The 2020 model looks and performs much the same, but now much of the initial excitement has settled. Instead of going for a new design. Apple used this updated model to test drive some technology that may become more important to other Apple products down the line. Although it’s not particularly exciting or even well-suited for this particular device. This is unquestionably the best iPad ever made.
This review is based on the 12.9-inch model, which is identical to the 11-inch model in virtually every respect aside from screen size and weight. (The 12.9-inch model with cellular weighs 1.42 pounds; its 11-inch counterpart weight just over a pound.)
The iPad Pro comes with a TrueDepth camera at the top of the display for things like selfies and video calls. It’s the same camera system you’ll find on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. That means you can take advantage of features like Face ID, Portrait mode, Animoji, Memoji, and more. That front camera’s clarity is way better than the grainy 720p camera on the new MacBook Air. And it takes some impressive selfies, too.
But the iPad Pro’s rear-camera module doesn’t offer Portrait mode. That feature is only accessible using the front-facing camera. So, you’ll have to add in the bokeh effects after the fact. But at least you can shoot in 4K video if you plan on using the iPad Pro to record footage.
A LiDAR scanner
Packed into the rear module is also a LiDAR scanner for augmented reality apps. If you have absolutely no idea what that is, it’s really okay.
LiDAR stands for “light detection and ranging” and it uses a Time of Flight sensor (for depth) to measure reflected light.
But all you really need to know is that it makes all those AR apps faster and better. Thanks to the LiDAR scanner, you no longer have to calibrate the space around you by moving the camera back and forth.
While I barely use any AR apps, I will admit there were times when I’d want to see what a piece of furniture looked like in my room using the Ikea app. And then I would eventually end up force quitting the app because I was too lazy to calibrate the area.
The best iPad ever
This is the best iPad Apple has ever made, and peripherals like the new Magic Keyboard make Apple’s tablet more appealing as a work machine. The fact remains, though, that unless you’re heavily involved in video editing or professional artwork, most people will be served just fine with the $499 iPad Air—although it currently doesn’t come with that spiffy keyboard. If you do need the power of a Pro, though, it’s still worth considering getting the 2018 model. On the low end, at least, you’ll almost certainly be able to find one for a lower price, and Apple’s new Magic Keyboard is even compatible with it.