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iPad Pro Vs. Mac: Worth It?? REVIEW 2021

iPad Pro Vs. Mac: Worth It?? REVIEW 2021

Apple decision-makers Greg Joswiak and John Ternus in conversation about development challenges, 

old misunderstandings as to why the iPad Pro shouldn’t be called a tablet – and why leakers upset them.

When the “Spring Loaded” event on April 20, has Apple announced some new products. Probably the most surprising and far-reaching one concerned the new iPad Pro: This received the greatly improved technology from Apple’s Pro Display XDR, which cost more than 5,000 euros and the new, mighty chip architecture of the latest MacBooks with the M1 chip.



At least now, the tablet computer is technically on a par with the current MacBook Pro, even surpassing much older, significantly more expensive models. A turning point for the tablet series – and also for the entire product portfolio? t-online has looked at all available information about the upcoming device and had Apple’s marketing boss Greg “Joz” Joswiak and Apple’s hardware development boss John Ternus explain the background to the strategy and development.

“Incredibly efficient” this time, no advertising exaggeration.

If you ask Greg Joswiak for a brief statement about the new iPad Pro, you get a typical Apple answer: “This is the incredibly most powerful and versatile iPad Pro we have ever made.”


Such a sentence leaves Apple connoisseurs cold at first. After all, exuberant rhetoric has been at the core of Apple’s product marketing for years. However, in the case of the new iPad Pro, this is not a commercial exaggeration but a pretty accurate description.

Given the new XDR display with 10,000 mini- LEDs and the self-developed M1 chip inside the iPad Pro, one can certainly resort to “incredibly powerful”.

Accordingly, “Joz” speaks in a good mood in the video call about the upcoming Apple tablet. But he would rather not hear the word “tablet” in this context: “To me, it almost sounds like scratching a blackboard with your fingernails when you call the iPad Pro ‘tablet’ because a tablet works far beyond. “

The new iPad Pro is 75 times faster than the original iPad

How far Apple has turned the performance screw here is shown by comparing the only eleven-year-old original iPad: The pure CPU performance has increased by a factor of 75, the graphics performance even by a factor of 1,500, Apple calculates during the presentation. The new iPad contains the same chip that Apple also uses in MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, as Joswiak confirmed when asked.

The M1 is a System-on-a-Chip (SoC), not just a CPU but also a graphics processor and AI accelerator in one. The fact that the transfer from Mac to iPad was comparatively easy has to do with the M1. Itself is a further development of the A-series chips that have always been built into the iPhone and iPad. 

To illustrate this, Apple showed a video clip during the Spring Loaded event in which a disguised Tim Cook removes the M1 from a MacBook in a few simple steps and then inserts it into the new iPad Pro.

In a video clip, Apple shows how Tim Cook builds the M1 into the new iPad Pro. Of course, it wasn’t that easy. 

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In a video clip, Apple shows how Tim Cook simply builds the M1 into the new iPad Pro. Of course, it wasn’t that easy.

Did it work!

Of course, it didn’t work that easily, reports John Ternus, Apple‘s chief hardware developer: “Sure, we have this split architecture and of course we can use it. But every product is unique and different. Not just in terms of shape, but also the different components, input/output and all these things. Of course, it would be a lot easier if you could use the new part – we took a little creative freedom in the presentation in the clip. “

The new iPads can be pre-ordered from April 30 and picked up from mid-May. The small iPad Pro with an 11-inch display costs 879 euros. The large iPad Pro with the new XDR screen is available for 1,199 euros. If you want to order the 12.9-inch device with two TB of storage and a 5G modem, you have to pay more than 2,500 euros.

In return, the time-consuming adaptation of the software, which is strictly necessary for programs for M1 Macs, for example, to be able to use them optimally – after all, iPadOS was already optimized for this chip architecture. M1 and iPadOS apps are completely compatible from day one.

The switch from the A-series to the M1 chip on the iPad Pro was not completely absurd in advance – nevertheless, neither analysts nor leakers had foreseen this upgrade: “Oh man, how happy we were to present it without anyone knowing about it – that was fun! “Reports Joswiak.


“Leaks are never absolutely true. That confuses people.”

Because apart from this aspect, the essential points of the event already leaked in advance. Compared to the competition, Apple is better at keeping new products secret, but Cupertino has long since failed to do so completely.

Anyone who thinks that Apple would book such “leaks” as free PR or even be happy about the reports in advance is wrong. “The disappointing thing is that we work hard to make smart product decisions that are in the best interests of our customers. And we want to be the ones to explain why we made those decisions,” says Joswiak. “If a leaker reveals things, there is no story, no explanation as to why we did it that way.” 

Further Issues

Another problem is that the leakers’ predictions are never absolutely accurate. “You can confuse the market with it, and you can confuse people with it. People then often believe that we have presented things when that is not the case.”

All of this leads to wrong narratives and wrong ideas. Why Apple does things, says Joswiak, and ends with a little tip against the leaker: “I think we’re just in a better position to talk about all of this than a person whose The only point in life is to try to ruin the surprise for everyone else, right? “

The fact that the new iPad Pro would have a display with mini LED backlighting. The second spectacular upgrade in the iPad Pro – had been considered certain for months. The exact implementation of the “Liquid Retina XDR Display”, which is only built into the large 12.9-inch iPad, nevertheless caused astonishment.

The high number of mini-LEDs was a side effect of the development.

According to Apple, the new display shows extremely high contrast values ​​of 1,000,000 1, which are otherwise only achieved by OLED screens. But simultaneously offers a significantly higher brightness of 1,000 nits in full screen and up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness. “We believe this is absolutely the best display we can put in a 12.9-inch iPad,” explains Ternus. The combination of high contrast and high brightness and the other advantages of the XDR screen are not offered by any other technology.

It is made possible by over 10,000 mini LEDs that are grouped into 2596 dimming zones. These are probably the finest local dimming by far on the market.


Lets know about Local dimming

Local dimming is known from the TV world, where it enables HDR effects. Since LCD screens cannot completely darken their background lighting, they cannot show a deep black. With local dimming, the pixel grid is not backlit homogeneously with the same brightness but divided into dimming zones, which can be bright or matt depending on the image content. If part of the image looks black, the light is switch off completely – and the area looks black and not dark grey. Other parts of the picture – such as the shining moon in the night sky, can be illuminated very brightly simultaneously – and thus represent a high contrast.

In the TV sector, the local dimming can only be found in higher-priced devices – and even there, you can only get over 100 dimming zones with expensive top models. When Apple presented its Pro Display XDR two years ago for around 5,500 euros, its 576 dimming zones spread over a 32-inch screen marked the limit of what was technically possible.

During its event, Apple will show how the mini LEDs and dimming zones of the new XDR display in the iPad work.


iPad Pro with best of Technology

Not even two years later, Apple has almost quintupled the number – and that on a fifth area. “With the iPad Pro, our goal is always to advance the hardware as far as we can – and incorporate the best of technology,” says John Ternus.

For the iPad display, that was the Pro Display XDR. “And then we faced this monumental challenge of shrinking it down and getting it inside the iPad. That was tough, but it was fun.” The high number of LEDs and dimming zones was a side effect of solving another problem, says Ternus: “If you look at the two products, the iPad Pro is much thinner than the Pro Display XDR.

So one of the biggest challenges was – how do you shrink the backlight in an iPad. And the further you downsize the LEDs, the more you need them so that even the tiny lights can create all these zones. “


Waterproof iPads will probably not be available in the future either

Ternus reports that his team ultimately had to make several inventions for this, which began with a suitable LED themselves. Including how to finally integrate 10,000 mini LEDs very precisely into this backlight and then optically direct the light of these luminaires. In the end, hence creation of a homogeneous illumination.

“This compression of the backlight was necessary so that it would even fit into the iPad Pro. The advantage was an incredibly compact backlight, which gives us even more precision with the dimming zones.”

In the end, the iPad Pro with XDR display gained half a millimeter in thickness. With an increase from 72 to 10,000 LEDs, even Apple can get over it.

Apple’s smartphones and smartwatches

In contrast to Apple’s smartphones and smartwatches, the latest iPads are not waterproof either. And probably will not be in the future either. “There is simply no real demand for the iPad. Sure, the iPhone accompanies you everywhere. That is not the case with the iPad. You tend to put it back in your pocket,” says Joswiak.

John Ternus explains: “If you think about what we’ve done with the watch or the iPhone. It’s simply an enormous amount of engineering and effort to build the devices like this. “

But even without water protection, the new iPad Pro offers a significant increase in performance and functionality. Even compared to the previous year’s device, the new tablet computer calculates 50 per cent faster. And provides 40 per cent more graphics performance.

Thanks to the M1 and Thunderbolt support, the data to the device at up to 40 Gbit / s. In the largest expansion stage, two terabytes of memory are available, which should connect twice as fast as before.

Even large external displays such as the Pro Display XDR with a 6K resolution (6,016 x 3,384 pixels, about two and a half times as many pixels as 4K) with the device.


Does iPad Pro become notebook alternative – the problem for the Mac?

The iPad Pro is more than ever a real alternative to a high-performance notebook. Isn’t the device already poaching in the area of ​​the MacBook Pro? Does this possibly shift the entire product structure in the Apple cosmos? Or is Apple possibly still planning to bring MacOS to the iPad Pro?

Joswiak waves it away. These are all misunderstandings: “People created these two narratives: one is that it has to be either an iPad or a Mac. The other is that we are trying to merge the two devices. 

The consideration of whether reservation of certain functions for Mac or iPad only plays no role in the development. “We never think: ‘Oh, we shouldn’t do this on one device because it’s the domain of another'” confirms the head of hardware development Ternus. “I don’t think the M1 caused a shift either.

He pushes the iPad Pro in terms of what you can do with it. “Joswiak explains, it is simply about creating options – nobody just has to choose Mac or iPad. ” Both with the Mac and with the iPad we have the highest customer satisfaction on the market. What we do works – quite often, our customers buy both.

“This is one of the reasons why Apple is working hard to make continuity between the platforms as easy as possible, adds Joswiak:” 

You can call or text messages directly from your iPhone. On the Mac, you can assume that you start an e-mail on the iPad. And continue typing on the Mac or that something copies to the clipboard on one device. Then pasted on another device. These are these magical things.


Apple is right on the market – iPad and Mac are growing.

In fact, according to the market research, a company IDC, Apple grew significantly in the past year. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the company was able to increase its Mac sales by a good 49 per cent compared to the previous year.

While Apple was only the fourth largest manufacturer of computers with a market share of eight per cent, things are different in the tablet segment.

Here, with sales growth of almost 20 per cent in the fourth quarter, the iPads only grew about as much as the market. But Apple is by far in first place with a market share of 36.5 per cent. Suppose you look at the results of Apple’s first-quarter 2021 published on Wednesday evening. In that case, this trend is likely to have intensified: Compared to the previous year, the company doubled its profit. Also, sales with Macs by 70 % and those with iPads even by 79 per cent.

When are Logic, Final Cut and Xcode coming to the iPad Pro?

However, the platforms Mac and iPad Pro still differ significantly in the software. Because while Apple’s professional applications such as the video editing program Final Cut Pro, the music production environment Logic Pro. Last but not least, Apple’s software development platform Xcode is on the Macs. With the M1 chip reach new top performance levels. They are not yet available for the new iPad Pro with the same chip. 

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When Greg Joswiak asks whether these programs use on the new iPad Pro shortly. The head of marketing again gave a typical Apple answer: “You know us, we don’t like to talk too much about the future all if what we have today … another day. “

But this day, at least some believe could not be so far away. On June 7, Apple will open this year’s WWDC developer conference. It is the perfect occasion for Apple to announce its professional software for iPad Pro. Thus take the last step towards a real professional device.

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