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Own an iPad Pro? You should definitely pick up Apple's 29W charger

This week's release of a 29W-compatible USB-C to Lightning cable should have 12.9-inch iPad Pro owners cheering in bittersweet revelry
March 27, 2016

Make no mistake: the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a glorious device. In fact, I'm falling more and more in love with it as each day passes. It's replaced my MacBook more completely (and more seamlessly) than I'd ever have imagined, and the tablet's display, accessories, and sheer power leave me perfectly content.

Something that didn't leave me content after picking up the iPad Pro, however, was the charger which ships with the device. This is a big iPad, a Mac-replacing tablet, yet despite this Apple nevertheless shipped a 12W power adapter with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The result meant that charging the device was a nightmare: trying to use the iPad while topping the battery up was largely impossible, and even overnight charges wouldn't return the iPad's battery level to 100 percent if it'd dropped down to 20 or 30 percent during the day.

But there's a fix ... thankfully

But there's a fix ... thankfully

But there's a fix ... thankfully

Yes, there's a fix: this week, during its iPhone SE event, Apple announced the release of a 29W-compatible USB-C to Lightning cable, allowing owners of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to charge their device using said cable and a 29W USB-C power pack – the kind Apple ships with its 12-inch MacBook. Since I already own the 29W power pack, I decided to pick up the new cable and see if the difference really was significant.

I was impressed

The jump from 12W to 29W is everything I hoped it'd be and more. Not only is it super-fast to charge up the 12.9-inch iPad Pro when it's not in use, but now, at last, I can use the iPad to write, or browse the Web, and charge the tablet at the same time. Trickle charging (something I'd grown accustomed to with the 12W solution) is now, at long last, a thing of the past. If you own a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 29W charging setup is definitely something I'd wholeheartedly recommend.

Trickle charging (something I'd grown accustomed to with the 12W solution) is now, at long last, a thing of the past.

The only problem, though, is the cost of outright replacing the charging solution Apple ships with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with this new 29W one. In fact, the cost is a lot higher than you’d perhaps expect, particularly if you’re purchasing a new cable and the 29W power pack (something many of us won’t already own).

Here are the prices at Apple’s website:

This means you’re coughing up just under $74 to switch from 12W to 29W, and possibly more if you opt for a two meter cable rather than the less expensive one meter option. That, on top of the cash you’ve already spent on the iPad Pro itself alongside the “essential” Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard could be a step too far for some.

I’d bet that Apple learns from its mistakes and ships a 29W charger with its second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (this charging solution is so far only compatible with the larger model). Yet that nevertheless leaves first-generation owners shortchanged. It’d be too much to expect Apple to offer the 29W chargers free, but when it’s impossible to properly charge and use the iPad Pro at the same time, I think something has to be done. For me, the problem wasn’t so great since I already owned the 29W power adapter.

What about you?