Today I had a chance to really play with the new iPad Pro, its an interesting device and it was a lot of fun to play with it. We were testing the device with education and children in mind; as well as seeing if our Easyblog.org app worked.
Apple describe the device as Thin, Light and Epic. This is kinda true though it does have some issues both with design and price. Below is my opinion on the device, its not really a full review.
The iPad itself is pretty nice, its both thin and light. The screen is really clear and sharp, exactly what we would expect from any retina display. The A9X processor makes it pretty snappy to use and the new iOS 9 features seem to work really well with the screen size. Though I only had around an hour and a half to play so I haven’t fully tested the OS. To be honest the device itself is really just a larger, faster iPad.
Lets talk about the pencil and the keyboard as this is really what sets the device apart from previous iPads.
I was really impressed by the pencil, it was really nice to hold and using it felt really natural. It seemed to glide across the screen which responded to my input quickly and accurately. The ability to tilt the pencil to achieve different results worked really well, and I could see it being used in classes by teachers to annotate their work or do quick sketches. Combine this with AirPlay and a Projector and you could do some cool things in a classroom.
Amazing as the pencil is to use I also had some serious issues with it, especially around children. My biggest gripe was charging the pencil, Apple are known for their design and sticking the thing into the side of the iPad just seems like a poor solution to the charging issue. In the classroom this just wouldn’t work, and even in the home or business I can see Pencils being broken or people catching it and knocking the iPad onto the floor. The pencil should come with a charging dock plain and simple.
This brings me onto the keyboard. I didn’t think much of this, yes it was compact and folded nicely into the case but it just didn’t feel great to use and its way over priced, its nothing special.
The iPad is a nice evolution to the existing iPads and it adds to the range nicely; though I do think it fills a smaller niche market. I can see it being used by teachers in some classes, perhaps as a replacement to interactive whiteboards.
I currently have both an iPad and a MacBook Air and I don’t think it could replace either of these devices. While it comes close to being able to replace my laptop it falls short on the features I need. Lastly the only viable model is the 128GB and the combined price of this and the Keyboard is more than my 13″ MacBook Air and that makes it a little difficult to justify the purchase.
If your thinking of buying one, my advice is to go and try one in a store, or if you can get an Apple Representative in to your school to demonstrate it and have a play. Its not going to meet all your requirements but you may want to get a few for select people in certain roles.
Personally, whether I actually buy one remains to be seen. Though its definitely high on my tech wish list.