4K HDR Movies Available On 2017 iPad Pro Models And They Look Spectacular

by on September 19, 2017

Stephan Jukic – September 19, 2017

Apple first announced the ultra-powerful, sleek and very sharp iPad Pro in its two 10.5 and 12.9 inch versions back in June of this year and as part of their initial fanfare over the new models, the company somewhat ambiguously touted their HDR display chops for movies or other content mastered in high dynamic range. T the time no specific mention was made of upcoming 4K HDR iTunes movies on which owners of the new iPad models would be able to test their tablets’ display prowess (probably in an effort to guard the surprise factor for the Apple TV 4K unveiling that was months away) but now, for subscribers of iTunes who happen to own one of these two relatively new tablets, testing just how well they handle the advanced video format is finally possible.

The deal is that in the wake of its extremely recent unveiling of the new, highly anticipated Apple TV 4K HDR set-top box, Apple also started putting out a small but growing collection of HDR 4K UHD content titles to the iTunes entertainment platform for purchase. And all of these content selections can now be played back on the iPad Pro displays with their high dynamic range benefits largely intact, though with a few conditions.

4K HDR Movies Are Available On The 2017 iPad Pro

For starters, the two iPad Pro models obviously don’t come with native 4K resolution in their Retina displays. Instead, the 10.5 inch model offers 2224 x 1668 pixels with a 264ppi and a 4:3 aspect ratio while the 12.9 inch model delivers a slightly higher resolution of 2732 x 2014 to maintain the same 264ppi pixel density. This however doesn’t discount the rendering of these movies HDR mastering, in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision standards. Thus, users who play the new iTunes content selections to either of the two iPad Pros can get what are basically 1080p versions of the films with their high dynamic range contrast and color pretty much intact. Given the above-1080p native resolution of the two relatively tiny iPad screens, these 1080p movies upscale to the point where you’d in any case be hard-pressed to note the difference between them and true 4K video files. Since the HDR does indeed show, it also does its own part to make the resolution difference even less important.

Additionally, users of both iPad Pros will have to have the latest iOS 11 public beta version installed on them. This was formally released as a software update as of September 19th, so it shouldn’t be a problem either. As soon as this newest iOS version is installed, the updated iTunes store starts showing Apple’s latest 4K HDR versions of select content as available for download.

Other odd little caveats include the fact that the HDR titles can’t actually be viewed on some of Apple’s Mac machines, even if they have the same latest version of iOS running and strangely enough, this applies even if your Mac machine is connected to a true 4K UHD monitor like LG’s Ultrafine models, which were released by LG specifically for high compatibility with Apple computing devices. This might possibly be due to content copy protection issues, though we’re not sure yet.

As for the actual quality of the HDR movie titles, despite their lack of full 4K resolution, well it’s unarguably damn fine with the high dynamic range colors and contrast both distinctly notable on the 2017 iPad Pro screens. When one of the two tablets is placed alongside an older 2015 iPad Pro playing back the same content without the HDR available, movie colors, bright highlights and even black levels all stand out markedly on the newer iPads.

4K HDR Movies Are Available On The 2017 iPad Pro

Granted what new HDR video rendering you get with these two tablets won’t look nearly as great as it would if being displayed on something like a 65 inch LG OLED 4K HDR TV or one of Sony’s premium HDR 4K television models, but for a really decent means of watching movies with spectacular color on a portable device during flights and long trips, the new iPad Pro’s are going to be hard to beat.

It’s also worth noting here that the 2017 iPad Pro devices don’t support HDR content from other streaming services despite their capacity for it from Tunes. Netflix, which promised to allow HDR support for its movies on Apple’s new OLED iPhone X phone doesn’t yet allow for the format on these newest iPad devices. This is the case despite the fact that both the iPhone X and the iPad Pro 2017 editions share the same insanely powerful and versatile six-core A11 chipset.

As for Apple TV 4K itself, which is going to be the main physical platform for Apple’s new 4K HDR iTunes movie collection, it starts shipping as of September 22, and with that device, you’ll be able to appreciate all the same titles that are already available to the new iPad Pro models on the right kind of real 4K HDR TV with some much more robust visual impact.

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