The M1-Powered iPad Pro for 3D Virtual Tours

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The iPad Pro with the Apple designed M1 chip is finally here. The device was launched with some interesting features that content creators and Matterport Capture Technicians were looking for.

What's with the M1?

In simple terms, the ARM-based M1 is a SoC (System on a Chip) that replaces the A-series chips on the previous generations of the iPad. With the CPU, GPU, RAM, Neural Engine, image signal processor and other vital components combined in one system, the performance is substantially improved. Since the data does not have to be copied between these components, the battery is able to retain more power – a key factor while using the iPad for something like shooting a Matterport virtual tour for a large office space or warehouse. 

Apple M1 - Adostrophe

The storage is twice as fast and supports up to 2TB. This is significant for certain MSPs who have a large number of industrial spaces to be captured and would like to retain the models within the app. The CPU has 8 cores (4 performance and 4 efficiency), GPU 8 cores, and the Neural Engine 16 cores.

The RAM (high-bandwidth, unified memory architecture) is not user-upgradeable and maxes out at 16GB. The 16GB RAM is used on 1TB and 2TB models, whereas the lower storage devices have 8GB.

Features at a Glance

  1. Display – The 12.9 inch iPad Pro of Spring 2021 has Liquid Retina XDR display for a clear HDR viewing experience. Clients appreciate attention to detail – their customers may zoom in on a portion of the Virtual Tour and it helps to demo with good quality. Shooting with an Insta360 or Ricoh camera may not allow the viewers to check the texture off the walls – the Matterport Pro2 is pretty much the standard these days.

  2. Connectivity – The latest tablet from Apple supports WiFi 6 and 5G. Until the time 5G is introduced in India, we have to make do with what’s available. Scanning a 2BHK house for sale, for example, might be easier to upload on the go. For this reason, the cellular variant is preferable. Linksys has recently launched Atlas Max and Hydra Pro routers with WiFi 6E.

  3. Cameras – You won’t be needing these for Matterport 3D tours, but the Wide (12MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture) and Ultra Wide (10MP, ƒ/2.4 aperture and 125° field of view) cameras are the best we’ve come across in an iPad. Panoramic shots are captured up to 63 MP.
    The lens covers are made from Sapphire crystal, although the Magic Keyboard or any other case would have an extra lip to protect them from possible scratches. AIS (Auto Image Stabilisation) is an important feature that we appreciate in this new device. 4K video recording is at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps.

  4. Transfers – Now you can use Thunderbolt or USB 4 for data transfers up to 40 Gbps, which is a boon for content creators. Dock the device to use an external monitor or demo to a client in their 4K display or projector.

  5. Video Calls – Similar to the auto track feature in the Insta360 ONE R, a new feature named Centre Stage follows you around in a video call. This could be useful when you demo to an architecture or construction client, where you’ll have to move around a model, without having to reposition the camera.

The Carbon Footprint

The 5th generation iPad Pro (12.9 inch) is the first tablet to be made from 98% recycled earth materials. The enclosure is made with 100% recycled aluminium. 

Such a powerful device, with an innovative chip and Machine Learning technologies actually consumes 62% lesser energy than the requirement for ENERGY STAR, which is noteworthy.

Those looking to discard their previous iPads (or any other Apple product) can do so by sending it for recycling. The Karo Sambhav and Cerebra collections points are available in almost all states and UTs in India. If the devices are in a working condition, ensure to back up and erase your data before shipping them.

Buying Online

The pricing is usually the same compared to brick-and-mortar stores. We recommend buying online since you may get it sooner, considering the demand. You not only save on fuel costs but avoid going out during this second wave of the pandemic. Engraving is an added advantage.

The variations available are:

  • Display size: 11 inch and 12.9 inch

The larger display can be convenient to crop spaces in the Matterport Capture app, and to mark mirrors/windows. 

  • Colour: Space Grey and Silver

When you’re using a carry case with a sling, the colour of the enclosure won’t really matter. If you’re engraving your company name and caption, it would still look cool with either of these colours.

  • Storage: From 128GB (₹ 71,900) up to 2TB (₹ 1,70,900)

Unless you have hundreds of spaces to capture, you won’t really need TBs of storage, if there are budget constraints. However, if you expect your 3D photography business to scale fast, it is probably a better idea to get the maximum storage possible. 

  • Connectivity: WiFi only or Wi-Fi with cellular

If you’re done shooting a space, it is recommended that you return to home or office with a reliable WiFi to upload your work. Certain hill stations (like shooting a resort) may face intermittent network from Airtel. 

 

Irrespective of the configuration, ensure that you buy the extended warranty (AppleCare+) for another ₹ 15,900. Unlike earlier, Apple service centres now offer accident damage protection. While lifting the Manfrotto tripod around, heaven-forbid, the precious iPad slips and falls face down on the floor, you won’t get a heart attack.

Buy from the official Apple store in India – https://www.apple.com/in/shop/buy-ipad/ipad-pro

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