An initial look at the newest Apple device.

iPad Pro: Our First Thoughts 2Apple released its new iPad Pro today at Apple Retail Stores and some Best Buy locatIons. Instead of pre-ordering this morning, I decided to wait until the iPad Pro was available in store. Lucky for me, the newest Apple device ended up being available at our local Best Buy the same as pre-order day. At first, the thought a bigger iPad was out of the question for me because of how much I love the size of the iPad Air 2. Apple’s Tim Cook has stated that he feels the iPad Pro is a computer replacement. “The iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people” who will “start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phone.” I wasn’t sure that I would feel that way about the iPad Pro, but decided to go check it out since I found out the Best Buy had a demo unit.

I walked into our local Best Buy and was able to checkout the iPad Pro demo unit before it was even installed on the demo table. Within seconds of picking it up, I was in awe of its incredibly big screen. It’s also thinner than I thought it was going to be. I guess when Apple said the weight was the same as the original iPad, I was turned off, but holding it feels great. It might be the same weight as the original, but you can’t really tell too much. In fact, when you hold the iPad Pro along with the iPad Air 2, the weight really doesn’t feel that different.

iPad Pro: Our First Thoughts 3One of the first things I did with the demo unit was load and played the new Star Wars trailer to see how video looked on the 2732‑by‑2048 resolution screen. At first, I ended up being more surprised from the sound that came from the speakers than anything else. The new iPad Pro has four built-in speakers versus the two stereo speakers that the iPad Air 2 has. After I finished being amazed by the sound output, I was then equally amazed by the quality of the video and screen resolution.

After just a few moments of testing out basic functions on the demo iPad Pro, I was sold and decided to go ahead and make the purchase. The model I was interested in was the WiFi+Cellular model iPad Pro. Our Best Buy only had one iPad in that model and it was Gold. I sort of took that as a sign it was meant for me because Gold is best.

Once I got home, I carefully unboxed my newest Apple device. Inside the box, you will find the iPad Pro with a quick start guide, a power brick, and lightning cable buried beneath it. The cable seems to be more sturdy and thicker then the standard lightning cable. I have found that setting up the iPad Pro is no different then setting up any other modern iPad. I quickly found that having the crazy big screen is an extremely great way to enjoy surfing the Internet.

iPad Pro: Our First Thoughts 4One of the first real tests I put the iPad Pro through was setting up a post on MacSources. Before the iPad Pro, editing content for MacSources on my iPad Air 2 was painful due to the smaller screen. You can’t see everything you need to see and switching back and forth between image editing and the post editor was just too cumbersome to be productive. But, with the pro model and its larger screen, I was able to comfortably type (on screen – not with the new Smart Keyboard) an entire post and edit the images for it all on the iPad Pro.

Even though I don’t draw too much, I can definitely say that drawing on the new iPad Pro is a fantastic experience. If you enjoy creating original works of art, then drawing on the iPad Pro be a wonderful upgrade for you.

Even though I was skeptical of the super-sized iPad at first, I have to say that I’m a fan now and can see it’s place in the Apple family tree. The speakers are great, the screen is best-in-class, it’s easy to carry around, and it’s quite powerful. There is a noticeable power boost over the iPad Air 2. Geekbench rates it higher than all of the other iOS devices in Apple’s product line and it even outperforms the new MacBook’s Intel Core M processor.

The only downside I can really see is that with a bigger screen, you have more to worry about breaking. You don’t have a mouse or trackpad to control the tablet’s functionality, but it’s built-in touch keyboard and touch screen features coupled with the larger screen really don’t make you miss the mouse or trackpad.

iPad Pro: Our First Thoughts 5While the iPad Pro is expensive, it is a great device. Some people will only notice the sound and screen size difference, but more proficient users will notice the advanced options like the increased screen sensitivity. Unfortunately, the iPad Pro still lacks the 3D Touch feature that is included with the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

So, let’s go back to what Tim Cook said about this tablet being a laptop replacement. In my opinion, is the Pro a laptop replacement? I would have to say both yes and no. If you are looking to buy a new laptop and don’t use the laptop for major editing functions like Final Cut Pro or other software not in the App Store, then yes the iPad Pro could very well replace a standard laptop. I guess it really depends what your main reasons for having a computing device is.

If you were at all skeptical about the new iPad Pro, my advice is to go test it out where demo units are available. You will find that it’s a great device.