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Is the New iPad Pro 6th Gen Worth the Premium? A Full Review

Apple recently released an updated model of their high-end tablet, the iPad Pro 6th generation. This latest iteration brings some incremental yet meaningful improvements over the previous iPad Pro 5th gen.

But are those changes enough to justify paying the premium Apple charges for the Pro lineup? In this comprehensive review, we‘ll analyze how the new iPad Pro compares to its predecessor and alternatives to help you decide if it‘s worth upgrading or buying.

A Brief History of iPad Pro Models

Since its introduction in 2015, the iPad Pro series has represented Apple‘s vision for the future of personal computing. Each new generation brought enhancements in performance, design, accessories and software capabilities in an effort to blur the line between tablet and laptop.

There have been 6 generations of iPad Pros so far:

  • 1st gen – Released November 2015. Introduced Smart connector for keyboards.
  • 2nd gen – Released June 2017. Faster processor, better cameras.
  • 3rd gen – Released October 2018. Face ID, USB-C, Apple Pencil 2 support.
  • 4th gen – Released March 2020. A12Z Bionic chip, LiDAR scanner.
  • 5th gen – Released April 2021. M1 chip brings major performance gains.
  • 6th gen – Released October 2022. M2 chip, hover features for Pencil.

The 6th generation model represents an evolutionary rather than revolutionary change, but still includes meaningful upgrades over the iPad Pro 5th generation.

iPad Pro 6th Gen vs 5th Gen Comparison

Here is an overview of changes between the latest iPad Pro 2022 and its 2021 predecessor:

Specs iPad Pro 5th Gen (M1 chip) iPad Pro 6th Gen (M2 chip)
Release Date April 2021 October 2022
Dimensions & Weight Identical Identical
Display 11" & 12.9" options
Liquid Retina or mini‐LED
No change
Battery life Up to 10 hours No change
Rear camera(s) 12MP Wide + 10MP Ultra Wide 12MP Wide gains autofocus
10MP Ultra Wide unchanged
Front camera 12MP Ultra Wide (landscape orientation) Adds autofocus & Smart HDR 4
Chip Apple M1 Apple M2
RAM 8GB or 16GB Up to 16GB
Storage 128GB to 2TB Up to 2TB
Cellular option 5G Enhanced 5G support
Charging Thunderbolt / USB 4 port No change
Accessories Magic Keyboard
Apple Pencil 2
Hover features added for Pencil
iPadOS version iPadOS 15 iPadOS 16 gains Stage Manager

As you can see from the table, both generations of iPad Pro share the same external design, display, and battery life. The upgrades mostly center around performance, connectivity, cameras, and Apple Pencil integration.

But those improvements result in noticeably snappier real-world usage as we’ll explore next.

Hands-on Review: Blazing Performance But Few Surprises

I’ve used the 12.9” iPad Pro 6th gen with 512GB storage option extensively both for work and personal use over the past month. Coming from a 4th gen iPad Pro, the speed improvements are immediately obvious even when doing basic tasks.

Benchmarks also reveal a healthy bump over any previous iPad models thanks to the next-generation M2 chip:

  • 18% faster CPU performance than M1
  • 35% faster overall graphics performance than M1

But benchmarks can only reveal so much. Here are my experiential thoughts on using the latest iPad Pro day to day:

It‘s Noticeably More Responsive

The new iPad Pro feels instantly snappier no matter what I throw at it. Apps open quicker, widgets update faster, and flows between tasks feel fluid.

The additional RAM boost likely helps with keeping more apps and browser tabs active in the background. I can batch edit 30 RAW photos in Lightroom while having 10 Safari tabs open without slowdowns.

Great for Creative Work

The combination of power, Pencil integration and tablet form factor make the iPad Pro an ideal device for digital art, graphic design and visual content creation.

I frequently use Procreate and Affinity Photo apps where the improvements in drawing responsiveness and brush lag are obvious over my older iPad.

The new hover features in iPadOS 16 take some adjusting, but allow more convenient color picking or menu access without needing to touch the screen.

Decent Laptop Replacement Potential

Between the Magic Keyboard attachment and enhancements like Stage Manager, the latest iPad Pro inches closer to being an able laptop alternative.

I can easily mirror my external display to essentially have a multi-monitor desk setup. And I prefer the touch screen and Pencil input for creative work over a regular laptop.

However, most professional environments still favor traditional desktops/laptops for compatibility and peripheral reasons. The software capabilities remain a limitation.

Cameras Are Good Not Great

The upgraded 12MP front camera now supports Smart HDR 4 and autofocus, making your FaceTime calls or TikTok videos look better. But don‘t expect mirrorless camera quality results.

On the plus side, the new Center Stage feature in iPadOS does a remarkable job of keeping you framed in the shot even as you move around.

The rear cameras remain decent for document scanning and AR applications, but I find myself still grabbing my phone if I want to take great photos.

Great Speakers

With four-speaker audio and Dolby Atmos support, the iPad Pro offers an immersive sound experience whether listening to music or watching videos.

The quality crisper and louder than even most laptop speakers I‘ve used. Just note that the Magic Keyboard somewhat obstructs the bottom speakers.

Battery Life Stands Up Well

Despite the faster processor, Apple quotes the same 10 hours of battery life as the previous model.

In practical use, I can easily go 2-3 days between charges with light to medium usage. Even intensive gaming/video sessions net 6+ hours runtime.

The fast-charging USB-C connector gets you back up to 80% battery in about an hour. Wireless charging support means I can conveniently juice up using any Qi pad.

iPad Pro 6th Generation – Pros vs Cons

  • Pros

    • Faster M2 chip improves performance across the board
    • Better front camera with AutoFraming
    • Hover features expand Apple Pencil functionality
    • More future-proofed with WiFi 6E and 5G connectivity
  • Cons

    • Very expensive starting over $1000
    • Few external design changes
    • iPadOS limitations still an issue for power users
    • Accessories like Pencil & Keyboard cost extra

For most everyday users, the upgrades may not fully justify upgrading if you already owned the previous iPad Pro model. But for those with older generation hardware or looking to purchase their first iPad Pro, the latest offering makes the most sense.

Should You Buy the iPad Pro 2022 6th Generation?

The iPad Pro retains its spot as the ultimate expensive indulgence in Apple‘s tablet lineup. It offers unmatched performance and flexibility compared to the regular iPad or iPad Air models.

If you value the 120Hz ProMotion display, the 2TB storage option, or use cases like high-end graphic design that need maximum power – then the upgraded iPad Pro provides real benefits over previous generations.

But you can likely achieve great experiences even with older generation iPad Pros or the latest iPad Air and save couple hundred dollars. Unless you specifically need the incremental bumps in core performance and camera/pencil tech, upgrading may not be essential.

The iPad Pro 6th gen sets the new high mark for tablets. But the gap between regular iPads and the Pro line also shrinks with each new generation. Determine just how much you plan on leveraging the Pro features before paying the premium.