Hmm, I really didn’t except to be writing this any time soon, but I listened to so many darn podcasts about the iPad Pro that I wanted to give it a shot. However, it wasn’t the extra RAM, more powerful processor, or the larger screen that piqued my interest. It was all of the talk about the full-sized software keyboard.
I found it really intriguing to hear that people are writing longer form pieces on the software keyboard alone. I’ve written a little about the ergonomics of the iPad’s software keyboard and I thought it would be impossible to make the keyboard ergonomically viable without Force Touch. Typing with a software keyboard and Smart Cover for ten minutes is enough to give me wrist pain, and I thought the only solution would be to allow me to rest my hands on the glass without triggering keystrokes (hence the requirement for Force Touch). But maybe a full-sized keyboard is enough.
That got me thinking about what else I might want to test if I got an iPad Pro. The Smart Keyboard is interesting from a portability standpoint, but it doesn’t seem like anything special for the iPad itself. I really liked the keys when I tried them in-store, but I was disappointed by the single viewing angle afforded by the accessory. I’m far too spoiled by my Logitech Ultrathin. The Logitech Create looks cool, but adds far too much bulk and weight for me to consider it. The iPad Pro already weighs 1.5 pounds and I don’t want a keyboard that will double its weight.
That just left the Pencil, which is the killer accessory of the Pro, in my opinion. I see a lot of articles discussing the Pencil as if it’s a tool for Other People…as if only a subset of people are really qualified to discuss its merits. I disagree with that take on it, and although I think professional artists and designers will benefit the most from this accessory, I wanted to see how a heavy note taker might take advantage of the Pencil as well. I love using Paper and Evernote was recently updated with support for drawing within notes, so I have plenty to test in two of my most-used apps. If the Pencil is as good as Apple promises, it really will allow us to do something that we never have been able to before: to treat a metal and glass like a piece of paper.
So I went out today and nabbed a 128 GB Wi-Fi model + Pencil to write about a few very specific use cases:
- multitasking on the Pro vs the Air
- whether the software keyboard is actually more usable than on previous iPads
- the Pencil in extended use for non-artists
- using the iPad Pro at a desk for extended periods of time
There are plenty of overall reviews for this device, so I’ll plan to hit up just a few specific subjects and decide whether or not to keep the Pro. I still think it’s inordinately expensive for what iOS file limitations and the available storage ($1500 CAD for the Pro and Pencil), but I was too curious to dismiss the device without ever really trying it out.