On the design of the iPad Pro

by Volker Weber


The most beautiful iPhone that Apple ever made was the iPhone 4/4S. And they refined it with a larger screen and a metal back for the 5/5S. That design lived on as the SE, but none of them had the same elegant backside.

When I saw the first pictures of the new iPad Pro I was immediately reminded of this design, and even more so when I held it in my hand. It has the same square edges and it feels very familiar.

However, this new iPad Pro is huge. And even thinner. It's thinner than any iPhone ever was. Or any iPad for that matter. Something so thin and large feels incredibly light, and after inspecting it from all sides it became apparent why it does not have a headphone jack. There simply is no space anywhere to put one. A headphone plug is way too long to push it into the enclosure without hitting either a speaker or the screen. And given that the whole device, safe for the camera is just 5.5 millimeters thin, it would only leave a single millimeter on both sides for the case and the jack itself. Yes, Apple could have made the iPad thicker, they could have made the bezels larger, but for a headphone jack? Puleeze.

Yes, the screen is brilliant, FaceID works in all directions, the keyboard folio is finally exactly like I want it, but there are two things that are not obvious: the screen is a terrible mirror since it reflects very little light and the four speakers sound amazing.

There is nothing, literally nothing, that I would change in its design. It's beautiful, it feels absolutely right, this is just amazing hardware. But I do miss the Lightning connector. I know why it's not there, but it's just physically way superior. I have a really hard time to set the iPad down on my udoq. Where a Lightning connector will center itself, you have to hit the USB-C connector exactly right, to a fraction of a millimeter.


Man, you really want to make me buy one of those things, don’t you! Very sharp design analysis - a pleasure so read. The lightning aspect I understand. On an infinite time scale it will all be good (i.e same plug everywhere). Until then we keep buying cables and adapters. It has always been like that in my life - yes, even before Apple.
Keep those iPad Pro posts coming!

Markus Dierker, 2018-11-06

Agree to the USB C thing - I have 4 of them on my MacBook Pro and they are not only inferior to fiddle in compared to a lightning jack, the USB C jacks also feel like "el cheapo" as they are somewhat loose after using them a while.

Axel Koerv, 2018-11-07

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