Apple’s new iPad Pro comes in two sizes and starts at $999. It also has a new optional case called the Smart Keyboard that makes it feel like a laptop.

An appleThe new iPad Pro and iPad Air models launch on Wednesday. I’ve been testing the new iPad Pro for a few days now, and what I’ve found is that it’s a very nice iPad.

This is an important start for Apple. Earlier this month, the company reported a 16% year-over-year decline in iPad revenue for the fiscal second quarter. Apple hasn’t released a new iPad since October 2022.

The new iPad Pro is fast, with the latest M4 chip, and has a new OLED display that’s more colorful than previous screens. It’s the thinnest product Apple has ever released.

But it’s still running the same iPad software, and that’s starting to feel dated. The fully loaded model I tested costs about $2,499. That’s before you add the $350 keyboard and $129 Apple Pencil Pro, which will help you get more out of the device.

It’s time for Apple to make this more than just an iPad. The software, called iPadOS, has to catch up with the hardware.

Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is good

The new iPad Pro models at an Apple event. The new iPad Pro is Apple’s first device with an M4 chip. The larger version with a 13-inch display is Apple’s thinnest device to date at 5.1 millimeters thick.

Christoph Dernbach | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

The new iPad Pros cost $200 more than the models they replaced. I tested the larger 13-inch iPad Pro, which starts at $1,299 before storage and 5G upgrades. The 11-inch model starts at $999.

The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was how thin it was. It’s noticeable compared to the M1 iPad Pro I’ve been using for the past few years. And it’s lighter. This is especially nice for the 13-inch model, which replaces the 12.9-inch version. I always thought it was too heavy and clunky to use as a tablet. It still feels big, but it’s more manageable.

The new OLED screen is another highlight. It’s clear and super colorful. It’s similar to the OLED screen that Apple has used for years on its iPhone Pro, but not on the iPad. The screen adapts, becoming brighter in dark movies or showing scenes with explosions. And professional video and photo editors will appreciate its color accuracy. I loved using it for movies and while playing Diablo Immortal. The game will look better after Activision Blizzard releases an update enabling improved graphics for the M4 iPad Pro. The four stereo speakers sound nice and loud, but not thin.

The camera is finally in the right place. It’s along the horizontal edge of the iPad, so when propped up, it’s dead center for FaceTime calls. It used to be at the top of the iPad, forcing that awkward glance away during video calls. The quality was good and clear during my tests, and I like that the camera, using the Center Stage feature, followed me as I moved around the room.

2024 13-inch Apple iPad Pro

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The iPad has the latest and greatest M4 chip, which hasn’t been released to the Mac yet. I ran a multi-core benchmark test on GeekBench, which shows that it has a 48% higher score than the previous M2 iPad Pro. Apple promises up to 4x faster rendering over the M2 and 1.5x faster CPU performance, meaning editing video in Final Cut Pro for iPad and rendering things like 3D models is faster for professionals. who need it. The M4 also has a dedicated motor that helps power the “Tandem OLED” displays. Apple took a unique approach to the iPad by stacking two OLED screens on top of each other, which requires that special part of the M4 chip to work.

The iPad Pro felt snappy when running two apps side-by-side, switching between Slack and the web browser, or loading into games. Apps switch instantly. It wasn’t much different than my iPad M1 for everyday things like browsing the web and opening apps, which seems to be how iPads are mostly used. More on this in the next section.

2024 13-inch Apple iPad Pro

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The new iPad Pros support Apple’s updated $350 Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro (the 11-inch version is $300). It’s great and just like typing on a Mac with a full function row above the number keys to switch apps, adjust volume or brightness, and more. Apple added a much larger trackpad and an aluminum palm rest, but kept the same soft exterior and “floating” screen mechanism that lets you snap the iPad onto the case using its magnetic pins and tilt it back and forth.

2024 13-inch Apple iPad Pro

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The updated Apple Pencil Pro is also a lot of fun. I mostly use Apple Pencil to sign documents. But people who draw or paint on their iPads, or need more control in 3D or video apps, will love the new features. I liked squeezing it to change between the tool—a pencil, brush, or eraser, and the color—and the haptic pulse to confirm you’ve squeezed it. Developers can add the collapse feature to their apps so that you can access different tools in different apps. The added gyroscope also allows you to tilt and rotate the pencil to change the stroke of the pencil or pen. Double tapping is also handy, allowing you to switch between a pencil and an eraser, for example. The hold function visualizes where you will touch the display.

Apple promises the same battery life as the latest iPad Pro. So you get about 10 hours of web browsing or video watching, or nine hours if you surf the web with a cellular connection. This matched what I got in my tests. Expect to use a full working day. Still, it’s impressive considering this iPad is 1.3mm thinner and 103g lighter than the last 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

What’s wrong

2024 13-inch Apple iPad Pro

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Here’s my biggest gripe with the Pro models: The software, iPadOS, is what you’ll get on any other iPad. And while I think it works great, it’s about time the Pro models had a better OS.

My guess is that Apple has something big planned for the Worldwide Developers Conference next month, and I hope they get it right. I probably won’t get my wish, but I’d like to see the iPad Pro act just like a Mac. Put it in the keyboard and it turns into a touchscreen MacBook. Pick it up and use it like a regular iPad. It has a newer processor than Apple’s MacBook, so that should be possible if that’s something Apple wants. Regardless, we need better multitasking.

Stage Manager on iPad Pro

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Should you buy the 2024 iPad Pro?

2024 13-inch Apple iPad Pro

Todd Haselton | CNBC

It depends on what you need. This is my favorite iPad so far, even though I don’t need the faster chip. I like how thin it is and that it’s lighter than earlier iPads. The updated keyboard is awesome. The new Apple Pencil Pro works well, but creative people will use it more than I do.

I still think the 13-inch is a bit too big and would steer most people towards the 11-inch model. If you don’t care about needing all that speed, you should consider the new iPad Air, which costs less and also comes with a larger 13-inch screen. If you just need a tablet to surf the web, play games, and check email, get an iPad for $350.