Beginning with the Apple September announcement of the new iPad Pro, I struggled to understand the value of a larger iPad. I had an iPad Air 2, and thought I fully understood the value the new split screen functionality, multitasking and other new features of iOS9. But the idea of a 12.9 inch screen and the weight that would come with it … I was very concerned the portability of this new iPad.
I am a geek and love trying new gadgets, so I found myself placing an order for a new IPad Pro at 3:00am on November 11. I was pleased to see that it would be available for pickup at the local Apple Store the same day, so I placed the order. When I arrived at the store, they had one out for demo. My first reaction was shock and awe. “This thing is so huge”, I thought to myself.
Within a few minutes, I had very own iPad Pro in my hands, and as soon as I got home I had it up and running. Setting up a new iOS device can be very quick theses days, thanks to the ability to ICloud and the restore function. I just restored all the apps and data from my iPad Air. (I am not sure that is the best thing to do, but I did it anyway … It worked).
I was so struck by the resolution and size of the screen. With 5.6 million pixels , the display is amazing. Apple didn’t change the ratio of the icons and the arrangement of the home screen. They are using the same grid that is used on the smaller iPads, and didn’t optimize the layout of the home screen. Most people just say, ‘That’s a big iPad (or iPhone)’.
Aside from the display, I was taken by how light the iPad Pro feels. Yes, it weighs more than the iPad Air, but it’s balanced and feels comfortable. I am not suggesting you can use it in one hand it for long periods, but you can prop it up and get a lot of work done.
This iPad Pro is fast. I always felt the iPad Air 2 was impressively fast, but this leaves that device in the dust. Editing pics, video, or processing large files; the iPad Pro is an extremely fast machine. The benchmarks are better than many laptops. Check out the numbers: Benchmarks – arstechnica
Apple sells two accessories for the new iPad. The 1st is the smart keypad. I looked at the new keypad from Logitech as well, but I found that the Smart Keypad was far less bulky and I liked the feel of the keys. That may not be true for everyone and I suggest you try it out at the store to make sure the keys feel good you. I have used this on an airplane as well as in a coffee shop. It’s my keyboard of choice for the iPad Pro.
The other accessory that is a must is the new Apple Pencil. I am not going to get into a lengthy review, but let me just say that this is one of those really game changing devices from Apple. Palm rejection is great and there is almost no latency. It’s only downfall is that it didn’t improve my drawing skills. 🙂
This iPad has great sound. It has four speakers and the stereo is great. Here is how Apple describes it:
With four new high‑fidelity speakers built directly into its unibody, iPad Pro creates an audio experience as big as its display. The new design produces an engaging soundstage with three times the acoustic output of iPad Air. But it goes even further than that. iPad Pro automatically adjusts the orientation of the high frequencies according to how you’re holding it. So whether you’re playing a game or watching a movie, the sound of iPad Pro is more immersive than ever.
It is not a Sonos system, but if you are watching a movie, it sounds amazing.
Microsoft Office is amazing on the iPad. For my professional career, I find myself exchanging Word, Excel and PowerPoint files with other people. I often present from the iPad using PowerPoint. I do this directly from the iPad, or even better, using my favorite, Keynote).
In my free time, I enjoy photography. The iPad has impressed me so much in this area. Pixelmator is an amazing photo editing app on the Mac, but it’s equally impressive on the iPad Pro. It early accomodates my photo editing needs. I also enjoy Procreate.
Adobe has added several professional apps as well. This review will not attend to review specific apps, but these apps are well done and worth looking at, especially if you do that kind of design work.
Is this iPad for you?
It depends. If you are fairly mobile and do a lot of email, web browsing and business documents, you may find this to be a dream machine. It’s going to be limiting for people that do heavy video editing, code large projects, or similar activities. For people that are well invested in iOS, it makes the transition easier. It may push you to find new workflows, but don’t be surprised if you discover they are better than those old workflows.