KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The iPad Pro is a strange beast ― it’s what Apple came up with (probably) to answer the question: what kind of apple ipad could come closest in order to replacing a laptop?

Here’s the thing; I don’t think we should call it a laptop replacement so much as calling it a specialist machine.

You need a very specific use case for it and that’s something I’ll talk about more in my next installment of this review.

What is this article about then? Think of it as a primer so you can talk about Apple’s most powerful portable device (that isn’t a laptop) without sounding like you’re out of your depth.

To the moon

At the heart of this machine is the latest iteration of Apple’s desktop-class processor, the M2 chip.

Tech-wise it’s exactly what most differentiates the new ipad tablet Pros from the base iPad and iPhones.

Is it a better chip? Well, Apple has said the M2 is 18 per cent faster than its predecessor with a 35 per cent faster GPU and a neural engine that works 40 per cent faster.

Compared to older, non M-series processors, the new apple ipad Pro will certainly be a big step up but not so much from last year’s M1 processor chip model.

As for memory, Apple kits out the 128GB, 256GB and 512GB models with 8GB of RAM while the 1TB and 2TB models get twice that at 16GB.

It’s still two choices of display size, with the 12. 9-inch display on the larger model getting a better Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED powered screen while the 11-inch is on a Liquid Retina LED-backlit one instead.

You’re paying more than RM1k to upgrade to the larger design and that mini-LED screen is likely a big part of the cost.

Having experienced it first-hand last year, it is a gorgeous screen and the best in class on a tablet.

On larger real estate, the speed and fluidity of Apple’s ProMotion tech (what it calls its high-refresh rate screen tech) makes sure the screen’s responsiveness can keep up with the processor.

The camera’s nevertheless the same from last year’s with two rear cams — 12MP wide, 10MP ultrawide and a front 12MP ultrawide shooter.

What’s changed after that?

Besides the processor, the biggest difference is what you can do with Apple’s hardware. The M2 unlocks a new Apple Pencil feature exclusive to this model ― “Hover. ”

What it does is allow Apple Pencil users to preview their actions before touching the Pencil to the display merely by holding the Pencil slightly above the particular display, without touching this.

This is especially useful for artists who will be able to preview their actions and thus save time. It’s still a feature that’s not supported for all apps outside of native apps though popular graphic program Procreate has just updated plus includes Hover support.

It's easy to mistake the iPad Pro for a laptop with the Magic Keyboard case. — Picture by Erna Mahyuni

It’s easy to mistake the iPad Pro for a laptop with the Magic Keyboard case. — Picture by Erna Mahyuni

Connectivity-wise, the new iPads also support the faster Wi-Fi 6E protocol and there is support for more 5G networks.

What’s also something to look forward to is the new iPadOS 16 update that includes the app Freeform, the collaborative digital whiteboard you can use to sketch, create charts, pin graphics and the like while being able to share your documents with others.

Apple has also finally released for the iPad the Stage Manager feature that gives it a more desktop-like feel with one main window in the middle with a series of apps within small windows at the side, allowing you to seamlessly switch from one to the other.

Quick summary

In a nutshell, the basic body of the iPad Pro hasn’t changed from last year with the main changes being in the processor, network connectivity and software tweaks. That means it’s a hard sell for those with the iPad Pro M1 (last year’s model).

It’s still a powerful machine and the best pro tablet in its class and if you’ve been waiting to buy a Pro and skipped last year’s, the M2 model is a decent buy.

Now whether you can justify the RM3, 899 starting price for the 128GB 11-inch model or RM5, 399 for the 12. 9-inch display is another question that I’ll look at more closely in the next part of this review.

Coincidentally the video editing app Davinci Resolve has just dropped an ipad tablet version that I’ll be checking out and comparing it with the version on my computer.

Until then, you can peruse the specs of the new iPad Professional M2 online at https://www.apple.com/my/ipad-pro/specs/ .