AnandTech reviews Apple’s new 11-inch iPad Pro: Doubling down on performance

“Built upon the shoulders of the original iPad, the iPad Pro family takes things one step further, building towards not just a bigger and better iPad, but by giving the tablet the features that are needed for productivity and content creation, at both a hardware and a software level,” Brett Howse and Andrei Frumusanu report for AnandTech. “The iPad Pro doesn’t try to be a traditional laptop, but it certainly tries to capture a lot of their usefulness, and this is especially the case for the 2018 iPad Pro.”

“The new design offers a much higher screen-to-body ratio than ever offered before, mimicking what they’ve done with the iPhone lineup. As a result, Apple has more or less reinvented the iPad Pro design, and offers plenty of new features inside and out,” Howse and Frumusanu report. “Apple’s ambitions with the iPad Pro start with their chip design team, which has created the Apple A12X System on a Chip to power the latest iPad Pro. As outlined in our iPhone XS review, the A12 series of SoCs are already well ahead of the ARM competition, and Apple clearly has its sights on the performance levels of x86 CPUs from Intel. A12X features four Apple Vortex CPU cores, double that of the regular A12 in the iPhone, and seven A12 GPU cores which Apple says provides the power of an Xbox One S in a device with a far smaller power budget.”

Apple's iPad Family 12.9-inch iPad Pro (left), 11-inch iPad Pro (center), and 9.7-inch iPad (right)
Apple’s current iPad Family 12.9-inch iPad Pro (left), 11-inch iPad Pro (center), and 9.7-inch iPad (right)

“And while the hardware is fantastic, iOS is starting to feel like it is holding back the iPad Pro in the productivity realm. There is a lot of performance on tap, but getting access to it can be difficult. It really comes down to the app developers to pull the performance out of this iPad,” Howse and Frumusanu report. “At least on an app basis, the silver lining here is that Adobe bringing their Creative Cloud suite to the iPad is definitely a big win for Apple. Done well, and it should showcase the performance of the tablet, along with the Pencil, in ways that many other apps won’t take advantage of… If you are a fan of iOS, and you have a workflow that is suited to its operation, there’s little doubt the new iPad Pro models are going to be a great addition, but considering the price increase over the base iPad, you really have to need that performance to justify the iPad Pro 11-inch.”

Tons more, as usual, in the full review – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s past time for iOS to grow up. Hopefully, Apple is taking notes from the many reviews, such as this one, that call out iOS as a roadblock when it comes to iPad Pro producivity.

That said:

We find that there are many older users longing to make iPad work like a laptop, because that’s what they know.

Take a look at a twelve-year-old who’s only really ever used an iPad for personal computing. It’s an eyeopener. It’s like looking into the future.

The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm. — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

Inexorably, it’s coming:

Computerworld reviews Apple’s new iPad Pro: ‘The best tablet you can get’ – November 14, 2018
What Apple’s iPad Pro enables matters more than what it replaces – November 7, 2018
The Independent reviews Apple’s new iPad Pro: ‘The most powerful, most beautiful tablet you can find anywhere’ – November 6, 2018
The Verge reviews the new iPad Pro: Apple’s approach to iOS is holding back powerful hardware in serious ways – November 5, 2018
John Gruber reviews Apple’s new iPad Pro: ‘A better value than any MacBook Apple has ever made’ – November 5, 2018


  1. The problem for me personified. I have a v3 iPad that I desperAtely want to replace as it is slow and non upgradable in terms of the software but I either spend big money to get real improvements, speed and capabilitie that alas are not yet fully exploited or I go for the cheap option that effectively just does what my present machine does just faster and smoother and will be one obsolete that much quicker. Hardly selling an upgrade to me are they, especially as the improvements I have long desired like more intrinsic drag and drop between apps, flexible connectivity, better cameras, serious future iOS upgrades et al will only ever come to the Pros if ever. So another year goes by without getting that what I expected years ago. That 5 years of iPad neglect has really come back to bite Apple and the belated improvements that have arrived are only available on laptop price machines at the top end.

    1. Both you and I have received five years of solid service from our iPad 3 devices – the first Retina display iPad and the thickest and heaviest 9.7″ iPad that has ever existed. Six months later the dock connector was replaced with the lightning connector and the device was trimmed down a bit.

      Rather than worry so much about your choice, rejoice in the fact that you have choice. If you want to position yourself to take advantage of near term developments in iOS, then go high end. If you would be satisfied with a newer and faster mobile interface to continue doing the things that your iPad 3 currently supports, then go for the low cost option and give iOS a chance to evolve in the ways that interest you. At the very least, your new iPad will sport a much better display and run the latest version of iOS, thus opening the door to some apps that are no longer compatible with our old devices.

      Life is full of choices. Make one. Then live with it and don’t look back because you can’t change that decision. You can only modify it via future decisions.

    2. I don’t know if you need more space, but the current iPad 9.7 @ 329 is a great upgrade for you for a very reasonable price. Its too bad that it was released in 2018 but with the A10 instead of A11 chip, but I guess it may keep the cost down.
      Here’s hoping we see an all-screen 9.7″ with A12 in Spring ’19 without a price gouge to go with it. As I type that I realize that’s nuts, Apple would obviously release such as device for a premium and keep the current one as it. That’s my bet.

  2. iOS is a joke of an OS. Not even remotely suitable for real work, iOS is for those who do nothing but consume.

    I have zero interest in any iPad or iPad Pro. My MacBook is hardly of any size that I notice I have it with me in my bag. I can pull out my MacBook and do real work in any location at a moments notice.

    iOS a nice idea, but Pipeline and his total lack of vision killed it.

    1. Hi Jeeves,
      I will have to repectfully disagree with you in regards to “IOS” is for those who do nothing but consume. I’ve been a traditional artist (Oil, Watercolors, Pastels & Acrylics) for many years and in 2017, decided to go digital with the WACOM Intuos PRO Pin Tablet and the software “Corel Painter” on my Mac, it was a smart decision and it dramatically improved my skill sets.
      The spec’s on the 2nd generation IPAD Pro and the iPencil were so impressive, I took the bait in 2017 again, and it was a smart decision, why?
      Because with the “IOS” versions of Art Studio and the iPAD PRO, I was able to achieve the same experience (painting directly on the iPad screen) as I would, if using the Wacom Cintiq,( Hundreds of Disney’s Artists use) which is a few thousand dollars more than the iPad Pro+IOS Apps while achieving the same results as the Disney Artists. There are a lot of Productivity apps in the market and more being produced for IOS including Adobe Photoshop, now that’s producing, not consuming. And the work is real, because it’s generating income.

      So, There’s A Whole Lot More Than Just Consumption using “IOS” + iPAD Pro, than you are aware of.

  3. I got the new 12.9” iPad Pro and love it. The iPad is great for work as long as you are working mostly on single tasks. iPad is better than my MacBook for annotating a PDF with the Pencil or for taking notes in the lab while analyzing samples. It’s better than the MacBook when standing and showing someone a Keynote presentation.

    My MacBook is better for complex projects requiring the use of multiple apps to merge disparate data into a document or presentation.

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