The Ascended iPad Pro.

‘Armed and Ready.’

Continuing on from the cliffhanger that was the WWDC Impressions a month ago, I bought the new iPad Pro 10.5″ model last week.
As soon as my iCloud backup had restored, iOS 11 was then put upon it.
Lots of impressions so far from these have been gathered.

Tweetbot in floating view, Safari and Notes in Split-View, Simpsons in Picture-in-Picture.

Soon after WWDC, it started. The thoughts of wanting the new iPad. It then took me two weeks before I decided. I tried out the screen at my now-local Apple Store in the Arndale Centre, I read into people’s impressions of iOS 11 Beta 1. I thought about it, then the week after, the iPad was sold.
After a long week of waiting it had arrived, ready to be collected.

I’ve been using the MacBook Air less and less, it’s really only used for screenshots of games for certain posts, or as an excessive storage device for all my media, with the odd edit of posts for here.

Ever since I bought the iPad Mini, I’ve loved having an iPad. It justified itself to me after a couple of false starts since 2010. Alongside the Pro and the keyboard allowing me to write long form posts and to edit some parts of posts on the WordPress admin site, it’s become a companion that follows me everywhere.

With this new iPad Pro and iOS 11, its ascended again to me. Ever closer to being on the same pedestal as the Mac.

The screen now with ‘ProMotion’ is really great. Some don’t notice it, some do. For those unaware, a computer screen refreshes itself at an incredibly fast rate. 60HZ is the normal speed. But Promotion doubles this to 120HZ, resulting in animations and video looking much more smoother.
The following is the only way I can describe the difference:

Play a YouTube video. Have it play at a quality of ‘480P‘. One of the many Crash Bandicoot videos will help this test.
Midway through when it’s in-game, change the quality to ‘1080P 60FPS’.
You’ll notice the video plays much smoother, more fluid.
That’s what ProMotion does in the new iPads.

The bigger screen is noticeable. Using split-screen with Notes and Safari, there’s definitely a change. More space as I type in Notes, while I also have Tweetbot as an overlay, it works and works well. The colour range is now the same as the iPhone 7 models, resulting in much deeper blacks, much more vibrant colours. It was noticeable on the iPhones, it’s more noticeable here.

Comparison I made in the Apple Store. You can notice the larger keyboard here.

But, the iPad is only the first part of the finished product for me, the second being the Smart Keyboard.
The bigger size also helps here. The keys are definitely more spaced out, as I’m finding I’m making less mistakes on this now. I still prefer to have this over the keyboards in today’s MacBook models any-day. More comfortable, more shallow space when a key is pressed, its a great keyboard out of what Apple offers currently.

But, overall I’m impressed, and it’s worth an upgrade from any iPad you have now.

But this is only half the story; soon after the iPad was set up, I preceded to install the public beta of iOS 11.

iOS 11

First of all; these new iPads are designed for iOS 11. No doubt in my mind. If there was a perfect world where the OS was ready today, you’d find the iPads shipping with iOS 11 now.
The Dock is a perfect feature to move from the Mac to the iPad. You can swipe up from the bottom at anytime to have it appear, have folders placed into it, while it’s the first step to enable the multitasking and split-views.

Some I saw on Twitter had trouble and moans about how it worked, but I like it. You don’t have the potential to accidentally swipe from right to left when you’re going back in Safari, and you inadvertently bring in an app.
Now it’s a matter of swiping up, dragging an icon, and putting it where you want it to be.

It also brings the closest you’ll get to YouTube having a Picture-in-Picture mode.

When you swipe up from the bottom completely, you’re brought to a ‘Mission Control 2’ view, where apps in the background running are shown, alongside a new Control Centre. It reminds me of the Apple Watch’s own control centre in its look. The fact I can have it customised (up to a point) is a win by itself.

The ‘Screen Recording’ is a feature that you didn’t think Apple would do. It was the norm to have an iOS device plugged into a Mac, open QuickTime, and set up screen recording. It’s how I did the Sonic CD video last year.
But no more! It’s now just a matter of pressing the record icon, doing what you need to, and you then get the option to save it to Photos.
Simple, easy, and useful.

Also, taking screenshots is the same shortcut used on the Mac as it is on the iPad with its keyboard. Any screenshots appear on the bottom left of the screen, where you can either swipe left to discard one, or press on it to edit and save it to the Camera Roll. Another useful touch.

Siri is something I’ve never really been a fan of. As I’m driving and I try to say ‘Hey Siri, send Steven a WhatsApp to bring Gin’, it never works.
But with the new translation feature, I was curious.
It’s only available if you use ‘American English’, so switching to that, worked well after editing the request, as it got my request wrong as I spoke. Again. But it finally worked, and the new voice helps the translated answer. But this will be something I’ll use the least of. I’m also disappointed Siri uses the whole screen of the iPad. Something alike to macOS or iOS 6-iPad Siri would be better suited.

Maybe. One day.

The only issue I have with the OS so far, is having the lock screen appear when you drag from the top of the screen. It’s jarring, and makes you think you’ve accidentally pressed the power button to lock it. Somehow I had all notifications show, and I didn’t know what to do next. An odd feeling in an Apple OS.

Doesn’t make much sense to me, but I’m sure there’ll be some minor changes to this before the final release.

There’s so many minor changes made in iOS 11, you can search on YouTube for a list. You won’t find one here.

I haven’t even mentioned the App Store overhaul, but it’s the buggiest of the beta so far, so I may wait until the final version in September. But initial impressions; a great change, and builds on the layout of Apple Music to make it discoverable, and above all, useful.

So far, I’m impressed. I hope that with iOS 11, its now the start of more features to the iPad. I have a worrying premonition Apple are on a odd-numbered upgrade cycle with the iPad. Split screen in iOS 9.3, followed by more features in iOS 11. I don’t want to wait for an even more improved experience in iOS 13.
Have them in 11.x releases. The sooner they fix this confusing drag-down-lock-screen mess for instance, the better.

It’s an interesting time to see where the iPad goes now.