I have been meaning to post something to this blog about my thoughts on the iPad Pro for a while now, but due to time commitments, I haven’t had the time to do it. The recent Apple commercials kind of gave me an urge to write something due to their misleading nature.
First. let me get this out there. I REALLY like the 12.9 inch iPad pro. It is one of my favorite devices. I have said on multiple occasions that I think it is the best travel device there is. The battery last long, the screen is big, the keyboard is legit and the app eco-system is well developed enough at this point that I can consume the media I want how I want. LTE on the device is really great too. I use it for tethering when I work on my laptop because of the large battery. The Apple Pencil also really works well (more on this below). If you know me, you must really know how much it pains me to praise an Apple product so highly — but never fear — there are some major flaws to the device that just need to be brought up.
The iPad Pro that I have is the 128GB version with LTE. It is a VERY expensive device and, while I find it a very good all purpose device for travel, the lack of mouse input is the reason that I can not recommend people spend $1000 on this device. It just CAN NOT serve the place of a laptop without some kind of mouse or touchpad input. This is sad, the Microsoft Office applications are really quite good on the iPad, but without mouse input, its just to slow to get any real work done. I have used a number of Android devices in which mouse input is available over bluetooth or USB (via OTG cable). It works perfectly fine and I do not feel having this option hurts the devices at all. So, WHY is apple focusing so hard to convince people that it is a computer, or BETTER than a computer?
The above commercials show the Apple Pencil in its full usefulness. I do agree that the Apple Pencil is indeed quite good. On the other hand, I feel like the Apple and the Surface Pen are rough equivalents and I do not have a real preference there. I mostly take notes using Microsoft OneNote using the iPad Pro, and on the Surface Book and can not say I have a real preference as both work as advertised. Using markup in Microsoft Word is also equivalent. But the fact that I can not easily select text or click on a specific part of the document is a huge failure to me in the iPad Pro.
I just don’t understand where Apple is going with these commercials. If someone doesn’t want a Windows laptop, a Chromebook is a much more appropriate choice. Especially with the addition of Android applications and Microsoft Office Online working perfectly fine in Google Chrome. A Chromebook has real mouse and touchpad input and makes me much more productive. The cost of the iPad Pro, coupled with the fact that it can not use a mouse just invalidates it to me as a computer. It is a good device, but it is definitely not going to be good for productivity tasks until they add mouse support to IOS.