Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My Impressions of the New iPad Pro

I love the iPad. It feels totally different from an iPhone, yet very familiar. When I owned the original iPad, I thought it was cool, but there was plenty of room to grow. With the iPad Air 2, I thought it was a very solid model, but it could use a power boost. I felt the iPad needed a better way to compete with desktops in the post-PC era. As an amateur Android developer and Final Cut Pro video editor in high school, I wanted to be able to code and edit on the go. When I first saw the iPad Pro, I thought this could be the turning point. Apple could embrace the iPad's features and change iOS around it. So, Apple released a new iPad Pro and iOS 11, which was made to distinguish iPad from iPhone. And so, after having an iPad Air 2 for high school, I was equipped with a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with iOS 11 for college. And did it do the job?

Absolutely not.

This iPad, was by far my least favorite iPad. It advertised leaps forward, but seemingly took steps back. The bezels were so thin, it would read false inputs constantly. The camera bulges out from the back, which kind of works on iPhone, but certainly doesn't on iPad. The built-in keyboard is the biggest sin in my opinion. I don't know how Apple managed to mess up a keyboard when you have more screen space to work with, but they did. I typed leagues faster on a 9.7-inch iPad than I ever could on a 10.5-inch iPad. I never took notes on it as I had planned and opted for my MacBook Pro. The Apple Pencil was a half-baked idea. Somehow, my iPad Air 2 always held a significantly more stable WiFi connection, while my iPad Pro would constantly disconnect. Maybe I just had the world's most defective model and this is just me. I still used it, mostly for video streaming, but I knew it had so much more potential. So, given that, what do I think of today's announcement?

This is everything I wanted for my iPad Pro.

I almost wish I had held out a little over a year for this iPad Pro. This iPad feels designed from the ground up to actually work. There is an entirely new magnet system, all around the back and sides of the iPad, that make the accessories actually work as advertised. The Smart Keyboard always looked like a circus act when trying to stand it up. Now, the magnets hold the keyboard cover in place. The new Apple Pencil finally can charge by just having it magnetically attach to the iPad. It all feels very intentional and robust. They made it clear that every orientation is the right way to hold it. I personally prefer using iPad horizontally. But I'm also left-handed, so my Apple Pencil would have to attach to the other side of the iPad. I do still see some flaws from the iPad Pro. I'm sure the bezels will give me a hard time and the camera could get annoying, but we're seeing improvements that we've been wanting for a long time, and I'm very happy with that. The fact that the Apple Pencil no longer rolls on desks and can be engraved amazes me.

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