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The Apple A10X, With Joysticks, A Deluge Of Power


It is not on the side of autonomy that will default to the iPad Pro 10.5 inches. Let’s kill the suspense, it’s not on the side of power either. The new A10X Fusion chip is not only energy efficient but also powerful.

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With a Benchmark tool such as Basemark OS II testing different essential compartments of product configuration, the iPad Pro 10.5-inch is significantly more advanced than the previous generation of iPad Pro, regardless of the screen size. With a score of 9066 points for the system part, the tablet is almost 1.5 times better than its predecessors. The score differential is almost identical for the pure graphical part. There is an x1.4 compared to the iPad Pro 12.9 inches which were the most powerful in the field so far.

iPad Pro: graphics power

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If the overall iPad Pro 10.5 inches is more robust, the difference is particularly hollow in terms of graphics power. 3Dmark Ice Storm Unlimited gets a higher x1.6 score than the previous iPad Pro and x1.7 with Slingshot, which focuses on rendering the Metal API, developed specifically by Apple to display games, among others.

Once again, you should have something to work without worry. The application of real-time filters and 4K video rendering, which you can shoot with the iPad Pro, is even faster and smoother.

Always the limit of iOS

Paradoxically, it almost feels like it’s too much. Too much power for what we can do or what we want to do. For the moment, indeed, iOS 10 still seems a brake on certain uses that require to switch easily from one window to another. Not to mention the ability to quickly drag a file into a program, which is essential for us to prefer working on the iPad Pro rather than a MacBook (Pro).

For if the question of power seems to be settled, that of ergonomics is still in pain. It is really hoped that iOS 11 will remove some of these limitations, but doubt is still allowed. Especially since Apple also seems to doubt. Specifically, his willingness to promote different ways to use the iPad Pro, such as a powerful tablet and a replacement laptop, could somehow be a brake on the adoption of the iPad Pro as a PC of the everyday. How else to explain that the keyboard (with Smart Connect connectors) is not provided by default? It costs 179 euros! If the iPad Pro is to become a replacement for our MacBook, it is obvious that the virtual keyboard is not a solution. Therefore, why not “offer” this keyboard, integrate it by default.

Without competing with that of Apple laptops, the Smart Keyboard is rather pleasant to use. Although compact for the iPad Pro 10.5 inches, it is comfortable and can capture long texts without regretting his choice. This test has been written entirely on the iPad Pro and its keyboard. We nevertheless cracked when it came to treating the images that illustrate it. On the one hand, because we have our habits on macOS and on the other hand because the manipulations are a little too chaotic and laborious.

Therefore, no, in the current state, we would not adopt the iPad Pro 10.5 to replace a MacBook. Not yet or at least not all day. Beyond the ideological positions, it will be necessary that the king of the integration between hardware and software meets the challenge of a different iOS for iPad Pro. The good news is that Apple’s hardware side is ready.

On the other hand, if we had to choose between 10.5 inches and his big brother (of which you can discover the new version in the video here), we would tend to opt for the bigger size of the display, although the first is a very good compromise between size, weight, and comfort.

One thing is certain, for any person sufficiently in funds not to ask the question of the tariff – the entry ticket is at 739 euros all the same and at 1219 euros precisely for the model tested here – there is not to procrastinate, this iPad Pro 10.5-inch very naturally dominates the iPad 2017, which remains a good way to enter the world of Apple tablets….

From form to health, from the heart to work

By encouraging us to be more active, to get up every hour, to complete our rings of activity, the Apple Watch was looking from the beginning to keep us in better shape. Over the generations, she has improved her offer of exercises.

We have seen that the GPS is still accurate, despite a tendency to lose some of its accuracies when alternating course race flat and steep. Nothing crippling. On a run of about 16 km, we found an error of about 10m before the sloping part and about 200 m in total. In his defense, this Watch had not yet had time to get used to our stride and its variations.

The heart sensor also remains very reliable. It follows with rather a good accuracy the rhythmic variations according to your efforts. This is handy if you’re doing split workouts and rely heavily on the Watch to track your progress or keep you in an aerobic slice during the effort.

Head-to-head athletes, of whom we are, will also appreciate that the Watch is now able to detect an activity and offer you to launch its registration a posteriori while taking into account it’s beginning with a certain precision. This option proved useful during a swimming session and after ten minutes of brisk walking. Walking is just one of the new activities now integrated into the Exercises app. This means that the algorithms for measuring effort and the calories consumed are much more precise.

On the other hand, if you use a third-party application to record your races on foot or by bike, it will be better to start your session. The detection only concerns the Apple app …

But the big jump to health is to be credited with the arrival of an electric heart sensor that has not been seen for the moment. Located next to the classic cardiac sensor, on the lower part of the Watch, now ceramic and more metal, it is able to perform an electrocardiogram …

For now, the ECG application is awaiting validation in the United States, where it should be available by the end of the year. It will arrive in Europe when a medical authority has approved it in one of the countries of the Union. It will, therefore, be a little more patient. But in the absolute, this promise could change the lives of many people, save some, reassure others. In any case, it will be a way to facilitate the conversation with your doctor …

New Watch, New OS, Key Enhancement

It will be understood, the Watch is now beyond the form, it is attached to your health. watchOS 4 introduced a tool for heart rate detection too fast. With the 2018 edition of watchOS, you can be alerted if your heart beats too slowly for more than ten minutes – on all models since Series 1. And if you’re a great sportsman, you sleep with your Watch and the 40 default bpm are too high you can always customize them.

Be that as it may, beyond health, watchOS 5 also marks a significant evolution of the watch’s interface. Thus, the application cloud can be replaced by a list that is scrolled using the “digital” crown. In use, the list is relevant especially if you do not have too many applications installed on your Watch. On the other hand, if you have a lot, you’ll have to think twice. For now, it is impossible to group them in folders or thematic, which means that the alphabetical classification requires you to scroller a lot … In our case, we still prefer the cloud of application bubbles, the Dock serving to assemble the apps that we prefer or that we requested most recently.

Let’s take a quick glance at the notifications. Some of them remain a little frustrating because they do not allow real interactions. This is particularly the case for the information put forward by newspapers in the form of push. On the other hand, it is always possible to react to an SMS received, obviously. Better yet, the notifications are now grouped, as on iOS 12, which makes it easier to consult, always mixing interactions via the touchscreen and digital crown.

It should be noted that it remains the central point of interaction of the Watch and that it has been redesigned to be more compact and especially to offer a haptic feedback. Thus, each element on the screen causes a small vibration that rhythm the scrolling interface. The digital crown is still used for the invocation of Siri. The wizard is usually more responsive than the Watch Series 3 even if it happened during our test to ask us to wait before we can make a phone call, for example. Siri will be especially useful to send messages, make a call or possibly start some simple tasks, like a countdown. It can also be solicited to launch a playlist on Apple Music or know whether to take a sweater or umbrella.

But the biggest change is the introduction of new “Watch Faces”, these dials, “analog”, animated or modular, which display time and complications. For the latter, it is now possible to add up to eight. These watch shortcuts mean that you always have a brief summary of information (weather, time in another time zone, the progress of your daily activity, etc.) or access to an application. This can be the case for starting a physical activity, measuring your heart rate, or making a call to one of your contacts. You can even have fun to go back to childhood and play walkie-talkie with your friends, preferably in the evening, hidden under the duvet to avoid being caught by your parents …

Also welcome the other new application, Podcasts. You will finally be able to listen to your favorite episodes of running or walking, directly from your Watch. It works perfectly and it’s another argument to leave your iPhone when you go out. Especially if you opt for the 4G model.

4G and autonomy

New for last year, the 4G is no longer a question, provided you take the option from Orange, which remains the only French operator to offer. Its activation on compatible models is fast and is done from the iPhone and Watch application.

As with the Series 3, it still happens sometimes that the connection with the 4G network takes more than the usual few seconds when you leave the smartphone behind you. So, in the worst case, depending on the quality of the reception of the 4G signal or the way we lose the signal of the Wi-Fi network used, we found that the Series 4 can sometimes take between 30 or 60 seconds.

The 4G obviously represents an additional cost to purchase (100 euros) and then asks to pay the multi-SIM option (eSIM) to 5 euros per month after the six months offered. However, for those who like to play sports without the clutter of their iPhone or go shopping while remaining reachable, this feature greatly facilitates life.

Beware, however, that autonomy has an impact on the overall autonomy of the Watch. Switching to 4G will consume more power, just like activating the GPS strike the endurance of the battery.

Nevertheless, the autonomy is rather good, if we accept that a connected watch must be recharged every day or every other day. During our tests, we managed to use it moderately as much for the notifications as for the calls and the sports activities to make him cross two full days without it failing. He had about 10 percent battery left at 11 pm the second night. The Series 4 was roughly 39.30, much better than the 18h announced by Apple.

On the other hand, if one solicits it by a long sporting beach without telephone where the modules 4G and GPS are active, its autonomy is much smaller. Thus, after a morning of the race, he had only 55% of autonomy left at midday and about 15% on his battery charge indicator to 23h. The day is held but recharging is mandatory.

We also noted that in half an hour, we get about 30% of the total load and about 70% in one hour. It may be possible, for those who would like to use the Watch with a sleep tracking application, to keep it on the wrist all night long. They will have to remove it at sunrise, put it in charge and think about taking it back when leaving.

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