Sunday, 02 Apr 2023

iPad Pro M2 review: tremendous hardware, but software needs work

iPad Pro M2 review: tremendous hardware, but software needs work

iPad Pro M2 review: tremendous hardware, but software needs work

Apple has added yet more power to its top tablet, fitting the new iPad Pro with the M2 chip from the latest Macs while attempting to make it work more like a laptop with new software. But all that power comes at a truly eye-watering price.

For that not-insignificant sum, you get one of the most powerful tablets you can buy. The M2 chip is up to 15% faster, with 35% faster graphics than the already extremely rapid M1 from last year. Whether you will be able to use all that power in an iPad remains to be seen, but battery life remains a solid 10 hours for light use, about nine hours for work, or about seven hours when streaming HDR video with the screen turned up to max.

Apple does not provide an expected lifespan for the battery, but it should last in excess of 500 full charge cycles with at least 80% of its original capacity, and can be replaced from £165. The tablet is generally repairable, with an out-of-warranty service costing from £589, which includes the screen.

The iPad Pro runs iPadOS 16.1 out of the box, which is available for all other currently supported iPads and adds a whole load of features from iOS 16.

But exclusively for the modern-shape iPad Pro line and iPad Air with M1 chip, it includes a big change to how multitasking works, called Stage Manager. This allows you to run multiple apps on one screen in resizable and overlapping windows, similar to the way you might on a laptop running macOS or Windows.

Apps properly updated for iPadOS 16.1 change format as they are resized, but others including the Settings app just shrink in size a little, often making text hard to read.

Stage Manager makes the iPad Pro more like a laptop. But it is not very intuitive and may confuse even experienced macOS and iPad users. For instance, there are no less than five ways that I found to add an app on to a stage, but they are not at all obvious or consistent in the way they work.

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