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My 1st iPad Pro – a step into the unknown

My mind is kinda made up

iPad Pro 12.9-inch with Magic Keyboard & 2nd gen Apple Pencil

For whatever reason I have never been much of an iPad fan. Scrub that…I have never been a fan of Apple’s tablet full—stop but I’m unsure why.

I bought one of the very first ones – a big white one I seem to recall but it never seemed to get used that much. I ended up giving it away to my girlfriend at the time who was a singer and used to read lyrics from on gigs. I’ve had a couple of iPad minis – but again, they never hit the mark for me.

So I don’t know if that experience – the one with the iPad, not the girlfriend- has turned me against iPads, but I’ve been thinking I should revisit them.

So that’s an iPad

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in London recently as you’ll know and at the various Apple stores I’ve been into I’ve made a beeline to go and look at the iPads. That’s new for me – I have always swerved them.

Until recently they just had no interest at all.

But having played with the iPad Pros in London my mind is open for change.

It was always going to be the iPad Pro for me – because of the kind of work I do and also the screen size which is rumoured to be getting even bigger with next month’s anticipated new model – more of which in a bit.

The first impressions – that moment when something either wows you or it doesn’t hit the spot last week at Apple Regent Street. It felt great – it felt right. I could feel or see myself using it – the tactility of it worked.

The first thing I launched was Stage Manager. It’s available on the Mac of course but even on the MacBook Air Stage Manager doesn’t work. You can have multiple windows open and folders on the desktop making Stage Manager feel redundant or clumsy

But seeing it in action on the iPad Pro for the first time I could see its purpose. OK, it isn’t what I am used to on a Mac but Apple has made it very clear that iPadOS and macOS aren’t supposed to be the same – different strokes for different folks. However, I immediately got a sense of how Stage Manager could make the iPad a more productive tool.

All new to me

Having never owned a proper iPad I’ve not had a chance to use the keyboard or Apple Pencil – two elements that I’m guessing elevate the iPad’s ‘workie’ feel. Again when I was in-store I used the iPad Pro with the £379 Magic Keyboard and I have to say it felt much more like a workstation.

One of the allures of buying the Samsung S24 Ultra was the pencil – but then I realised if I saved my pennies I could get the pencil vibe but on a bigger display. I imagine using the 2nd Gen USB-C Apple Pencil with Lightroom and Photoshop will make it more intuitive than photo editing on a Mac.

Using Sidecar and the iPad Pro seems an obvious winner – OK the screen is smallish but the quality of that display will be amazing. Although it won’t have the size of my Studio Display it will be great to work on. It’ll be like kind of having a mini version of the Pro Display XDR on my desk.

The right time

It would seem as if my newfound interest in the iPad is well-timed.

We are expecting a March Apple event and the word on the street is that new iPad Pros and Airs are coming with some pretty significant spec bumps.

Firstly physically they are going to be both bigger and thinner. The 11-inch Pro will be the same size but the best part of 1mm thinner – 5.1mm thick down from 5.9mm. The larger iPad Pro though will grow in size – up from 12.9 inches to 13 inches and almost 1.5mm thinner at just 5mm.

The reduction in thickness is down to the other party trick of the iPad Pro range – OLED displays. Yup, it looks almost certain that OLED will make its way to the pair of iPad Pros for the first time. By their nature, OLED displays are thinner than LCD displays which is what has enabled Apple to make the reductions in thickness.

As I mentioned there is an updated iPad Air likely to be announced at the March event as well.

There will be a 12.9-inch model unveiled – the largest iPad Air to date. Although it will be very nearly the same size as the current iPad Pro – 280.6mm x 214.9mm it won’t benefit from the reduction in thickness as the iPad Air will still be using the LCD panel.

I’m also taking it as a given that Apple will be using the M3 chip in the iPad Pros and that the camera will be moved into the landscape orientation too – which is where it should always have been!

Final thoughts

All these new toys for the iPad Pros will come at a cost though.

OLED is still an expensive technology and that is likely to be reflected in the prices when these iPads go on sale.

I’ve seen stories suggesting that the 11-inch Pro may jump from £899 to £1500 and the 13-inch version from £1249 to £1800. They are massive increases in a sector that is already not performing well for Apple. Whether punters will be willing to part with that amount of money is another question…

If those rumoured prices turn out to be accurate by the time I add on the 2nd Gen Pencil the Magic Keyboard and spec it with 512 GB of storage then my first ‘proper’ iPad could well weigh in at around £2300! That is a crazy amount of money for any device. I wrote a few weeks back that at that price point, I’m heading towards Apple Vision Pro territory!

All that said though – I am tempted.

For the first time, I’m thinking of buying an iPad. Touching it, feeling it and seeing it in action in London last week has whetted my appetite- I just need a way to justify the cost…I’m sure I’ll find a way though!

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