iPad Pro diary Stories June 10

Just two days after I bet that Apple is seriously considering larger iPads to take full advantage of Stage Manager, we got reports of a new 14-inch iPad Pro in the works.

I was thinking more like 15 inch, but if a 14.1-inch model is first to launch, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to resist …

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iPad Pro diary Stories June 7

It was a close-run thing in our poll, between iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and the MacBook Air. For me, iPadOS was the most exciting announcement, and Stage Manager the standout feature.

But there’s a huge caveat in the small print for Stage Manager, which poses a big dilemma for me …

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iPad Pro diary Stories April 22, 2020

I’ve often said that my Mac is my most important Apple product: if I could only have one, that’s the one I’d choose. Partly because bigger is better in my view when it comes to screen sizes, and partly because of its flexibility. The combination of powerful apps, a proper file-system and windowing.

But last night I chose to reach for my iPad and Magic Keyboard when it came to writing a personal blog post and doing a few other things …

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iPad Pro diary Stories April 21, 2020

I guess first impressions of the Magic Keyboard with trackpad can be thought of as layered. There’s the ordering experience, otherwise known as: did I really just pay £349* – more than the price of the entry-level iPad – for a keyboard?

*Usual reminder: In the UK, VAT (sales tax) is included in the list price. So the UK price is £291 without sales tax, which is the equivalent of $359. This compares with a US price of $349, to which sales tax needs to be added.

Then there’s the set up experience …

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iPad Pro diary Stories April 20, 2020

Apple’s Magic Keyboard with trackpad for iPad may be the first of the company’s iPad keyboards to persuade me to switch from Brydge.

The company’s Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio products didn’t impress me. The typing feel wasn’t good, they didn’t balance well on my lap and overall had the feel of something cheap and plasticky. That’s the reason I’ve so far stuck with Brydge keyboards.

But early indications are that the Magic Keyboard may be the one to win me over …

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iPad Pro diary Stories September 30, 2019

I felt that the new-form-factor 12.9-inch iPad dramatically strengthened the argument for an iPad over a laptop for those with relatively basic needs. I did, however, feel compelled to make the case for an iPad-specific version of iOS, so that the software would do justice to the hardware.

While the iPad Pro isn’t trying to be a Mac, it is a grown-up device and it needs a grown-up operating system. Not macOS, but rather a tailored version of iOS, designed to take advantage of the additional capabilities of the iPad. What some people have termed padOS.

Apple of course finally gave us that with iPadOS 13, and I have to say it makes a huge difference…

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iPad Pro diary Stories August 14, 2019

Way back in 2015, I looked at whether the iPad Pro of the time could be a Mac substitute. My bottom line then was “not for everyone, but for many, yes.”

The answer, of course, is the same one I give when non-techy friends ask me which laptop they should buy: It depends on what you want to do with it.

But once I’ve heard what they want to use it for, my answer to the question, ‘Which laptop should I buy?’ has often been, ‘You shouldn’t: Buy an iPad plus Bluetooth keyboard instead.’ So far, at least, everyone who has taken this advice has been happy with the result…

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iPad Pro diary Stories April 17, 2019

It will surprise no-one that I was an early adopter of the Kindle, buying one almost the moment they went on sale back in 2007. I was doing a lot of business travel at a time, and absolutely loved the ability to carry a whole load of books with me at all times in essentially zero space.

My Kindle went literally everywhere with me, whether it was across town or to the other side of the world. That changed, however, when the first iPad came out …

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iPad Pro diary Stories February 27, 2019

There are two Apple products I was pretty sure weren’t for me. The first was the Apple Watch.

To be fair to myself, I didn’t state outright that I would never buy one, only that I was a skeptic.

Although I can’t see an actual problem I need the watch to solve, that’s not the same as considering it a useless device. I can see potential applications for it, I’m just not sure they amount to a sufficient reason to own one.

I now wear one everyday. But there seemed no doubt at all that I had no possible reason to want an Apple Pencil

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 22, 2018

Quite a few friends have asked my advice about which iPad to buy. In general, my approach when asked for advice on iDevices is to start by asking rather a lot of questions of my own. What will you use it for? How often will you carry it around with you? How appealing to you are features X, Y and Z?

Depending on their answers, I’ve recommended everything from the cheapest to the most expensive models. Indeed, my general advice with the iPad has been that, unless you need any of the Pro features, the cellular version of the 9.7-inch iPad with 128GB storage is likely the one to go for.

But this year is a little different …

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 13, 2018

Even before the new compact 12.9-inch iPad went on sale, there was talk of even larger iPads.  Developer Steven Troughton-Smith made the case for a 14.9-inch iPad Pro, noting that this would allow two decent-sized Safari tabs to be open side-by-side with a third app open too.

And while some might think it’s a crazy idea – where would it end? – a poll of 9to5Mac readers shows that around 40% of you favor the idea of an iPad larger than the existing 12.9-inch model …

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 8, 2018

Having given my first impressions yesterday of the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I thought it would be at least a couple of days before I had anything more to say, but it turns out that’s not the case. Consider this partly a diary, and partly a call to arms for an iPad-specific version of iOS: padOS.

I have a Wednesday evening ritual that involves working on a creative writing project for a couple of hours in a coffee shop, then heading to a nearby pub with friends. I usually cycle there, but this evening didn’t want to stop playing with the iPad, so took the tube instead. Having managed to secure a seat, I was That Guy – the one steadfastly avoiding looking up in case I spotted a disabled grandmother who needed my seat …

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 7, 2018

I wrote earlier that I was hoping the 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro was going to prove to be, as Apple claimed, ‘the ultimate iPad.’ All the joy of that huge screen in a form factor which didn’t prove too great a compromise when it came to comfort and portability.

When the folio case arrived ahead of the iPad, I was encouraged: the size difference didn’t seem to me to be too great. Since then, I’ve been waiting impatiently for my iPad to arrive – and today it has …

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 1, 2018

When I ordered my 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I placed my order for the Smart Folio case separately, in the hope that it might arrive earlier – and give me a sneak preview of the size. That paid off, as I took delivery a few minutes ago.

Let’s start with the bad news …

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iPad Pro diary Stories October 31, 2018

Apple said in the keynote that the 2018 12.9-inch iPad is ‘the ultimate iPad,’ combining that deliciously huge screen with something that is – thanks to the much smaller casing – still very portable. I’m hoping that it lives up to that description for me.

I wrote last time that I already knew Apple would be selling me a new iPad, my only question was whether it would be the 11-inch model, the 12.9-inch model or – most scarily of all – both …

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iPad Pro diary Stories July 25, 2018

While I’ve long argued that Apple products do well on the longevity front, and I typically keep a MacBook for 4-5 years, the company keeps persuading me to buy new iPads.

I quickly went from the original iPad to the iPad 2. Then to the Air. Then the Air 2. Then the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Then the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

There’s also no doubt that it’s going to sell me a new iPad this year; there’s just a tiny question-mark in my mind about which one …

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iPad Pro diary Stories June 21, 2017

I said last time that while the difference between a 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch screen didn’t sound like much on paper, it actually makes a surprising difference in real life. It’s not a 12.9-inch model, of course, and you don’t get things like the three-pane email view you do on that, but it really does feel significantly bigger.

I have, though, discovered that the larger size does have one downside: accessory compatibility.

While the difference in external dimensions is much smaller than the boost in screen size, the casing is just that little bit larger, and that’s rendered one of my most-used accessories unusable and a second one rather awkward to use …

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iPad Pro diary Stories June 15, 2017

Upgrading more often than the average person is an occupational hazard of gadget addicts – and even more so of tech writers. But I do at least try to resist when an update is a relatively minor one.

I’d hoped that would be the case with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. After all, I already owned the 9.7-inch Pro, so already had some of the more advanced features like True Tone. And 10.5 inches isn’t that much bigger than 9.7 inches, right?

Still, I had to be sure, so I wandered into the Regent Street Apple Store to try one out …

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iPad Pro diary Stories April 8, 2016

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I said in the final part of my iPhone SE diary that perceptions of iDevices are very personal, in part because of the role the product plays within our own personal Apple ecosystem – and that’s equally true here.

For someone who likes to draw, or handwrite, Apple Pencil support makes the upgrade from an earlier iPad a no-brainer. You’re getting a huge amount of additional functionality for your money. You could say that you’re getting an iPad Air 2 plus a sophisticated electronic sketching device, all in one box.

But I can’t draw, and I haven’t handwritten anything for years. So for me, the upgrade from my iPad Air is a less dramatic one. The question is whether the relatively modest enhancements can justify the fairly stiff increase in price … ?

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iPad Pro diary Stories March 31, 2016

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When Apple launched the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it was a device I definitely wanted to try, but didn’t expect to keep. That gorgeous screen was more tempting than I’d expected, but it didn’t sell itself to me as a replacement for the smaller version, and in the end I decided I couldn’t justify keeping both.

The 9.7-inch version is a very different proposition. I absolutely love my iPad Air 2, a device that gets used for both consumption and creation, and the smaller iPad Pro retains the exact same form-factor while adding to its capabilities. For simplicity, I’ll skip the size references from now on and simply refer to it as the iPad Pro.

But will those enhancements be enough to make the upgrade worthwhile? I’m posting my first impressions today, and will report back again after around a week’s use. As ever, I’ll update in between if I have anything notable to say, but in this case I think that’s unlikely …

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 18, 2015

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Having started out with my first impressions a week ago, highlighted my core questions and decided on Monday that the iPad Pro couldn’t replace my iPad Air 2 (only be an additional device), it’s time to make my decision.

I think between us at 9to5Mac we’ve been putting the tablet through its paces in a pretty comprehensive fashion! We don’t always reach the same conclusions about devices, but in this case I found myself agreeing with the bottom-line of each of my colleagues who’ve been trying it.

Dom described it as a giant Netflix machine, and it certainly is. With that huge screen and extremely loud speakers, movies and TV shows are very compelling, and – unlike a MacBook with the same size screen – you don’t feel like you’re looking at a work device.

Zac saw it as the best entertainment iPad, and I agree with that – with the single proviso that it’s just too big for comfortable ebook reading in bed. But reading ebooks on your lap is a delightful experience. Magazines are just wow. Casual web-browsing – sat on the sofa, just passively consuming content rather than planning to act on it – is a joy. In portrait mode, you can see a decent chunk of a page at a time, everything is big enough to read comfortably and it just feels like a much more relaxing experience than using a MacBook or a smaller iPad where you have to do more scrolling.

Jeremy found that it sat awkwardly between two devices – not feeling like a better alternative than either his iPad Air 2 or his MacBook Pro when it comes to either work or play. I agree 100% on the work side of the equation. I’m more sold on the play side of things, but given that I like to read in bed every night, ultimately I’d have to agree that my iPad Air 2 is a complete solution where the iPad Pro isn’t.

But it’s not just my colleagues’ views I’ve been reading, it’s yours too – in the comments on my earlier diary pieces. So let me address a couple of those before delivering my own final verdict …

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iPad Pro diary Stories November 16, 2015

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Things have moved on rather a lot since I gave my first impressions and highlighted my core questions in choosing between my existing iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro. Further usage of it has made it abundantly clear that the iPad Pro cannot replace a standard iPad. It’s ridiculously over-sized for reading or watching Netflix in bed, and there are other times when the smaller version was simply more convenient.

But I do still love that screen! It’s great for casual web-browsing – better than either my MacBooks or iPad Air 2. It’s fantastic for viewing photos. It’s great for ebooks so long as you’re not trying to read them in bed. Magazines are amazing. Netflix is great with the huge screen and really loud speakers. Split View makes it a genuine multi-tasking device.

So, the question now is: send the iPad Pro back, or keep both devices? I said last time that I really couldn’t see a justification for having that much cash invested in iOS devices. One commentator responded to this with “Ah, just do it” – which I have to confess is a well-argued position.

I’d certainly find that easier to justify if it could earn its keep as a mobile writing device, so that was my next experiment …  expand full story

iPad Pro diary Stories November 13, 2015

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I posted my first impressions of the iPad Pro yesterday, and having spent much of the past 24 hours mostly using it rather than my MacBook, I now have more of a sense of why Tim Cook thinks it could be a laptop replacement.

While most reviewers dismissed that, and I would certainly join them in doing so when thinking of you or I, it’s easy to forget that we are not normals. We want the power of pro apps, and the ability to do plenty of multitasking. We’re a very different user case to the average non-tech user who rarely ventures further than email, web, chat and a bit of light photo-editing.

I’ve said before that when non-tech friends ask me for advice on which laptop to buy, I quiz them on what they want to do with it and often end up recommending an iPad and keyboard instead. With the increased screen size of the iPad Pro, I can see myself doing that even more often in the future. Sure, it’s expensive for what it is, but it’s a hassle-free, flexible device with the option of built-in LTE. For many, that makes it a better option than a MacBook.

In my usage so far, I’ve been impressed by quite a lot, have some grumbles – and have two key concerns about the possibility of the device replacing my much-loved iPad Air 2. Let’s start with the good news …  expand full story

iPad Pro diary Stories November 12, 2015

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This could be dangerous to my wallet. The last time I ordered an Apple gadget, confident that I wouldn’t be keeping it, I turned out to be wrong. Very wrong.

My view of the iPad Pro before mine arrived was very clear: this was a corporate device. It’s going to be great for carrying around lots of A4 documents to view at almost full size. It’s going to be a fantastic presentation tool for one-on-one meetings.

But I didn’t see it as a consumer device. It does nothing a standard sized iPad can’t do – though I was sure my colleague Dom was going to be right in describing it as a killer Netflix machine.

But will it, like the Watch, win me over in my arbitrary one-week trial … ?  expand full story

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