Apple iPad Pro 2020 Complete Walkthrough: The Computer Replacement
Apple has tried to tell consumers that they can replace their computers with an iPad for a while now. But along side the latest iPad Pro that was just released, they finally gave in to giving it a feature that might really help that concept. They gave iPadOS mouse support and even launched their own new Magic Keyboard cover with a trackpad built-in.
Well, while the Magic Keyboard isn’t coming for a while, I did at least order the new iPad Pro and have been using it long enough to do a complete walkthrough on it.
Now, if you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on this channel is where I try and go through ever single feature I possibly can on a new device so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there’s a lot to go through. So let’s get started with the hardware.
The new iPad comes in two screen sizes: 11” and 12.9”, which is the one I have here. Both models are identical though in every way except for the size of the screen (duh), the weight (also duh), and battery size so this video should still work for you regardless of which one you’re checking out.
Compared to the previous iPad Pro 2018 models, the dimensions are exactly the same except that the weight has increased by about 10 grams for the 12.9” model and less than 5 grams for the 11” model.
That screen is an LED IPS panel with a 264 pixel per inch resolution (so 2732×2048 on this 12.9” model). It has a 120hz refresh rate (Apple calls it ProMotion) and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
It also has an anti reflective coating with Apple claiming just 1.8% reflectivity and it can hit 600-nits of brightness. All of this is identical to the 2018 iPad Pro, by the way.
Also supposedly they all have a fingerprint-resistant coating on them, but, well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smudge-freeiPad screen. Right?
Something to note about this screen though, is that’s more subtle when comparing it to all the other non-pro iPad models, the edges are rounded instead of square.
Above, or uh, to the left depending how you’re using it, we have our TrueDepth front facing camera. This is a 7MP camera with an f2.2 aperture and here’s what that looks like and sounds like as well as where your eyes are aimed when it’s used in landscape more and that camera is on the left.
That camera is also paired with a dot projector to project dots on your face to make it easier to map, an infrared camera to read those dots, and a flood illuminator to add more infrared light if needed.
And yes, this is the exact same setup as the last iPad Pro.
This whole setup, of course, does allow for the well-praised FaceID to work to sign into the device as well as use it for Safari to input your login data on sites, download apps from the App Store, etc.
Moving around the device, we have on the left… or is that the top?
OK then, on the left, we have a microphone as well as few of our numerous magnets located around the device. These are useful to connect to accessories like the Apple Smart Keyboard for example.
On the right, we have our volume up and down keys and a magnetic connector to attach the Apple Pencil 2 to. This pencil can be stored there but also uses it to pair to the device as well as get charged by it.
Also, on this side there would be a nano SIM card tray here if this was the LTE model.
On the top, we have three microphones used for recording audio and noise cancellation (out of a total of five on here by the way).
We have a top button that is used to bring up Siri (you can also say Hey Siri as well with the screen on or off, by the way). You can also tap it and volume up to get a screen shot, it and volume down and hold them to get power options and occasionally the iPad will have you double tap it to confirm a purchase.
Also on the top we have two of our four speakers that are on the device.
The other two are here on the bottom (which becomes the sides when using the iPad and works better for stereo).
We also have our USB-C port here that can be used to charge the 36.71Wh battery inside this 12.9” model (it’s 28.65Wh in the 11” mode). So let’s do an albeit unscientific test and see how the battery does streaming a 1080P video on 50% brightness.
The iPad is also capable of 18W charging and comes with an 18W charger in the box. So again, let’s see how that does.
Moving around to the back of the device, we have our new cameras.
First, we have a 12MP f1.8 aperture camera that is the same as the 2018 iPad Pro and has a sensor size of ⅓” with 1.22 micron-sized pixels.
An addition to this model compared to the last iPad Pro’s, we also have a 10MP f2.4 aperture ultrawide camera with a 125-degree field of view.
Really quickly, let’s go through the camera modes.
- Panorama: This let’s you start to take a photo and then pan the iPad to have it stitch images together to create a wider, panoramic shot.
- Square: Which crops the image to a 1×1 square.
- Portrait Mode: We have portrait mode (that only works on the front camera for some reason) but this mode allows you to add a shallow depth of field look to mimic a mirror less camera with a fast aperture for example.
- Slow Mo: Let’s you record a video in 1080P at either 120 FPS or 240 FPS so you can play it back at 30 to get either 4x or 8x slow-motion.
- Time lapse: Let’s you record a video and it’ll automatically play back sped up.
We can also record video in up 4K resolution at 60fps.
Lastly, about the camera, we have the addition of a Lidar sensor.
Now, I won’t go too in-depth in this video on how this works (let me know in the comments if you want a full LiDAR Decodr episode–my new explainer series on the channel you can check out at the link here), but suffice it to say here that LiDAR is basically the light equivalent of radar.
So in a nutshell, it uses pulses of lasers to bounce off objects in front of it and the time it takes for that light to come back to the sensor to determine the size, shape, and distance of things around it.
Now, why is that on the new iPad Pro? Well, the idea is that it can be used to work better to detect objects for say augmented reality (technically also portrait mode I would imagine but since that isn’t enabled on the rear camera, I can’t test it for now).
The issue is that Apple has just opened up the API for developers to use this LiDAR sensor to get better spatial maps etc. but right now no one has really taken full advantage of it yet (with a few mentioned to be doing so later this year in a press release on Apple’s site).
Right now, without them updating their code (according to that same Apple press release, at least) you will at least notice that, say, things coming in between the AR item and the camera actually more accurately block out that thing as they would in real life and that apps will just feel more accurate. I can confirm that the Apple Measure app does feel a bit better though at least.
But that’s about it as it’ll take time for developers to fully utilize this sensor and I’m sure it’ll make for more accurate AR in general but I’d venture a guess that most of you watching this don’t use many if any AR apps very often so not sure if that will matter much to you really.
Which brings us to the software.
The iPad Pro is running the latest iPadOS 13.4 but all previous iPads with an A8/A8X chip or later will get this update as well so that means the following:
- All iPad Pro models
- iPad Air 2 and later
- iPad 5th gen and later
- iPad Mini 4 and later
So, the experience of using any of those devices will be similar to here.
Really quick though, let’s go through some of the more notable features.
Firstly, some features that aren’t new but I think are important to show for anyone who is planning to try and use this device to replace a computer as many people are curious about that.
Using it for work, and thanks to the larger size of this iPad, I, and you will probably, almost exclusively use it in landscape mode and connected to a keyboard of some sort (except to maybe write notes on it too more mimic a piece of paper).
When doing this, you can set the iPad to put your widgets on the left of the first screen and push your apps on that screen closer together making for a much better use of the space in my opinion.
Then you have your dock at the bottom of the screen (that autohides when you’re using an app) and you can put any of the apps or even folders there for quicker access by swiping up from the bottom of the screen only as high as the dock is and letting go.
You can then use the dock when an app is already open to tap, briefly hold and pulling it up and over the current app (holding too long will invoke that you want to edit the home screen). You’ll then be able to drag it to the right or left to have it take up half the screen with that current app on the other half (and the split in the middle can be dragged to adjust the ratio or slide it all the way over to full screen the app).
Once like this you can use both together and you can even swipe this away and then bring up the multitasking view and the collection of two apps will remain that way to be able to go back to easily (your can do this multiple times as well but as soon as an app is in one of these you can’t put it in another one or it’ll move to that new one).
Lastly, with this you can pull out a third app (or even do this with the second one) and let it go over the other one(s) to have it become a floating window that will attach itself to the left or right side of the screen (and you can move it from one to the other).
If you put it on the right side, you can also swipe this off to the right to dismiss it, but then swipe back in from off the right side to bring it back. You can also do this with multiple apps and then use the line at the bottom to swipe left and right to cycle through them or swipe up on it to see all of the apps you have open in this sidebar way.
OK, as for new features in iOS 13.4 that are particularly notable.
First, we have iCloud File Sharing support now. This means that you can now share folders from your iCloud account in the same way you can share DropBox or Google Drive folders, making it a bit more useful.
A feature super helpful for people with impaired motor skills, I think it’s also something everyone should check out as it might be useful for anyone is Full Keyboard Access. It’s located under Accessibility and once turned on it gives you about 50 customizable keyboard shortcuts that allow you to control the iPad from the connected keyboard.
Things like launching apps but more interestingly the ability to invoke the Notification Center, mimic making selections and swipes, multiple finger gestures, etc.
And finally, a big one: mouse/trackpad support.
Apple has always been against putting mouse support in to their iPads and even last June made it clear at the time that the feature was only meant to be used as an accessibility feature first and foremost—meant for users who literally cannot access their devices without a mouse.
It would seem Apple has finally decided to add it as a main feature, as it’s now here and not in the accessibility section as it was found in previous betas. On top of that, Apple even launched a keyboard with a trackpad built in that I mentioned won’t be out till May called the Magic Keyboard.
Regardless, it’s a feature that a lot of people have been asking for for a long time and with iOS 13.4, it’s actually here.
You can simply connect a mouse via Bluetooth (or one of those keyboards, as mentioned) with a trackpad built-in and now use it almost as you would a normal mouse.
I say almost as Apple has added some of their own flair to the way it works by having the cursor change from a fingertip of sorts to a text cursor based on the context, as well as slightly “magnetizing” to icons and selectable items on the screen when you get close enough to them.
Honestly, it’s not a big change from the way you’re used to using a mouse in that respect and it’s kind of a nice touch.
The iPad Pro 2020 is available now starting at $799 for the 11” model and $999 for the 12.9” model in the WiFi only variety. You can also add an extra $150 to either of those to get it with LTE connectivity, as well.
Now, in regards to using the iPad Pro as a computer replacement, I have a few things I think are worth mentioning.
Firstly, trackpad support isn’t implemented terribly well yet. Trying to use it in most apps, feels very much like it’s an accessibility feature mimicking you finger, but, of course, this is to be expected since it’s a new feature and it’l take time for developers to adopt it, if they even do, and it’ll be interesting to see how they do (i.e. the app recognizes there is a mouse connected and changes the UI, who knows). One app that does work well with the mouse though is Safari. And so I managed to get around a lot of the frustration by simply using the website version of whatever I was trying to do (if it was available).
The thing that I can’t get over though is the fact that, with an optional extra of a keyboard and mouse, even in a single unit like the $299 starting price for the Magic Keyboard. You’re looking at $1100 or so for the smallest model.
Even without looking at another manufacturer, Apple also sells a really good computer starting at $999: the new MacBook Air.
Sure, I hear you saying but what about the ability to draw using the Apple Pencil on it? Ok well that’s another $129.
Wacom the company that is super popular for making styluses for computers has an entry level pen and tablet that plugs into your computer and it’s $69.
So with that you could get the i5 quad-core model of the Air and Wacom tablet for the just about same price.
But, hey let me know in the comments below what you think about it being a computer replacement and I’m sure there’s some of you out there whose work flow might be better still on the iPad Pro vs the MacBook Air so let me know about that as I’m curious frankly.
Thanks for reading!