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Pushing Tablet Boundaries: An Industry Insider‘s Look at the 2022 iPad Pro

As one of the foremost tablets driving innovation, the latest iPad Pro grabs attention with striking industrial design, blistering Apple silicon performance and visual splendor. The enhancements cement it as today‘s definitive tablet, and arguably the shape of things to come. Read on for an expert-level deep dive into the hardware, software and accessories advancing the iPad Pro legacy.

Overview – The Tablet, Elevated

After an 18-month wait, Apple took the wraps off its 2022 iPad Pro overhaul on October 26th. Available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch flavors starting at $799 and $1099, early demand already outpaces supply. New additions like the M2 chip and improved cameras join an already enviable roster of capabilities.

Upgrades setting 2022 models apart include:

  • Faster M2 chip: 15% quicker CPU, 35% faster GPU vs. M1
  • Brighter 12.9” Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display: Up to 1600 nits
  • Higher quality front + rear camera arrays with Center Stage
  • Wi-Fi 6E compatible for cutting edge wireless performance

Make no mistake – the latest iPad Pro stands atop the tablet landscape. But it‘s the sum of parts, cultivated integration and relentless innovation pushing boundaries that make it special. Let‘s examine why.

Design – Precision Craftsmanship in an Ultra-Slim Frame

Pick up the iPad Pro and its premium construction immediately impresses. The smooth aluminum exterior exudes quality craftsmanship with exacting tolerances between parts. Apple has always prioritized elegant industrial design, with that vision beautifully materializing here.

Despite the large display spans, an ultra-slim 0.25 inch thick profile aids portability. It feels substantial without veering into burdensome. The withdraw of top mounted headphone jacks and home buttons keep bezels modest to spotlight that gorgeous screen.

Meticulously milled volume buttons, lock button and USB-C ports blend seamlessly into the sides. The latter enables connectivity to expansive docks and accessories.

Even the rear protruding camera bump strikes a balance between visually striking and overall cohesion.

In short, exceptional refinement punches above the tablet norm to satisfy even discerning eyes.

Display – A Visual Tour de Force

The "Pro" designation truly shines through when discussing the iPad Pro‘s displays. Let‘s start with the 12.9-inch model, whose stunning Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED screen raises the bar.

How the Exceptional Liquid Retina XDR Display Stands Apart:

  • Uses over 10,000 tiny LEDs across 2596 local dimming zones
  • Peak 1600 nit brightness for stunning highlights
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio and true blacks thanks to advanced local dimming
  • Support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG high dynamic range formats
  • 1 million:1 contrast ratio for vivid colors that pop

Those mini-LED backlights? A game changer enabling sophisticated local dimming absent from rival OLED panels. The M2‘s media engine also juggles HDR content with ease. Footage and games leverage expanded contrast for cinematics simply unattainable on tablets like Microsoft‘s Surface Pro 9.

Apple reserves no glaring compromises for the 11-inch model either. While foregoing the above mini-LED wizardry, it impresses with 2300×1668 resolution clarity, P3 wide color and silky ProMotion 120Hz refresh rates.

Both models incorporate True Tone and anti-reflective coatings too. In short, these are simply unrivaled tablet displays certain to wow.

Performance – M2 Chip Muscle Flexing

Tablet performance frequently disappoints, but not with the mighty M2 powering the iPad Pro. The advanced 5nm silicon packs 20 billion transistors onto a die about the size of a fingernail. Compared to the previous generation M1, Apple quotes the M2’s 8-core CPU performing 15% faster. More impressive yet, its 10-core GPU breezes through graphic-intensive jobs 35% quicker thanks to additional cores.

M2 Chip Breakdown:

  • Up to 15% faster CPU over 8 high-performance cores
  • 10-core GPU with 35% faster graphics handling
  • Next-gen 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
  • 100GB/s memory bandwidth keeps M2 fed with data

What do these impressive gains mean in practice? Snappy, fluid multitasking no matter the workflow thanks to iPadOS optimization. The M2 juggles intensive creative endeavors like 4K video editing, 3D design manipulation and multi-layered illustration projects with ease.

All while barely sipping battery power thanks to its excellent energy efficiency. In fact, this custom silicon rivals many entry-level laptop CPUs despite passive cooling constraints. But it‘s the software and hardware synergy unique to Apple that unlocks its full potential.

Quick Look: M2 Performance Versus Competitors

Model Geekbench 5 (Single / Multi) 3DMark Wild Life (Score)
iPad Pro M2 1887/8512 11391
Surface Pro 9 1534/7397 4743
Galaxy Tab S8+ 1219/3318 3234

Smooth Multitasking – More Than the Sum Of One App

Does anyone use tablets for serious work? It‘s a common misconception the iPad Pro neatly disproves. iPadOS shines here thanks to its versatile Split View modes plus recent Stage Manager addition.

The M2 unlocks this software‘s full potential via sheer horsepower. Where budget devices may choke with multiple apps running, Apple‘s tablet juggles them with ease.

See an example below of the M2 breezing through a simulated real-world workload:


The M2 chip effortlessly handles a split-screen multitasking session with ease. Via Tablet Monkeys.

The M2 tackles two apps in split view, another in slide over, while keeping yet another Safaritab halted but instantly resumable if needed. This demonstrates the smooth, lag-free experience iPadOS enables.

Simply put, the marriage of software and screaming fast silicon lays waste to the myth tablets can’t multitask. The iPad Pro handily outclasses entry-level laptops here, an advantage it will likely keep in its grip for years thanks to Apple‘s relentless chip innovation.

Cameras – Film Quality Shoots

Tablets tend not to take mobile photography too seriously, but the iPad Pro raises expectations. Cutting-edge image signal processors meet advanced camera hardware and computational photography algorithms. The sum results in SLR-threatening shots that speak for themselves.

On the back you‘ll find a 12MP wide lens with 122-degree field of view. It teams with an equally sharp 10MP ultra-wide companion that opens fun 125-degree framing possibilities.

LiDAR scanning means depth information plays an integral role too. So rather than software trickery powering portrait effects, actual spatial data maps the scene. This better separates subjects from artfully blurred backgrounds.

Both cameras capture up to 4K video at a slick 60fps, while the ISP‘s video encoding chews through data at a swift 3x rate.

Front Camera Boasts SLR-Worthy Quality

A sample selfie from the impressive front facing iPad Pro camera. Via Digital Trends.

Don‘t overlook the front-facing 12MP ultra-wide camera system either. Here too Apple fits advanced silicon for high-end shots, buoyed further by the Center Stage feature. It digitally pans to keep you in frame on video calls – perfect for hands-free vlogging sessions.

Overall, Apple fits the iPad Pro with one of the best tablet camera systems money can buy. From back to front, it fires on all cylinders where rivals drop the exposure ball.

Quick Camera Comparison

Model Rear Megapixels Front MP LiDAR? 4K Video?
iPad Pro 12MP + 10MP 12MP Yes 60 fps
Surface Pro 10MP 5MP No 30 fps
Tab S8 13MP + 6MP 12MP No 60 fps

The iPad Pro checks every box, while competitors make compromises tablet shooters will notice.

Battery – All Day Endurance

Driving displays this vibrant and performance this snappy demands serious battery capacity. Thankfully the iPad Pro delivers with smart endurance optimization too.

Reported Battery Runtimes:

  • Up to 10 hours web browsing over Wi-Fi
  • 9 hour estimate on cellular 5G data

The 11-inch model integrates a 28.65 Watt-hour pack, while the 12.9-inch clocks in at 40.88. Note Apple quotes runtimes based on actual testing, not simulations like other brands. So you can expect real world results aligning closely.

Efficiency saving silicon again stars here. The M2 sips power relative to the workload it handles. Whereas an Intel or AMD chip powering screens and performance of this caliber would tap out in half the time.

Top up via the fast-charging Thunderbolt 4 USB-C when required, where brief one hour charges regain significant energy in a pinch. For the long haul, the iPad Pro tempers brute force specs with enough juice to avoid mid-day charger anxiety.

Accessories – Unlocking Pro Potential

One of the iPad Pro‘s aces lies with Apple‘s expanding accessory ecosystem. The premier options include the Magic Keyboard and second generation Apple Pencil.

Magic Keyboard Overview

  • Magnetic design that clips onto iPad Pro rear
  • Backlit keys for comfortable typing
  • Useful trackpad for navigation
  • Smooth adjustable hinge

This keyboard folio magnetically clings to the back before folding out laptop-style. The responsive keys and useful trackpad wholly transform iPadOS for the better. It‘s spendy at $349, but removes any hesitation between the iPad Pro and a traditional notebook.

Second Gen Apple Pencil Perks

  • Nearly lag-free response thanks to 240Hz sampling
  • Magnetic charging/pairing atop the iPad Pro
  • Tilt and pressure sensing for artists
  • Reduced latency over 1st gen

The revamped Pencil also sticks magnetically to the edge for cable-free charging when not digitally sketching. Note taking feels utterly lifelike between slick ceramic tip response and snappy refresh rates.

There‘s no ignoring the premium pricing on both accessories. But used in tandem, they meaningfully amplify the versatility and creative possibilities already alluring iPad Pro offers.

Competition – Still Chasing Pipe Dreams

Given its technical sophistication, you may assume rival tablet makers can counter the iPad Pro on specs and pricing. Yet almost paradoxically, its greatest competition comes from earlier iPad generations.

The still superb 2018-2021 iPad Pros sell at meaty discounts, representing the best tablet value around. Those seeking sheer performance for dollar have an easy choice there. However, buying into the 2022 edition nets conveniences like Wi-Fi 6E, improved cameras and Face ID – if worth the premium.

What about rival brands? The harsh truth is none ship a holistic tablet experience checking every box like iPadOS running on premium hardware. Some come close in certain areas but ultimately compromise too much.

Microsoft‘s Surface Pro laptop replacements still suffer sluggish app ecosystems and wonky Windows optimization. Samsung‘s Galaxy Tab S8 models tempt on paper but layer messy Android skins atop uneven tablet development. Simply put, there are too many tradeoffs.

For the discerning tablet power user, little reason exists to consider competitors until they get platform integration, software fluidity and silicon working in harmony. And with Apple maps in hand, the iPad Pro should continue sitting comfortably ahead of rivals for years to come.

Expert Hot Take – Game Changing Potential

As a technology analyst having covered Apple silicon chips since their debut, the impact powerful yet efficient chips like the M2 bring must not be understated. In ways rival brands still fail to grasp, the hardware/software marriage unlocks potential beyond speeds and feeds.

The iPad Pro demonstrates this synergy between custom mobile chips and dedicated OS better than any other device today. iPadOS extracts every ounce of power from Apple‘s silicon brains, enabling experiences simply not possible running off the shelf parts.

Between its industrial design, stunning visuals and now intelligent muscle, the latest iPad Pro feels less like a tablet and more a preview of computing‘s future. A world where revamped software caters to groundbreaking mobile hardware coming into its own.

If that potential gets fulfilled, the already excellent iPad Pro sits poised to comfortably retain its tablet crown for generations barring some inspired competition playing aggressive catchup. But with rumors of even beefier M2-based variants enroute, Apple shows no signs of its relentless innovation slowing down. Buckle up.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the latest iPad Pro launch?

Apple took the wraps off 2022 iPad Pro models on October 26th, 2022. Preorders began shortly after.

How much RAM do the new models have?

Both the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros contain 16GB of high-speed unified memory.

What accessories are compatible with the iPad Pro?

The Magic Keyboard and second generation Apple Pencil both magnetically pair to the latest iPad Pros. Any USB-C accessory should connect over the Thunderbolt 4 port as well.

Which iPad model has the best display?

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro‘s stunning Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display takes the crown as the most impressive tablet screen available. It outshines the 11-inch Pro and any rival tablet on technical merits.

Do cellular models support 5G networks?

Yes. The Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Pro model packs an integrated eSIM to activate fast 5G data on supported carrier networks.