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Apple iPad Pro M2 review in progress
High speed, high price.
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I've been tinkering with the new iPad Pro M2 for a couple of days now, and it sure is a fast iPad. I've not quite done enough testing to write my full review, but these are my thoughts so far.
- Hover is neat. Hover is one of the iPad Pro M2's key new features, and it's pretty nifty. When using the 2nd generation Apple Pencil with the new iPad Pro, the tablet can detect it up to 12mm above the display, giving you a preview of your mark before you see it. It's especially useful when using less conventional brush shapes. While the concept isn't new, it's nice to see it make its way to iPad. This functionality also works even when you're not drawing; select UI elements like app icons will enlarge as you hover the Pencil above them.
- M2 performance. While not everyone will need the silly fast speed offered by Apple's M2 processor, it genuinely makes a difference for more demanding activities. For example, opening a 48MP ProRAW for editing in the Photos app takes up to seven seconds on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, while it's instant on the M2 iPad Pro. I'm keen to explore a few more Pro-grade applications and do some more direct comparisons to previous models to get a more accurate gauge, but the M2 iPad Pro certainly seems promising.
- The promise of more Pro-grade apps. I'm very excited that DaVinci Resolve is coming to iPad, given its stature in the video industry. I'd like to see Apple lead by example, however, and bring over its own applications like Final Cut Pro and Logic.
- More expensive. Both iPad Pro models got more expensive this year. You're looking at $1,399 for a WiFi-only 11-inch model, or $1,849 for a WiFi-only 12.9-inch model. In both cases, that's at least $200 more than their predecessors. Both the 2nd generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard have seen small price increases too. The Apple Pencil is now $219, up $20, while the Magic Keyboard got a $40 bump to $489 for an 11-inch model. The 12.9-inch keyboard sells for $579 now.
- Unambitious battery life. Both new iPad Pro models have the same "up to ten hours" battery life the rest of the iPad family does. It would be great to see Apple go a little further with this, especially given the stunning battery on devices like the M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro.
- Fairly minor update. Other than the new processor, hover, and WiFi 6E connectivity, not much has changed this time around. While the new iPad Pro clearly isn't meant for those who already have a 2021 model, I would have liked to see a landscape selfie camera like with the new 10th generation iPad. It would have also been nice if the Reverse Wireless Charging rumour panned out.
The iPad Pro M2 is a fairly minor refresh of the iPad Pro, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Don't fix what ain't broken, after all. As with most iPads, the new Pro is the kind of device you go out and buy when your old iPad is on its last legs (or can't keep up with your workload), rather than a "rush out and upgrade" sort of deal.
At the same time, the increased pricing poses questions around use cases. You're now well and truly spending MacBook money on the iPad Pro after you factor in a keyboard, and in many ways, a MacBook is a more versatile machine. I'll be keen to spend more time with iPadOS's enhanced multitasking, however, to see just how much of a difference that makes.
How much does the iPad Pro M2 cost in Australia?
The iPad Pro M2 starts at $1,399 in Australia for a 128GB 11-inch WiFi-only model, or $1,849 for a 128GB 12.9-inch WiFI-only model. Pricing maxes out at $4,099 for a 2TB 12.9-inch model with 5G.
You can also get the iPad Pro M2 on a plan from Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. Here are the cheapest 24-month options for the 11-inch model.
And here are the cheapest 24-month plans for the 12.9-inch model: