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Hands-On With the New M4 OLED iPad Pro

Today is the official launch day of the new iPad Pro models, and these updated tablets mark the biggest feature and design refresh that we’ve seen for the ‌iPad Pro‌ in several years. We picked up one of the new 13-inch models to check out everything new.

When it comes to design, Apple is still offering 11-inch and 13-inch size options and the look hasn’t changed a whole lot, but the bezels are slimmer and the iPads themselves are super thin. The 13-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ is the thinnest device Apple has made to date at 5.1mm, while the 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ is 5.3mm.

With the 13-inch model weighing in just over a pound, the decrease in weight and size is noticeable and makes it feel much more portable. The 11-inch model is under a pound, so it’s even easier to carry around. This is a design change that you’ll feel if you’ve used a 2018 or later ‌iPad Pro‌.

The OLED display is, unsurprisingly, super nice. It’s bright, the colors are vibrant, the blacks are incredibly black, and the contrast is much improved. The mini-LED display of the prior-generation 13-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ was good, but this is better. Still, if you have that one, it’s probably not worth upgrading for OLED. Nano-texture, an add-on option for higher-end models, cuts down on glare, but it also diminishes the OLED display a bit because of the matte finish.

Apple moved the camera to the landscape edge of the ‌iPad Pro‌, which makes a lot of sense because most people are probably using it in that orientation. Video calls no longer require turning the iPad into an awkward position if you have a keyboard attached. Note that Apple did pull the Ultra Wide camera, so there’s just a single Wide lens and a LiDAR sensor.

The M4 chip is incredibly fast, fast enough that it’s likely most people purchasing an ‌iPad Pro‌ aren’t going to be able to take full advantage of its capabilities. It’s going to be hard to max this chip out, and it’ll handle audio and video editing with ease. Apple is focusing heavily on AI with its new operating system updates, so those AI will be able to take advantage of that processing power, and it’ll come in handy for future proofing.

If you want to use the ‌iPad Pro‌ for anything that involves typing, the Magic Keyboard is a must. It’s priced starting at $299, but it’s thin, light weight, and the aluminum hand rest makes it feel Mac-like. It’s got good key travel and the glass trackpad is a major improvement.

For Apple Pencil users, the ‌Apple Pencil‌ Pro’s haptic feedback is the most noticeable change. With the squeeze gesture, you can swap tools more quickly and have more feedback when creating sketches and art. Barrel roll also lets you use the ‌Apple Pencil‌ more like an actual writing or drawing implement. The ‌Apple Pencil‌ charges magnetically, and pairs automatically, like prior versions.

The only real downside to the ‌iPad Pro‌ is the software that it’s running. iPadOS is still so limited compared to macOS, especially for multitasking and app functionality. Federico Viticci’s recent writeup on the iPadOS basics that Apple gets wrong is well worth a read. Still, there are some workflows that are adaptable to the ‌iPad Pro‌, and it’s a great portable machine. If you’re a person who can make use of a tablet, this is the best one you can get.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now)

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