Not since the first iPad has there been so much bickering and complaining over a newly launched product. Check out the comments after any review or video and you’ll see how heated the debates have become. Somehow, it has turned into a cage match between the iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro, with Microsoft fans pointing out all sorts of reasons why the iPad Pro is a waste of time and money. I’d just like to take a moment to respond to some of the most common questions and complaints.
Who is this thing for, anyway?
I’ve heard this question more than any other. Who is the iPad Pro REALLY for? I’m not sure why it’s so hard to see, but to me it’s pretty obvious that there is a legitimate market for the Pro.
Professional illustrators have been waiting for this product for years. While the Cintiq products are excellent, it’s a stretch to call them portable. My Cintiq Companion is heavy and delicate, and since it runs Android in tablet mode (sorry, the Android market creative apps just aren’t as good), I find it most useful when tethered to my laptop. I also draw on my Galaxy Note phone (which I love), but the screen size makes professional level illustration almost impossible. I’ve even desperately tried turning my iPad Air into a drawing machine by purchasing several expensive styli — none of which were reliable or accurate enough. It seems that Apple has finally acknowledged its first and most dedicated audience — the creatives — with a device that will allow professional level illustration in a portable format.
For a college students (or lucky high school students), the iPad Pro could be all they need — for reading text books, watching videos, recording class lectures, researching and writing papers, creating presentations, studying, communicating with teachers and classmates, taking hand-written notes, annotating books and websites, drawing diagrams, working out problems and processes, brainstorming, scheduling homework and projects, and on and on and on. Add to that list non-student-essential stuff like playing games, watching TV, listening to music, and Skyping with family, and you’ve got one pretty satisfied student.
The iPad Pro seems like a splendid device to share as a family. It’s the perfect format to calendar activities and schedules, plan vacations, track chores, play family games (Pictionary, anyone?), watch home videos, look at family photos, and read interactive books. I’m sure there are already many apps in the works to take advantage of the pencil to help children learn to read, write, and draw. For older students, the iPad will help with studying, research, and homework. The iPad could easily take the place of the family computer.
Who is the iPad Pro NOT for?
The iPad Pros is obviously not for everyone. There are plenty of people who should stick with their laptops or desktops or phones — at least for now.
The iPad is NOT for anyone stubbornly stuck in their ways — unwilling to explore a device without a mouse and trackpad, and unable to take the time to learn the power of apps to replace standard desktop software. Some of the biggest complainers out there are really just complaining because the iPad Pro isn’t a laptop. Well, it’s not. For those of you looking to run full desktop applications with your mouse and trackpad, buy a laptop.
If you’re retouching photos for a high-end print magazine, editing video for a full-length HD movie, creating a full length animation, painting an illustration with 50 layers, programming complex apps from scratch, or doing anything that a normal $1,000 laptop can’t handle, you will need to just stick with your professional system. There are times when even my desktop computer can’t handle a large illustration I’m working on. There are times when I need Photoshop — real, full-version Photoshop. For those time, I do not expect to turn to an iPad. If ALL of your work is at this type of high level, you’re NOT going to replace your current workflow with an iPad Pro.
For those of you who never get past the pre-installed apps on your phones, for those who really only want to read some books and watch some movies and check email, you can get by with a much cheaper option than the iPad Pro. Save your money. Buy any number of more affordable fantastic devices out there to satisfy your needs.
Is the iPad Pro a laptop killer?
Is the iPad Pro (in its current form) going to completely knock out an entire category in computer sales? No. Not even close. People like me who need to do a lot of high-end work, and need to do it fast (multi-tasking between many programs — not just two), and need to do it with real full-version programs, will not be able to move from our high-end machines to an iPad and do real work. I’m not even considering selling my MacBook Pro for one second. And, if I had to choose between the iPad Pro and my MacBook, the iPad would have to go because I need my laptop for work. Big work.
But, for the rest of the people out there — anyone and everyone who doesn’t do high-end computer work for their job — all the people who use computers to check emails, schedule appointments, surf the web, upload and make minor edits to photos, and play games — for these people, the iPad Pro COULD very easily replace their home computer or laptop. The casual computer user — even the ones who need to create documents or presentations for work — could definitely trade in their laptops for the iPad Pro, and probably find it more user-friendly and enjoyable than they ever did their laptop or desktop computers.
The iPad Pro isn’t going to knock laptops off the shelves entirely, but for many people — most people — it IS a viable option as a laptop replacement.
Can I do real work on an iPad?
I believe the issue for most people who insist that “real work” can’t be performed on an iPad is that these people are too set in their ways to learn or consider new processes and new programs.
People who are complaining about the lack of trackpad and mouse aren’t considering how easy it is to use your finger or the Pencil instead. In fact, there was a length of time when I was having a lot of pain in my wrist. So, I replaced my mouse with a Wacom tablet and pen — and using the pen as my mouse, I had no trouble completing even my most complicated work (clipping paths, photo editing, text selection, ect.), and my wrist healed nicely too.
If you take the time to explore the App Store, you’ll see there are some super apps out there, ready to step in for your familiar desktop versions. You’ll be surprised how capable some of them are once you really learn how to use them properly.
As for file organization, the easiest solution is some sort of cloud storage. I use a cloud-based storage system, and am able to access my files from my desktop, my laptop, my phone and my iPad — always organized, and always the latest versions. I’ve even moved toward becoming completely paperless by using the iPad camera as a scanner. If I get an important document handed to me, I’ll take a photo (scan) and then properly file it within my Cloud documents — sometimes in a folder, sometimes in an Evernote notebook where I can keep all of my papers on a particular subject together.
It’s always hard putting new processes in place, but once you explore all of the tools available, and create a process that works for you, you’ll be surprised how possible it is to do “real work” on a device like the iPad.
Wouldn’t I be better off with a Surface Pro?
Even though this question has been sparking debates all across the internet, I think the answer is simple. Ask yourself, do you like your desktop applications, or do you enjoy the variety of apps available in iOS? Are you a computer person, or a tablet person? Once you know that, you have your answer, because neither device is truly good at both.
If you want a computer that does a poor job of being a tablet, get a Surface Pro. If you want a tablet that does a poor job of being a computer, get an iPad Pro. If you’re an artist, and you want to draw everywhere you go, get an iPad Pro. And, if you’re a professional who needs a powerful machine and full desktop applications, keep your desktop or laptop computer, and keep your fingers crossed for the future.