Apple’s latest iPad Pro is a mature, iterative update to the best iPad you can buy. It’s been almost 18 months since Apple updated its iPad Pro (the last version was in May 2021), and Apple clearly saw no reason to change its design: the new version looks identical to the previous one, even until in colors. The biggest new thing about the latest iPad Pro is the new, high-performance Apple M2 processor that powers it.
This is the same M2 chip released earlier this year in the latest macbook pro 13-inch MacBook Air and new design. Unsurprisingly, it promises extremely good performance, which Apple claims is faster than any chip in any other tablet, including its own. Since iPad Pros are here to ensure the most demanding users have a smooth, stutter-free experience, it only makes sense that Apple would install its latest and most efficient chip.
Apple has upgraded its two iPad Pro models for 2022, with the 11-inch iPad Pro starting at $799 and the 12.9-inch version starting at $1,099 (this review focuses on the latter). Both have the same story – same design as their predecessors, updated chip inside.
So, do you need the potential power promised by the iPad Pro if you don’t have high performance demands? And after well over a year since the last update, what does the iPad Pro offer, anyway? Read on for our 2022 iPad Pro review.
Apple iPad Pro: Technical specifications
Price From $1,099 | Rear cameras: 12-megapixel wide, 10-megapixel ultra-wide LiDAR sensor | Front camera 12-megapixel TrueDepth ultra-wide | Processor: Apple M2 | Display 12.9-inch 2732 x 2048 pixels, 264 pixels per inch | Storage: 128 (up to 2TB) | Battery: Until 10 hours | Dimensions: 11.0 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches | lester 1.5 pounds
Apple iPad Pro design: very familiar
This is the sixth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, while the 11-inch model, which debuted in October 2018, is now in its fourth generation. Both retain nearly identical designs, give or take a camera panel, since fall 2018 when Apple introduced flat backs and fronts, sharp edges, and the Face ID TrueDepth camera tucked into the bezel. The 2018 models were the first full-screen iPads without a front-mounted Touch ID button. The iPad Pro was at the forefront of this design change; now only iPad 2021 remains with this button on the front.
The Pro is still the only model in the lineup with Face ID. It works extremely well. The camera sits in the bezel on the short edge of the iPad Pro, unlike the mounting on the long side of the tablet found on the All-New iPad (10th generation). The camera is smart enough to unlock the iPad when you look at it, regardless of its position.
The TrueDepth camera system also includes an ultra-wide camera. With Apple’s Center Stage software, if you’re on a video call, your face stays front and center, even as you move and move.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a much better screen than the 11-inch model because it uses Mini LED backlighting, which Apple calls Liquid Retina XDR and says it has over 2,500 local dimming zones. The colors appear on the screen from the moment you turn on the iPad and see the Apple logo glowing white against a black background. The screen features deep contrast levels and bright, airy colors without bordering on oversaturation. As it’s still an LCD, it can be bright, up to 1000 nits or 1600 nits for HDR content.
It’s worth noting that the 11-inch iPad Pro’s screen, while good, can only manage 600 nits, enough of a difference to justify the larger iPad. And once you’ve used the 12.9-inch screen, going back to a smaller tablet might feel cramped, while the 12.9-inch screen feels like it’s big enough to everything.
Aside from the XDR backlight, almost everything else (besides size, weight, and price) is identical between the two iPad Pros, including performance, cameras, and battery life. This makes it very easy to choose your iPad Pro based on what suits your hand or your budget.
The iPad Pro starts at 128GB, with several storage options up to 2TB, which is enough for the most demanding user. On a powerful tablet like this, 128GB seems like too little memory for 2022, especially if you’re doing anything with pictures and videos on your tablet. Since Apple’s tablets don’t have any user-upgradable storage options, consider your usage plans and upgrade storage before you buy.
While the new tenth-generation iPad gets an updated Bluetooth keyboard design in the Apple Magic Keyboard Folio (with an extra row of function keys and an adjustable kickstand), the 2022 iPad Pro models only have the old Magic Keyboard. I didn’t find that to be a significant loss: the existing Magic Keyboard is easy to type thanks to its 1mm key travel, and it has a major advantage with backlit keys, which I think actually the best of both.
Apple iPad Pro inputs: Apple Pencil becomes more useful
The Pro tablets use the second-generation Apple Pencil, the one that magnetically clips to the side of the tablet to pair and charge. It’s a stylish stylus with plenty of features, and for the iPad Pro it now has one more: hover.
When you move the pencil to the iPad Pro screen, it previews where your pencil will land in advance. This means that the moment you actually press the glass, your touch is that much more precise.
Hovering works even when the pencil approaches an app, for example, gently hovering to let you know you’re in the right place. Apple says the new system recognizes the Pencil when it’s 12 millimeters away.
Apple iPad Pro cameras: better imaging and augmented reality
The cameras on the iPad have really improved over the years, and here there are two cameras, a flash and a LiDAR sensor. LiDAR is the dead giveaway, revealing that the cameras here aren’t so much for taking snaps as they are for enabling augmented reality (AR) capabilities.
Apple’s Measure app is a perfect example of how cameras and silicon chips can combine to create something useful; in this case, an accurate and cool-looking measuring tool. The front-facing camera is great for video calls or recording yourself on camera, and the Magic Keyboard works well for positioning the camera appropriately.
Apple iPad Pro performance: best all around
The new iPad Pro champions Apple’s latest iPadOS 16 feature called Stage Manager, a smart setup for multi-window multitasking. I think it’s a brilliant approach to managing multiple open apps at once, and it makes multitasking on the iPad more viable than ever. I found this feature makes multitasking closer to what I’m used to on a laptop.
It allows you to quickly navigate through multiple applications and find your way back. Is it as smooth as on a Mac? Not quite, but it’s much better than before. It’s not available on all iPads, but it’s here on the latest iPad Pro 2022.
Although multitasking with Stage Manager is part of the iPad software, it’s the new M2 processor that makes opening multiple windows viable at the same time. To be honest, this M2 processor is so fast and efficient, it’s hard to imagine what it can’t do. And that’s the point with the Pro: right now it can do everything the most demanding users need, including handling more resource-intensive tasks like video and photo editing.
Apple iPad Pro verdict: familiar, but so powerful
The 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro looks similar to last year’s model, but it’s much faster and offers the neat upgrade to Hover Mode for Apple Pencil. But do you really need all this power if you’re not a demanding user?
It’s a good question. It is definitely the best and most powerful tablet for all users with the most intense needs. As for the rest of us, well, over the next few years, as developers ingeniously create new features, there will still be room for the iPad Pro to perform at full speed. And let’s remember that iPads are known to be durable and long-lasting devices.
In other words, you’ll have a great experience with the most affordable ninth-generation iPad, and an even better experience with the new tenth-generation model, which is amazing considering their affordability. But if you want the best of the best, the new iPad Pro can’t be beat.