A Month with the iPad Pro

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I've had my iPad Pro for over a month now, so I figured it was time to share my thoughts. You can go back and read my original post about the iPad Pro if you want to know why I decided to switch over to the iPad Pro, but essentially I concluded that the iPad Pro fit over 90% of computing needs so I replaced both my 11" MacBook Air and my 1st generation iPad Air with it.

Getting Work Done

Let's jump right into the most important topic, cranking out work. Between working on school projects, writing for my personal blog here at 1WaySwim, being an occasional contributor at GeekDad.com, playing keyboards in my church band and of course just reading the latest tech news...I have a ton of uses for technology. I also have a full time day job, so when I get a few minutes at home to work on one of my "hobbies" I need to be efficient. The large screen on the iPad Pro has proven to be everything I was expecting it to be and more. Coming from using an 11" MacBook Pro as my main home machine, the iPad Pro's screen size was actually a step up for me. You might argue that even thought the 11" laptop screen was a bit smaller, I could still open up multiple windows at once on the laptop and only 2 at once with the iPad Pro (using split screen). But I've found that working mainly in iOS at home for the last month that iOS provides a much less distracting environment. Come on, how often do you really need 4 or 5 different apps up all at the same time? My setup with the the iPad Pro is the Apple Smart Cover, the Apple Pencil and a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard that is mainly in use with my Mac Mini but I pull it out when I need to do a lot of writing (like this article I'm typing on it right now). I chose not to go with a keyboard case because most of the time I really do use it as more of an iPad than a laptop, so carrying around the extra bulk just so 15-20% of the time I would have a built-in keyboard seemed silly. So far that was the right call, I have yet to be in a situation where I wished I had a keyboard built into the cover. I'm either near a Bluetooth keyboard I can use when I need one or I get my just fine with on-screen iOS keyboard. As I concluded in my 1st iPad Pro post, the iPad Pro really is the best of both worlds for the vast majority of my computing needs. This won't be the case for everyone. Take a look at how I listed out my needs in my 1st post and make your own decision.

Portability

Like I said earlier, I opted with just a Smart Cover and not a full keyboard case. I did end up getting a very thin back shell case for my iPad Pro, the CoverBuddy for iPad Pro. I'll be writing up a review on it soon but so far I am really liking it. The iPad Pro is every bit as portable as my old 11" MacBook Air, so I can toss it in my "man bag/purse" and go. I've found that the iPad Pro is absolutely perfect for working on an airplane. I used to swear by using an iPad instead of a laptop and now I swear even harder (just not here, this is family friendly blog) that the iPad Pro can't be beat on an airplane. Using the Smart Cover I can prop the screen up nearly vertical and I have a very large movie screen for entertainment. If I lay the iPad Pro down slightly propped up with the Smart Cover then I have a nearly full functional laptop without having to worry about the seat back in front of me crushing my laptop screen. The only place where the iPad Pro is just a little too big is for casual reading before bed. I used to keep my iPad Air on my nightstand for that purpose, but the iPad Pro is just too big for that. I use my iPhone 6 Plus for reading at night and for reading any text based novels.

Performance

The graphics and the processor perform like a champ. I have yet to experience any lag for anything I have thrown at the iPad Pro. The speaker performance has been exceptional. I have a really nice Bose Bluetooth speaker on my nightstand, but I have no need to use it when watching TV or movies in bed. The built-in iPad Pro speakers are plenty powerful enough to watch TV and movies with the wife. Coming from a 1st generation iPad Air I really noticed the jump up in processor performance. Its not like I'm doing a bunch of process intensive things with it, but switching back and forth between apps is lightning fast with the Pro where my old iPad Air would take its sweet time jumping from one task to the other.

Apple Pencil

I've only had the Apple Pencil for a few weeks, but I have used it quite a bit. It feels great in the hand and works seamlessly with both the native Apple apps and all of the 3rd party apps I used to use with my old Pencil by 53 stylus. I'm not an artist, but my daughter is and she has really loved drawing with the Apple Pencil. I'm still teaching her how some of the drawing apps work, but so far she has enjoyed getting to make art in digital form in a way that feels just like drawing on paper. The Apple Pencil is even great for basic tasks like making notes in my sheet music during our bad rehearsals and marking up PDFs. It charges literally in no time and with the case I am using the Apple Pencil goes everywhere my iPad goes. I highly recommend getting an Apple Pencil. If you even have a single need for a stylus of some sort you will learn to love the Apple Pencil and find many more uses for it than you think you had. As Apple and 3rd party developers have more time I think we will see even more uses for the Apple Pencil going forward.

Closing Thoughts

Don't mis-interpret my pure glee for the iPad Pro... it isn't for everyone. A certain percentage of people still require a full Mac/PC operating system in order to run software that is critical for them. And while a certain percentage of those people could shift over from those software packages to iOS apps with similar capabilities, but for some people that shift is simply not possible or too disruptive. Don't focus on whether or not you can go "all-in" with the iPad Pro. Rather, ask yourself if the extra screen real estate of the iPad Pro (compared to a regular iPad) and the new productivity features of iOS 9 enhance the environment enough make it worth a look for you. I did a little homework in my case ahead of time (see my 1st iPad Pro post) and as it turns out I was right...the iPad Pro was a good fit for my computing needs. What ever you do, don't get into an iPad Pro just because you think you might be able to go "all-in" on iOS. We really aren't there quite yet, but so far it's a good 90% solution for me and I'm happy with that. For the other 10% of the time I just use my wife's laptop our or family Mac Mini.

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