An iPad to put paid to the laptop?

Apple’s latest offering pairs with its radically redesigned iPad keyboards for a remarkably laptop-like experience

iPad Pro, from £769; Smart Keyboard Folio, from £179
iPad Pro, from £769; Smart Keyboard Folio, from £179 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

There is a rumour going around that Apple wants to gently phase out laptops. The brand firmly denies it, and points to the (gently) updated MacBook Air, which I will be trying out for a later edition, as evidence that it still sees a future in laptops. But even the layout of Apple stores, with laptops increasingly marginalised, subtly reflects the diminishing importance of laptops compared with iPhones and iPads. Both younger and older people, I find, tend to be more interested in phones and tablets, with their touchscreens and cameras. I suspect this is why Microsoft’s slick Surface range of hybrid tablet-cum-laptops has been so popular.

The reason the latest iPad Pro models are significant for me is that when combined with Apple’s radically redesigned iPad keyboards, they are remarkably laptop-like. The two parts, tablet and keyboard, cling together magnetically – indeed almost inseparably. Additionally, both the huge new 12.9in iPad Pro I’ve been trying and its rather lovely 11in sibling come with storage capacity of up to 1Tb, which is distinctly laptop-like.

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Would I make an iPad Pro-keyboard combo my main work tool? Not quite, for now. The keyboard lacks lighted keys. And although the screen is amazingly bright, and the 12.9in Pro the best way I have ever seen of showing photos, it would be nice if it was OLED, with the gloriously black blacks and even sharper image that technology affords. This is a 9.5/10 product with the potential to be 10/10 in, perhaps, the next edition.  

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