Here’s why I’m not upgrading to the 2021 iPad Pro

The-Editors-Desk

I’m using a lot of devices throughout the year, which comes with its pros and cons. On one hand, you get to carry the latest tech all year round, more or less. On the other hand, it’s a constant move, a nomadic lifestyle, if you will, of your data from one device to the other, irrespective of how much the cloud might help you out or not.

Despite all of that, I do, as do most reviewers, have a personal daily driver, a favorite if you will, which sticks around throughout its lifecycle as the main device. It can be a device I reviewed, or a review unit, or, as is the case with my iPad Pro, a device I personally purchased for my private usage. The iPad Pro is my main, personal tablet.

I purchased it in October of 2020, around the time I purchased my personal iPhone 12 Pro Max. I knew a refresh was fairly around the corner, but I just needed to fill in that gap in my home ecosystem.

Usually, when a new device, a successor, is announced, I get “the itch”. We all know it, and as I was sitting and watching the Apple Spring Loaded event, I was looking down at my 2020 iPad Pro, and I was like “Nah, I’ll pass”. Here’s why I’m not upgrading to the 2021 iPad Pro.

iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Pro 2020

The specs factor

Just to clarify, I own the 2020 11-inch iPad Pro, Wi-Fi only, 128GB. Since I only use my tablet within Wi-Fi range (or, at worst, I tether to my iPhone), I have zero need for a 4G version, let alone a 5G variant, like the 2021 iPad Pro. That’s one point, right there, in favor of my current device. Yes, I am aware that there’s a Wi-Fi-only model as well! Feel free to disregard this point if you want. I’ve got plenty below.

I deliberately opted for the 11-inch model last year because I simply consider the 12.9-inch variant to be too big. Apple did introduce a brand new mini LED display for the iPad Pro this year, however, only for its larger version. The 11-inch still packs the good old IPS panel, with which I’m fine and satisfied. Here’s one (more) point in favor of keeping my current device.

I have never taken a single picture using the iPad Pro (or any other tablet, save for review purposes, and even then, I cringed). For my personal use, I couldn’t care less about the camera improvements on the 2021 iPad Pro, and, since I also don’t do video calls on the iPad, the new wide-angle FaceTime camera doesn’t faze me. I’ve got the iPhone for the 3 FaceTime calls I receive during the year. One more point in favor of my 2020 iPad Pro.

…and here comes the big one, that takes it home in favor of my current iPad. The incredible performance delivered by the M1 chip. But wait: how can 1,500 times higher performance and 2 times faster storage (according to Apple’s claims) be an entry on your Cons list?

2021 iPad Pro

The OS and apps factor

The 2021 iPad Pro is, on theory and on paper, as fast as the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini (lately the new iMac). This, in and of itself, is awesome! But there’s a caveat. Nothing (or nothing useful to me) takes advantage of that tremendous power.

It’s like installing a fine-tuned supercar engine into a chassis and feeding it low-octane fuel, just enough for it to start, but unable to rev at speeds that deliver torque and horsepower. It’s like crawling in Drive mode without a gas pedal.

This is something I alluded to in my previous commentary when I said I would easily purchase the MacBook Air over the 2021 iPad Pro.

Is the 2021 iPad Pro faster than my 2020 iPad Pro? Absolutely! Would I be able to perceive the speed increase? Probably not. For me, at this particular point in time, there’s absolutely no need to upgrade to the latest iPad. This, however, could change in an instant, if Apple allowed the iPad Pro to run macOS instead of iPadOS (which is pretty much a phone OS for all intents and purposes), but that’s a different conversation. Then I’d be able to run full-fledged Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on it. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Yes, a different conversation, one in which Apple would create a new product family, turn the iPad Pro into a convertible, allow it to somewhat eat into both the iPad Air and MacBook Air segments, and create one of its own. That, however, is an iPad Pro I would definitely consider. However, right now, my stance is this: if you don’t have an iPad and you’re planning on getting one, get a MacBook Air instead. If you do have a 2020 iPad Pro, keep it for one more year.

But that’s just me, and, as always curious about what everyone else thinks. Drop us a comment below and let’s talk about it. My colleague Adam already chimes in. He said “pass” too. Read his reasons!

Thanks for reading! Welcome to The Editor’s Desk!

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Here’s why I’d grab a MacBook Air over the 2021 iPad Pro

The iPad Pro was the highlight of Apple’s Spring Loaded event last night, not to rain on the parade of the iMac and the other products. Why? Because the larger, 12.9-inch iPad Pro got the most upgrades. From the mini-LED display to the M1 chip and Thunderbolt support, it is now a really beefed-up tablet. Much more powerful than the previous generation, and the iPad Air.

When it comes to spec-for-spec comparison, it seems to be a no-brainer to go with the new iPad Pro. However, to me personally, seems an even bigger no-brainer to just go ahead and buy a MacBook. Air or Pro, up to you. Why?

The horsepower factor

For the sake of this argument, we’ll compare the specs with the MacBook Air. Both the 2021 iPad Pro and the MacBook Air are powered by the M1 chip. In the case of the laptop, you have the choice to opt for the cheaper model which takes away one GPU core or go with the other model which features the same chip as the iPad Pro.

Both memory and storage options can be configured to match the iPad Pro, so, what we basically have here is two identical devices in two different form factors. The difference in display size is negligible, from 12.9-inches on the larger iPad Pro to 13.3-inches on the MacBook Air.

Apple M1 chip

However, it’s what you can do (or can’t, in this particular case) with all that power that tips the scales in favor of the MacBook, at least for now. We’ll tell you why the word “now” is crucial in the segment below.

Right now, from a pure specs perspective, what’s the M1 iPad Pro able to do that its non-M1 predecessors aren’t? Nothing. Will it do it faster? Probably, but you won’t notice as the A14 chip, as well as the A12Z, are no slouches.

With the M1 iPad Pro, it still runs, for “now” the same version of iPadOS with the same apps.

The Operating System factor

…which brings us to the OS factor. As mentioned above, the 2021 iPad Pro doesn’t have a real upper hand over the other iPads in the line-up, software-wise. But, the MacBook (Air or Pro, doesn’t matter) does have a very important upper hand on the similarly specced M1 iPad Pro: it runs macOS, with Mac Apps, instead of iPad OS and iPad apps.

iPadOS

Furthermore, the MacBook is able to run iPad apps, but that’s not valid the other way around. That, right there, is the dealbreaker for me, and, as my colleague Jaime touched upon the matter, it seems to be an idea we both share.

What’s the use of having all of that MacBook horsepower on the iPad if it can’t run Final Cut Pro? Or Photoshop (the full-fledged version)?

Right now, as it stands, it a lot of computing power that’s being held back, and hence, unutilized, by software. And this is where we get to the “now” part we mentioned earlier. Everything I wrote so far stands unless Apple “saves” the iPad.

How can it achieve that? There are two potential options here: 1. Either have the iPad Pro run macOS (which it can easily do), or 2. Find a way for the iPad Pro to run Mac Apps.

Yes, that would create a new product family for Apple – the company doesn’t currently have a convertible – but it would instantly make the iPad Pro more appealing to customers. Whether that would bite into the MacBook segment’s sales is something to debate.

iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

The financial factor

This one comes down to simple math. You pay $1,099 for the base 12.9-inch iPad Pro ($2,199 if you max it out), and an additional $349 for the Magic Keyboard, for a total of $1,448 (or $2,548 maxed out).

The MacBook Air will set you back $999 for the base model and $2,049 for the maxed-out configuration. Obviously, you don’t need to spend on a keyboard.

That’s quite a lot of price difference between two machines that are basically similar in specs, with the MacBook clearly being the superior one due to its desktop operating system and apps.

Conclusion

Because of all the above reasons, for me, personally, there is no incentive to buy or to upgrade to the 2021 iPad Pro. If I was on the market for one, I would definitely pick up a MacBook Air today. The conversation changes if Apple can do something with the iPad Pro that would leverage its true potential.

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TCL unveils new 20-series smartphones: TCL 20 Pro 5G, 20L+, and 20L

Earlier this year, in January, at the 2021 CES, TCL unveiled the 20-series smartphones with the introduction of the TCL 20 5G and TCL 20 SE. Today, the company is adding three new smartphones to the product family, namely the TCL 20 Pro 5G, TCL 20L+, and the TCL 20L.

TCL 20 Pro 5G

As pictured above, the company calls it “The Best TCL Phone To-Date”, aimed at customers looking for “advanced features and superb performance”.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G has a curved AMOLED display with a diagonal of 6.67 inches which features the new NXTVISION 2.0 Intelligent Display technology powered by Pixelworks. AI technology automatically recognizes content on the display and fine-tunes color, contrast, and sharpness, in addition to its HDR10 certification.

Running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G platform, the phone packs the Kryo 560 Octa-Core CPU, and the Adreno 619 GPU, all paired with 6GB of memory and 256GB of expandable storage.

The back camera system consists of four shooters: 48MP Sony IMX582 + 16MP ultra-wide + 5MP macro + 2MP depth sensor. Of the four, only the main shooter is optically stabilized.

The 32MP front-facing camera resides in the centered singular punch hole at the top of the display.

Powering everything is Android 11-based TCL UI, and a 4500mAh battery with 18W wired, and 15W wireless charging.

Color options include Moondust Gray and Marine Blue.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G will be available starting tomorrow in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Portugal, and will go for €549. Other regions will be added where pricing will vary depending on the market.

TCL 20L+

TCL 20 L+.jpg

 

The 20L+ comes with the same display size, at 6.67 inches, same resolution at FHD+ (1080×2400), granted, this time around it’s flat.

Under the hood, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chip with the Kryo 260 Octa-Core CPU and the Adreno 610 GPU. Helping them out are 6GB of memory and 256GB of expandable storage.

The camera quartet consists of a primary 64MP shooter, an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. The selfie shooter is a 16MP unit residing in the punch hole at the top of the display.

The battery is a rather large, 5,000mAh juice pack and the operating system is Android 11-based.

The TCL 20L+ will be available starting tomorrow in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Portugal and will go for €269. More regions will be added later on. Color options include Milky Way Grey and North Star Blue, and a similar variant will land in the United States under the TCL 20S moniker.

TCL 20L

TCL 20L

The most affordable of the three phones, the TCL 20L (at €269) shares the same display and chipset (including CPU and GPU) as the 20L+. However, it packs 4GB of memory and 128GB of expandable storage, with a variant that ups the RAM to 6GB.

The primary shooter has been toned down to 48MP, but TCL kept in the 8MP wide-angle, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth cameras. The front-facer is unchanged, at 16MP inside the display’s punch hole.

The battery is also a carryover at 5,000mAh, and, of course, the operating system is the same TCL UI based on Android 11.

Luna Blue and Ellipse Black are the color options you can choose from.

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Siri the leakster: Apple event on Tuesday, April 20

An Apple event has been rumored to take place since the end of February, but no official word has yet surfaced on the matter, neither in the form of an announcement nor invites to the said (virtual) event.

Apparently, we do have a date, and it’s thanks to Siri. Mark your calendars, if Siri is to be believed, for Tuesday, April 20, 2021. In reply to the question “When is the next Apple Event”, Siri responds with “The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com”, as seen in the screenshot above.

New iPad Pro models as well as the rumored AirTags are expected to take the virtual stage.

Apple usually sends out official invites about a week prior to the event, which happens to be today. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple confirms the Siri leak, which, in and of itself is funny, if you think about it.

Source: MacRumors

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Is it too late for the Google Pixel Watch?

The-Editors-Desk

The alleged Google Pixel Watch recaptured the headlines yesterday, after a rather long hiatus. Remember, a smartwatch made by Google has been rumored for years, and, if the recent chatter holds any truth to it, we might soon see it. Who knows, maybe Google will show something off at the upcoming Developer Conference, so we can get more clarity.

Even though it’s been a long time coming, where would the supposed Pixel Watch sit and rank on a market that is saturated?

There are currently three major smartwatch categories out there: on one hand, we have the Apple Watch running on its own watchOS, and on the other hand (pun intended) we have all the Google Wear OS-powered devices. In between, we have the HUAWEIs, the Samsungs, and the FitBits (to name a few), running on a different platform, proprietary or not.

The Apple Watch is really no competition for the other two categories as it’s only compatible with the iPhone, and, to be honest, an iPhone user will likely only purchase an Apple Watch rather than a third-party solution.

Pixel Watch and its competition

Now that we knocked the Apple Watch out of the proverbial ring, the Pixel Watch will have to compete with devices in the other two segments. Whether Tizen, HarmonyOS, or another platform built upon RTOS, these devices have already established themselves on the market.

Both HUAWEI and Samsung have some really compelling models on shelves, for every look, and for every wallet. The Pixel Watch will indeed have the advantage of having notifications you can actually do something with instead of just dismissing, but you simply can’t beat the outrageous battery life these watches offer. HUAWEI comes to mind, and HONOR, with their monstrous, more than one week-long runs.

…and then we have all the other offerings running Wear OS, from Louis Vuitton to Mobvoi, and everything in between, designer or not. These are some heavyweights that, in the absence of a Google watch, have established themselves on the market using Google’s own Wear OS.

We also need to mention that, if the rumors are true, Samsung will likely embrace Wear OS for its future models, making the competition even more cutthroat.

Pixel Watch competitor

Not all is lost for the Pixel Watch

Now, before we write the pre-launch obituary for the Pixel Watch, it makes sense to acknowledge the probable future customer. Just like in the case of Apple users, the most likely buyer for a Google Pixel Watch is a Google Pixel smartphone owner. Yes, being invested in the Google ecosystem is possible across many brands, but purists will likely flock to the online stores to complete their Google hardware collection. 

And this, I believe, will be the entire raison d’être for the Pixel Watch. It will likely be a niche product not necessarily aimed at the masses. Google might knowingly target a specific chunk of the user base – the purists and loyalists – and by doing that, on a smaller scale, it could offer the Pixel Watch a chance of finding its place on the market, and growing. Sounds familiar? Just think of the Pixel phone line-up, where it began, and where it is today.

Which begs the question: is it too late for the Pixel Watch or is it going to be just right, with the proper pricing and targeting? Let us know in the comments below: would you buy a Pixel Watch? Why?

Thanks for reading! Welcome to The Editor’s Desk!

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