iPad Pro

Dear Shawn,

I bought the iPad Pro online on Wed. night. I got it on Fri., 13 Nov. I bought the 128GB Wi-Fi only in Space Gray. I didn’t buy the keyboard case or pencil.

Do you Canadians have to add tax to the advertised price? If you don’t, you’re lightweights when it comes to getting overcharged on Apple products. Here are the Canadian and Australian prices converted to US dollars:

Canadian:
32GB with Wi-Fi: 784 USD
128GB with Wi-Fi: 937 USD
128GB with Wi-Fi + Cellular: 1072 USD

Australian:
32GB with Wi-Fi: 890 USD
128GB with Wi-Fi: 1068 USD
128GB with Wi-Fi + Cellular: 1210 USD

This thing is huge. You’re from a metric country, so you’ll know the size of an A4 piece of paper. This is a bit over a centimetre bigger on both sides. I had to buy a new bag to fit it. It makes the iPad Air 2 look like a toy. I distinctly remember being a little disappointed with the size of the original iPad, expecting it to be bigger. This is much bigger than my original expectation. Unfortunately, most apps don’t take advantage of the bigger screen, so they’re zoomed. If they use a keyboard, it’s the old keyboard and because it’s zoomed, it takes up more screen real estate than the new keyboard. There was a racing game I tried that uses two on-screen buttons to steer. Because it was zoomed, I kept missing one of the buttons because it was in a different position relative to the corner of the screen. I hope developers get onto this.

The impression is of a truly pro computer. I’ve only ever owned one pro Mac, and that was the Power Mac G5. The sensation of using it was that is was far more responsive than any of the consumer Macs I had had before. This gave me the same feeling. I bought it mainly because I wanted the bigger screen, so I feel that I may not push the envelope on it.

The sound is impressive. I played The Room 3 to test it, as that’s an immersive, sound-rich game. The sound system is so powerful, it was pumping a small but noticeable amount of air out of the speaker grilles. It’s much louder and clear. The iPad Air 2 tended to vibrate when playing at volume. This doesn’t do that.

Forget trying to buy a pencil for a few weeks. I tried it in store and it’s fantastic. Remember when we first saw the video at the September event and there were instant scoffs at how the pencil will roll on a table? Apple has weighted it in such a way that it will stop rolling. There’s a lesson there in not assuming that Apple has purely design over function in mind. This has both.

There are many raves about the pencil. I don’t know if it’s for me. I’m not an artist and I didn’t buy the iPad to do art. I happen to have enough disposable income at the moment to make good on my threat, expressed last year, that “if Apple made a bigger iPad, I would buy it”. I didn’t expect it to be a powerhouse, just bigger. I read RSS feeds, Twitter and the web. I play games. I AirPlay video to my Apple TV. It’s the first device I reach for to do messaging and Safari. So I’m dubious about the notion that the pencil is an assumed part of the experience for everybody. I might buy one later. Hopefully someone will sell one on eBay after they realise they never use it, then I’ll have a good play and stop using it myself!

I briefly tried the keyboard case in store. The keys had more travel than I had expected. Felt good. I suspect this will suit a large number of users. I’ve connected an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and that will do for me. I don’t expect to type much.

So I’m very happy with it. The size will take some getting used to. I used the iPad Air 2 in portrait mode mostly, but this feels a little top heavy. I might use it in landscape more often, especially as split mode is very usable.

Jason Painter
Sydney, Australia