I’ve been using the iPad Pro M1 for about a week now, and there is a lot to love about this new device. Obviously, the star of the new iPad is the Apple-designed M1 chip, but there are a few other features that make the iPad a joy to use for anyone.
Let’s get started with the M1 and what it brings to the table for iPad Pro users. First, it’s important to understand that Apple’s A12Z Bionic chip used in last year’s iPad Pro model led the industry in performance. The M1 delivers up to 50 percent more CPU performance than that chip—that’s a lot of headroom for developers of pro apps.
That’s where I think the iPad Pro M1 is going to make its mark in the industry. Apple didn’t build this iPad to handle the current apps on the market, although it can do that with ease, it was built to facilitate a whole new level of apps that we haven’t even seen yet. They could be for pros, science, education, business, productivity, and more. Whatever category they come from, iPad Pro will have the power to make them work.
Developers already see the benefits of M1 and what they can do on iPad. With the addition of the M1 chip, pro video editing app LumaFusion can now handle six streams of 4K HDR video for multicam editing. With its simple interface, you can tap on different streams and instantly make a clip.
Creative pros will also love the Liquid Retina XDR display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which Apple says delivers “Extreme Dynamic Range.” This allows you to better view and edit HDR content, and with its 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, you can see more detail even in dark areas of photos and videos.
Video and photo professionals have been among the first to adopt the iPad in their workflows. Still, they aren’t the only examples of how developers are taking advantage of the new iPad.
SwingVision, an A.I. Tennis app, can use the iPad Pro M1 to call a tennis match. By mounting iPad on one end of the court, it can determine whether the ball was in or out, instantaneously, on both sides of the net, and show you in the app where the ball landed. Think about that for a minute. Using the iPad’s M1 chip and the wide and ultra-wide cameras, it can track a small object across space and interpret whether it landed inside or outside of a line, all with no delay.
One area of the pro market that hasn’t adopted the iPad as much as I would have hoped is the audio industry, including Apple’s Logic Pro. There is no reason that with the power of the iPad Pro M1 that I couldn’t do everything I need to if I had a great pro audio app. Perhaps the pro audio app makers are waiting for support for external devices, which may be possible now that iPad Pro comes with support for Thunderbolt. I’m not sure what it will take to kickstart the audio industry to adopt the iPad Pro in a more meaningful way, but I’m hoping it’s the combination of M1 and Thunderbolt.
There is no question that the iPad Pro M1 can be your only device. The need for a separate computer these days, for most people, is not necessary. Many of the apps people use on a computer are also available on iPad, so there is no learning curve involved if you only wanted to use an iPad.
One of the features I love the most on the iPad Pro is Center Stage. Using the TrueDepth camera system, a new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera, and the machine learning capabilities of M1, Center Stage allows users to move around while using FaceTime, and the camera will keep them centered in the frame. It’s pretty amazing to see it in action.
I started a FaceTime call seated at a desk, I stood up and took a step back, and the camera zoomed out a little to make sure I was in the frame. As I walked back and forth, the camera would pan side to side, following my movements, always keeping me in the center of the window (except if I went to the extreme side). If someone else comes into the frame, it will zoom out, ensuring that the camera can see both people in the frame.
I turned on FaceTime several times to see what I could do to trick the camera. I had more fun with Center Stage than I think Apple intended, but that’s okay.
The number one accessory Apple has ever made for the iPad is the Magic Keyboard. I’m using the new white version, and it is an absolute must-have for an iPad Pro user.
The functionality of the Magic Keyboard completely changes how efficient you can be with the iPad Pro. Many creative pros may not need a keyboard like this, but the majority of other users will. The keys are very similar to what you would expect from a MacBook in touch and feel. You can attach the iPad and start typing—it feels that comfortable.
Of course, when closed, the Magic Keyboard acts as a protective cover for the iPad, so you get everything you need in one package. The Magic Keyboard is a bit heavier than a simple cover, but I’m willing to accept a little bit of extra weight with the functionality that comes with it.
Magic Keyboard also includes a pass-through USB-C port that allows you to charge the device while keeping the Thunderbolt port free for use on the iPad.
For my uses, I honestly can’t see using an iPad Pro without having a Magic Keyboard. It’s that simple for me.
I was a bit skeptical of using a white Magic Keyboard, but I’m surprised with how resistant it’s been this past week to dirt or any discoloration. I’m not hard on my gear, but I use it a lot, so I’m used to some scrapes, scratches, and the need for occasional cleaning. So far, I haven’t touched the keyboard, and it still looks brand new.
If you are a pro user, buy an iPad Pro M1, you won’t regret it. The power of this device is unbelievable, and the apps are only going to get better. There is no reason that the average user can’t take advantage of the new iPad Pro too. The M1 future-proofs your purchase, and if you get the 5G version, you can work and play anywhere you want. Add the Magic Keyboard, and you won’t even need to worry about buying a new computer.
The iPad Pro M1 has it all, and I think we will see an explosion of apps that take advantage of all this power very soon.