iPad Pro… and then some


Look what DHL brought…


Unpacking the iPad Pro is a little weird. It’s like getting a 13″ MacBook, but somebody forgot to attach the keyboard.

Let’s see what it came with, shall we?


Thinking about the hierarchy of use cases, I have a MacBook Pro to do the things an iPad cannot do. Some of that is OS driven, some of that is poor software design (Adobe, I am looking at you)! While the Mac is of course the most powerful device I own, I use it far, far less than my iPad or my iPhone which I both use every day.

My iPad Air is mostly used for consumption. I use it a lot, but I use it far less for productivity tasks than I thought I would when I got it. I still use it every day and I would not want to miss it. Its most glaring outage for me turned out to be that even with the smartest styli I got, it never felt natural to draw on it.

That’s the gap I am hoping the iPad Pro fills: sketching and drawing digitally in high quality without the cumbersomeness I experienced on the iPad Air. At the same time, using the Pro for consumption seems a double-edged sword. It seems great for watching videos, but I would not want to read anything in bed while holding it. Don’t get me wrong: it has a surprisingly low weight, but it is heavier than the Air, really quite big and thus not as easy to wield.

Let’s quickly check out the Pencil.


Others have written about this and they are right: the Pencil feels great and while it cannot fool you into thinking you are drawing on paper, its functionality, minimal lag and feel is really impressive. Many people write about how great this works with Apple’s Notes app. I guess they are right that the lag there might be the lowest and I love the onscreen rulers… but I don’t like Notes as a sketching app.
ProCreate, however, is amazing! – below tweet shows a sketch that simulates an actual pencil and the look comes pretty close to an actual pencil (still need to find the sweet spot in the settings, but that’s just refinement).

I think I am going to like this a lot…

When I put together my shopping basket in the Apple Online Store I then also added the Smart Keyboard. It somehow felt “smarter” to get a cover with keyboard versus just a cover. The extra screen real estate that is gained by not having the software keyboard on screen might actually make me consider the Pro also for Office or iWork applications.


To be honest, adding the Smart Keyboard was a bit of a shot in the dark. While I was convinced that I’d use the Pencil a lot, the Smart Keyboard possibly might end up in a drawer. My first few interactions with it are nice, but this keyboard is no match for the excellent keyboard I am using with my Mac.
My hidden agenda was, however, that eventually I will be able to travel somewhere just with the iPad Pro, Pencil and the Smart Keyboard and my laptop stays home. I tried that before with the Air and while it was kind of possible, it never was a really clean solution. With cloud services improving and apps and devices booming more powerful, this might come true, however.

I am excited what I can do with this new toy (even though time is scarce when you have two little kids :) ). You’ll hopefully see again more drawings and sketches in the future…

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