I’ve written in the past about how my MacBook Air died and I had to transitions all of my work to the iPad Air for a little while before I could save up for another laptop. Ever since then, I tried multiple times to use the iPad Air as my primary work/writing device but it just wasn’t cutting it. The first iPad Air is still a great tablet but it wasn’t the ideal device to do work on. One of the main reason is that it didn’t have multitasking capabilities such as Split View and Picture in Picture (those features were only available on the iPad Air 2 at the time).
So when the new iPad Pro 9.7-inch was released, I decided to pull the trigger and make the upgrade. You might be wondering why spend more for the iPad Pro when you can get the iPad Air 2, which is the same size and $100 cheaper?
I tend to compare the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro models to its laptop counterparts; the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Some people don’t need the extra processing power that the MacBook Pro provides so they get a MacBook Air, which is great for most people. It just really comes down to what you intend to the use the device for and how much you are willing to spend. In this case, I went to the iPad Pro because I wanted the “latest and greatest” option and the price difference wasn’t really a factor for me.
I did eventually buy a new MacBook but when I got the iPad Pro, I decided to go for a whole week doing all of my work on it so here are the pros (yes, pun intended) and cons I have so far.
I debated on getting the larger version of the iPad Pro but after messing around with it at the Apple Store, I decided it was unnecessarily big. Yes, it would be great to have the screen real estate but I prefer portability over everything else. If I wanted to lug the 12.9 Pro and a keyboard around, I might as well grab my MacBook instead because it would be pretty much the same size and weight, not to mention the similarity in price.
I love the 9.7” screen size because it is just right. I like that I can walk around with it or lay in bed while watching a movie and not have my arms get tired after a while.
I’ve seen a lot of reviewers praising True Tone and how it is a game changer and I can say that they are absolutely right. True Tone uses light sensors in the bezel to gauge ambient lighting and adjusts the display according to the surrounding environment. I love how it makes the screen act like a piece of paper so it is easier on the eyes instead of having a bright screen blasting away at your eyeballs at all times. It is great if you are looking at the iPad for long periods of time. Apple also made other changes to the screen introducing a wider color gamut and making it 40% less reflective.
The speakers on this thing are amazing as it puts out twice the sound of the iPad Air 2. I can play music from across the room and still be able to hear it. Ever since I started using the iPad, I haven’t even touched my Bluetooth speaker.
The cameras on the Pro are the same ones in the iPhone 6S. It has a 12-megapixel iSight camera that supports Live Photos and Autofocus with Focus Pixels and shoots 4K videos. It is also the first iPad to have dual flash on the back and True Tone flash on the front for selfies.
Multitasking and Split View is what makes the iPad Pro a great computer to do work on. Not only can you have two different apps side by side, you can watch videos while you are working with the Picture-in-Picture mode. There are many different possibilities for Split View but I mainly use Notes and Safari with Tweetbot in there. This helps save a lot of time spent switching from app to app and the break in concentration.
When I really want to buckle down and get some writing done, I just have Apple Notes on the screen so there is nothing else that can distract me.
Entry level at 32GB
The iPad Pros are the first iPads to have a 32GB entry level storage option instead of the dreaded 16GB that has haunted Apple users for years. I don’t play a lot of games and usually have a few movies loaded on my iPad at any given time so the 32GB is just enough for me. However, if you need more storage, the next tier is at 128 GB at only $100 more.
Accessories are expensive
This is a given if you want to get Apple genuine products. The Apple Pencil is $99 and the Smart Keyboard is $149. What worse is that Apple stopped making the Smart Cases and now sells both the front cover ($49) and back case ($69) separately at almost twice the price of what it used to be. Even if you get the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, that’s an extra $250 on top of the iPad Pro.
The good news is that the Pro’s dimensions are the exact same ones as the iPad Air 2 so all of the accessories should be compatible. The only thing different is that the iPad Air 2 cases don’t have a cutout on the back for the flash.
No 3D Touch
While the new iPad Pro has the bells and whistles like shooting 4K video, True Tone, and Apple Pencil support, it lacks 3D Touch. I know this is not a make or break feature but ever since it was introduced on the iPhone 6S, I have been using it daily. It’s just a convenient factor when I want to select the last podcast played on Overcast or composing a new tweet on Twitter.
Longer Lightning cable
The larger iPad Pro comes with a two meter Lightning cable while the smaller one comes with the normal one-meter cable. While battery life is great, having a longer cable is useful especially if you are are using it as your main work computer and it definitely comes in handy when you are trying to charge your iPad at a coffee shop.
Before you get on my case about how this is an iPad, not a Surface Book or Macbook, I just want to say that having a filesystem would make me and a lot of other people on the edge convert to the iPad entirely. It would be great to be able to transfer files via USB especially with the new Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter.
In the end, using the iPad Pro for work is not for everyone. Some would rather use a regular MacBook and other would prefer that larger iPad Pro. It might not be the ideal working device right now, but we know for sure that Apple will iterating in both hardware and software to make it so.