iPad Pro 2022 review: For experienced Apple Pencil users

iPad Pro 2022 review: For experienced Apple Pencil users

Yes, the iPad is a computer. No it’s not a perfect laptop replacement Again. But even though the paths of iPad and Mac are increasingly converging, the latest 2022 iPad Pro isn’t really trying to be more laptop-like. Instead, the Pro, released with the new 10th generation iPad, presents itself as a better tool for artists who use the Apple Pencil stylus.

I am not one of these artists, but I appreciate the proposal. The newest iPad Pro isn’t much more than a spec bump, adding a new M2 processor to replace the older M1, plus faster connectivity with Wi-Fi 6E and optional 5G now supporting faster Millimeter wave bands compared to last year. I’ve just started testing the new iPad Pro, so consider this an ongoing review, and I’ll update it as testing continues.

The previous iPad Pro refresh came in Spring 2021, so it’s been a while. This model added the M1 chip, 5G and a Mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch version, and even that mostly felt like a spec bump after the 2020 version which added the new magic keyboard case and its lidar-compatible rear cameras.

The iPad Pro range remains the same price as before, but it’s expensive: the 12.9-inch model I reviewed starts at $1,099 (£1,249, AU$1,899) with just 128GB of storage, clocking in at $2,199 (£2,499, AU$3,829) for 2TB of storage. Getting the 5G-enabled version costs an extra $200, and accessories like the Pencil 2 and keyboard cases will drive the price up even further. The cheapest 12.9-inch iPad Pro costs more than two 10th generation iPads.

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Display and design: still beautiful, but less distinctive

To be clear, the iPad Pro is a beautiful, beautiful machine. It’s extremely fast, has a slew of cameras, and its front and rear cameras have depth sensors that could be used for AR or 3D scanning, if you want to play with this technology. Its speakers and screen are excellent, especially on the 12.9-inch model.

The larger 12.9-inch iPad is still the only new Pro that has that beautiful Mini-LED display tech that’s also in Apple’s latest Macbook Prowhich means the 11-inch version might not be worth considering (the ipad air, after all, also has an M1 processor). The iPad Pros have 120Hz displays using Apple’s ProMotion variable refresh rate technology, just like the iPhone 13 Pro and 14 Pro, which is really nice to scroll and use – it’s so smooth .

iPad Pro rear cameras, alongside Apple Pencil

The iPad Pro’s rear camera array still has lidar. Its design and cameras are exactly the same as last year.

Scott Stein/CNET

However, Apple’s iPad lineup has now shifted to this kind of iPad-Pro-like design, while dropping features further down the line based on price. The Air doesn’t have Face ID or rear lidar/dual cameras, or a larger display with Mini-LED (or 120Hz displays, or the faster Wi-Fi and 5G mmWave connectivity), but it does. has 2 pencil holder and a quick M1 chip. The all-new 10.2-inch iPad 10th Gen cuts screen quality a little further and doesn’t support the Pencil 2 (or Magic Keyboard case support), but adds a better-centered front camera.

5G speeds, at my house, were around 569 Mbps on Verizon. Your mileage may vary, especially given how fast my local cellular networks are.


Geekbench results on iPad Pro with M2.

Scott Stein/CNET

M2 chip: Certainly faster, but what for?

The M2 upgrade on the new iPad Pro is best if you were already planning on making a purchase (price tiers remain the same as the last model), but the speed gains are still steadily incremental. The arrival of the M1 on the iPad Pro was more dramatic a year ago.

In Geekbench 5, for example, the single-core gains are so modest that they’re not much better than the M1 iPad Air. On multi-core benchmarks, however, there’s a more noticeable increase, but still not a massive one. By comparison, though, that’s more than double the multitasking speed of the 10th-gen iPad’s A14 processor. (My review model also came with 16GB of RAM.)

For anyone looking to use an iPad for heavy graphics work or photo or video editing, the M2 could be a welcome upgrade. For me, iPads have long since passed the speed threshold I need for what I do with them.

And, keep in mind, Apple hasn’t made headway in changing the equation on the iPad feeling closer to a Mac. iPadOS 16.1 will enable true second screen support with monitors via Manager, running four apps on a connected monitor in addition to those on the iPad Pro screen. I’ve wanted this for a while, but Stage Manager is still a really uneven experience that feels like a living beta. You’re probably better off waiting until next year, unless you’re hungry for that extra monitor stand now. (Also, any M1-equipped iPad, including the Air, will work this way.)

Crayon 2 hovering over iPad screen

The pencil hover on the iPad Pro is a potentially great feature to find out which apps will use it.

Scott Stein/CNET

Pencil overview: what will you use it for?

The showiest feature of these new pros is a “floating pencil” feature that recognizes the pencil tip at close distance from the screen, causing certain icons and tools to move or animate before you touch them, or even potentially preview the effects. graphics before selecting them. . Other tablets, laptops, and phones allowed their styluses to have a hover indicator before this, so the idea isn’t new.

Apple says the M2 chip is what helps enable the Pencil 2 experience; this feature will not work on other iPads. There are also very few apps that use this feature at the moment. This is potentially interesting, but when I hover my pencil over the iPad screen and see a highlight of its cursor before pressing it, it doesn’t really change the equation yet.

iPad Pro, with Magic Keyboard case and pencil.

The iPad Pro’s front camera is still on the side edge, not the top landscape edge where it should be.

Scott Stein/CNET

Design: The best new feature of the 10th generation iPad is missing

My concern is how much Apple flexes the iPad Pro on the road. This form has remained the same for three years, while Apple continues to upgrade the chips inside. Having M1 processors and full keyboards and trackpads, and now monitoring support, suggests that these iPads may eventually merge with the Mac lineup after all. Apple keeps denying it, but what if they do? Will those pricey iPad Pros be the ones you want, or should you wait for the next ones?

What I miss the most is the 10th Gen iPad’s new FaceTime front-facing camera, which is now on the horizontal edge and makes zooms and video chats look properly positioned, like on laptops. This is a pretty pro feature for me, and until the iPad Pro fixes its camera alignment, I’m going to shy away from it as my Zoom device of choice.

Does it even matter to you? Or do you want a versatile tablet with a pencil that offers more than a laptop? If it’s the latter, the new Pro may be worth the investment for artists using the graphics potential for their workflow. Otherwise, I’d say skip this generation of iPad Pro, wait a bit, and see what Apple cooks up next.

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