A quick review of my new iPad Pro 9.7″ after roughly 24 hours of use. The very short version is that I’m hugely impressed. Read on if you’d like to know why.
Size, shape and weight
The iPad Pro 9.7″ is the same size and weight as my iPad Air 2, which is great for portability. On the other hand, it’s not exactly the same. The existing iPad Air 2 flip covers won’t work with this Pro model – apparently the internal magnets are placed differently, so while it sticks to the left hand side, it won’t stay closed on the right.
I actually tried to buy a cover two days running in the Apple Store, but it was unavailable. I’ll order one online and meanwhile, I’ll use the iPad Air 2 model I have and just treat it extra carefully. My existing Logitech Bluetooth keyboard works perfectly with it, so I think I’ll stick with that for the time being, rather than getting of the Apple models.
In terms of usage, it’s lightning fast, even compared to the Air 2. Very responsive and punchy. Okay, so I’m not exactly launching the space shuttle using it, but everything I’ve thrown at it so far works like a charm.
The quad speakers are really, really impressive and represent a significant upgrade on the old model. Despite reading all about these before getting my iPad, I was still surprised at both how loud and clear the sound was. It’s been a pleasure to listen to podcasts.
The screen is just gorgeous. Clear, bright and adapting to various lighting conditions. Using it outdoors is a lot easier than the iPad Air 2 (or indeed, my iPhone 6s Plus!). I was a tad sceptical of Jim Dalrymple’s glowing review on The Loop, but I can report that he’s absolutely correct. This is a big step up for the iPad, making it more of a flexible device I think.
The Apple Pencil
The Apple Pencil is nothing short of a revelation and I’m embarrassed to say I’m loving colouring in, courtesy of Pigment. I’d tried it out on the larger Pro models while in Apple Stores, but this was always under the watchful supervision of a security guard or a slightly pushy Apple Store employee. Using it for a few hours has demonstrated how it’s a class above every other stylus I’ve tried on an iPad.
Drawing shapes and cartoons aside, I definitely need practice at taking notes for more serious stuff. I’d love if Evernote would introduce a stencil interface, like they have on the Android platform.
(Actually, using a stylus on a screen has reminded me of the joy of using a Palm Pilot! Though I doubt Apple will introduce that same kind of handwriting recognition.)
All in all
All in all, I love it so far. Is it a laptop replacement? Well, as ever, it really depends on what you do with your laptop. Mine is overwhelmingly used for writing, social media distractions, managing emails, taking notes, managing tasks and projects and so on. I don’t edit audio or video, nor do I code.
All of these I can do quite well on the iPad Pro. In fact, I’ve written this post on it, using the Bluetooth keyboard and my new favourite writing app, Editorial. While I don’t think I’d write another academic dissertation on this, for shorter documents, blog posts and general notes, it’s definitely more than enough.
Let’s see what the next few weeks bring.