How Fast is the iPad Pro?

[ PC World ] Gordon Mah Ung:

The truth is, most of the testing I’ve run shows the iPad Pro isn’t faster than a current or even two-year old Core-class Intel CPU. (Atom, now that’s another story.)

We human beings interact with things like computers, tablets, and smartphones on a hardware plus software level. No matter how fast the hardware is if the software is not developed to take advantage of it and in a way that we can use and delight in, then what’s the point?

I recently started capturing videos of our church’s sermons. I’ve been using my iPhone 4s with an olloclip telephoto lens that gives me a 2x optical zoom. In 720p mode a 50-minute video takes up about 4-5 GBs. Capturing the video is no problem, even for an old iPhone 4s. (Capturing 50-minute long 720p videos on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on the other hand is a pain — I couldn’t do it because of file size limitations. I’m sure there is a solution out there, but I think regular users who just want to record long videos will give up.) What takes a lot of computing time is adding title pages, transitions, and then exporting it.

On a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro (mid-2009) with 4GB RAM and a 5400RPM 1TB hard drive using the GeForce 9400M GPU the exporting part takes about 3 hours. This is using Final Cut Pro X.

I also have an old Lenovo Thinkcentre S20 with a 2.93GHz Xeon W3540 CPU, 4GB RAM, a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, and a NVIDIA Quadro FX4800 GPU. Rendering using this setup take a little less time than on the MacBook Pro, but for some reason Premiere Pro has a problem with video captured by iPhones: toward the later half the video and audio starts to diverge. This is a known problem with solutions that don’t work. I’ve tried using Handbrake and re-encoded the videos using non-variable bit rates, without success. The only solution has been to use Final Cut Pro X on the MacBook Pro.

On a whim, I decided to try editing on iMovie on my iPhone 6s. I don’t require a lot of editing — just adding a couple of title pages, some transitions, and a bit of zooming in — and iMovie, after watching a few YouTube tutorials, was sufficient for my needs. What was surprising was how quickly iMovie exported. I’d say it took about 10 minutes.

I am definitely not saying the iPhone 6s is exponentially faster than a Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro or a Xeon workstation when it comes to video encoding. But what I will say is the iMovie and iPhone software hardware combination beats out the Final Cut Pro and MacBook Pro combination by a mile when it comes to encoding video, if all you need to do is add a few title pages, transitions, zoom in, and export to a file you can upload to YouTube.

If the iMovie+iPhone 6s combo can do that, I’m thinking the iPad Pro with a GPU that’s quite a bit more powerful than what’s in the iPhone 6s will shrink the time down even more, to about half?!

PS: This past Sunday I retired the iPhone 4s and will be using an iPhone 6s to record going forward.

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