iPad Pro: It's not an iPod, but that's OK

I’ve spent the last few days getting to know the iPad Pro.

Apple, iPad, iPad Pro, iOS, tablet


A useful hint to get this started: If you use the iPad Pro with a keyboard then you can access a huge number of shortcuts you might already use with your Mac. Not every app has these shortcuts and you can expect developers to introduce them to their apps in future. To list what shortcuts are available inside any app just hold down the ‘Command’ key. Most Apple apps have shortcuts, though Apple Music has none, which is weird.

First thoughts

I’ve been using my iPad Pro for a few days and I’m inclined to agree with Horace Dediu that this is an iPad you sit at table with. It delivers better graphics and processor performance than you’ll find in nearly all the new laptops hitting the market. It also offers a superb screen, fantastic processor and when used with the Pencil and keyboard becomes a highly responsive creative tool. iPad Pro is so utterly hardcore it will munch 4K video and let you edit it in multiple streams. It’s among the fastest laptops I've ever used, and it's not even a laptop: So what is it?

Not an iPod

When introduced in 2001 the iPod swiftly became iconic. It helped build a new music industry from the wreckage left behind and inspired the launch of club nights, magazines and more. Portable and built to cater incredibly efficiently for our primal human need for music, iPod helped Apple transform into a mobile company and sold in millions. iPad Pro doesn't have that depth of universal appeal – you won’t see commuter trains packed with people using them -- but has its own audience and its own relevance all the same.

Where it makes sense?

Philosophically I see iPad Pro as a replacement for paper. In combination with the Apple Pencil and a keyboard you are using a fast-performing device that offers the kind of visible display space as a full page of paper and lets you interact with that paper intuitively (using touch or a pencil). You’ll use an iPad Pro to sketch and draw, annotate plans, create 3D design, read and annotate digital books or white papers, to work in video (iPad excels at handling video) or to edit images. If computers became bicycles for the mind, then iPad Pro is the paper to plan your journey on. I may need a better analogy, but I look forward to what David Hockney can do with this.

Who is it for?

Beyond use as a premium tablet for watching, reading or listening to content I think Apple's giant iPad fits a variety of creative/business situations: PoS systems, students, engineering, oil & gas, medical, spreadsheet design, art, design, art colleges, writers, for editing images, music and/or movies in the field, Unified Communications, as a language lab, for multi-party video meetings. iOS Developers will create solutions that extend its utility and versatility, but for now I think some customers will ask themselves if a smaller iPad or a trusty Mac makes more sense for their immediate needs..

Where next?

I imagine Apple's tablets will eventually becoming solutions you fold up and pop into your pocket or read on the train like a newspaper. (Apple News points in that direction -- eventually I suppose everybody's front page will be different and personalized specifically for them).

My advice? If you want an iPad to be creative with, then this is it. If you are a C-class enterprise user you should get hold of one of these to explore how Apple's tablet may be useful in your company. There's no doubt there are alternatives -- while every music lover wanted an iPod, not every tablet user will choose iPad Pro. Despite this Apple's new tablet is the best tablet money can buy today. And if you do end up with one for no other reason than watching movies and playing games on you’re going to be a very happy bunny indeed.

PS: Yes, this article was written using an iPad Pro.

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