Six and half years ago I went camping with my wife and our 6 month old son. It was over the Easter weekend which turned out to be rather cold for camping, but a lot of fun none the less.
Just after we set up at the camping site my wife pulled out an early birthday present for me from our little boy, an iPad Mini. It was the 2013 model and had a little inscription on the back “It’s mini just like me”.
That was the last iPad that we ever bought, and despite one of us upgrading a phone every two years the iPad mini soldiered on year after year.
As the kid turned into kids and began to grow up I lost the use of the iPad mini to them and in the evenings to my wife while she caught up on one of the latest Netflix shows before bed.
When the iPad Pro came out, along with the new fancy keyboard and Apple Pencil I finally had a pang of desire to upgrade. I watched a number of videos, and I looked at my work habits (both for my day job as well as the couple of side projects and notebook business that I manage).
After MUCH deliberation I decided that if I could get all my sponsorship positions filled for the front end web development newsletter I curate then I’d use the money to get a new iPad Pro.
The big or the small
I chatted through the options with a few good mates of mine, one of whom has returned more than 20 Apple products, and weighed up the pro’s and con’s of the 11” inch vs the 12.9”.
Mr “return everything” friend of mine suggested I just get both and return the one I didn’t want… but that’s a lot of hassle (for me) and I’m sure it would have ended up with me having one and my wife having the other and us not being able to afford it.
I ended up going with the larger version, the 12.9” with the thought that I’d send it back if it were going to be impractical to use, however I was wrong to assume that.
It feels like the 12.9” screen is actually bigger that the MacBook Pro, and one of the advantages about having the Magic Keyboard is that the writing experience is a lot better than on the laptop itself.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
I usually have a pang of regret after paying a large sum of money of a piece of tech, but in this case I feel justified in the investment.
I’ve only been using it for 6 hours on and off, but I’ve already found it more enjoyable to use across the consumption of content as well as the creation as well.
While I’m certainly going to be enjoying a movie and some Netflix shows on this over time, it feels like something that I’m going to be more productive on and can use in more situations than I can with a laptop.
The bad bits
There’s always bad bits… or bits that aren’t great yet.
- Getting use to the new gestures and working out how to do simple things like having two programmes running side by side. This will come with time.
- One connector. It’s a USB-C connector and nothing else. Fortunately the Apple Pencil clips onto the site and it charges off the iPad, and the iPad clips onto the Magic Keyboard and can charge through a connection into the keyboard. BUT, there’s no headphone jack so you need Bluetooth headphones to listen to things quietly. I’m not ready to part with more money for Ear Pods, but I’ve heard the Pro’s are as good as it gets when it comes to headphones.
- The front facing camera is located at the top of the ipad in portrait mode. That’s great because most people use iPads in portrait mode, except if you’re (Apple) trying to pass this off as a laptop replacement (and it certainly could be) then having another front facing camera on the landscape mode top would be a bonus for video calls (which everyone is on 8 hours a day these days…. or is that just me).
The Good Bits
- The screen is fucking huge and clear as day. It’s sharp and it makes websites look gorgeous. I’m assuming video content will be equally impressive
- The Keyboard is amazing (but costs extra). The keys are a delight to use after the MacBook Pro. The trackpad is also super helpful and I’m finding myself switching between using that and just touching the screen itself.
- Apple Pencil + Procreate and Notability are a joy to use. I’m pretty shit when it comes to procreate, but after watching a couple of tutorials or watching (brilliant) people using it on instagram and it’s amazing what you can achieve.
- Lots of indescribably bits.
It will be interesting to see how I can transition across to Affinity Designer instead of using Adobe Illustrator, or the same for Affinity Photo and Photoshop.
I’ve heard that Lightroom on the iPad is absolutely amazing so I can’t wait to see how that goes.
Sketching out wireframes will be a bit more fun on the iPad I think, but translating those into code will be an interesting step. I’ve used Coda on the iPad before which is where I manage a lot of FTP and simple code changes, but something like VS Code would be nice but I’m not sure if that’s around.
I haven’t downloaded any of the Office products because I don’t need them now, but I’m sure I will at some point. Hopefully I’ll be able to use browser based tools for the most part.
Things like PostMan for checking out API calls will be a little harder to replace on the iPad, but I’m sure there’s things that can help.
Overall, I’m over the moon with the investment in this hardware and Apple have done a great job of making something premium in price carry across into the experience as well.