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iPad – just 1 more day…

The wait is very nearly over – I’ve only had to wait over a decade!

iPad in reference mode

I don’t know why, but I’ve never owned an iPad – well, at least not an iPad Pro.

I did have one of the original tablets from 2010 and have a 7 or 8-year-old iPad mini that I never use. The iPad bug has never taken hold of me. Due to that, I’ve not been able to comment first-hand about the perceived weaknesses of iPad workflow and iPadOS.

If I said I don’t know how to use an iPad, I think you know what I mean – the basics are obvious, but I want to go a bit deeper than that and embrace everything that iPad can offer.

So as I sit here writing, just one day before my silver 13-inch M4 iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard & Pencil Pro arrives I’ve been thinking of my expectations – what am I hoping to achieve from working on an iPad?

All change

If you’ve read me recently, you’ll know I bought an M3 MacBook Air and adore it. You’ll find me working on it unless I’m editing video or audio. Every story that I’ve written since March has been written on it and most of my other general day-to-day chores are carried out on it.

The form factor is gorgeous. I bought the 15-inch model this time and it has proven to be a good choice. The screen is big enough to not make it feel compromised and the keyboard is chuffing lovely! They’ve nailed it with this keyboard – it makes writing a sheer joy.

My day is split into sections. Mornings are spent replying to messages from viewers and readers, admin and writing. In the afternoons I will transition to shooting a-roll, b-roll and editing video – which means my choice of workstation swap to match. In the mornings I’ll be on the MacBook Air and in the afternoons I’m on the M1 Max MacBook Pro.

I’ve spent an eye-watering amount of money on this iPad – with accessories £2500 which means I’ll be looking to use it heavily. But, being new to working on a tablet I guess I’m yet to be convinced if it’s going to be a viable daily alternative for me.

The obvious Mac it’ll replace will be the MacBook Air as on the face of it that is probably the Mac it is most targeted at. In my case though, the M4 iPad is way higher spec’d than my MBA. For reference, the laptop is M3, has 512 GB of storage and 16 GB of memory whereas the iPad is M4, the latest Neural Engine, 1 TB of storage and the same amount of memory.

The iPad life

Oddly, I’m as interested in the Magic Keyboard as I am in the device itself.

With its larger trackpad which now has haptic feedback, function keys and the aluminium-facing top plate I’m hoping and expecting that the typing experience should be similar to to my MacBook Air.

From the get-go, I’ll be looking to write all my blogs on it. Ulysses works on any Apple device so that will be one of the first apps to be installed. I’ll be installing Photoshop and Lightroom too. I need to get used to the idea of working with the new Pencil Pro but theoretically, it should make image editing easier and more intuitive. Again, I’ve never used a pencil on any device – it all goes to show that I have a lot of learning to do.

So, I should be able to blog on it, reply to readers’ and viewers’ comments, check stats in Medium and YouTube Studio and hopefully create thumbnails. If I can at least do that much to start with I’ll be happy.

I made the switch to Final Cut six weeks are so ago in anticipation of these new iPads coming along. Last week at Let Loose we also got a new feature for Final Cut that interested me – Final Cut Camera. The app is not available for a few weeks yet but in my content pipeline, I aim to make content about creating an entire YouTube video only using iPhone, iPad, Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 and Final Cut Camera. That should test not only me but start to push the iPad as well.

I know even after the update that FCP for iPad is nowhere near as powerful as on Mac (we still can’t use plug-ins) but I think there is a good chance that the export and rendering times may be better on the iPad than on my MacBook Pro.

Don’t forget my video rig is now three years old and has worked hard. Like the iPad, it has 10 cores but the M1 Max chip has 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores whereas the M4 in the tablet has 4 performance cores and 6 efficiency cores. The MacBook has a 24-core GPU as opposed to 10 on the iPad but Apple silicon has improved so much with each iteration. I know I’m not quite comparing like for like but I’m expecting impressive results from the iPad.

WWDC – the future

I’m not a huge AI user. Off the top of my head, the only AI apps I use most days are CapCut and Grammarly. I hardly ever use ChatGPT or other LLMs for ideas. I don’t use text-based editing when I edit videos and I still edit audio by trusting my own ear.

Next month at WWDC we’re promised a lot more dedicated iPad, Mac and iPhone AI features. Whether there’ll be much there to tempt me or not, who knows, but with M4 Apple silicon and the grunt of this iPad I’ll sure be in a good position to check it over. If the Photo app gets some AI tools I’ll be trying those out on the iPad first.

iPadOS has always been a hotly debated subject and one that until now I’ve not been able to enter. On the face of it, the lack of a desktop and file management concerns me – how I adapt and get used to that will be interesting.

Stage Manager on the Mac has never made sense to me and if anything it seems counter-productive. On the iPad, it’ll be fun finding out if it works and helps with window management. Split screen is another feature I want to work with – I keep hearing the iPad is not good at multitasking.

The iPad I’ve ordered has a nano texture finish on the display. There are many mixed thoughts on it – tomorrow I will be able to give you my thoughts on whether or not it kills the OLED displays. I’m in London the day after it arrives so I’ll take my iPad with me and put it next to one without the nano texture. If it looks way better without it then I’ll swap mine within the 14-day return window – but I’m backing Apple to have to get it right…I’ll soon find out.

Final thoughts

Clearly, for the money I’ve spent, I’m going to spend some time with the iPad Pro and come at it with an open mind.

Here’s the thing – I want to like it. All too late I know, but tomorrow I’m moving into new Mac territory and I’m excited. I love a challenge and I love learning. The iPad is only part of the story. I was speaking to my Apple business manager earlier and he’s invited me to an FCP event in London that’s coming up.

To learn first-hand from the horse’s mouth is a gift and I will be there like a sponge soaking up as much information as possible – you can never learn too much eh! I want to properly use this iPad Pro.

Now I just have to wait for the knock on the door tomorrow morning before I start on my iPad journey. I don’t know why exactly, but I feel genuinely excited – just one more sleep…

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