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I just upgraded to the new Apple iPad Pro -- and it was so, so worth it

I just upgraded to the new Apple iPad Pro. Here's whether it's worth it
Jason R. Rich

Would you spend nearly $2,500 for a tablet? I just did. And it's worth it -- for one very exciting reason.

I got the new, 2024 13-inch, Wi-Fi only iPad Pro with 1TB of storage and the new nano-texture glass upgrade, along with the redesigned Apple Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro. I paid $1,999 for that. The optional Magic Keyboard cost $349, and the Apple Pencil Pro was an additional $129. So, I wound up paying $2,477 to replace my older 11-inch iPad Pro. 

I've been using Apple tablets pretty much every day since they were first introduced -- but mostly as a companion to my more traditional computers. But I think that's about to change. Thanks to the power of Apple's M4 processor, the iPad Pro's redesign, and the addition of the updated Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro, the iPad Pro can basically function as your next laptop. 

If you're not sure which Apple iPad model is best for you, be sure to check out our newly updated, 2024 iPad buyer's guide.

2024 13" iPad Pro: Serious power in a tablet

2024 13" iPad Pro

Display size: 13 inches | Display type: Tandem OLED Ultra Retina XDR | Resolution: 2,752 x 2,064 pixels | Refresh rate: Up to 120Hz | Max. display brightness: 1,600 nits | Display contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1 | Processor: Apple M4 | Internal storage options: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB | Casing color options: Silver or space black | Port: USB Type-C | Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3  | Apple Pencil support: Apple Pencil (USB-C) or Apple Pencil Pro | Keyboard support: Apple Magic Keyboard | Security: FaceID | Dimensions: 11.09 x 8.48 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 1.28 pounds | Price range: $1,299 to $2,599

Hands down, this is the most powerful and versatile Apple iPad ever released. Not only is the M4 processor cutting-edge, but so is the amazingly detailed and vibrant 13-inch OLED display. Yet, the tablet is incredibly thin (0.20 inches) and weighs a mere 1.28 pounds. Despite all of the new technology packed into this powerhouse of a tablet, battery life is up to 10 hours.

The 13-inch model lets you choose up to 2TB of internal storage. It features Apple's redesigned CPU, GPU and NPU, an advanced front- and rear-facing camera setup, a four speaker sound system (with spatial audio support), an array of four studio quality microphones, and so much more.

2024 13" iPad Pro: How to configure it

I just upgraded to the new Apple iPad Pro. Here's whether it's worth it
Jason R. Rich

The new iPad Pro comes in two sizes -- either an 11-inch or 13-inch OLED Ultra Retina XDR display -- and in your choice of two colors, silver or space black. Choose between a Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + Cellular model, and then determine how much storage you want -- 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB.

If you go with 1TB or 2TB, you can upgrade the tablet's display with Apple's new nano-texture glass. You'll see less glare from ambient light, making whatever you're looking at appear sharper and more vibrant. If you plan to use your new iPad for photo or video editing, streaming video, gaming, or with any apps that are graphic-intensive, I highly recommend the nano-texture glass upgrade.

I just upgraded to the new Apple iPad Pro. Here's whether it's worth it
The 2024 13-inch iPad Pro is remarkably thin and lightweight. Jason R. Rich

On it's own, the new iPad Pro can handle all of the same tasks as every other current iPad model, but thanks to the more advanced display and incredibly powerful processor, it'll handle it all more efficiently. After all, this processor is four times faster than the previous M2 and offers 1.5 times faster CPU performance. It can also handle data transfer speeds up to 40GB per second, so it'll easily drive external displays up to 6K resolution. Plus, the new iPads run what Apple calls Pro Apps -- think Final Cut Pro for video production and Logic Pro for music and audio production.

2024 13" iPad Pro: How much you can expect to pay

While you won't yet find any major sales on the latest iPad Pro models, a few retailers (like Amazon) are discounting some of the configurations by a few dollars. Here's what you can expect to pay for the 2024 13-inch iPad Pro configurations. Due to the popularity of the new tablet, not all configurations are currently in stock everywhere. In some cases, shipping times have slipped up to several weeks.

2024 13" iPad Pro: Putting it to the test

After spending years wishing for an iPad Pro with a larger and higher-resolution display, and one that had enough power to handle tasks laptop-level work, the wait has been worth it -- even though my bank account is feeling a bit drained. Right out of the box, setting up the new 13-inch iPad Pro and transferring all of the content from my previous 11-inch iPad Pro took less than 30 minutes.

I launched the Paramount+ app to stream the latest episode of "Star Trek: Discovery," which looked and sounded amazing. The visuals were far more detailed, smoother and brighter than what I was accustomed to using my older iPad Pro. Next, I launched the Photos app and saw that the images in my photo library looked deeper and more vibrant.

I also did some word processing using the iPad version of Microsoft Word and the cloud version of Google Docs. Typing and document management is now as smooth as it is on the MacBook Pro. Even after a few hours holding the new tablet in my hands, I kept marveling at how incredibly thin and lightweight it is. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed working with the 13-inch display (which is a full two inches larger, measured diagonally, than what I'm used to). Having the extra on-screen real estate makes multitasking more enjoyable, since I can see more content from two apps at once.

And even in a brightly lit room that caused unwanted glare on my old iPad's, the new one with the nano-texture glass virtually eliminated this annoyance. I was impressed at how fast the screen responds to taps and gestures; typing on the virtual keyboard; and writing from the Apple Pencil Pro. The performance of the M4 processor blows away what the previous iPad Pro tablets could handle.

I just upgraded to the new Apple iPad Pro. Here's whether it's worth it
The redesigned Magic Keyboard is the perfect companion to the new iPad Pro. Jason R. Rich

I quickly fell in love with the feel of the new Magic Keyboard under my fingertips. The added function keys and larger touchpad make fast and accurate typing a breeze. The experience is now very similar to working with a MacBook Pro, which was not something I could say using my previous iPad Pro with the original Magic Keyboard.

While I've always been an avid iPad user, working with the 2024 13-inch iPad Pro has exceeded my expectations. This device is now so much more than a run-of-the-mill tablet. Compared to the 11-inch iPad Pro I just replaced, this new device is more of a productivity tool and versatile entertainment system than just a nifty gadget.

8 things I love about Apple's 2024 13" iPad Pro

  • The tablet performs much faster and more efficiently than all other iPad Pro models.
  • Despite the larger screen size, at just 0.2 inches thick, this tablet is thinner than previous iPad Pro models. It's very comfortable to hold for extended periods.
Jason R. Rich
  • The new Apple Pencil Pro accommodates new gestures and provides features that make it more than just a basic writing or drawing tool. This stylus offers higher precision and an experience that's closer to writing or drawing with a pen on paper.
  • The combination of the iPad Pro with the redesigned Apple Magic Keyboard provides the flexibility to handle tasks you'd normally do on a MacBook. The keyboard now includes 14 function keys, a larger trackpad with haptic feedback, and backlit keys. And when the tablet's not in use, the keyboard serves as a protective cover. For the first time, the iPad Pro can truly be a laptop replacement.
  • Photos and video clips recorded on the iPad Pro (or transferred from my iPhone 15 Pro Max) look fantastic, with far more detail versus an older iPad. But what really blew me away: 4K resolution movies or TV shows. Not only do the visuals look amazing -- with much more depth, smoother action, and enhanced color vibrancy -- the tablet's quad speaker system adds to the immersive experience by offering spatial audio, even without AirPods. 
I just upgraded to the new Apple iPad Pro. Here's whether it's worth it
Jason R. Rich
  • Between having more on-screen real estate with the 13-inch display and the considerably faster processor, multitasking on the iPad is a more fluid experience than ever. Running two apps at once with Split View (shown above) or Slide Over is seamless. 
  • The camera, speaker and microphone setup within this iPad Pro is more advanced. In addition to capturing 4K ProRes resolution video and high-resolution (and incredibly sharp) Smart HDR digital images, the rear-facing cameras can be used as a digital scanner for creating PDF files from paper-based documents. You also get an improved LiDAR scanner for 3D workflows and more engaging augmented reality experiences. 
  • The M4 processor is Apple's most powerful yet. The 1TB and 2TB versions offer a 10-core CPU with four performance cores and six efficiency cores, as well as a 10-core GPU. You also get hardware-accelerated ray tracing  (which is great for gaming), and a 16-core Neural Engine. This translates to an abundance of pure processing power more aligned with what you get from a laptop.

3 things I don't like about Apple's 2024 13" iPad Pro

  • It's absolutely necessary to invest in a cover to protect the iPad Pro. This can be Apple's Smart Folio ($99), which comes in your choice of black, white or denim. It doubles as a stand. Alternatively, the Magic Keyboard ($349) doubles as a smart cover. (You can find less expensive options from third parties on Amazon.) 
  • There's still no microSD memory card slot built into the iPad Pro, so whatever storage capacity you choose at the time of purchase is what you're stuck with for the life of the tablet. Unless you plan to rely heavily on iCloud for online storage, I recommend at least the 512GB or 1TB version of the tablet.
  • Combined with the brighter display, the nano-texture glass upgrade is an excellent addition to the tablet, but this is only available with the 1TB or 2TB version, and it costs extra.

Is Apple's 13" 2024 iPad Pro worth it?

I am thrilled to state (for the first time in years) that the new iPad Pro offers significant advancements that can change the way you use your tablet. Now it can handle a wide range of entertainment, work, communications, productivity and content creation tasks. If you're looking to replace your laptop with the iPad Pro, I highly recommend investing in the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro. Keep in mind, the combined cost of the tablet and these accessories is in line with the price of a mid-range MacBook Pro. 

Yes, the new 13-inch iPad Pro requires a signifiant investment, but the new tablet can serve you well in many aspects of your personal and professional life. You can cuddle up in bed to watch movies, catch up on emails during your commute, play exciting games to relax, or do some word processing in locations you couldn't necessarily fit a laptop. I wholeheartedly believe that the new iPad Pro is well worth the investment.

However, if you don't need all of the extra processing power the new 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pros offer, I suggest taking a look at the upgraded 2024 11-inch or 13-inch iPad Air tablets, which are a less expensive.

For more help choosing a tablet, be sure to read our coverage of the best budget tablets under $300, the best tablets for 2024 and the six best Android tablets for 2024. We also have some great recommendations if you're shopping for a kid-friendly tablet. And if you want to see how the new iPad Pros compare to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, our in-house tech experts have compared these two devices.

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