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REVIEW: Apple’s iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil

iPad Pro with keyboard and PencilThe iPad Pro is Apple’s newest edition to the iPad family.  It has an expansive 12.9 inch Retina display and is much faster than any of the other iPads on the market (twice as fast as the iPad 2).  TLT recently purchased one and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

My first impression is that it’s big, really big.  It’s as wide as the iPad mini is tall.  The display is beautiful, crisp and clear.  It’s also faster and is great for streaming video.

What I loved…

Artist drawing on the ProI really did like the larger screen for some things, such as Excel, and for the split screen function.  I can use the split screen on my iPad mini but the screen is so small it’s not very effective.   The iPad Pro screen is actually larger than my MacBook Air screen so the real estate you get is amazing.

Apple PencilThe Apple Pencil was my favorite part of the iPad Pro.  I’m sad that it will not interact with any other iOS device because I’m in love with it.  The Pencil is far superior to any other stylus I’ve tried, and believe me, I’ve tried a lot.  Everything from the weight, to the feel, to the way it writes if far superior.  It’s pressure sensitive so, just like a real pen, pressing harder yields a darker, thinker line.  Depending upon the app you are using it also allows for shading.  In ArtRage, turn the Pencil on it’s side to shade like you would with an analog pencil (you know, the No. 2 kind).  In addition to ArtRage I used it extensively in Notability.  The control in writing produced handwritten notes that were comparable to a regular pen and paper.

ipad-pro-will-also-be-launched-on-wednesday-along-with-new-iphonesiMovie was my second favorite thing about the Pro.  It looks go good and was so easy to manipulate on the bigger screen.  The audio, via the two speakers, sounds really good and clear as well.  Over the years I have become quite adept at using iMovie on my phone so a small screen is not a deal breaker for me, but this was just beautiful and so easy to see.


The battery life is AMAZING!!  I’ve had it, and used it for several weeks and have only charged it once. It’s considerably better than the battery life of any of my other Apple products (iPads, Phones, Laptops).

What I didn’t love as much…

At the end of the day, it’s still an iPad which means that it won’t do all the things a laptop will do.  While there are a few programs (AutoCad 360) that take advantage of the new platform most of them just benefit from the larger screen.  Other than using the Pencil it’s just a bigger version of my iPad Mini.  For most things I like the mini better because of portability.  I’m not an artist or an engineer so I’m not really in need of these programs or the super large screen.  The Pro is hard to use without a desk or a table.  It’s not easy to use on the bus and not easy to cary around with me.

Would I recommend the iPad Pro?

Yes, but only to some people.

  • If you are an artist the YES YES YES.  The larger screen combined with the Pencil is hard to beat.
  • If you are an engineer then MAYBE.  Some of the apps work well on the Pro but are still not as powerful as on a laptop so you won’t be able to access all of the features you may need.
  • If you have some motor control or vision issues YES.  The larger screen helps with vision and the ability to hit the buttons you are trying to hit on the screen.
  • Everyone else who likes their iPad but thinks the Pro would be super awesome, NO.

It doesn’t do much that a regular iPad won’t do but costs a lot more.    Here’s how pricing shakes out after a quick internet search:

  • iPad Pro (base model) with Pencil and Keyboard – $799 + $99 + $169 = $1,067
  • iMac Air (base model) – $899
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (base model with keyboard and stylus) – $899 + $129 = $1,028

With both the Air and the Surface you are getting a fully functioning computer processor that can run any application you need.

In Conclusion…

I’m an Apple junkie so I wanted to love the iPad Pro.   I really did.  And I do, but only if you have unlimited funds, which I don’t.  As you can see, we couldn’t even afford the keyboard : ).  However, don’t take my word for it.  Soon you can try it out for yourself.  Soon, TLT will be making the iPad Pro and Pencil available for regular checkout.  If you are interested in trying it for yourself just contact your Instructional Technologist and we’ll let you know when it will be available.