At the Apple event in March that the Vikes wrote about here pretty much everything that the rumour-mill had predicted came true. Some people complained about that saying that Apple could no longer surprise us and they had become stale, lost their innovation, etc etc. If we are completely honest innovation in both the mobile phone and tablet market is going to slow down. The sudden explosion at the beginning has been replaced with more gradual improvements and I think that’s the way those devices will be for some years to come. It might be true that Samsung are developing a foldable phone, but is that really innovation, or just a gimmick?

So the Apple event gave us everything people had predicted. One of those things being the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro (no longer the iPad Air). When I saw the spec I knew it would be a good upgrade from my second generation iPad mini. I chose the mini because my third gen iPad was a bit of a heavy brick and the smaller form factor suited me at the time. The iPad Air was a good improvement when it came to size and weight but other than that the changes were only cosmetic, so I stuck with the mini. When the big iPad Pro came out late last year I was really impressed, but it was really much too big for me. I was delighted when I saw they were putting those same giant steps into a 9.7 inch version and that really sold it to me.

So the 9.7 inch iPad Pro arrived dead on time on the 31st March and I’ve had a few days to play with it.

I have to say I am very impressed.

The screen is a delight on the eye, the speed of the A9X chip is lightning fast, and it feels very stable. If Apple is really trying to steer people away from laptops and towards iOS devices then the iPad Pros are a good step towards that goal. I bought the 128gb version so it has plenty of storage, and that, combined with a sensible use of iCloud and Dropbox means I have access to most of my files through the cloud. I didn’t get the cellular iPad as my iPhone’s personal hotspot link works seamlessly with my other Apple stuff. It really is a potential laptop replacement. I haven’t bought the smart keyboard as I’ve always been quite happy with the on-screen keyboard, but I understand they are also very good, and offer all of the shortcuts etc that you would expect from a laptop or desktop.

The sound on the new iPad Pro is also amazing. The four speaker system has fantastic clarity and although I was dubious about the loudness they really kick out some volume. I mean really. I’ve been using a bluetooth speaker system in our kitchen when I want to watch Netflix and do the washing up. I’m pretty sure that speaker is now redundant and I can just crank up the volume on the iPad’s internal speakers.

The camera is great and it also has the true tone flash for selfies. It’s NFC and Apple Pay enabled but I’m not sure I can see myself using the iPad if I already have Apple Pay on my phone and watch. But it’s there.

My favourite enhancement with the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro is the True Tone display. Apple are basically trying to replicate the way white paper changes colour depending on the ambient light of the room.

According to Apple:

It uses advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the colour and intensity of the display to match the light in your environment. Which means reading anywhere is more natural and comfortable — almost like looking at a sheet of paper.

And it really works. So much easier on the eye. Now that is innovation folks and shows the kind of thing Apple think about. Foldable phone… Pah.

All in all am amazing device and it’ll see me through a good number of years before I feel the need to upgrade again (sorry Apple).

Anything not so good?

Just one.

I cannot believe, I really cannot believe that Steve Jobs (pbuh) would have let this amazing device go out with a camera lens bump. Seriously? Ok, so it doesn’t actually rock, but when you put the iPad down it literally rests on the body, and the camera lens! Crazy. An accident just waiting to happen.

But that is it. Everything else about this device is brilliant and if you have a second gen iPad mini, or an iPad Air 2, oh and of course if you have the funds, this is a no-brainer upgrade.

Viking Rating: axe 4/5 axes