After the 2020 iPad Pro line was released many were upset about the fact that there was no larger, or “Max” version of the iPad Pro. I wasn’t one of these people initially, but I will say that I now feel like there is a case for one.
Today I present the iPad Pro Max, who it would be catered to, and the potential specs in this monster iPad Pro.
Why we Need the iPad Max
Before we can really get into the why for the iPad Pro Max, we should probably explain how big of a screen we are talking here. In my view, a 15” iPad Pro is the largest a portable tablet can go before being a desktop-only machine. Sure, there are 17” laptops but if the iPad wants to continue to be a touch-first input device 17” is just too big for any normal person. So, 15” is the screen size, the rest of the specs we will get into later.
What can a 15” iPad do that a 11” or 12.9” iPad can’t do? The answer, nothing. The 15” iPad can do everything previous iPads can do, it just has a higher resolution and a larger digital canvas. There are, however, things that the iPad Pro Max can do that other iPads can’t.
As a media device this might be a heavy screen to lug around; but on the couch or at your desk, this iPad can provide the best image quality on the market. You can also use it to play iOS games with your controller of choice, or stream console games right to the iPad. Either way you look at it, it will have a ton of pixels to make sure whatever you want to have on your iPad looks the best it can.
Now, I am sure you don’t just use your iPad to watch the latest Netflix craze or play games, you actually use it for your work! Why pay for more screen when you have the 12.9” iPad Pro? If you do image editing, video work, or have apps in split screen a lot, the added screen space is worth its weight in gold. With the iPad Pro Max, you can get your work done and have a better look at multiple items at a time.
I can imagine with a 15” screen the iPadOS experience might be a bit different. Instead of just a side-by-side split between two apps, there could be three apps in a column view. It would be like three 30% apps lined up next to each other in a vertical orientation. Given the larger screen it would be similar to having 3 tall iPhone 12 Pro Max side by side. It might not be the best for apps that require a larger canvas, but this could be something that would be useful for things like research, editing, and tweeting during live events. In the mock-up below I have Safari, Craft, and Things 3 all lined up for the iPad Pro Max to use.
Another thing that might be exciting with a larger screen is for those who use the iPad for note-taking or a digital canvas to draw with. The larger area will allow for you to see more detail all at once and have finite control on where your finger/Pencil goes.
A larger screen to me is the largest reason for the iPad Pro Max, but it isn’t the only reason. To explain we will need to dive deeper into the specs I have for this machine.
What will this Max iPad have? Given Apple’s track record it will be bigger, obviously, but only slightly better. Apple has been one to slowly upgrade their iPad lineup over the years, and I don’t expect that to change now. That said, new processor, increased RAM, and more storage is basically a given, but what about other more bold ideas with the iPad?
Considering Apple’s latest iteration with the M1 Macs it can be fair to assume they are working on the next version of those chips.
The M1X will be the M1 chip just slightly improved processing and modified to fit the iPad form-factor. It is clear in reviews that the M1 processor is fast, and online benchmark scores are there to prove it.
I don’t foresee the M1X to be a huge leap in processor power compared to the M1, but I hope for a marked improvement compared to the A12Z.
Currently, the 2020 iPad Pros have 6GB of RAM. To me, it makes sense to up the RAM from 6GB to 8GB given the M1X chip as well as the added size. The size isn’t indicative of the power of a machine, but in my view Apple can add 33% more RAM and use that as a selling point.
As for what the added RAM can be used for, take a look at apps like LumaFusion, Ferrite, Photoshop, and other intensive apps that can benefit from RAM.
Apple has a storage problem. For too long they have been selling Macs and iPads with 128GB as the starting storage. It needs to be at least 256GB. In my opinion, I want Apple to move all Macs and iPads to 256GB and up the max storage from 1TB to 2TB in size.
Our storage on our devices doesn’t go as far as it once did, it adds up fast. Things like large games, apps, movies, TV shows, and all the files we use for our projects filled our drives faster than ever.
2 USB-C Ports
If Apple wants to make the iPad “your new computer” they need to put their ports where their mouths are. Thankfully, Apple has halfway made this possible thanks to the new Magic Keyboard.
The Magic Keyboard offers an addition USB-C port to charge your iPad, but it is power only. Meaning the only way you can use things like UB drives, monitors, and more is thought the built-in USB-C at the bottom of the iPad.
You can get around this with a USB port but if you have ever been in the market for a USB-C hub you will learn quickly that not all USB-C ports are created equal. You need to consider things like pass through charging, HDMI resolution limits, and more. Moreover, if you want something portable it can be at the expense of power. The same goes the other way, if you want power you have to give up portability.
To me, it makes more sense to have an additional USB-C port available either right next to the current one or on a perpendicular side. Either way, doubling the amount ports allows for users to do things like use a monitor and a hard drive at the same time without the need for a USB hub.
The iPad Pro Max is necessary if we want to make the iPad a MacBook competitor and to accomplish that it needs to have the latest and greatest specs. It also needs to be able to drive more power with it, which is why an added USB-C port is a must. Finally, it needs larger storage to start with and larger storage to max out with.
If Apple were to tell me tomorrow that this iPad would be available to buy I don’t think I could justify buying it, but I know a few people that would.