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iPad Pro diary day 2: The good, the bad & the two issues that concern me most


I posted my first impressions of the iPad Pro yesterday, and having spent much of the past 24 hours mostly using it rather than my MacBook, I now have more of a sense of why Tim Cook thinks it could be a laptop replacement.

While most reviewers dismissed that, and I would certainly join them in doing so when thinking of you or I, it’s easy to forget that we are not normals. We want the power of pro apps, and the ability to do plenty of multitasking. We’re a very different user case to the average non-tech user who rarely ventures further than email, web, chat and a bit of light photo-editing.

I’ve said before that when non-tech friends ask me for advice on which laptop to buy, I quiz them on what they want to do with it and often end up recommending an iPad and keyboard instead. With the increased screen size of the iPad Pro, I can see myself doing that even more often in the future. Sure, it’s expensive for what it is, but it’s a hassle-free, flexible device with the option of built-in LTE. For many, that makes it a better option than a MacBook.

In my usage so far, I’ve been impressed by quite a lot, have some grumbles – and have two key concerns about the possibility of the device replacing my much-loved iPad Air 2. Let’s start with the good news … 

Considering that it’s just a bigger and faster iPad, it’s amazing how different it feels to a standard iPad – even one with a keyboard. The size really does make it feel like a different category of device.

That’s partly just the sheer expanse of that gorgeous screen. It’s pretty much the same size as a 13-inch MacBook, and a very common size for non-Apple laptops. It doesn’t feel in any way constrained.

And it’s partly that, for the first time, I feel like an iPad is a viable device for multitasking. Sure, I can use Slide Over and Split View on my iPad Air 2, but I rarely do. The screen just feels too small for that. But Split View on the iPad Pro is great. Extremely usable. You have a decent view of both apps, so for the first time reading from one app while writing in another doesn’t feel cramped.

Granted it’s limited to two apps, but this is almost Mac-standard multitasking.


Anything involving photo or video is fantastic. Netflix addicts will love it. Not only is the screen a great size for personal viewing – and for two at a push – the speakers are loud. Really loud! And stereo makes a big difference for some movies.

While the speaker volume is a massive improvement, the quality is still just in the ‘ok’ range. You’re never going to get great sound out of such small speakers when it comes to listening to music, but for movies they are more than good enough.

Oh, one small niggle in the Music app: the now-playing bar and controls are still really tiny, and look even smaller on this size screen. Apple really needs to take advantage of the screen size to make them bigger.

I absolutely love how good photos look on this screen. The size means that showing someone a photo on this is exactly like handing them a 10×8 print in the old days – you feel like they’re seeing it properly.

I’ve played with Lightroom on my iPad Air, but never really seen it as anything but an emergency option. But on the iPad Pro, it really feels like a viable option for the first time. I’m certainly going to try it.

A4/US letter documents may not have the wow factor of photos, but it’s terrific to be able to view them at almost full size. No scrolling, no zooming, just comfortably read an entire page at a time.

The screen size also makes a big difference with maps. On a standard iPad, I find myself doing quite a lot of scrolling around once I’m zoomed in close enough to see the street names, while the Pro lets you see a lot more at a time.

Finally, I don’t do many games, but X-Plane is really something at this size (though iOS 9.1 did kill the audio, something which will hopefully be fixed soon). I’ll let others more into games say more about this, but my guess is that if you’re an iOS gamer, you’re going to adore the iPad Pro.


The niggles

I have a few complaints aimed directly at Apple. A very minor one is that the iPad Pro doesn’t get the new super-fast Touch ID fitted to the iPhone 6s. I don’t really care, but it does feel a bit off that the latest shiny new piece of kit – given a Pro label, no less – gets old tech. However, Benjamin has suggested this may be for supply-chain reasons, that Apple simply can’t make enough of them to meet demand for the news iPhones, and that seems plausible to me.

Far less forgivable, in my view, is that the iPad Pro lacks 3D Touch. That’s a feature that makes a massive difference to iOS, and it really ought to be there in the latest top-of-the-range iOS device.

I mentioned yesterday my biggest complaints about the iPad Pro: the ridiculous waste of space on the Home screen, and the fact that many apps – even some of Apple’s own – are not yet properly optimized for it.

Take the email app, for example:


The body of the email looks like it has been copied directly from the iPad Air and just pasted into the center of the iPad Pro’s much larger screen. There’s little point in having all that lovely real estate unless apps allow us to use it, and to see this in one of Apple’s own on-board apps is really very poor.

Other apps just look absurd, like some kind of child’s toy. I love PopCalc, for example, but you need the scale provided by the iPhone 6s in the above photo to see just how ridiculous it looks at this size.

I’m really not a fan of touchscreen keyboards. The standard iPad one was a good effort, but I still hated using it. But the combination of the physical size, and constant number/symbol row, makes the iPad Pro version incredibly usable. I wouldn’t want to be writing this piece on it, but for emails and the like, it works well.


Which is another complaint about apps: so far, only a handful are using the new keyboard – many call up the standard iOS one, and that one not only looks silly but has such over-sized and widely-spaced keys that it’s actually harder to use than on standard iPads.

Apps in general need to think about how to use the extra space – but as I mentioned yesterday, developers may well take the view that it’s such a small market it’s not worth the effort. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.


The two issues that concern me most

I love, love, love the size of the screen. As I said in the intro, it really does make it feel almost like a whole new category of device.

But of course that comes at a price – and not just a financial one. My iPad Air 2 slips very easily into my smallest bag, and even with the Brydge keyboard that goes with it, I scarcely notice it’s there. That’s not true of the iPad Pro. I need to use the same bags I currently use for my MacBook Air 11. Not only that, but the combo of the iPad Pro with Logitech CREATE keyboard is actually heavier: a total of 3lb 4oz versus 2lb 6oz for the MacBook.

So the first question I have for myself is: do I want to sacrifice that much portability? Given that my iPad goes everywhere with me, it limits my choice of bag and weighs me down more.

The second issue is the unwieldiness of the Pro in some uses. I already mentioned yesterday that typing on the handheld device really is horrible – you definitely want to put it down somewhere to do that. With my iPad Air 2, I frequently hold it in my left hand by the left-hand edge while I use my right hand to touch the screen, and that’s perfectly comfortable. With the iPad Pro, it’s really not!

You might think the extra weight is not that big a deal – after all, the first-gen iPad actually weighed almost the same as the naked iPad Pro (quite an amazing thought in itself!) – but there is the small matter of Archimedes. The lever principle very much applies here: holding the iPad Pro in one hand in landscape mode, all that weight is trying to lever its way out of your hand. The iPad Air 2 feels truly featherweight in comparison.

The unwieldiness also really makes itself felt if you use the device in bed, for Netflix or to read books. It’s far too heavy to hold up in the air above you, and even lying on your side – with the iPad’s weight taken by the bed – it suddenly does seem very big. It feels a bit like you’re in bed with a laptop rather than a book.

So, these are the two factors I need to balance out: my love of that big screen versus the reduced portability and clumsier handling. In a perfect world, I’d want to keep both devices, switching between them depending on what I’m doing. But having that much money invested in iPads, especially when I already have (with rather dubious justification) both a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air, would be truly nuts. So I am going to have to choose, and I’m not sure yet what that choice will be.

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  1. David Wood - 7 years ago

    Conclusion: wait for 2nd gen. with updated Touch ID, Force Touch, optimized apps, and of course thinner lighter faster. Or wait for iPad Air 3 when it gets stylus support. I love that darn stylus, it is incredible.

    • David Wood

      Or wait for iPad Pro 4 which will be even better.
      or wait for ipad Pro 5 which will be even better……

      You can play that game forever.

      • rogifan - 7 years ago

        Yep. Using that logic people would be waiting forever because there’s always something better around the corner. I’m still a bit surprised people are expecting a 12.9″ device to behave like a 9.7″ device…

      • Not everyone is happy to be an early adopter. Waiting for second of third versions of new devices is hardly ever something people regret.

      • dcj001 - 7 years ago

        @Aaron Brown (@AaronBrown)

        Many people do regret waiting for second or third versions of new Apple devices because they miss out on one or more years of great experiences using Apple’s products.

    • dcj001 - 7 years ago

      The iPad Pro will never have Force Touch.

      It will, however, adopt the 3D Touch feature.

  2. My “dubious justification” for owning all my Apple devices is simply “because I want to”. I’ll just pick the device that’s right at that moment. And so, while my device list isn’t exactly the same as yours, I’ll be keeping my 2015 MacBook, my iPad mini 4, and my new iPad Pro. It’s not nuts, it’s just making sure all the bases are covered. ;)

  3. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    I think we all can ‘forgive’ 3rd party app developers for not having an optimised version for this screen. But Apple is completely failing here. Same goes for the 4-5 week wait for the Pencil and Smart Keyboard. This is bazurk.

  4. IMO, reviewers are overthinking this product.

    i bought one for the simple reason: The iPad Pro is now the ultimate personal consumption device. Netflix, photos, videos, emails, web, games. Nothing does it better.

    Yes you lose some of the portability of the Air but not much. So for $250 more than the 128GB Air you get:

    1. Much bigger and more beautiful screen
    2. Much better sound
    3. Much better input options
    4. Much faster CPU/GPU and more RAM

    • ag80911 - 7 years ago

      Those are great reasons…in addition, this iPAD will be supported for a very long time – 5-8 years at least – mind you the A5 it is still supported. Meaning they will have to drop support for A5 -> A8X before they drop this device.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      Do you use it for ebook reading in bed? So far that’s been the biggest reason to give me pause – it really did feel too big.

      • Ben

        I don’t read lying down. If I’m reading on a bed sitting up I just put up against a pillow. Sure its bigger/heavier than the Air. But then the Air is bigger and heavier than the Mini. And the Mini is bigger than the 6+.

      • I find if you have the Smart Cover you can use it to prop the device up in bed just fine. In landscape mode, I kind of prop it on my chest while lying down, or side ways.. In portrait its kind of tough all over because of the weight of the thing and how it is distributed. Once I got the iPhone 6 Plus, I found I rarely used the iPad Air 2 to read. The sizes were similar enough to me that the Plus sized iPhone was “close enough”. However with the Pro it’s no contest. They are vastly different, and for consumption it really changes the game. I wouldn’t buy a Pro JUST for consumption, but if you want the feeling of holding an actual magazine, or having a decent sized TV in your face, only the Pro will do.

      • Ron Miller - 7 years ago

        For reading in bed, I’d almost always use my Kindle Paperwhite, but for reading a magazine in bed, or anywhere for that matter, I can’t wait to try it on an iPad Pro. I already have a handy one-piece stand for propping up my iPad Air in bed. Its slot is large enough to accommodate the Pro, so the problem the author experienced with weight doesn’t concern or deter me. The reason I got an iPad Air when I already had an iPad Mini was for magazine reading which I do a lot, and that’s the same reason I’ll probably buy the Pro. I figure it’s aimed at graphic artists, and perhaps educators as I’ve heard mentioned, but I think it will be as big a boon for avid magazine readers as it will be for the creative professionals.

    • cubsnlinux - 7 years ago

      I agree with #2 and #4.

      #1 is actually a net negative. The screen is really too big to be portable and to be able to use anywhere (Eg: in bed).

      I partially agree with #3. Pencil is really well designed but it is only for a niche group like artists etc. I am not sure what other input options you are talking about that smaller iPads don’t have.

  5. ishan24 - 7 years ago

    I will buy every iPad and iPhone that will come so far…. I love you apple….. i don’t care about any flaws….😇

    • xprmntr - 7 years ago

      . • Ꮭ Ꮎ Ꮭ • .

    • Charlypollo - 7 years ago

      Actually this is the most honest comment I’ve seen in a long time on this site. He’s not trying to justify flaws or lack of functions with stupid arguments. He simply loves the products. Period. Bravo!

      • ishan24 - 7 years ago

        You are totally right!! Everything has some flaws.

  6. Benjamin Goh (@masotime) - 7 years ago

    The two issues that concern me most are  Pencil and Smart Keyboard

  7. jmholmes83 - 7 years ago

    What if you tried putting the pro in the bag the right way instead of all cockeyed like that? Would it fit then?

  8. neonspark22 - 7 years ago

    Who is this for? Its mobility is compromised by its size which was supposed to make it productive, yet windows RT-style side by side touch apps don’t hold a candle to productivity operating systems with multi-window multi-user capabilities. The whole side by side aspect of it seen on android and windows years ago is nothing new and not going to impress anybody over a true desktop productivity system with not just multi windowing but multi desktop and even virtualization. The only accessory is a keyboard cover, which lacks a trackpad, forcing you to touch the screen, meaning you have to use fat fingers for it or buy a pencil to work with high density UIs like you see in pro apps from adobe and Autodesk desktops (not that they are even available). But even if they were, 4GB of ram in the top models is too little for anything useful. Forget about video editing or heavy graphics processing with so little RAM. 128GB of storage, is it even pci-e SSD or is it slow eMMC to top it off? The thing is not lappable at all. So I guess you can draw on a big screen. Wow, game changing? I suppose for a very niche audience maybe but nobody is giving up their laptops for this and those that can, are really a fringe minority trying to make it work more than they are willing to admit it how clumsy and poorly executed this idea is.

    • kpom1 - 7 years ago

      Regarding the storage, we’ll see when AnandTech does its review. My guess is that it is not the PCIe NVMe controller that went into the latest iPhone, but that it will arrive in a later generation.

    • neospark22

      Why are you worrying about who’s this for?

      if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Stop trying to justify your reason why you hate it. I bought the 128GB for my wife and she ABSOLUTELY LOVES IT! Does it replace here laptop? No. Because she doesn’t have and doesn’t want to use a laptop.

      • Charlypollo - 7 years ago

        His wife loves it…

        Forget benchmarks and technical analysis. This is the review of the year.

      • Charlypollo

        But isn’t that the bottom line? If a product brings enjoyment its a success.

        only idiots worry about if a product works for EVERYONE.

    • puggsly - 7 years ago

      You like so many people rooted in the past don’t get this, so let me see if I can help. The first gen iPad Pro is a transitional device intended to usher in a revolution, it is not the end, it is the beginning. Up to the iPad Air 2 these devices didn’t have the power to do Professional level applications, and even the iPad Air was better at basic consumer level tasks but this device is different. Power and screen real-estate put this in the same position as what most business professionals are using day to day. What is missing are next generation optimized Applications like those shown off at the devices introduction.

      Note! These are not legacy 20 year old win 32 applications that have been forced into current devices. These are applications where performance and lack of bloat are key features to allow for them to be accessible to the largest possible audience. Now think about where developer dollars are being spent? What percent of Adobe’s programing effort is going into win 32 or OS X coding vs the amount spent on iOS and Android? Enough ground work, lets get to your points.

      1 This is for the early adopter or someone who gets a specific benefit, Artists, DJ’s or those who have already started to leave their desktop/laptop behind.
      2 Side by side apps work great with limited screen sizes. This is a 13″ screen, not a 27″ screen so different conventions apply. That said, both OS X and Windows 10 are working hard to make side by side and full screen application running the norm. I wouldn’t be surprised if future releases support multi-window virtual desktops, but the app switching from years ago is much like multiple desktops of full screen apps.
      3 This is not a surface, so the applications and the OS are designed for fat finger interface. This is not an issue on any iOS Application, but you are correct on the surface it can be a major problem, with or without the mouse interface.
      4 I’ll never argue against more RAM except to say that iOS applications (and the OS it’s self) take up dramatically less RAM to do the same thing you will do under Windows 10 or Mac OS X. I’ll just quote Tim Cook….4 simultaneous 4k streams. So yes, yes you can.
      5 I haven’t read about the interface to the SSD, just that it is substantially faster than the Air 2 and again see above 4, 4K streams.
      6 To dismiss the Apple pencil with “you can draw on a big screen” ignores the advancements in latency, tilt, pressure and palm rejection. You are correct that this is not a game changer for everyone, but from reports it is for artistic types.

      I don’t know the outcome of this new revolution Apple has started, because it just started. But to dismiss it is short sighted. Mobile Application development is outpacing Traditional development, so who ever has the next great application idea, might forgo traditional computing platforms or at least deliver it iOS/Android first and this device means that the application might not be angry birds, but something like Photo Fix, ProCreate, Autocad 360, or a re-imagined Office suite or page layout tool.

      Just my take.

      • jjwu6266 - 7 years ago

        There is “NVMe SSD in BGA package” in the iPad Pro. it is just like what Apple does on iPhone 6s. Perhaps, iPad Pro has better performance than iPhone 6s.

  9. gkbrown - 7 years ago

    Has Apple done anything to improve keyboard navigation in recent iOS releases? I tried to use an iPad Air with a Bluetooth keyboard as a laptop replacement a couple of years ago, but I ended up going back to my laptop. I found that I had to reach across the keyboard to do too many things.

    Ideally, I’d be able to navigate the entire UI via keyboard, just like the tvOS UI is completely navigable via the remote (no touch interaction required). Until that happens, the idea of replacing my laptop with a tablet is a non-starter.

    • gkbrown

      if you want to navigate then entire UI via keyboard go BUY A LAPTOP.
      Do you even hear what you are writing? Why the hell would you buy a touch based device like an iPad if you only want to use the keyboard? Idiotic to say the least.

      • Charlypollo - 7 years ago

        Didn’t Tim said that this was supposed to replace laptops?

        Idiotic Tim…

      • The iPad does replace laptops.

        Why do you think laptop sales have been shrinking the last 3 years?

        Will the iPad Pro replace the laptop for everyone? No. Cook said it would replace the laptop for MANY not everyone.

      • gkbrown - 7 years ago

        “Why the hell would you buy a touch based device like an iPad if you only want to use the keyboard?”

        Um, because typing on a touchscreen sucks? It’s fine for quick tasks, but for anything more than that, it gets in the way.

    • taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

      Buy a keyboard case with a built in trackpad.

      • gkbrown - 7 years ago

        What trackpad works with an iPad?

      • taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

        They are keyboard sees with trackpads.

      • gkbrown - 7 years ago

        I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. As far as I know, iOS does not support trackpads.

    • puggsly - 7 years ago

      Yes they have. There are a number of new keyboard short cuts and the virtual trackpad interface (when using the virtual keyboard) is a great step forward, but no, they are never going to allow you to run this like an old DOS system. They will move interface elements to the bottom of the screen for easy reach (more like function keys that pawing at the screen) but Apple is looking to have developers move past the pointer interface and I think it will work.

  10. kpom1 - 7 years ago

    Hopefully next year’s iPad Air 3 comes with Pencil support.

  11. DarkMx2000 - 7 years ago

    The one thing I wish the iPad would be able to do is be able to run desktop iTunes on it and be my one stop shop for being able to sync music and save backups of my iPhone to but that will never happen. My laptop crap the bed on my months back and I have always wanted to find something small like a tablet that could be used to do everything I do on a desktop/ laptop but in a smaller form factor and the only thing out that comes close that I have seen is a Surface Pro but after getting the iPhone 6s Plus and falling in love with IOS I don’t know if that would be a smart move for me.

    • ericisking - 7 years ago

      The Surface Pro is a laptop. It has barely any touch and tablet-optimised apps, and those apps which do exist are way, way behind their iOS and Android counterparts in features and development. The Microsoft “App Store” really is still a wasteland. Of course, you can run thousands of legacy Windows PC apps, so there’s no shortage of software; but you’ll need to connect a mouse and keyboard to use them, because they’re not optimised for a small touchscreen at all. At which point, after connecting the mouse and installing Photoshop, you’ll realise that you’ve bought a laptop….and not a very good laptop, at that.

  12. Maybe it is because we are going from an iPad 2, (not Air 2… the old 2nd-gen iPad) to a Pro, but the pro seems lighter. Maybe a case will change that. But a significantly larger device is going to weigh more than a smaller one all else being relatively equivalent. That isn’t a complaint, that is physics.

    iPad Pro has jobs to do, and it will do them, if not quite ready yet software wise, it likely will be soon. Software is not always ready for prime time on day 2, and these sorts of articles don’t seem to be written months later when everything is caught up and humming along.

    Plus, this isn’t an e-reader, and is drastic overkill for that role. A Mini 4 or Air 2 will be a great e-reader and so much more, around a ballpark of half the price, give or take.

    And again, if the work and particular advantages of what iPad Pro will do doesn’t outweigh the requirement of a bigger bag needed to carry it a bit, then a Mini 4 or Air 2 is probably a more appropriately sized device.

    There are different sizes of the iPad product because one can’t be everything to everyone. Maybe it will be worth waiting to see if the next 9″ iPad generation adopts some of Pro’s features, and becomes a goldilocks device. I don’t blame apple for giving iPad Pro some limelight before introducing a 9″ updated to be equivalent.

    Force/3D touch would be fantastic. The advanced and very large digitizer is obviously not ready to handle both the Apple Pencil’s specific interface, and 3D touch simultaneously. Perhaps the next generation will, and that bridge can be crossed when it applies, as well as when the next 9″ and Mini get their respective re-designs as well, to roll 3D touch to the whole iPad line. It hardly seems like something to bash the Pro over, when only one Apple product, the iPhone 6S variants have it, as a limelight introduction on that device.

    Most of the criticisms of this device seem to be mis-aligned expectations for what the device is or should be, or early-adopter caveats (like optimized software not yet fully spun up), or just pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking for what someone would ideally like, not anything actually substantively or inherently wrong or defective with the device. It isn’t malfunctioning, it isn’t poor quality control, it isn’t an inherent flaw, even if some people would have liked something else better.

    I’ve enjoyed the first day with mine, looking forward to many more years, just as I’ve used the iPad 2 for many years. If it weren’t a matter of iPad Pro’s unique features, most markedly the Pencil compatibility, RAM, Processing, and screen real estate advantages, I would have saved the money and gone with an Air 2 before now, or held out for the next 9″ iPad re-design. There is nothing wrong with that strategy, but expecting a 13″ iPad to be as portable and light as a 9″ iPad is not a realistic expectation.

  13. I have used an iPad Pro and my opinion is – it’s just a big iPad. Obviously – but is it really worth all that money for 95% the same functionality as every other iPad in the range? Depends what you want.

    For me, the real problem is that I cannot use split-screen and open the same app on each side. I import photos from my DSLR memory card. They look great on the large screen, but (and anyone who is a photographer will know this) choosing between shots on the iPad is a pain as you can only sweep between one photo and the next/previous. It makes it tough to pick the best as you kinda have to remember what you’ve just seen. I would LOVE to be able to open photos on the left and them photos on the right and be able to view two photos side-by-side.

    Also, if we are playing the ‘productivity’ card, I want to be able to split screen the same app so that I can be writing one Word/Notes/Pages doc and using the other side to fact-check from another document of the same type.

    Kinda destroys the real power of split screen for me. Shame.

    • Doug Aalseth - 7 years ago

      [quote] I want to be able to split screen the same app so that I can be writing one Word/Notes/Pages doc and using the other side to fact-check from another document of the same type. [/quote]
      That’s exactly what I want as well. Two Pages documents open at the same time. Makes quoting much easier. Thi9s eems like a no brainer function.

      • xprmntr - 7 years ago

        I’m thinking stuff like this will be addressed in upcoming iOS updates in the next few months

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      Lightroom should let you do that.

      • It’s the documents side-by-side where the real usefulness lies. Hasn’t stopped me buying one today, tho. Bought it in-store before lunch and the staff were saying they had sold loads today. The crowds around the displays were like a new phone release! I think store stocks will not take long to dry up.

  14. iali87 - 7 years ago

    I Don’t know why Apple didn’t consider students when they designed this device! The ability to crop something on the screen (like a section from a pdf, a picture that explains something) using the pen!? I want my iPad to be contain all my notebooks.

  15. cubsnlinux - 7 years ago

    Here are my Day 2 observations –

    Yesterday my Apple Store gave me an option to replace my Air 2 with a Pro even though it’s been more than 4 weeks since I bought it. Today I went back to the store with my Air 2 to get a Pro. As the rep was working on my transaction I played with the Pro again a bit. This time I was uncomfortable holding it with one hand. The screen felt a tad too big up close. This device cannot be used for more than a few minutes without support. I would say it is a desklet/laplet more than it is a hand-held tablet. This is precisely why it cannot replace the 9.7″ iPad. If you are like me and use your tablet a lot for reading or watching TV in bed this device is not for you. I know Apple is passively promoting games on this device but playing games while holding the device would be extremely tiresome and downright uncomfortable. Buying a smart keyboard or equivalent is a must for this device. For smaller iPads it is optional and that says it all.

    If this device is supposed to be a workhorse then I would say the hardware arrived well ahead of the necessary software. It is perfect for niche use cases that require touch input (drawing etc) and a bigger canvas but everything else a Mac would deliver much better value.

    I walked out of the Apple Store with my Air 2.

  16. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    Since 3D/ ForceTouch is hard to do Ina device this size the Pencil should be able to sense the pressure and bring up the features we see on the 6s. The Pencil should came standard with the iPad Pro. It’s like selling an iMac with a keyboard and mouse or a Apple TV 4 without a Siri remote.

    With the cost of pencil and keyboard with the LTE version combined, I don’t see why people wouldn’t choose a MacBook Air, minus the non retina screen. I can’t suggest the MacBook for anyone. The IPad Pro has a higher benchmarks, a better screen and a much better price. Apple should waited for Skylake chips or built their own ARM chips. It is why Apple needs to build OS X for ARM so can have the power and battery effiency of the chips. Apple’s increase in performance and effiency is far out pacing the gains in a Intel chips.

  17. Gregory Wright - 7 years ago

    “But having that much money invested in iPads, especially when I already have (with rather dubious justification) both a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air, would be truly nuts.”

    Ah, just do it.

    • ericisking - 7 years ago

      I could imagine having a Pro and a smaller iPad, but only if the Pro replaced my laptop. Having a laptop and an iPad Pro is what seems like overkill to me, because this is really a laptop replacement if it’s anything. It’s definitely not a replacement for my eReader/Netflix screen/portable handheld computer. When the day comes that I’m convinced this can really replace my laptop, that’s the day I’ll buy one.

  18. The One Que (@Marque___) - 7 years ago

    Personally I don’t think 3D Touch, in its current iteration, would provide the same user experience as it does in the 6s. Now if I could “Hey Siri, quick look mail” and I got the same menu as 3D Touch, I’d be happy. Or if the “pencil” could be used as a laser pointer/mouse and I hit the eraser (bear with me), and I get the 3D Touch would be even better. But who knows..,

  19. animalisticphilosopher - 7 years ago

    Great blog, thanks for posting! I’m really enjoying your impressions. I just want to mention something related to one of your concerns, i. e. using the iPad on bed. That’s where I mostly use my iPad as I purely use it as a consomption device. For my current iPad I’m using the floor stand from Standzout which is incredibly comfortable. You don’t have to hold it at all and it can be easily manipulated to fit any position you’re comfotable with. I e-mailed them two days ago asking if they’re planning to do something for the iPad Pro and here’s their reply:

    “We have a final design for the new holder complete and are working with the factory now to begin tooling for production We expect to have the new holder available very early in 2016. Please stay tuned and sign up for our newsletter on our home page as we will be sending more information out soon including images, pricing and more specific availability.”

    So yay fo that :) , as would never use an iPad on bed without some sort of stand. I’ve tried that for more than a year and I developed killer knots, so it’s really a deal breaker for me. Hope this was helopful, and I’m looking forward to the rest of your impressions.

  20. J.latham - 7 years ago

    I have a couple of the same issues Ben. I stopped by the Apple Store today to play around with it while my wife was shopping and came out of the store with a couple of surprises.
    1. The Smart Keyboard is actually pretty incredible feeling. Its surprisingly solid. In fact I think I liked the feel of it MORE than the one on my MacBook Pro.
    2. While the pencil worked well, I can’t help but feel the software just isn’t quite there yet.
    3. This may be the most important part, but after years of hearing about how touch screens on MacBooks are horrible experience of moving back and forth from the screen to the keyboard and how the trackpad is a much better option for laptops, I can’t help but feel the iPad is missing one.

  21. Kai Cherry - 7 years ago

    As an..erm..”old(er)” person, and developer, I’ve been reading these various “can I replace my computer, based on principles and usage patterns over a quarter *century* old(!) with something that doesn’t really follow them” with a lot of bemusement.

    The answer is: Yes. Yes you can.

    The real question is: Do You Want To Now or Later?

    See, the “problem” isn’t really with Apple, or Microsoft, who are basically doing the same thing, but with people…specifically “tecnologists” that are remarkable not-forward-looking, and developers.

    We (developers) write…and will write, the software people need…assuming we can get paid for it, anyway. The ‘technologists’ on the other hand are seemingly looking at the situation very short-sightedly, simply because the software hasn’t been written yet to do what they, as a very small subsection of The Universe seem to feel it needs to do…right this instant.

    For everything I do that does *not* need a Mac Pro, the iPad is adequate…the iPad Pro certainly more than. Expense reports, white papers, scheduling, collaboration, *server management*…it goes on and on. The only thing I can’t do with it is write iOS software…but I mean, that is a very complex and atypical use case.Interestingly enough…there *are* methods of doing this on an iPad that are emerging…to match the mode and model.

    What the iPad Pro really represents is kind of what Horace wrote – a new “type” of Desktop Computer…kind of a late 1980s ‘retro-future’ flat-slab computer that sits on a desk like a piece of ever-morphing paper. Interestingly enough, it is a somewhat fairly-known fact the the late Steve Jobs imagined/envisioned that one day, computers would be pretty much like this. In the aforementioned 80s.

    So, Ben (et al) as you go thru these experiments…try to look at the thing for what it *actually is* and what it *actually* represents as opposed to a marker against a computing style that arose nearly *40 years ago* and game to prominence 25-30 years ago.

    In the vast real world, most typical users *do* “task switch” between full size windows…they don’t fool with folders, outside of the “system defaults” generally, and have a ‘program’ or ‘app’ oriented workflow. If or not it meets some edge use case today is simply a matter of someone recognizing the need and flipping the bits needed to realize that need. If some app that is in current production doesn’t multitask well…let the dev know. It isn’t hard to add support for this technically, it is simply a matter of most iPads not supporting full side-by-side so they haven’t bothered to do the 2.5 things needed (it is really, for most apps, super trivial) to do it.

    I look forward to more impressions and to see how they align or diverge from my own, over time.


    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      I agree 100% that many non-tech users do exactly that. I have friends who maximise all apps on 15-inch MBPs!

  22. ajlwalton - 7 years ago

    Why is it that no one in this entire web mentions how Apple, [Latest technology] they claim!! Still runs IPS panels which have color/brightness uniformity problems on white background. For the record, for apples claim of “Latest Technology” to be considered true, and for them to also claim they have the best display on the tablet market, they should be supplying its customers with oled displays.

    The last uniform display apple supplied was on the iPad 4th gen, and that was due to having 84 LEDs which after seeing the screens on the majority of iPad Air and iPad Air 2, I understood from a quality perspective why it needed 84 led and not 36 that are on all the airs and air 2s

    Recently received the iPad pro, mostly because I was under the impression that they would have at least rectified this issue to some degree, unfortunately that isn’t the case, the uniformity problems are the same if not worse, personally I read a lot of forums and books which recide on black txt, white background, and when I see the lack of uniformity of the screen as well as the casual backlight bleeding, it makes me want to throw this iPad or previous iPad airs out the window

    Apple seems to be loosing its promise towards a high end product. It’s a sad time for Apple When seeing companies such as Samsung already releasing oled tablets in which the screen looks gorgeous, it’s even more of a low blow when a device like a Sony PS VITA [1st gen] which was released around the iPhone 5 release, still has a superior screen then the latest iPhone 6s in terms of color uniformity and black levels

    I hope people start looking at their iPad screens more closely because apples mentality is “if the majority doesn’t notice, then we can get away with it”

    I say this because I’ve gone into Apple Stores and spoke to “Geniuses” and they pretend they don’t notice it, when in reality they do ” I know because I had one genius admit the truth”

    I Hope reviewers in particular start truly looking at these screens and start truly giving a real review of these screens instead of just saying ” screen is amazing” when it’s truly not considering what the competition is supplying as of late!!

    Again, please reviewers of these iPads, please review these screens appropriately while mentioning the defects that come with them primarily due to lack of quality control when devices are built


  23. Liam Deckham - 7 years ago

    Great article, Ben. Did you notice that when you charge your iPad Pro it goes dead requiring a hard reset?

  24. Liam Deckham - 7 years ago

    (Sorry if this is a double post. Did not see my first one.)

    Did you notice that the iPad Pro shuts down while charging to the point that it needs a hard reset to bring it back to life?

    Apple Discussions already has a growing thread!

  25. Apple Dystopia - 7 years ago

    Most office workers use Microsoft Office and custom web based apps (CRM, sales, inventory, HR, etc.). Microsoft Office for iOS is watered-down. Safari is too weak to run web apps very well. I don’t think most professional (office) workers just use email and some light photo editing.

    This new iPad isn’t as good as a $200 Dell, for most office workers. Apple just doesn’t get it.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      Sure, it’s not an office machine. In the corporate world, this is for people who spend most of their time out of the office and who need access to documents and presentations on the move.

  26. Tony Kehoe - 7 years ago

    Love the ipad pro. Dont need fancy 3d touch, got it exclusively for sheet music and playing itunes music. Perfect. Used it at church and felt i was already in heaven.

  27. What’s been your experience with the screen when (if) you tilt the screen away from you or towards you? Are you seeing look a bit cool or still keeping its color as when you are looking at it head on?

    • ajlwalton - 7 years ago

      The screen has serious white uniformity issues

      I still can’t believe not one reviewer mentions this, this isn’t a simple flaw, this is a huge problem for such a ‘PREMIUM DEVICE”

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      I’m not seeing a color shift. The screen size makes the dimming look more dramatic, though, than on a standard iPad.

  28. Hawg Ryder - 7 years ago

    I have a Macbook Air and its 13.3 screen the new iPad Pro is 12.9. Although a tablet can do the work of a laptop the purposing is only similar. I don’t want a tablet with a screen the size of my laptop. It’s not as portable. Although my Macbook Air is portable i use my tablet for other reasons. I use it mainly for games, music and around the house when i’m away from the laptop and well thats about it. The advantage of my tablet is its size. I will be upgrading from my worn Nexus 7 to an iPad2 air this Christmas and thats about as big as a tablet as i want to tote around with me when i’m going anywhere. Nothing cooler than being able to put your tablet in your side pocket of a set of cargo pants and go wherever. Everybody i know doesn’t use a stylus so although this is a great feature not many users need one. So after you have over $1000 bucks into the low end with a keyboard i think the Macbook Air offers so much more over the IPad Pro. Oh and you will only be able to use the keyboard setting on a desk unlike right now i have my MB Air sitting on my crossed leg in my recliner typing my thoughts on the iPad Pro. I also gave up using a mouse years ago because the trackpad is simply awesome. I think the perfect size tablet is already available and thats the IPad Air 2.

  29. Scott Lunsford - 7 years ago

    This product continues to illustrate the ‘New Apple’ post Steve Jobs. Its positioning in the market is unclear therefore its execution is lacking. Until Apple commits to a fully thought out 2n1 approach executed in hardware and OS (e.g. screen interaction beyond touch), it will never be a successful laptop replacement product. Owners will continuously be force to compromise because the product hasn’t been fully realized. And believe me I have tried… I have a cabinet full of iPad keyboards for previous iPad generations. For me, I’ll continue to use my MBP and iPad Air. Apple why couldn’t you have just released an iPad Air 3 with stylus? I would have ordered one immediately.

    • Tony Kehoe - 7 years ago

      Please. When jobs released the first ipad he was hammered for not including a camera and several other items, as well as for a lack of ability to create vs. just consume. ‘Post Jobs” my patoot. He also released the iphone 4 with antenna problems, and even the first iphone with very spotty coverage and poor network bandwidth. ….the Sunflower Mac, the cube mac, Mobile Me, and other fiascos. Jobs was not perfect, his first editions were often lacking in key areas, but he and his team were constantly developing. This is such common apple practice i am surprised to hear people speak of pre and post Jobs.

      • J.latham - 7 years ago

        I think you missed the point of the comment. It’s not that Jobs had knockout products every time, it’s that there was usually a clear vision of what purpose they fulfilled. A good example is the Retina MacBook and the iPad Pro. Both seem to have the same demographic in mind, light use mobile users who want a keyboard. Instead of having two so-so devices they could’ve consolidated their efforts and made one with a clear vision of purpose.

      • Tony Kehoe - 7 years ago

        J. Latha, you miss the entire point. Jobs had a key principle operating, in that he did not mind cannibalizing one product line with a newer product that was similar to, but not the same as, an existing product. This always involved overlapping purpose. Its smart product development. Ipod and iphone are good examples, as are macbook and ipad. Ipod touch performed two of the three key iphone functions in virtually the same platform. Why not just kill the ipod to boost sales of iphone? Because Jobs preferred to let the marketplace sort it out, unlike Microsoft, which in fact uses the approach you suggest, and we know the results. The “vision” you allude to has never been operant in Jobs’ approach.

    • ajlwalton - 7 years ago

      Also, if the plan long ago was to make a 12.9 in screen, why not go with an OLED PANEL that would have taken care of all the screen uniformity problems currently affecting all iPads specially the iPad pro, specialily at the premium price being sold at

  30. What I don’t understand about the blogger and the rest of the people who complains about the tech is that…they know the techs are old, and yet, they still support the company? Get rid of the slavery mentality. You guys don’t understand about Apple. THEY ARE GIVING YOU CRAP and YOU GUYS STILL ACCEPT IT. iPad pro is okay to me…no problem regardless of the old tech. I just use it for the hell of it. To me, it’s a toy that I use to watch movies or whatever, but for those of you who complain are those who saved your life-saving money to get a toy that rips you off. Good luck.

  31. Even though day 7 is out, I haven’t read your decision yet because I am starting at the beginning to get all of your impressions. It’s almost like what I’ve gone through as I’ve read/heard about them. I have ultimately decided to order one (though my cell provider as an add on our current plan). I like to be an early adopter when I can afford to. As a tech teacher, I like to stay up on technology. Plus, I’ll admit it; I love Apple products. Of course there is the other side of it…as a tech teacher, I have to be a careful early adopter. I need to be sure it is truly something I will use.

    Fact is, I have an aging MacBook Air. I have an iPad Mini and an iPad Air that I use daily for various purposes. My mini is starting to lose its battery. When I travel I carry all three. I think I can easily pare that down to two or, dare I say one (with my iPhone). I know the Pro can’t replace my Air completely because I do need update my website at times which requires me to transfer files from my Dropbox to my server, so unless I can find an app for that, I’ll need my Air since I can’t ftp through our district network. However I think I can do just about everything else, and even when traveling if need be I could use Logmein to do quick website updates on the fly for my personal business.

  32. Kenneth Drew - 7 years ago

    Should have been called iPad Plus, not Pro. Pro would indicate it would have mouse and touchpad support, an SD card slot, better use of iOS (maybe even a custom iOS to start the inevitable line-blur between iOS and OS X). Needless to say, I bought one anyway. The Apple Pencil convinced me to do it. And as a professional artist, I weighed a Cintiq 13HD and an iPad Pro. The Pro is portable, and does a LOT more than just be a digital canvas. Also, no need to connect it to a PC or Mac and have a mess of wires and windows on the wrong screen in Photoshop.

    When I compared it to my MacBook Pro, there was no way it would replace it. When I compared to to the Wacom it was a no-brainer. Wacom lost my money this time around. The Apple Pencil paired with the iPad Pro has no comparison. Aside from that, it’s just a big ass iPad.

  33. Kathy Gorenz - 7 years ago

    I put my iPad Pro in a 3 inch binder front inside the plastic sleeve…propped it up for amazon prime movie viewing in bed….I had two survivor cases for my last got left in thunderstorm and now is a beautiful iPad 3 but not working 8-(. I found your review from googling where to touch finger to access the iPad Pro.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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