Initial Thoughts on the iPad Pro
I picked up an iPad Pro this morning, and am just jotting down some initial thoughts here as I get to know it.
Charging/Connecting the Apple Pencil to the iPad Pro via the Lightning Connector sounds terrible in theory, and it’s even worse in practice. Getting the right angle to form the connection is harder than with a cable as you have limited maneuverability, and wiggling the pencil around to connect it feels like it is both risking the structural integrity of the pencil, and scratching up the area around the Lightning port on the bottom of the iPad.
I’m typing this from the smart keyboard attached to the iPad Pro. What’s interesting about using an iPad this way is that a laptop sitting in your lap is a very comfortable experience. The weight of the device being mostly concentrated in the lower half which sits flat on your thighs. The iPad, when used without a keyboard is a more versatile device for using from a chair or a sofa, but attach the keyboard, and you’re left with something which feels like a crappy compromise between a tablet and a laptop - the weight distribution is all in the upper half, meaning you gets lots of bouncing around as you type, and the fear of the iPad falling backwards off the shelf provided by the Smart Keyboard case. Given that when I’m at home I almost never sit at a table with my laptop, I wonder how much use I’m going to get out of the keyboard.
I played with an iPad Pro in the Ometesando Hills Apple Store in Tokyo last week, and was surprised then by the lightness of the iPad. Having been playing with mine for a couple of hours, I can definitely feel the impact of the weight on my hands as I’ve been holding it for an extended period. I have problems with my hands occasionally, and so that’s a bit of a concern.
Mirroring some apps to AppleTV is really neat. I never bothered with my iPad Mini, and so these things probably aren’t new - but the added functionality Keynote offers when mirroring is nice (presenter view, highlighting, etc). Google Slides does something similar, though that app is one of many which is still upscaling and thus looks like shit.
The arrangement of the home screen feels really wasteful. Having four icons per row across the screen in vertical orientation leaves massive gaps in-between icons which could easily fit an extra app per-row. The dock takes 6 apps, and the balance of the dock and space between apps there looks much better. Similarly the search interface feels a lot like an upscaled UI with font size fixes, which leads to uncomfortably long line-lengths in the news items which show up by default in this area.
Using Side-by-side mode seems promising, but I can’t think of too many cases where I’d actually use it apart from having the permanent distraction of tweetbot sitting alongside whichever app I’m using in the wider column. As other people have mentioned, the multi-tasking UI also feels comically large and wasteful on such a big screen. App Switching via the keyboard on the other hand is excellent, and feels a lot like the OSX equivalent, though I have found myself from muscle memory wanting to quit apps from this view due to it’s similarity to it’s OSX counterpart.
I’d love someone to explain to me why the contents of the favorites bar in Safari are left-aligned, and not centered as in OSX. This feels totally imbalanced and awkward as a result.
The Smart Keyboard is surprisingly good. I’ve used a Logitech keyboard cover for my iPad mini and despite it being a more traditional construction, the key return is much better on this one. I keep expecting an escape key to be in the top right whenever I want to dismiss a dialogue box, alas, no such thing exists. The return key also feels like it’s lower down the keyboard compared to a MacBook Air keyboard, but that might just be me fat-fingering it.