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M3 iPad Pro – now I REALLY want you

Oh dear – I think I’ve just spent my own money!

iPad Pro in white with Magic Keyboard

For whatever reason I’ve never really understood iPads – in fact, an iPad mini is the only one I’ve ever owned and I hardly ever use it.

I spend my days either at the studio or in my office at home where I’m surrounded by Macs which has always led me to question why I’d ever need or want an iPad.

But this year with the rumours of a new larger OLED iPad started circulating for the first time I find myself genuinely interested in iPads – and later on, I’ll let you know why I may have been wrong all these years about iPads and how I can see myself using it every day in my workflow.

Making iPad work

There are two things I love about working on a Mac – macOS with a desktop and lovely, colour-accurate, large Retina displays. To some degree, at least these two areas have always made me walk away from iPads.

As I said I’ve never owned an iPad other than that iPad mini so I’ve never been in a position to find out what Stage Manger is like to use. I tried it on my M2 MacBook Air but as that runs macOS and has a desktop it made no sense – if anything it confused matters.

But if you’ve read my recent stories then you’ll know that I’ve been in London recently visiting the Apple stores there – and last week at Apple Covent Garden I stopped to have a play with one of their demo models.

Even in those moments I had with it though I could see that Stage Manager improved the experience and made it more practical and made better use of the available screen real estate. I’m not saying it’s perfect – how could I – I only had a few moments with it but it gave me an idea of how an iPad could be used productively day to day.

I said I love good screens – well if the rumours of an OLED panel turn out to be true – it doesn’t get much better does it? Rich, rich blacks and strong vibrant colours – and it’s getting bigger as well – a 13-inch OLED display suddenly becomes a pretty serious player. I had a comment on last week’s video musing the idea of a 16:10 ratio – as this is an iPad Pro the extra vertical pixels would help with video & photo editing.

It could also double up as a display using Sidecar and give me another hi-def monitor. With the camera now finally making its way to the correct long-edge orientation it will be perfect for FaceTime calls – I gotta say the iPad Pro is starting to make some sense!

With its ProMotion, P3 display, anti-reflective coating and up to 1600 nits of HDR max brightness I can imagine settling down on the sofa to watch content – I can picture it now AirPods Max and the iPad Pro…

But of course, you don’t spend this kind of money to watch content – it needs to be put to work.

It seems to me that the iPad Pro could fill a couple of rolls for me…

My mistakes

Part of the problem or mistake I made was thinking of the iPad as a standalone item when in honesty it’s not.

The iPad Pro was always designed to work in tandem with the Magic Keyboard and an Apple Pencil – it’s a pro-level device and those two accessories bring it to life.

You know there is that thing that Apple is famous for – making you want something when you didn’t know you wanted it – well that happened to me in London last week when I started to get a feel for the iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard all working together – they somehow all felt right.

Apple Pencil is expected to be upgraded to have Find My on it for the first time, and have interchangeable, magnetic tips. For me, editing in Lightroom and Photoshop using the new pencil would be perfect.

The Magic Keyboard places the iPad at a comfortable height to work on and transforms it into a workstation – and that’s the next improvement coming in the next few days – the keyboard will have a larger trackpad and be more micro-adjustable in its angles of elevation – possibly even with a kind of clipboard angle where it’s just raised off the desk. And that new Apple Pencil Gen 3 gets a new place to charge – because the camera module has been moved to the landscape position, the pencil’s charging will have to be moved.

Apple at their best

Apple is rumoured to have played a blinder there – it’s now going to charge in the hinge on the new Magic Keyboard. It’s a brilliant solution – it’ll keep the pencil safe and just far tidier all around.

Although ultra-portability isn’t that crucial to me – flexibility is. It’s the reason I switched from an iMac to a MacBook Pro and I’ve not regretted it for one moment.

But there are times – like tomorrow in fact when I have to meet someone off-site that I’d prefer not to take the MacBook Pro with me – the iPad Pro would be perfect. With its USB-C connectivity, I could put a load of files on my Samsung T7 drive and be ready to work. I never like taking the MacBook Pro out with me – not only the weight but it cost over £3000. The iPad I’m hoping would become my go-to productivity travel companion – particularly because the OLED technology means it’s going to be even slimmer at just 5mm.

It is starting to make sense…

Time for change

I’ve always been an Adobe Premiere Pro & Audition user but now I’m starting to think about teaching myself Final Cut & Logic. Apart from the learning curve, it makes sense as both are optimised for Apple silicon. My workflow should be even quicker and snappier.

If you’ve used Premiere & switched to Final Cut I’d love to know if I’ve been missing out. Another benefit is if I do switch I could do light edits on the iPad as well and start to get the most out of it. I’ve heard it’s not the best experience – but I’d love to find out for myself.

My mind is kind of made up by this point – I want one. I want to try living with an iPad. I want to find out first-hand what Stage Manager is like. I want to use the Apple Pencil to make edits. I want to learn Final Cut.

I want to just pack the iPad and be ready to work anywhere.

I can now see my fault was looking at the iPad as a single entity – it’s not and for pro use, it was never meant to be. How I get on with iPadOS time will tell but I know I’m ready to give it a go – I just want to explore a new way of working.

We now know that Apple has decided to roll out products this March one by one via press releases from their newsroom instead of at an in-person event. The MacBook Airs were released yesterday and we had been wondering if the iPads would be coming out today.

It got to 2 pm and I refreshed the page – but nothing. Unless all the rumours are wrong, we know they are coming it’s just a case of how soon.

All I can tell you is – I’m ready for an iPad Pro.

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