Can Apple's New 10.5-inch iPad Pro Replace Your MacBook? Plus, iPad-Only iOS 11 Features

The new iPad Pro featuring iOS 11 is set to give MacBooks a run for their money. With enhanced file management, a 10.5-inch screen, full-sized on-screen keyboard, increased speed, and 10-hour battery life, the new iPad Pro appears ready to take on your MacBook’s workload. Continue reading to learn more about how the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro could finally replace your MacBook.

Related: iOS 11 Updates: All the Exciting New Features from WWDC

When Apple failed to announce a 2017 spring event, we anticipated big news at WWDC 17. Even so, we were pleasantly surprised by the number and scope of the improvements announced for the new iPad Pro. Although the 10.5-inch iPad Pro will ship next week, the iOS 11 update won’t be ready till the fall. In the meantime, there’s plenty to love about the new and improved hardware of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Hardware Upgrades and Improved Performance

Alongside a myriad of performance improving upgrades, the iPad Pro still weighs only one pound. Screen size starts at 10.5-inches, allowing for a full-sized onscreen keyboard. Both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro offer true tone displays with HDR video. The CPU is 30 percent faster, the GPU is 40 percent faster, and the storage starts at 64 GB. Creatives can look forward to editing videos, rendering 3D graphics, and building complex presentations thanks to the A10X Fusion chip (64-bit architecture).

With all this enhanced processing power, your iPad Pro just stepped up to the MacBook’s home plate.

The newly designed Retina display is brighter and less reflective than previous models. Your refresh rate is doubled with Apple ProMotion, clocking in at 120-hz to smooth out and speed up your gameplay and streaming videos. This new display is brighter (600 nits), making it easier to see your screen in broad daylight. Thanks to the P3 color display, you’re getting a wide array of colors; your videos and graphics will look more true to life once the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has shipped.

Exclusive iPad Pro iOS 11 Features Arriving This Fall

Apple ProMotion. Split Screen. Slide View. Files. With all these half-baked names accompanying the iOS 11, I get the feeling the marketing team was High Sierra during the development process. Despite the poor name choices, these newly designed features pack a lot of punch. Some of the iOS 11 features will be exclusive to the newly remodeled iPad Pro. Alongside the upgraded hardware, here’s a list of what you can expect when iOS 11 is released:

  • Improved File Management with the New Files App

    • The Files app will help you organize and locate files across all your devices. More than just an iCloud manager, Files will include 3rd-party, local, and cross-platform storage. All your files will now be sorted in one easy-to-access app.

  • Drag and Drop: Want to move that awesome motorcycle picture from Facebook into Messenger? Just drag and drop elements like images or GIFs from one app to another for instant gratification. This task is made easy thanks to Slide Over and Split view. You can pull up multiple apps and drag elements between your active apps. This change sounds simple enough, but functions like dragging between active apps are what make the iPad Pro more like a MacBook than a traditional tablet.

  • With the massive Siri upgrade, your iPad Pro will start taking smarter photos and videos. Think of it as having a photography assistant in your messenger bag. Siri will instantly optimize color and white balance while taking into account ambient lighting as well as your own personal preferences.

  • Improved Productivity with Instant Note and Instant Markup

    • Inline Drawing automatically redistributes text when you begin drawing inside an active text window. Instant Markup allows you to make notes on PDFs and screenshots with your Apple Pencil. Scan and Sign lets you handle important documents remotely; no need for a printer or snail-mail.

  • Instant Note is Searchable Handwriting enabled, allowing you to search for words in notes written with your Apple Pencil. As a writer, this feature sounds great. I'm looking forward to being able to search through my hand written notes as easily as searching through a text file. That, combined with Inline Drawing, makes note taking and flow chart creation simpler with the iPad Pro.

  • The new keyboard is full screen and fully loaded. Need a special character? Forget switching keyboards. Now you can just flick and click to select special characters on individual keys. The full-screen keyboard will be available in 30 languages.

  • Developers are already creating games and apps exclusively for the iPad Pro using the ARKit. You can look forward to building with virtual blocks at your coffee table, piloting an X-Wing around your backyard, or exploring your favorite AR-enabled comic book titles in more depth.

Even though the iOS 11 update is a ways off, it's worth it to order the 10.5-inch iPad Pro now to enjoy the sweet hardware upgrades while we wait for fall to arrive. Our favorite video-streaming apps and games will be improved by the increased performance, and you can bet developers are already working on apps to take advantage of the new iPad Pro’s capabilities. I can’t wait to get my hands on the graphic design capabilities of the new iPad Pro. With everything the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has to offer, it's possible the MacBooks will be phased out in the future. I'm high (Sierra) as a kite just thinking of the possibilities.

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Author Details

Tamlin Day's picture

Author Details

Tamlin Day

Tamlin Day is a feature web writer for iPhone Life and a regular contributor to iPhone Life magazine. A prolific writer of tips, reviews, and in-depth guides, Tamlin has written hundreds of articles for iPhone Life. From iPhone settings to recommendations for the best iPhone-compatible gear to the latest Apple news, Tamlin's expertise covers a broad spectrum. 

Before joining iPhone Life, Tamlin received his BFA in Media & Communications as well as a BA in Graphic Design from Maharishi International University (MIU), where he edited MIU's literary journal, Meta-fore. With a passion for teaching, Tamlin has instructed young adults, college students, and adult learners on topics ranging from spoken word poetry to taking the perfect group selfie. Tamlin's first computer, a Radioshack Color Computer III, was given to him by his father. At 13, Tamlin built his first PC from spare parts. He is proud to put his passion for teaching and tech into practice as a writer and educator at iPhone Life.