Hard­ware

Turn­ing pro Ap­ple’s new iPad is aimed at dig­i­tal cre­atives, but is the ex­tra screen size worth the money?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

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.

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