So, I’ve now got an iPad Pro (the 12.9″ version). Here’s my thoughts:
- It’s really big. Like, “Why have you got such a big iPad?” big, or: “What is that?” It’s bigger in footprint than an 11″ MacBook Air or the infamous 12″ MacBook.
- The really big size makes split screen multitasking really great. You can fit two apps side by side as if you had two ‘normal’ iPads stuck together.
- Lots of screen estate means a bigger keyboard whilst still having lots of space still on screen. The bigger keyboard has a dedicated number row that is always present, which means I hardly ever have to go to a second symbols keyboard. This is nice.
- Being so big makes it a little ungainly in the more portable settings, which is probably where most teachers use an iPad. I sometimes feel a little ridiculous carrying it round or pulling it out in meetings.
- Using it for sitting at a desk and doing ‘proper’ work is nice. It’s just such a big canvas and you don’t feel cramped working on it for an extended period of time.
- The Apple Pencil writes really nicely. It’s a million miles away from something like the Paper53 Pencil and from any other capacitive stylus I’ve used.
- The STM case I have (well, ‘shell’, as I still need a Smart Cover) has a handy slot for putting the Apple Pencil in. This is super handy, but the downside is that, because it’s always so close to the iPad, the Pencil’s battery gets drained super quick even though I’m not using it. The only solution I’ve found to that is to turn Bluetooth off on the iPad when not using the Pencil. Or just not to carry the Pencil in the slot.
- 128gb is very handy. I no longer have to continually juggle storage, which makes it feel much more like a main computer.
- The speakers are indeed nice and loud.
- I haven’t used the Smart Keyboard with it, but I have played around with the keyboard on a 9.7″ iPad Pro. I imagine that cmd+tab switching is jolly handy, and so is having cursor keys. I’m not sure the the complex foldy nature of the Smart Keyboard would help with portability on the 12.9″!
- I do like living in iOS land. Going back to a Mac for various tasks just seems so complicated and old-fashioned: OSX does need way more babysitting than iOS!
I’m not convinced the 12.9″ is the perfect computer for a teacher, mainly because it’s just that bit too big to easy carry around. So maybe the 9.7″ iPad Pro is + Smart Keyboard + Apple Pencil is. If I’m asking teachers to not use a Mac, a hardware keyboard is probably needed at some level.
The original iPad felt a bit like the jump from Apple ][ to Macintosh (not that I was around to remember it…!). In order to make radical shift to something new, the old was jettisoned: no command line, no cursor keys. But if you look at OSX now, those things are there again. With iPad, the physical keyboard (with its cursors) and the mouse pointer were gone. But in the iPad Pro they’re back: Smart Keyboard (with cursor keys) and two finger cursor for editing (iOS 9 feature).
The post-PC age has been heralded for over half a decade, but (despite falling iPad sales), I do think it’s really starting to arrive with iPad Pro.