I didn’t realise it until I actually counted, but this is now the fourth iPad I’ve owned, but it may now be the favourite one out of them all.
But now, with owning an iPad with impressive hardware features, iOS is clearly now in need of catching up.
The last week I’ve been in New York, so it was a perfect opportunity to see how the iPad Pro 9.7″ was abroad.
I thought having 32GB instead of 128GB would hinder having the amount of content I wanted to load on it. I wanted them for both flights, and then possibly for the times when I just wanted to watch something if American TV was terrible (which turned out to be true every time it was switched on in the mornings).
I had 42 videos loaded on, with 750MB left. With this, all concerns were allayed. If you can get by on a seven and a half hour flight with this amount, with 15 more to spare for the flight back, it’s fine for any situation as far as I’m concerned.
With the bigger screen, it also meant that the keyboard was bigger. This resulted in me having far less spelling mistakes than I did with the iPad Mini 4. But the caveat to this, it took up almost half of the screen. This is where the Smart Keyboard came in.
Taking a cue from Microsoft’s Surface line, the case not only lets the iPad stand as before, but a keyboard is inside it, using the smart connector to easily make it recognise the iPad and you can type away.
Different keyboards are like marmite for me. Some can get on with every type of keyboard, whereas some will hate typing on some. It’s why I’ve held off from upgrading my Air to the new MacBook, it’s been a deal breaker for me.
It only took a half hour for me to comfortably type away on it. The travel of a key press is a lot better than the new Macbook, while I can also easily find my way around the keys. They aren’t completely flat, so my fingers can easily find the letters with next to no spelling errors. With this, I’ll soon be selling the Bluetooth Keyboard I currently had for my iPad Mini. The only caveat I have, is after you’ve finally figured out how to fold it into only being a stand, it stands up at a near ninety degree angle, so you’re always on watch to make sure it doesn’t fall face down.
One really useful feature that’s unique to the 9.7″ model, is the embedded Apple-Sim. This enabled me to buy a data plan while there. It offered me a choice in the ‘Mobile Data’ settings to choose between Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T.
After choosing T-Mobile, I was connected. If I wanted to add another plan, I could if I chose to. Really useful, and easily gives me the choice to switch to another network if needed. I can see the Apple-Sim coming to the iPhones in time, especially when buying from the Apple Store direct. You’d buy the iPhone, then select your carrier.
The next improvement are those speakers. After being told of this following fact, and trying it out for myself, I couldn’t go back to a previous iPad with two speakers. When you switch orientation, the four speakers re-arrange themselves alongside, so you get the same sound in the correct places, with no noticeable change.
The loudness is incredible. Playing the ‘Hunky Dory’ album off Spotify on full blast as I unpacked on Saturday was as if I had a stereo system in the front room. I could hear the tracks with no distortion at full volume wherever I was in the flat.
The cameras are a useful upgrade for the iPad, being exactly the same as the iPhone 6S. I’m not one for taking many pictures on a tablet, as to me, it looks as if you’re holding up a baking tray to others. It’s good as a backup camera, just in case your smartphone either runs out of storage or battery in those rare moments.
Overall, for me, it justifies finally having the bigger iPad screen and extra functionalities. It’s now at a point where I can do long worded reports and articles on an actual keyboard. Alongside WordPress’ recent 4.5 update, it’s now much easier to manage images and edit them from the dashboard.
The only thing for me that holds back not only the iPad Pros, but all of the iPad models today, is iOS itself.
I’d love to to be able to have drag and drop when I’m in split-view with two concurrent apps, so I could drag an image from a webpage, and drop it into a note for example
Federico Vittici’s article on his iOS 10 wish list puts it better than I could, which can be found here.
His ideas of better iPad multitasking, a customisable Control Center, and a dark mode across the UI are just some of what I also hope to see at the WWDC keynote in June.
For now, it’s the best iPad I’ve owned, helping me become more productive on a tablet, but iOS 10 could make it even more so in only a month’s time.