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Nobody needed to convince me that Apple’s at the top of its game when it comes to designing iPad hardware. The 2018 iPad Pro was so fast that more than two years later, it can handle more or less anything that you can throw at it. The 2020 iPad Pro was essentially the same speed—and it didn’t matter.
So here comes the 2021 iPad Pro, which is an even more extreme dunk in terms of features. Adding an M1 processor isn’t going to add the same boost as it did on the Mac side, because the iPad Pro was always powered by an energy-efficient Apple processor. But it’s still an upgrade of two processor generations, and that matters. A new display on the larger model allows Apple to set a new standard for brightness and dynamic range. Thunderbolt accelerates the iPad’s connectivity with other devices.
And yet, in 2021, it feels like the same story: Apple killed it on the hardware side, and the software…well, the software lags behind, to put it nicely. Apple built a spectacular sports car, but where are the roads to drive it on?
The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR display powered by new mini LED technology. Adding this tech has a physical cost (the iPad has gone from 5.9mm to 6.4mm thick, and increased from 1.4 to 1.5 pounds) as well as a monetary one (starting at $1,099, it’s $100 more expensive).
The result, though, is a display that is bright and offers extreme dynamic range, a great boon to pro-level photographers and videographers alike. (It’s probably also going to be great to watch movies on.)
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