Rather than an innovative new tablet, Apple’s iPad Pro (2022) is a familiar device – it’s a slightly better iteration of Apple’s already market-leading iPad range.
If you’re already an iPad Pro user, there isn’t much to get excited about here. This year’s device boasts a 15% faster M2 processor and is now compatible with Apple Pencil Hover, an exclusive feature to aid artistic types. It has a fantastic display, the 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR being a standout, a sleek design, a good battery, a decent camera array and lightning-fast performance. But these are all plaudits you can still attribute to the iPad Pro (2021).
The iPad Pro (2022) is easily the best tablet on the market, but if you already own an iPad Pro (2021), this year’s device is certainly not worth upgrading for. It doesn’t bring enough to the table to warrant the investment.
With that said, if you’re new to the iPad range, you’ll love the iPad Pro (2022). There’s nothing it can’t do. Just expect to pay a lot for it, especially if you want the must-have accessories, namely the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard.
- Market leading performance thanks to the M2 chip
- Fantastic mini-LED display
- Decent camera array
- Accessories add a lot to the cost
The iPad Pro comes in two sizes. Other than their physical size, the only difference between them is the display. The 11-inch iPad Pro sports Apple’s Liquid Retina LCD screen while the 12.9-inch model boasts a Liquid Retina XDR display. More on this below:
Both devices come with multiple storage options. You can see the differences in price below:
On their own, the iPad Pro’s (2022) are reasonably priced. The standard Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with 128GB storage costs $1,949.
But when you start adding the must-have accessories like the $279 Apple Pencil and the $709 Magic Keyboard, the price soon starts to add up.
To put this into perspective, a full spec 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2022) with 2TB storage and both accessories costs $5,487. That’s almost $1,000 more expensive than a 1TB MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip.
Of course, you don’t need to buy the accessories, but it’s a much better experience with them. It makes for a costly total package.
The iPad Pro (2022) boasts the same sleek design as its predecessor, the iPad Pro (2021). This has become a common theme with Apple lately, in that it doesn’t introduce many drastic design changes to its newest devices. I don’t have a problem with this. The iPad Pro (2021) looks great and similarly, so does this year’s device.
For our review, we were given the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and it’s massive. It’s closer in size to a laptop screen than a phone. This isn’t a negative. The larger display makes it easier to write, draw and navigate, and it’s suitably light at only 682g. It’s easy to hold, and I could comfortably have it in one hand while scrolling with the other.
It comes in two familiar colours, Space Gray and Silver. Both of them are a tad boring but are to be expected in a device targeted towards “professionals.” For those looking for more colour in their device, the Yellow, Blue and Pink colour schemes are restricted to this year’s standard iPad (2022). You can always get a case for the Pro, but as of now, there’s only Black and White options on the Apple store, each costing an extra $200 on top of an already expensive device.
The iPad Pro (2022) has the same button layout as its predecessor. The volume buttons are located on the right. The on/off/sleep button is on the top. It’s all very familiar, but it works.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2022) has a beautiful display. It’s crisp, vibrant and smooth with a 2,732 x 2,048-pixel resolution and 120Hz refresh rate.
It’s a liquid retina XDR display with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. It’s vibrant and colourful, supporting the P3 Gamut. There’s also True Tone support, which adjusts the colours based on your surroundings and ProMotion, which will alter the frame rate based on what you’re doing to conserve battery. Watching videos and editing photos on the iPad Pro (2022) is a delight.
Over 10,000 mini-LED lights power the display. This allows for adaptive brightness in which the LEDs are split into roughly 2,500 local dimming zones. These zones adjust their brightness and contrast to suit what’s on screen. This creates a truer-to-life image and enables the display to achieve a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
This is only available on the 12.9-inch model though. The 11-inch model sports a liquid retina LCD screen that doesn’t support mini-LEDs. It doesn’t produce the same dynamic range, brightness, and darker blacks as the 12.9-inch model with a maximum brightness of 600 nits.
To put it bluntly, the display is brilliant. Whether it’s Netflix, YouTube or Photoshop, everything looks great. Especially HDR content.
The big news here is that Apple has equipped the iPad Pro with its M2 chip. It’s a bit ridiculous. The M1 chip was already way too powerful for a tablet that Apple designs to be used as a touch-first device.
Upgrading to an M2 chip will mean very little to very few people. But it’s great marketing:
“Here’s our latest chip, here’s our latest tablet, go nuts”.
The idea that the iPad Pro is a device that “professionals” will use to edit several 4K video streams simultaneously has never sat well with me. I’m convinced it’s not.
Despite that, Apple is right in saying that the iPad Pro (2022) has the power to do so. We ran Geekbench tests on the latest version and got a single core score of 1895 and a multi-core score of 8484.
To put this into perspective, last year’s iPad Pro had a single core-score of 1718 and a multi-core score of 7181; the MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) had a single-core of 1707 and a multi-core score of 7390; while the Mac Studio (M1 Max @ 3.2 GHz with 10 cores) had a single core score of 1754 and a multi-core score of 12327.
Clearly, this is a powerful machine. Whether this power is needed, or has the software to make it harnessable, are totally different questions – ones which I suspect both share the same answer, “no”.
Although I (also) doubt buying decisions will impinge on the iPad Pro (2022) ‘s photo-taking capabilities, this year’s tablet boasts a good array.
It’s a dual-camera setup with a 12MP, F/1.8 wide lens. It supports 2x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom. The second lens is a 10 MP, f/2.4, 125˚ ultrawide.
If your “professional” usage requires you to take photos, the iPad Pro (2022) easily takes good enough images.
The selfie camera is a 12 MP, f/2.4, 122˚ ultrawide that supports 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps and is compatible with Centre Stage. This automatically keeps the subject in the centre of the shot and will zoom in and out depending on how many subjects walk in and out of frame.
It’s a more than capable camera setup.
What’s new with the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)?
Other than the M2 processor, there isn’t much to differentiate this year’s iPad Pro from last year’s.
The latest device comes with Apple’s newest iteration of its operating software preinstalled.
iPadOS 16 is where most of the new features are to be found. However, last year’s iPad Pro (2021) is also compatible with iPadOS 16, so there isn’t a lot to separate the two devices.
One feature exclusive to the iPad Pro (2022) is Apple Pencil Hover. The iPad detects the Apple Pencil from 12mm above the screen and will show a point on display. This allows you to use the Pencil more accurately as you can see the size and type of brush you’ve selected before putting anything down.
It’s hardly a groundbreaking new feature, but I can imagine this is a helpful new tool for artistic types.
Like most of Apple’s operating system updates, iPadOS 16 introduces a range of new features to improve the user experience.
It feels like an extension of iOS 16 in that most of the “newer” features announced with Apple’s iPhones are being brought over to its iPads.
There are too many smaller updates to list here; the standouts are Stage Manager, Messages Updates and Mail Updates.
Stage Manager is a multitasking update that allows you to easily switch between four app windows open simultaneously.
The Messages app allows you to unsend or edit a message sent to someone else using iPadOS or iOS 16. And the mail app will enable you to unsend an email within 30 seconds.
These are all welcome improvements. However, iPadOS still feels like its a some way behind the iPad hardware, which creates a bit of a mismatch between performance and usability. For big jobs, I still find myself reaching for my MacBook rather than my iPad; and likewise for quick jobs, I grab my iPhone rather than my iPad.
Oh, and there still isn’t a native iOS calculator app. Ugh.
To get the most out of the iPad Pro (2022), you need two accessories: the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard. And while they are costly – the $700 Magic Keyboard, especially – they’re also excellent.
The Magic Keyboard is lovely to type on. It feels great, is well-spaced and is easy to clip on and off.
The Apple Pencil is responsive and accurate. It doesn’t rival the feeling of writing on actual paper, but it creates a good-enough illusion.
Both accessories seamlessly integrate with the iPad Pro (2022) as well. There’s no wasted time connecting the accessories. Just grab them, and away you go. It’s very well done.
The iPad Pro (2022) boasts a 10-hour battery. This is standard in the industry and is the same as last year’s iPad Pro (2021) and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Tab Ultra.
Charging is still limited to 20W, and the device utilises a USB-C charging port. If you’re an Apple iPhone user, get ready to buy another charging cable, as your iPhone one won’t do the job here.
Apple’s iPad Pro (2022) is a beast of a tablet. Designed for “Pro” users, there’s so much power here it’s a challenge even to begin to push the device to its limit.
Is that a bad thing? Certainly not. More power means more capability, and the way things look, Apple’s iPads will only get more and more powerful each year.
But with that said, I couldn’t push last year’s incredibly fast iPad Pro (2021) to its limit either. And I don’t believe there’s anything a “Pro” user couldn’t do on last year’s device that they can now do on this year’s iPad Pro.
This puts Apple in a strange predicament in that its latest products are only in competition with their predecessors. To remedy that, Apple must introduce drastic new features exclusive to the latest device. Apple Pencil Hover isn’t exactly the groundbreaking new feature that’s going to make people’s decisions for them, though.
This all leads to the question, why buy the iPad Pro (2022) when you can buy the iPad Pro (2021) for cheaper? I’m doubtful there’s a single real-life scenario where someone actually needs an M2 iPad Pro rather than an M1 iPad Pro.