Turning pro Apple’s new iPad is aimed at digital creatives, but is the extra screen size worth the money?
Price £679 Company Apple Web www.apple.com
When first lifting the iPad Pro a couple of things become apparent. First, and in predictable Apple style, it’s a solid-feeling device. It’s not heavy, but feels substantial at three quarters of a kilo – in a reassuring way, rather than cumbersome. Secondly, it’s big. Almost comically so.
The effects of its size soon wear off, although the benefit of spending the extra on a good stand will be evident. Which raises another issue. A device this size, aimed at the pro market, really doesn’t fulfil its brief without the Pencil. And this brings the sub-£700 pound price closer to a thousand. But even with the extra costs, it’s still decent value compared to other options on the market, such as the Cintiq Companion 2 (£2,000) or Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 (starting at £749).
It’s interesting to note that Apple has kept its Pro offering based on iOS. This limits the applications available, but ensures the options on offer feel slick. This may become a blessing for users, as the development community for iOS apps moves rapidly and responsively.
There are existing tools that serve the creative markets, from digital painting to video editing and even 3D sculpting. These feel great in use, with the extra screen real estate making a huge difference, Pencil or not. Procreate and SketchBook both run flawlessly, and when paired with Apple’s keyboard stand and Pencil, feel like a real alternative to a laptop.
One design oddity is the charging of the Pencil. Although charging on the go is a good option in theory, having the length of the Pencil protruding from the iPad’s port is ungainly and far too easy to snag, risking damage to either or both devices. It’s a useful option when stationary, though.
As a first foray into what could be a new market, the iPad Pro is promising. Existing iPad users may not feel the need to upgrade, instead looking at the mini or Air. But for professional wanting the creative abilities they’re used to from a workstation or full OS, it’s an exciting development.
The key to the iPad Pro’s success will be when developers have had time to exploit the iOS and release the tools, enabling creatives to be truly portable, working with tools that are powerful, adaptable and productive. Apple could be the perfect delivery system for the next wave of content creation tools.
The extra screen real estate makes a huge difference to the artist
The new iPad Pro is designed and marketed as a viable alternative to your laptop – but most artists will want to purchase a stand, too.