iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M2) First Impressions
The best gets a little bit better. We're talking about the new Apple iPad Pro (M2) and if you're even somewhat familiar with the previous iPad Pro (M1), there's going to be a lot of similarities here. In fact, perhaps downright identical. The only main difference really comes down to the silicon. You now get the Apple M2 chip instead of the Apple M1 chip. But regardless, for those of you who're new, let's talk about this.
The design is practically kept unchanged from the previous generation. You're still going to get a really nice and sturdy aluminium chassis, a really thin overall profile and those rounded corners with minimal bezels. It's a look that's really iconic by this point in time and still fits right in with the rest of the modern world. It's a really solid design that anyone can appreciate without a doubt.
For the Pro machines, Apple is still going to be mainly offer Silver and Space Grey, really keeping in line with that Pro moniker. However as we all know, Apple's Space Grey has never always been the same from one generation to the other. True enough, it is slightly different here as well. It's just a tad lighter and under certain lighting conditions, it may a slight bronze tinge to it. Colour is ultimately up to preference but if you're concern about having everything to be the same, well there's that.
The buttons are still going to be right where you remember them, with the top power button and side volume buttons. There's also USB-C as per usual here and the magnetic connector for the Apple Pencil 2nd-Generation, as well as the quad speaker setup with two flanking each side when holding the iPad Pro in a landscape orientation.
Quick thing to note is that if you want the absolute best display ever on an iPad today, the 12.9-inch is the only one that offers the Liquid Retina XDR display. The 11-inch still only offers the standard Liquid Retain display. The setup this generation is the same as before, which is a slight bummer in our opinion. Here's hoping the next generation 11-inch iPad Pro gets the XDR upgrade. In any case, let's talk about the 12.9-inch.
So as mentioned, it is a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display that boasts a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 providing 264 pixels per inch (ppi) and support for P3 colour with True Tone. Just like with the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch, the XDR moniker means that the display utilizes mini-LEDs which grants it very capable performance that can match that of OLED. The display uses a 2D backlighting system with 2,596 full‑array local dimming zones allowing it to achieve 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a SDR brightness of about 600 nits maximum with an XDR brightness of 1,000 nits maximum for full screen and 1,600 nits at peak (HDR Content Only).
The result is just simply a truly beautiful and downright gorgeous display. Watching your favourite show or series is just so nice, with vibrant and punchy colours alongside deep yet detailed darks. This holds true for gaming as well, with games like Genshin Impact taking every bit of advantage that the display can provide and present the overworld in its full glory. Oh and did we mention that ProMotion is here as well? 120Hz is not just amazing for gaming but plenty awesome for day to day use as well.
Now of course, this isn't really any different from the previous 12.9-inch iPad Pro (M1) for it's pretty much the exact same display. But it is still great and arguably one of the best out there for a tablet and thus, definitely still worth to mention. Moreover, all of them are factory calibrated out of the factory which means a consistent experience that all creators can count on.
The camera setup is essentially the same as before. You get a 12MP Wide camera that can shoot up to 4K 60 fps or go slow-mo up to 240 fps. The other camera is a 10MP Ultra Wide that not only gives you a wide field of view but still also has enough resolution to capture 4K video.
One big upgrade which Apple touts is the ability to now capture ProRes video. This means that with the new iPad Pro (M2), you'll be able to pretty much do everything on the iPad Pro (M2) itself, no less thanks to the high-performance media engine on the M2 chip that's borrowed directly from the M1 Pro alongside the new image signal processor in the M2.
It all sounds fancy and all and we're sure that some creators out there are hyped about this. But we do share the opinion as with many others out there on the fact that the cameras on the iPad Pro (M2) aren't necessarily the best. Perhaps it might be way better to just capture video using your iPhone 14 Pro and just simply using AirDrop to transfer those files over to the iPad Pro (M2).
But the rear cameras aside, this is where we might be slightly let down especially considering what Apple has done with the new iPad 10.9-inch 10th-Gen. Unlike the new basic iPad which gets the repositioned camera to be on the landscape edge, this refreshed iPad Pro (M2) still retains the camera where it is. While we do kind of understand that it would interfere with the magnetic connector for the Apple Pencil and that it's not ideal to shift that to the side for it'll block the speakers when attached... but come on Apple. Surely you could've thought of a way.
However we must say that it's not the end of the world, far from it. The front camera is still as awesome as before, with support for TrueDepth, Centre Stage, Face ID, Advanced Portrait mode and more thanks to its array of sensors. So while it may not get the fancy repositioning treatment of the iPad 10.9-inch 10th-Gen, it is still the far better camera for sure. And for those of you who primarily uses the iPad Pro in an upright position, this might very well still be ideal.
Compared to the M1 in the iPad Pro last generation, this M2 for this generation adds two additional GPU cores, a much higher memory bandwidth at 100GB/s and as mentioned earlier, the inclusion of the high performance media engine that's borrowed directly from the much more powerful M1 Pro.
But to be very honest, most people wouldn't see any major performance uplift in the real world between the previous iPad Pro (M1) and this new iPad Pro (M2), even in the most demanding of scenarios such as video editing or gaming. Now we've yet to test really in-depth and go into the details but if you're primarily using this for simple content creation, gaming or even just day to day usage, we daresay it is pretty much the exact same experience as before. And just like before, there are actually some differences in specifications depending on the SKU you choose.
If you opt for 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage, that'll come with 8GB of RAM. If you opt for 1TB or 2TB of storage, that'll come with 16GB of RAM.
As for the USB-C port, that is actually Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 capable, delivery speeds of up to 40Gb/s where you can fully support an external monitor like the Pro Display XDR at its full 6K resolution with the appropriate accessories. In addition, it also supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet as well.
Regarding battery life, we will have to test further to really get the full picture but Apple does claim up to 10 hours for both. The 11-inch will have a 28.65Wh battery while the 12.9-inch gets a 40.88Wh battery.
Not much to say here really.
The iPad Pro (M2) will be compatible with the Apple Pencil 2nd-Generation where you can simply magnetically attach it to the side of the iPad to pair it automatically and charge it wirelessly. It's not a stretch to say that an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2nd-Generation combo can easily match that of a professional Wacom Cintiq. It is that good.
One new feature however is something called Apple Pencil hover. This features shows you exactly where your Apple Pencil will touch down on your display before the two meet, allowing for greater precision. In addition, apps and widgets will also expand on the Home Screen as you hover over them. We've only had a brief experience thus far so we can't really say if this is a huge gamechanger or not but it definitely is a nice touch. More on the full review at a later date.
As with the previous generation iPad Pro (M1), the new iPad Pro (M2) will be compatible with all the well known accessories such as the Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio and the Smart Folio. So there's nothing much to say here, right?
Except for the fact that the iPad Pro (M2) doesn't get the much improved Magic Keyboard Folio that's available for the new iPad 10.9-inch 10th-Gen. A huge oversight by Apple in our opinion just based on the fact that professionals and creators alike who are going to prefer an iPad Pro over a base iPad do not have access to the function row that would've been so much more helpful for those creative workloads. As mentioned in our first impression of the iPad 10.9-inch 10th-Gen, the addition of the function row for the Magic Keyboard Folio brings that up to par with the keyboards from the MacBooks.
MacBooks, especially MacBook Pros are the choice for many professionals worldwide. To have that keyboard on your iPad Pro? Now that's quite straightforward in our opinion.
Regardless, if you just require a cover to protect your iPad Pro, the Smart Folio is an option and it does come in a pretty sweet Marine Blue colour.
Pricing & Availability
Do stay frosty for our full review coming out at a later date but if you're already interested in the new Apple iPad Pro (M2), you'll be able to order now and it will be available from 26 October. The 11-inch will start from a price of S$1,249 or US$799 while the 12.9-inch will start from S$1,699 or US$1,099.
The new Apple iPad Pro (M2) is a slight refresh from the previous generation, primarily offering the Apple M2 chip over the Apple M1 chip from before.
The inclusion of the Apple M2 chip includes a new image signal processor which allows for ProRes video recording as well as the high performance media engine which accelerates ProRes encode and decode.
iPro Pro (M2) introduces Apple Pencil hover which shows users exactly where the Apple Pencil will touch down on the display, providing enhanced precision.