Let me start off by saying that I love the new iPad Pro. I’ve gotten used to its large size and I’m in love with the pen and the keyboard. But before I can tell you whether it’ll replace my MacAir, let me share some a few observations after a month or so of day to day usage:
The sound and visual quality are amazing
Apparently the iPad Pro was designed specifically with sound chambers that deliver superb audio through it’s four speaker ports. It’s fair to say that I’ve never heard a better sounding tablet. And, for the Retina Display, well it’s just stunning. Watching movies on this thing is better than any small television I’ve watched.
The Apple Pencil will change your expectations for writing on tablets
Using the pencil is closer to a real pen and paper experience than you’d imagine. In some ways it’s better. The harder you press, the thicker your lines. It feels great in your hand. And, it’s weighted so it won’t roll off the table. Seriously.
The Pencil is smart so resting your palm on the iPad’s surface as you write won’t confuse it. Writing is very responsive, with some apps being completely instant. Older apps will work with the Apple Pencil but there is often a little lag so perhaps there is a new API they’ve not yet programmed to.
Old style tablet pens, the ones with the snub ends, will work on the iPad Pro but the Apple Pencil won’t work on any of the previous iPad models. Older pens just emulated your finger. The Apple Pencil uses an entirely new and more responsive technology.
The new keyboard works very well
It’s a keyboard. It’s an iPad stand. And it’s a magnetically attached cover when the iPad and keyboard are not in use. Even though the keyboard is the same size as the one on my MacAir, the key travel is very small. I think it’ll take a little practice before I can type at my top speed.
The iPad Pro powers the Apple Pencil and Keyboard
This was unexpected and really cool, especially since I’ve wrestled with charging my old Logitech keyboard and my old Joy Script pen. The Apple Pencil just plugs into the lightning port on the iPad Pro and, even better, the Keyboard makes contact with three tiny surfaces on the iPad Pro and, wallah, it’s fully powered.
The iPad Pro is large but I am already used to it
This thing is big. You can’t read it while holding it in one hand. A flight attendant almost made me put it away during a recent flight. Despite being the same size as a standard pad of paper, I do find it awkward to write on. I may opt for the normal sized iPad if Apple ever upgrades them to support the Pencil. On a more positive note, the iPad Pro sits comfortably on my stomach while I’m reading in bed. It’s also a joy to travel with and works better while sitting in coach class seats than any computer I’ve owned. So while this thing is big, it’s easy to get used to and it’s size is not a deal killer.
It is very, very fast
From what I can tell, the iPad Pro may be the fastest browsing experience I’ve ever seen. Everything is lightning quick. You quickly take this for granted until you go back to an older model iPad which will make you feel like you’re in the stone ages.
For me, the iPad Pro is a keeper. I’m going to be taking it everywhere and it will never be much farther than my phone. But, it’s also not ready to replace my MacAir. I live in Excel and PowerPoint. More precisely, I spend a lot of time CREATING Excel and PowerPoints. Nothing can replace a full trackpad, instant fine-grained searching, support for big external screens and the feature rich desktop versions of Microsoft Office and other critical business applications.
Note: if you’re thinking about buying an iPad Pro (or any iPad), I recommend you check out BluCaseFelt on Etsy. I’ve used one for years with my iPad Air and I’ve already ordered their latest model for the iPad Pro, keyboard and Pencil.