Apple ipad pro 9

     

Both Apple’s & Microsoft’s flagship tablet devices are large, powerful và elegant. But which is best for musicians?

Last year both Apple và Microsoft introduced new products representing each company’s vision for tablet computing. For Apple, it was the ipad Pro, an ipad aimed at those desiring a device more tailored towards productivity than content consumption, while Microsoft released a fourth-generation Surface Pro. Given the similarities between the two devices, and the fact that they both start around the same price, I thought it might be interesting lớn directly compare the two rather than discuss them individually. So in one corner is the entry-level ipad Pro with 32GB storage priced at £679$799, và in the other is the entry-level Surface Pro 4 with 128GB storage priced at £749$899. Let the battle commence!

Size Matters

My first reaction when picking up the máy tính bảng ipad Pro was basically ‘whoa’! The ipad Pro is, as others have noted, essentially a big ipad tablet Air; but it’s only when you pick the thing up — looking at pictures just doesn’t give an appropriate impression — that you begin to realise what this actually means. The ipad Pro measures 8.68 by 12 inches with a thickness of 0.27 inches, & it weighs in at 713g, which makes it slightly heavier than the very first iPad, which weighed 680g. It can feel slightly weird khổng lồ hold, particularly in portrait orientation, and it seems much more comfortable sitting on a desk.

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The display measures 12.9 inches diagonally with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 at 264ppi (Pixels Per Inch) & looks every bit as good as you’d expect. Existing apps run just fine on the larger screen, but they have khổng lồ be specially optimised to actually take advantage of all the available pixels. Apple’s own GarageBand, as noted in the review, is able to lớn offer three additional Tracks in Track View & can now display a smaller Tracks View when you’re in Instrument View. Korg have updated Gadget so you can now see 10 Tracks and five Scenes in landscape mode, or seven Tracks & nine Scenes in portrait — standard iPads show seven Tracks & three Scenes in landscape và five Tracks & Scenes in portrait. WaveMachine Labs’ Auria also offers support, fitting (in landscape orientation) 18 tracks on the mixer and up lớn 29 on the editor, compared to 13.5 tracks on the mixer và up lớn 24 on the editor on non-Pro iPads.

The larger display makes multitasking apps more practical, and, indeed, the reason for the slightly odd screen kích thước is so that you can run two apps side-by-side using Split View in landscape orientation, with both displaying the full portrait interface you would see on a regular iPad. Apps need to be tweaked in order to fully tư vấn multitasking, and Split View works great if you want to, say, work with Word và Excel xuất hiện at the same time. However, most music & audio apps don’t support Split View, và I think the reason for this is simply that a large percentage of those apps are hardwired to use a landscape orientation, making it harder khổng lồ see how Split View could be useful. (Unless Split View could be made to work the other way around, so you’d see two landscape interfaces with the máy tính bảng ipad Pro in portrait orientation; but I can’t see apple going for that...)

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Moving from sight to sound, the ipad tablet Pro also features an interesting new speaker system. Where iPads have traditionally had one or two speakers next to the 30-pin or Lightning connectors, the máy tính bảng ipad Pro has four speakers: two on the bottom as before, và now two on the vị trí cao nhất as well. Depending on the device’s orientation, táo bị cắn dở say that the máy tính bảng ipad Pro will intelligently adjust the output so that, “While all four produce bass frequencies, the top-most speakers are dedicated to higher frequencies.”

The design of the Surface Pro 4 was less surprising, as it’s more or less the same as its predecessor, although there a few differences to note. It’s ever so slightly thinner (0.33-inches vs 0.36), and ever so slightly lighter (766g vs 790g), which is just enough of a difference lớn give the sense of a more modern device. More importantly, Microsoft have made the screen larger (12.3-inches vs 12) without changing the Surface Pro’s footprint, so you now get a 2736 x 1824 resolution at 267ppi instead of the Surface Pro 3’s 2160 x 1440 display at 216ppi. This has been achieved by reducing the bezel around the display, and removing the touch-sensitive Windows button, which is great as this was something that got pressed more by accident than with intent.

Like the Surface 3, the entry-level Surface Pro 4 is fan-less and the volume buttons have been moved to lớn next lớn the power button, which took some getting used khổng lồ coming from previous Surface Pros. Since I generally use the device in landscape orientation, this change was a little annoying.

Seeing as the Surface Pro 4 runs full Windows 10 Pro, you can use it lớn run both modern, Universal Windows Platform apps & traditional Windows desktop software. This is just as well, since the Windows ứng dụng Store still has quantity and unique problems when it comes to lớn the selection of apps for musicians và audio engineers. There’s FL Studio Groove và StaffPad and, well, that’s about it. However, one advantage with Universal Windows apps is that they’re designed to scale khổng lồ different types of devices with different screen sizes, so apps don’t need khổng lồ be modified khổng lồ take advantage of the larger screen.

When the Surface Pro 4 launched, there were number of issues with the device due to lớn bugs in the firmware, which was a little disappointing. Táo bị cắn are generally good at shipping devices that don’t need a period of updating when you first turn on the device, and it’s a shame Microsoft are still struggling in this regard. However, at the time of writing (in mid March) most of these glitches seemed khổng lồ be resolved and my Surface Pro 4 was working well.

Under The Bonnet

Internally, the ipad tablet Pro & Surface Pro 4 both feature 4GB memory và a dual-core processor: the máy tính bảng ipad powered by Apple’s latest A9X system-on-a-chip, and the Surface Pro 4 featuring an hãng intel m3. In terms of pure performance, turning khổng lồ Geekbench, the ipad tablet Pro handily beats the Surface Pro 4 with a score of 5459 vs 4897. However, if you want a faster Surface, you can of course spend more money and purchase one with an hãng intel i5 or i7 chip. According lớn Geekbench’s web site, i5 and i7-based Surface Pro 4s have been scoring around 6000 and 7000 respectively, and these models also include up to lớn 16GB RAM as well — plus a fan.

In terms of storage, the ipad Pro starts with just 32GB, which seems a little exiguous for such a product. If you need more than 32GB, hãng apple offer 128GB models with or without cellular connectivity for £899$1079 và £799$949 respectively.

The Surface Pro 4 starts with 128GB, và while some will point out that Windows requires more storage space than iOS, you’re still left with 102GB out of the box (iOS, by comparison, consumes about 5GB). But unlike the máy tính bảng ipad Pro, the Surface Pro 4 offers a microSD slot behind the kickstand, enabling you khổng lồ conveniently expand the storage capacity of the device. And, if you’re willing to lớn pay more, models with either 256GB or 512GB are also available (which also include more memory and faster processors).

iOS can now make use of external storage devices, although this is obviously less elegant as it’s something else to lớn carry around with you, & apps have lớn be modified lớn take advantage of this. Currently, apps such as WaveMachine Labs’ Auria Pro and Steinberg’s Cubasis offer tư vấn for external storage.

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This chart illustrates the performance of various tablets I have known and loved over the years.

Is The Pen Mightier Than The Pencil?

A key aspect of the ipad Pro’s kiến thiết is tư vấn for the new táo Pencil, a stylus that features a male Lightning connector hidden under a magnetic cap at the base of the accessory. The Pencil is pure Apple: it’s white & looks beautifully futuristic, but, more importantly, feels pleasant in the hand. Táo bị cắn may gọi it a Pencil, though it’s weighted in such a way that it feels lượt thích a really nice pen, và it works remarkably well with fairly decent palm rejection. The biggest rub with the Pencil is that it’s not included in the box and costs £79$99 extra.

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The Pencil communicates with the máy tính bảng ipad Pro via Bluetooth, and you pair the Pencil by simply inserting it into the máy tính bảng ipad Pro. Should you turn công nghệ bluetooth không dây off at any point, you’ll need to lớn pair the Pencil again when bluetooth không dây is re-enabled. In addition lớn using the Lightning connector to pair the Pencil, it’s also used khổng lồ charge the stylus. You’ll probably find yourself charging the stylus at least once a week, and Apple supply an adaptor so you can plug the Pencil into a regular Lightning cable. If you find yourself without a charger, you can also charge the Pencil by plugging it into your iPad, getting an extra 30 minutes of use time in just 15 seconds.

In terms of software support, many creative apps can now take advantage of the pencil, and Microsoft have added Windows-like inking features to lớn the Office apps on iOS. When it comes to music apps, the tư vấn is fairly minimal at the time of writing, although Notion have a £5.99$7.99 Handwriting in-app purchase that supports the Pencil. Unlike StaffPad on Windows, where you just write directly onto the score, the Handwriting module opens a magnified area of the score below the actual score, & this is where you write. It feels a little clunky, khổng lồ be honest, và the recognition is not always reliable, although it is compatible with any đầu vào device, be it the Pencil, your finger, or any other máy tính bảng ipad stylus.

Microsoft, of course, have a head start when it comes lớn modern styli, dating all the way back to the introduction of the Tablet PC in 2001. As with all previous ‘Pro’ Surfaces, Microsoft include a Surface Pen in the box (additional Pens can be purchased for £49.99$59.99, & the Pro 4’s Pen improves upon the one supplied with the Pro 3. It’s slightly longer, for one thing, with a tip that has a little more resistance than before, and Microsoft also offer a pack of different tips for £10$10.

Although I loved the look & feel of the Pencil, the Pen offers a good giảm giá more functionality, and the best thing about the new Pen is that Microsoft have brought back the eraser that featured on earlier, Wacom-powered Surface Pro models. So if you want khổng lồ erase something, you simply cảm ứng the screen with the opposite over of the Pen — Apple, take note! Also, Microsoft claim you’ll get about 18 months of battery life with the Pen’s replaceable battery.

If you want a tablet primarily for notation work, the Surface Pro 4 wins hands down. That it is able lớn run both Universal Apps such as StaffPad & desktop apps like Sibelius — both of which take advantage of the pen — is a combination that’s hard khổng lồ beat. Notion for quả táo is a commendable ứng dụng (look out for a full reviews in a coming issue), but it’s hard to beat the fluid workflow of StaffPad or the sophistication of Sibelius, or even the desktop version of Notion.

Keyed In

One hardware accessory that you may or may not need depending on how you’re going to lớn be using a tablet is a keyboard cover. In addition to lớn the Pencil, apple are also offering the Smart Keyboard, an accessory that’s a cover, a keyboard & stand, and is available for £139$169. This communicates with the ipad tablet Pro and provides power nguồn via a new so-called Smart Connector on the left-hand side of the ipad tablet Pro, và is covered with what táo khuyết describe as a “custom-woven fabric” with a “water- and stain-resistant finish”. The keys themselves are based on the switching design used in new MacBooks, so the travel on the keys is pretty minimal and it’s likely you won’t enjoy the experience of typing on it. That being said, however, it’s still possible to type at a reasonable tốc độ given that táo khuyết have employed the same island-style layout used on their other keyboards. The stand aspect suffers from the same problem as the original Surface tablets in that it’s not adjustable; Microsoft later solved this problem by making the built-in kickstand used on Surface Pros (since the third generation) fully adjustable.

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With its larger display, the ipad Pro makes Split View multitasking more comfortable — if your apps tư vấn it, that is.

This typing experience probably won’t be a big khuyến mãi if you’re using the ipad tablet Pro primarily to lớn run audio apps, & some developers have been taking advantage of the keyboard for more than just text entry. For example, in addition to lớn fully taking advantage of the ipad tablet Pro, Algoriddim’s djay Pro makes use of the Smart Keyboard to lớn perform a number of shortcuts for looping và cue points, as well as library navigation, search and more.

Microsoft have been offering keyboard covers since introducing the Surface hàng hóa line four years ago, and are often criticised for not including one in the box given that a significant amount of the Surface Pro’s functionality can depend on it. The Surface Pro 4’s Type cover (which is backwardly compatible with the Surface Pro 3) is a huge improvement on previous efforts. Microsoft have somehow made the cover thinner while managing lớn improve the feel of the keys, moving to lớn an island-style layout that has made the typing experience dramatically better. It feels almost as good as a really good laptop keyboard, và far better than the majority of others — including Apple’s Smart Keyboard. The trackpad has also been enhanced, & although it’s not quite perfect, its larger design with a smooth glass finish is surprisingly usable. At £109.99$129.99 it’s admittedly not a cheap accessory (though less expensive than the Smart Keyboard), but if you’re purchasing a Surface Pro 4, buy a Type Cover to accompany it.

Pro Vs Pro

As is always the case when considering computing devices, it all comes down to software, and, in a way, both devices have a problem in this department. The ipad Pro can of course run all the apps in the tiện ích Store, which will certainly benefit from the faster processor & extra memory; but the interface và experience will be the same as on any other máy tính bảng ipad until developers tweak their apps to tư vấn and utilise the larger display. Also, many of these apps, while very good in a điện thoại context, aren’t very ‘pro’ on a device with such a price tag. For example, Cubasis is great, but it’s no Cubase và obviously isn’t intended lớn be. Once you địa chỉ cửa hàng all the accessories, you very quickly find yourself in laptop apple macbook Air territory in terms of price, on which you can run far more capable applications.

The Surface Pro 4 has something of the opposite problem, in that while (with a couple of exceptions) the Windows Store lacks compelling Universal Windows Apps, you have the benefit of being able to run existing applications lượt thích Cubase, Live, Reaper, Reason & so on. Of course, whether the tablet form factor of the Surface Pro makes sense if you’re primarily going khổng lồ be running desktop apps is another question. Because if you’re going lớn be running desktop apps, you’ll probably want khổng lồ opt for a faster mã sản phẩm with more memory, and, as with the máy tính bảng ipad Pro, you quickly get into the price range of a decent laptop.

In conclusion, if you spend a good giảm giá of time working with ios music và audio apps & you’re happy khổng lồ spend the money, the ipad tablet Pro is quite literally the biggest và most powerful máy tính bảng ipad to run these apps. If you want a tablet that can run full desktop versions of existing applications, và specifically if your interest is more in the notation space, the Surface Pro 4 is the obvious choice.