylus, which offers a matte finish and a squared edge, you can double-tap to select a different tool or brush. Third-party developers can also integrate the tap gesture into their Pencil-compatible apps. It’s a great way to draw or bring note-taking into the digital world.
Reasons Not to Buy the 11-inch iPad Pro
On the other side of the coin, there are some strong arguments why you should skip the 11-inch iPad Pro and look for another Apple tablet.
1. It’s the Most Expensive iPad Pro Ever
You’re not dreaming; the 11-inch iPad Pro is a huge step up in the price category. The 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB flavors of the Wi-Fi-only model are more than the previous generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro. And the 1TB version tops out at $1,449.
The second-generation Apple Pencil is $129, which is $30 more than the original. An Apple Smart Keyboard is $299.
For a complete package of a Wi-Fi + Cellular 1TB iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Apple Smart Keyboard, you’ll be out $1,877. The same 12.9-inch model with all the accessories would be $2,127. That’s a steep price to pay—more than most of Apple’s high-end laptops.
2. iPadOS Software Is Still Catching Up to iPad Pro Hardware
The 11-inch iPad Pro hardware is made for the long haul. But the iPadOS software still has some catching up to do.
Stating with iPadOS 13, Apple has made a concerted effort to create and improve features specifically for the tablet, including the iPad Pro. Some of the best additions include a number of multitasking and text editing gestures . Along with full mouse and trackpad support, the software has made some strides to live up to the Pro moniker and move closer to the true multitasking powerhouse of a Mac.
But learning all of the features and gestures can be overwhelming, and they still aren’t as intuitive as on a Mac. And while some desktop-class apps have come to iPadOS, it’s still a slow process.
3. The Future Leaves a Number of Features Behind
The 11-inch iPad Pro offers lots of impressive features. But it also leaves a number of other functions behind. One of the biggest of these is the headphone jack. Just like with the iPhone line, Apple made the choice to drop the ubiquitous audio port in the name of making the iPad smaller and thinner.
While you can still use wired headphones with the tablet, your purchase doesn’t even include a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter. This means that after spending a cool $1,000 on an iPad, you’ll still need to purchase the $9 adapter separately. When using the adapter, you’ll be unable to charge the tablet. And forget your Lightning cable headphones, as those won’t work with the USB-C port.
You’ll also have to say goodbye to Touch ID with the 11-inch iPad Pro. While Face ID works just as well, many users have grown fond of the fingerprint-based authentication method. Face ID requires some change as you need to look directly at the screen, so there’s no more unlocking an iPad lying on a table.
So if you’re averse to change, beware this model.
Should I Buy an iPad Pro?
If you’re looking for the most bleeding-edge technology in an Apple tablet and have the money to spend, it’s hard to go wrong with the 11-inch iPad. It should easily meet your needs now and for many years to come.
But if you want to spend less money and mostly use your iPad for basic tasks like web surfing or watching videos, there are better options. Take a look at our iPad buying guide for more advice, and make sure you know the best time to buy an Apple device.
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