Apple wants its new iPad Pro to replace your laptop

By David Flynn, October 31 2018
Apple wants its new iPad Pro to replace your laptop

Minutes after revealing a modern make-over for the once-revolutionary MacBook Air at Apple's New York launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook trotted out new iPad Pro tablets which the company says can replace your laptop.

It's the Apple version of betting a dollar each way, and there's no doubt that for some executives the supersized iPad Pro will be a safe bet.

While coming in two screen sizes – 11 inches and 12.9 inches – the upgraded tablets have a smaller physical footprint due to a thinner strip of bezels surrounding the screen and, most noticeably, the removal of the home button.

Face ID, Apple’s 3D facial recognition system introduced on last year's iPhone X, replaces the home button's  fingerprint scanner, essentially making the iPad Pro just one big slab of almost edge-to-edge screen.

The edges of the case are now flat instead of rounded, for a more professional rather than consumer vibe, but the 5.9mm profile will make these iPads a delight to hold.

Apple's Lightning connector – a mainstay across the iPhone and iPad lines – has been abandoned in favour of a USB-C port. This not only charges the iPad Pro, it lets you connect the likes of cameras, card readers, USB hubs and even external monitors (albeit not a disk drive).

However, Apple has also ditched the headphone jack. The new iPad Pro models want you to connect your cans via Bluetooth or with an optional $15 headphone adaptor for the USB-C socket.

Apple's latest A12X Bionic chip brings speeds, artificial intelligence processing and graphics up to par with the latest iPhones.

The companion Apple Pencil – itself a $199 add-on – is smaller, better to hold and has one flat side so it won’t roll around your desk. It also gains a double-tap shortcut function and magnetically sticks to the iPad Pro for pairing and wireless charging.

Completing that laptop-replacement scenario is the Smart Keyboard Folio (another $119 or $149, depending on what size iPad Pro you have) which is little-changed from the precious version.

As for the sticker on the tablets themselves, the 11-inch model starts at $1299 for WiFi and $1449 with 4G; the 12.9-inch slate kicks off at $1529 for WiFi and $1749 with 4G.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

25 Mar 2015

Total posts 30

I don't mind the idea of an iPad replacing my laptop, but with those price tags, and considering it is still an iPad not a laptop, thanks but no thanks!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

14 Mar 2017

Total posts 152


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 122

Who knew I would ever see a photo of my work on ausbt :D

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2017

Total posts 73

Which one was the "precious" one??? LOL

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

18 Jun 2018

Total posts 5

I'm an Apple Fanboy but I bought a Surface Pro before the first iPad Pro was released. I've upgraded it several times now. I like I can run all of my desktop programs in the iPad form factor so am unlikely to change.

Certainly, if the iOS ecosystem can provide the apps you needs, the iPad is a worthy laptop replacement. I've been very happy with my Surface Pro and won't be changing any time soon.

25 Mar 2015

Total posts 30

Exactly the same here: Apple products for everything, but I reckon Surface Go is a far, FAR, better portable product than an iPAD. If I spend upwards of $1,000 on a portable, it better be able to do everything my laptop does, albeit in a smaller form factor for short burst of work. iOS does not tick that box for me no matter how beautiful the screen or how fast benchmark scores get.

The new iPAD with prices around those of the new Macbook Air is going in the wrong direction I think... I guess my next tablet with be a non-Apple one!

11 Aug 2018

Total posts 2

i'm trying to love my surface this is my second one and it languishes in my draw. i feel i struggle with it. The ipad is great, until an IOS app doesnt behave as the desktop or desktop browser version and its also a struggle.

that sais i do see the ipad one day replacing the macbooks. however ios is so locked down and as a developer, i will still need to carry a macbook as backup.... so i might just wait lol

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