At WWDC yesterday, Apple announced two new editions of its iPad Pro, with a generous amount of upgrades and improvements.
Industry Leading Numbers
Available in 10.5 and 12.9 inch varieties, the new tablets feature ProMotion technology, which delivers refresh rates of up to 120hz, i.e., the screen refreshes up to 120 times per second. That’s twice the industry standard. When combined with the currently-available Apple Pencil, it delivers an industry-leading 20ms response time.
That number is significant because Microsoft just two weeks prior claimed that their new Surface Pen was “twice as good as the Apple Pencil” with its 21ms response time.
To put both those numbers into perspective, the venerable Wacom Cintiq, considered by many to be the gold standard for digital artists and illustrators, featured a 12ms response time with its 27QHD Touch model as far back as 2015. Of course, it’s tied to your desktop and weighs 20 pounds.
Is Response Time Really That Important?
All of the cartoons on BitsOnline and on my own gallery site are rendered completely with a first-generation iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. I’ve produced almost a hundred illustrations over just the last four months with this package. Some cartoons were fairly simple, while others were quite complex, so I have a good grasp of the range of work that the platform is capable of delivering.
The increased response time should theoretically allow for greater fidelity in an artist’s brush work, resulting in rapidly drawn, but gracefully tapered, lines. In this closeup from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Investment, you can see the wide variety of line strokes that the original iPad Pro was capable of, all using the same brush tool from Autodesk’s wonderful Sketchbook app.
The new version should be even better.
The Original iPad Pro Had Serious Limitations
The first-generation iPad Pro has recently started to show its limitations with my more complicated pieces. The Tears in Rain cartoon from last month was when I really started to notice it, and I’ve since begun work on a much larger 36-megapixel image that is now bringing the tablet (like Roy Batty) to its knees.
It’s a CPU limitation, a memory limitation, and a storage problem all at once, with the iPad often struggling to even load my production file. Multiple times, it failed to open the file at all, and I feared losing the image entirely. Thankfully restarting the Sketchbook app would fix the problem each time, but it highlighted exactly where the iPad’s performance ceiling truly was.
With the new models, Apple is touting a 30% improvement in CPU performance and 40% increase in GPU performance over previous editions. Its entry-level model comes with 64gb of storage, a welcome bump up from the 2015’s rather trim 32gb.
The new iPads start shipping next week.
Do you use a tablet computer? What kind and why? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via CryptoPop!, Apple