The iPad Pro now sits firmly in a separate category to the standard iPad and iPad Air, not just because of differentiators like the camera but because the new 2021 iPad Pro literally has Laptop power and performance.

Apple has taken its own M1 Processor, launched last year for the new MacBook laptops and replacing the long respected Intel chips, and placed it smack bang into their Pro level Tablets.

This is a remarkable combination, putting it head to head with what Microsoft do with their Surface range, with Intel chips in both the Surface Tablet and the Surface Laptop making the Surface Tablet a genuine Laptop alternative for many.

But right off the bat, that’s where Apple have a problem. The iPad Pro should be a laptop alternative, but I think the company struggles with the idea of cannibalising one product for another.

If the iPad Pro had MacOS – it would be one hell of a product. But it doesn’t. And that’s my only criticism of the device.

Once you put that out of your mind, and realise this is for someone who might have a desktop computer or laptop in their life, they will use the Tablet for their most creative endeavours, or perhaps for gaming.

With the M1 Processor, there’s nothing the iPad can’t do. Cutting together a video with 4K footage on multiple layers is a breeze. My only issue is adjusting to doing it with touch or pencil. As someone who has been mouse and keyboard editing for ever, this is a huge adjustment. But for someone new or fresh at video editing, this would be the simplest way to learn.

While the M1 is the headline, it sits under the hood. The real visual star of this show is the screen. What Apple call a “Liquid Retina XDR Display”. Pretty much every display technology is here, ProMotion, True Tone, P3 Wide Colour, “Extreme” Dynamic Rnage and more.

A one million to one contrast ratio is made possibly by 10,000 mini LEDs, creating 2500 local dimming zones. The blacks on this screen are deep, and the colours stunning and bright – it’s legit impressive. Of course, you’ve gotta be someone consuming a lot of high end video content for that to be of benefit.

For those who work on-the-go, the real leap forward here is 5G and WiFi 6. The fastest connectivity possible either at home, at the office or on the go.

A 5G iPad pro could have been an announcement itself, but Apple really came out of the blocks with the M1, 5G and the impressive screen.

Then add in Thunderbolt on that USB-C connection, allowing you to attach External Storage or docks to really enhance your usage.

Spec wise, you can get up to 2TB of storage on the iPad Pro, ridiculous really, but when I was looking to drag across some large video files from my portable Thunderbolt drive across to the iPad, that 2TB made it stress free – that’s a great thing for creative pros.

And if that’s not enough, there’s Centre Stage – using the ultra-wide front camera, software kicks in when you’re on a compatible video call (FaceTime etc) that allows the iPad to zoom in on you and pan and tilt around to follow you if you move. The range of movement is actually quite a lot, and it’s a neat party trick that will feature in many video calls going forward.

And, that Magic Keyboard – now comes in white. Yep, another colour – will it get crazy dirty? Probably – let’s wait and see.

You can pickup the new 2021 Apple iPad Pro from Friday with prices starting at $1,199 for the 11 inch model in WiFi only and 128GB of storage.

If you’re “doing very well”, you can splash out $3,549 for the 12.9 inch with 2TB of storage and 5G connectivity.

That’s great, but I’d buy a MacBook if I had that cash. Those prices just remind me that there is a Standard iPad still sitting at the entry to the market for just $499 – and its great. But, if you want for more or need for more, Apple have you covered with the new iPad Pro range.