The time has finally come. After months of waiting, Apple’s (AAPL) iPad Pro, which was announced at a special press event in September, is now available.
In tandem with that launch, reviews are piling in. And while the vast majority of people who have tested Apple’s big-screen tablet agree that it delivers an appealing mobile experience, Apple’s seeming hopes of turning it into an eventual notebook killer may not be realized.
Apple’s iPad Pro is the biggest tablet the company has unveiled to this point. The device comes with a 12.9-inch screen, making it notably larger than the 9.7-inch display in the company’s iPad Air 2 line. The iPad Pro runs on Apple’s A9X chip, which the company claims, is capable of delivering more power than many of the processors running in lightweight notebooks. Indeed, Apple argues that the tablet can “easily take on tasks that were once reserved for workstations and PCs.”
Like other iPads, the iPad Pro features full multitouch support and takes advantage of some of iOS 9’s latest improvements, including better multitasking support and a Split View feature, to enhance productivity. Apple says that some application makers, including Adobe (ADBE), have also optimized their apps to take full advantage of the iPad Pro’s big screen.
As part of Apple’s attempt to make the iPad Pro feel like a laptop killer, the device comes with support for its new Smart Keyboard, which, upon connecting to the tablet, acts both as a stand and a keyboard. Apple’s iPad Pro also offers support for Apple Pencil, a stylus that is pressure-sensitive, allowing for shading and other pencil-like features one would find in traditional writing instruments.
The iPad Pro starts at $799 for the Wi-Fi-only model and goes up to $1,079 for the Wi-Fi-and-cellular version with 128GB of storage. The Apple Pencil is available for $99, while the Smart Keyboard goes for $169.
So, is the iPad Pro ultimately more appealing than traditional notebooks and really worth buying? Here’s a rundown of what the early reviewers have to say.
“The iPad Pro is the best tablet, and the best case for tablets, anyone’s ever made.” (Wired)
“As our phablets push smaller tablets into retirement, the big tablet and its accessories will do the same for our traditional computers. For now, however, it may be easiest to step back and see the Pro as a… really good, really big iPad.” (Wall Street Journal)
“If you can get past its size and its price—and not everybody can—you will be crazy about the iPad Pro.” (Yahoo)
“The iPad Pro is a dream machine for graphic designers and media mavens, but this elegant tablet needs more optimized apps and accessories before it can fully achieve laptop-killer status.” (CNET)
“From a hardware perspective, the iPad Pro strikes me as a seminal device. It runs faster than the Intel x86-based MacBooks, gets better battery life, and costs significantly less. And it has a better display with significantly more pixels than even a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Is it a MacBook replacement for me, personally? No. For you? Maybe. For many people? Yes.” (Daring Fireball)
“Because Apple hasn’t made a great keyboard, the iPad Pro isn’t a complete replacement for a great laptop like the MacBook Air—even for a tablet guy like me. The iPad Pro will no doubt make a lot of Apple users happy, especially if they use it for graphics. But I won’t be buying one, and I don’t recommend that average users do so either.” (Walt Mossberg)
“…given a couple of iOS updates the iPad Pro has room to grow into a more versatile laptop replacement without necessarily giving up the things that people like about iOS. For the rest of us, there’s still the Mac.” (ArsTechnica)
“So fundamentally, I know that the iPad Pro can’t do all of the things my MacBook Pro can do. And, as of right now, the iPad is still not quite the computing savior that Steve Jobs predicted it would be five years ago.” (The Verge)
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For a look at Apple’s iPad Pro, check out the following Fortune video: