The surprise announcement of the new iPad Pro Wednesday brought a ton of changes to Apple’s tablet that will fundamentally change the way we interact with it, from trackpad support to a LiDAR scanner and a new “Z” processor. But I’ve already written about all that. Now let’s talk about a few of the things the new iPad doesn’t have.
Okay, now I didn’t actually expect the iPad Pro to get a 5G modem before the iPhone did, but after bringing gigabit LTE to the 2018 refresh, 5G is the obvious next step. Apple is clearly positioning the new iPad Pro as the ultimate travel companion for professionals, but the lack of 5G means we’ll likely be waiting until 2022 before Apple has a tablet that supports the next-generation network.
The Liquid Retina display on the iPad Pro has a ton of high-end specs that make it among the best tablet screens ever made:
2388×1668 (11-inch) or 2732×2048 (12.9-inch) at 264ppi
120Hz ProMotion technology
Wide color display (P3)
600 nits brightness
However, even if Apple has given it a fancy name, it’s still a plain old LCD, just like it was when Steve Jobs unveiled it back in 2010. Granted, it’s one of the best LCDs I’ve ever seen and Apple’s iPad screen tech is light-years ahead of most laptops, but after seeing what it can do with OLED on the Apple Watch and iPhone, I can’t help but wish the iPad Pro had a display upgrade.
A good front camera
My biggest complaint about the iPad Pro and the most confounding thing about it is the 7MP TrueDepth camera that’s on the front. It’s the same 7MP, f/2.2 selfie camera that debuted on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro in June 2017 and pales in comparison to the 12MP camera on the iPhone 11 Pro. Aside from the low resolution, it doesn’t have the cinematic video stabilization or the extended dynamic range that the iPhone 11 Pro’s front camera has, nor will it record video in 4K.
I don’t get it. It’s the same issue my colleague Jason Cross has with the MacBook Air: With a giant retina screen the iPad Pro is the perfect FaceTime device, but alas, the front camera remains woefully inadequate, despite a significant upgrade of the rear camera. Why Apple expects us to hold up out 12.9-inch tablet to take ultra-wide-angle pics but won’t give us a 4K front camera is beyond me.
A second USB-C port
When the iPad Pro picked up a USB-C port, it opened the tablet up to a whole world of peripheral devices, including displays, hard drives, and of course, a pair of headphones (since the 3.5mm jack is gone). And with the new cursor and trackpad gestures moving from the Accessibility settings to the main interface, more people are going to want to plug in their mice to try it out. There’s just one problem: There’s only one port, so once you plug something in you’re out of options.
I know, you can use a hub or buy a magic Keyboard for $300 and get a second port, but it would even handier if Apple added a second port on the other side like the MacBook Air. With the speaker grills on the top and bottom edge, it doesn’t even need to upset the symmetry, and it would be a heck of a lot easier to charge with a port on either side. So here’s hoping Apple sees the light with the next model.
A landscape Apple logo
The Apple logo on the back of the iPad is still positioned to hold it in portrait mode despite 13 out of 15 photos on its website showcasing it in landscape orientation. Apple knows it’s a landscape device. We know it’s a landscape device. Even the Magic Keyboard has a landscape Apple logo. Yet the sideways logo on the back of the iPad persists.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.