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iPad Pro: Definitive Tablet Experience That's Far From Ready to Replace Your Laptop

It's here. The much anticipated iPad Pro. In short supply and high on hype, one question is on everyone's minds. Does the newest addition to the Apple family live up to its promises? We took it for a test drive, with the intent of seeing just how functional, fast, and capable the iPad Pro is. 

BEAUTY 

At 12.9", the display on the iPad Pro is larger than the 12" Macbook and the Surface Pro 4. In short, this thing is massive. Ginormous. And it isn't just more real estate, Apple packs every pixel they can into that space with a resolution of 2732 x 2048. That's 264 pixels per inch, making it the highest resolution display of any iOS device.  It's beautiful. Describing it doesn't do it justice. The photos below don't do it justice. It truly is stunning. In comparison to my Galaxy Tab S, it was difficult to see a difference in the pixel density. While the Galaxy Tab S has a resolution of 2560 x 1600, giving it a higher pixel density of 288ppi, the smaller display means they both look identical up close. But the sheer grandeur of the iPad Pro display at 12.9" makes more of an impact. Pictures, 3D images, videos, and 4K content all look amazing on the Pro. If you must find a downside here, it's that the display is SO CRISP, that lower resolution images look terrible, with jagged edges all around. 

The iPad Pro isn't simply a beautiful tablet, it's an incredibly powerful one. Apple claims the A9X processor in the iPad Pro has twice the CPU and twice the graphics performance of the previous processor, saying that it "rivals most portable PC's". So we set out to test that statement. We found that the A9X is an insanely powerful chip, handling almost any task thrown at it with the greatest of ease. The 3D rendering capabilities of the iPad Pro are also astonishing. Apps like UMake are perfectly suited to the iPad Pro and its powerful processor and amazing graphics performance. In our testing, we were able to manipulate 3D models without a hitch. Pinching, zooming, and rotating complex models with no issues or stutter. Putting the iPad Pro through 3D Mark revealed that the Pro is far more powerful and capable, graphically, than any tablet around; however it still falls short in of current gen laptops and even the Surface Pro 3 in 3D graphics rendering. 

SOUND

Wow. Wow. Again, a third time, WOW. Absolutely the most impressive feature of the iPad Pro are the speakers and their sound.  The Pro is equipped with 4 speakers, or what may be best described as a 4 speaker sound system. Speakers are arranged with one near each corner to create an immersive “soundstage” experience. These speakers are programmed to change the location of the lows and midranges, whether you are holding the iPad Pro vertically or horizontally. And a new casing design gives the Pro speakers 61 percent more back volume, a wider frequency range and up to 3x more acoustic output than previous iPads. I seriously could go on for hours about the sound. It is stellar. I have never heard such immersive and rich sound from such a small, thin device. The software Apple uses behind the scenes to move the sound around is just short of magic. I spent just shy of 3 hours watching surround sound videos and 4K content on YouTube, testing the sound and richness of the display. The way sound moves and shifts as you spin the tablet is mind bending. Deep, rich, full sound from a device 6.99mm thick. 

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME

We played with many apps on the Pro, and we are impressed with the possibilities of what the iPad Pro could become someday. It's super powerful, with an amazingly rich, high resolution and color accurate screen. Apple obviously wants to hit a soft spot with design professionals, as the most powerful, useful and feature rich apps were the Adobe apps written for Apple's new baby. Adobe Comp is by far the most impressive, allowing us to throw together advertisements, newsletters and brochure layouts of surprising levels of completeness before sending them off for finishing in the full suites on the PC. And that is our first and primary problem. The Pro just isn't a complete productivity tool. It is amazingly good at certain tasks, making some a breeze. The problem is that it lacks the power and the feature set, to allow for beginning to end completion of those tasks. I can start using the Pro for drawing, and layout drafts, then send them to the real computer for completion. This defeats the purpose. The Pro is more of an accessory device, one that is far better at certain tasks than smaller tablets or other external devices like a Wacom tablet. And I wager that some purists in the design community won't even be willing to give up their Wacom tablets until we see more and better software and apps for the Pro. And that is Apple's play here. Apple built the iPad Pro, with the hopes that developers will build an economy around this amazing hardware to make it better, faster, more functional. If you build it, they will come. 

Our second issue is price. This is an EXPENSIVE tablet. REALLY expensive. Mainly, because you can't just buy the iPad Pro. In order to use it effectively, you need the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. I tried using the Wacom stylus and 2 generic styluses in Adobe Draw, Comp and other apps, and no dice. Also, Apple was careful to position the Pro as a tablet first, with it's own accessories. Apple's Mac Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse will not work with it. Interestingly enough, in about 10 seconds, I was able to pair my Samsung Bluetooth Keyboard from my Galaxy Tab Pro, and it worked like a charm. In other words, Apple REALLY wants you to buy the Smart Keyboard and Pencil.  That adds another $260 before tax to the price tag. Otherwise, it's just a really big, beautiful and extremely expensive iPad, which is to say the most expensive way ever to watch YouTube and check Facebook. The iPad Pro comes in 3 flavors, ranging from $799 to $1062. Throw in the mandatory Smart Keyboard and Pencil, and altogether, that brings a fully functional iPad Pro to a whopping $1156 - $1459 after taxes. I know what you are thinking because we thought it too. "For that much money..." Yeah. So we did a quick Google search and found many laptops with Core i7 Quad Core Processors, 512GB SSDs and 2GB or more video cards. In other words, FAR more powerful laptops for the money an iPad Pro will run you. 

In short, the iPad Pro is without question the absolute most powerful, most beautiful tablet we have ever seen. It would still be the best tablet we have ever touched, even if it was 7", 9" or 15". Breathtaking screen, solid design, and the beginnings of an amazing App economy. In 2 years, this may be the ultimate shortcut to completing many tasks. Right now, it's just a really expensive way to start work you will need a real computer to complete. 

How to Download and Install iOS 8 for Your iPhone, iPad, iPod

Apple has released the latest version of their mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad.  It promises significant enhancements and added features.

iOS 8 will work with the iPhone 4s and newer and is already included on the new iPhone 6 devices.  Additionally it works with all iPads with the exception of the first model iPad.  So the full sized iPad 2 and newer as well as all iPad minis are compatible.

You have two ways to get it; either download it directly to your device, or use iTunes via your PC or Mac computer.

Downloading iOS to your device – iPhone or iPad

To download iOS directly to your phone or tablet, first it is recommended that you plug in your device.  If you are not plugging in, it will only download and install if your device has more than a 50% charge.  It is also highly recommend to connect your device to Wi-Fi as well since the download is large and will use a significant amount of your mobile data otherwise.

To initiate the download on the iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General > Software Update and hit the download button. You will need at least 5.7 GB of storage of available memory to complete the download.  You can check your device’s available storage space by clicking Settings > General > Usage.

You can also install iOS via your computer. Simply plug your device into your Mac or PC and open the iTunes software (www.apple.com/itunes to download it if you don’t already have it installed).  You then will select your device and receive a prompt to check for and download updates.

Since millions of users typically rush to get these new iOS updates Apple’s servers are often busy and bogged down by the traffic. You could very well experience slow download speeds and even an error message if the traffic is too high at the time you are trying to download it.

Important things to note

If you are typically an early adopter and like having the latest technology, then getting iOS will likely be fine for you.  Bear in mind however that it is not uncommon for newly released software to have some bugs or quirks.  None are likely major, but if you would like to avoid any potential hassles, you should probably wait at least a few weeks to ensure that the software is stable and Apple has had the chance to fix any potential issues that may arise.

Additionally, it is always best to back-up your device prior to installing such a significant software update.  In the event of a catastrophic failure during the install, you will at least rest easy knowing that your data is safely backed up and can be easily reloaded.  There are many ways to perform a back-up.  The most common and most automatic and easy way is to ensure that iCloud is properly configured to back up your devices data.  You can also back up via iTunes on a computer as well.

What is new in iOS 8

In addition to an updated interface and enhancements to it’s look, there are other new features iOS adds.  We cannot possibly go into all of them, but some of the major changes include an updated photos app, changes to the way the messaging app works for text messaging, keyboard enhancements, new family sharing options, health features, and the new iCloud Drive.

For more details on major new features of iOS 8, visit www.apple.com/ios/whats-new