With its large, 12.9-inch retina display, Apple's new iPad Pro promises a great deal of overview and space for visual details. This should make the device ideal for displaying the likes of photos, websites and newspapers online. To find out if it delivers on its promise, we asked four iPad users from two different age groups to test out the latest addition to the tablet family.
The format of the test was unstructured and unscientific, and it was intended to record the users' candid first impressions of the device while using the it to read newspapers online. The users were asked to read broadsheet newspapers, tabloids and magazines on the iPad Pro.
Let it be known here: the test users all agreed that the iPad Pro provides a fantastic overview and is ideal for reading even the largest newspaper page formats.
"At first I had to get used to the size of the iPad, but once I did, I could see the full page and practically didn't have to zoom in to read the articles," said a 66-year-old test user.
Another user from the older generation commented that he normally switches between the 1:1 display and article view when reading the newspaper on his iPad. This way, he can both gain an overview and more closely examine the articles in a more user-friendly manner. With the iPad Pro, however, he doesn't always feel the need to switch to the article view, as he actually prefers reading the newspaper in the 1:1 display. As he put it:
"I like being able to see how they've arranged the newspaper articles with the text and pictures. There is often a connectionbetween the layout and an article's content that adds a little something to the reading experience. I normally have a fair amount of time to read the newspaper, and it seems the large display is great for the way I read it."
A 29-year-old user stated that she normally reads several different magazines on her iPad, and she is very much in agreement with the older users' observations about the optimised readability of digitalised printed media. As she said:
"The large display with the cover of the magazine is very inviting. It's almost like a coffee table book. I could picture the iPad being used in places like clothing boutiques, where customers could use it to look at fashion magazines or catalogues."
Can't lie in bed and read the newspaper
While the younger test users were excited about the prospects of lying in bed at night and watching their favourite Netflix series on a large display, the older test users were more sceptical about both the size and weight of the device in terms of reading the digital newspaper in bed during the early evening hours - or enjoying their morning coffee. The two older test users differed in their views on the user-friendliness of the new iPad, when asked to evaluate it based on its presentation during a full day of news.
"I have to admit that I actually often lie in bed and read the newspaper, and I just find that that the display is too heavy and unwieldy. That said, I don't think I will be fully replacing my old iPad just yet," said the 66-year-old user.
One of the younger users sounded more willingto replace his existing iPad with the new iPad Pro. For him, the device could serve as an extra television screen and as a helpful tool at work. As he put it:
"I already only use my smartphone when I'm on the go, so the large display will definitely be a plus in all of the situations where I currently use my iPad."
Can the iPad Pro generate new digital subscriptions?
Our very enthusiastic 32-year-old test user stated that he was quite tempted to purchase an iPad Pro and switch to a purely digital newspaper subscription. He generally agreed with the view that the iPad Pro could one day replace the ordinary iPad.
"Normally, I'm quite fond of my weekend subscription to the printed newspaper, but if I got an iPad Pro, I actually think I would get the same amount of enjoyment out of reading the newspaper digitally," said the 32-year-old test user.
Perspectives for iPad Pro
Time will tell if the iPad Pro can squeeze its way into the tablet market and, if so, who will ultimately buy it. In a professional (and, in particular, a creative) context, the superb display, multitasking and multi-touch features, and the Apple Pencil as an optional accessory make for a very interesting device, while the private consumer may be somewhat less enthusiastic. With a price point of DKK 6,999 to 9,499, the iPad Pro is in the same range as a quality laptop, which may be the deciding factor for where private consumers opt to invest their savings.
It will be interesting to see whether other companies follow suit and launch large-size tablets, or if they dare to wait and see how things play out, and thus run the risk of letting Apple operate all alone in a lucrative market.
The launch of the iPad Pro presents a few interesting challenges to the developers of e-newspaper apps. With displays ranging from the iPhone's 3.5 inches to the iPad Pro's 12.9 inches, there are considerable differences in how the newspaper's content can be optimally presented to provide the best possible reading experience and support the readers' patterns of use. One key focal point in 2016 falls under the broad concept of "the PDF-free newspaper", in which the smartphone version will play a central role in extending the e-newspaper's period of news value over an entire news day, in an attempt to attract new reader groups.
Click below to watch a full feature video, which represents a number of the features you can experience when reading ePaper on the new iPad Pro.