The iPad Pro Arrives and There Is Much Rejoicing

Writing on the iPad Pro

The iPad Pro. It’s here, and it’s marvelous.

First off, there’s no denying: this device is huge. The cheap but good Moko case I bought on Amazon is equipped with a hand-strap, to make it easier to hold the Pro one-handed. It’s that big.

However, I found myself almost immediately used to the iPad Pro’s bigness. And that bigness makes a strangely significant difference. In fact, it quickly feels natural, as though the tablet form was always meant to be this size. Something just feels easier about working on a larger screen. A larger screen, but still simple, with only one program demanding my attention.

I’m using the beta of the Ulysses writing app on my iPad, which provides a wonderful creative experience. I have the iPad propped up on a Roost stand, and I type on a bluetooth keyboard: the whole screen is my writing environment. There is no dock to worry about, and when I want to check wikipedia, I can either Cmd-Tab on the keyboard to switch to a browser, or split the screen in two by dragging Safari into the pane. When I’m done with whatever I was looking up, I don’t have to worry about closing or shrinking the browser: I push Safari back to the edge of the screen and, just like that, it’s gone. There’s no way to build up a mass of lurking windows or tabs, because the interface cleans itself every time, leaving either two, one, or no apps on screen.

It’s not a perfect set up. There are some odd, annoying bugs in the software, which I’m hoping Apple will fix in time. The on-screen software keyboard is not as good as I had assumed it would be. There is still, as far as I know, no iOS alternative to Adobe’s InDesign, which is desktop-only. I’m not completely set on a blogging app / workflow yet: I’m writing this post in Ulysses and uploading photographs via a slightly very sketchy workflow I created in the Workflow app.

And the whole framework is completely dependent on Dropbox, because that’s the best (only) way to have a robust file system on iOS, but Dropbox has not yet updated its app for the iPad Pro. Sigh.

But when a great iOS-based rival to InDesign appears, when Dropbox gets its act together, and when I am able to properly write HTML, and thus solidify my blogging routine through Workflow, I do wonder how often I will fire up the iMac. The big desktop computer, which six months ago seemed an essential work tool, no longer seems so central to my day.

The iPad Pro seems capable of most of the things, in other words.

PS I haven’t even received my Pencil yet. That’s still backordered for a few more weeks.

PPS Comics / graphic novels look absolutely amazing on the big screen.

4 thoughts on “The iPad Pro Arrives and There Is Much Rejoicing

  1. As someone who is SO all about Apple that I worked for them… I ask out of curiosity. With the setup you picture of iPad and keyboard, why NOT use an Air or a MacBook? I read your previous post about why you were excited and I agree there are some incredible improvements and differences. I’m curious to see how you fare with it – initially I was under the impression you may be writing on it sans keyboard, so is that still something you’re considering? As writing is not my 100% main focus, I do utilize my MacBook Pro for a litany of things (I do not have a desktop) and so I imagine going to an iPad would feel both limiting and freeing at the same time. Looking forward to hearing more about how you like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Wolf, thanks for reading! What (if it’s not too secret) did you do at Apple? To your question: I think that using an iPad for work is something one is either drawn to or not. If not, if you feel it would be a big effort to re-build your workflows in iOS, then you’re probably better off sticking with OSX. For me, the limitations of the operating system, and the need to touch the screen, are worth it, because I find the “philosophy” of iOS more aligning with how I want to work: focused, sticking to one task at a time, never worrying about opening apps, arranging windows, or saving files.

      The iPad Pro, too, at least for me, simply seems a beautiful device. It feels like an uncanny visitor from the future: I am constantly shocked by how thin it is, and how bright.

      I do sometimes use the iPad keyboard-less, but the on-screen keyboard has been strangely less enjoyable than I expected. I’m not sure why. And I also worry that it’s terrible for my health, ergonomically, to be staring down, neck bent, at a screen flat on a desk or table. So I have it raised off the table right now. That said, were I to get a job where Excel played a bigger role, for instance, I suspect the touch screen interface would become laborious, quickly, as I’d want to constantly reach up and adjust things.

      Have you heard of the podcast Canvas? It just started:

      It’s all about the kinds of questions — getting work done on mobile operating systems. Recommended.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Daniel! Delayed response, my apologies! When I worked for Apple I was a bit of a renaissance woman. I wore many shirts – concierge, family room specialist, mentor, visuals team… sort of you name it, I did it. I can elaborate on the titles, but basically I did everything from sales to training and small device troubleshooting. I long dreamt of moving to corporate but changed career/education paths and it’s taken me a different route altogether.
        Your needs and how you utilize the iPad sound ideal. Perhaps if I went that route I would be less given to temptation of multitasking. Your philosophy on using iOS is likely how I should be approaching most of my work!! OS X has simply become imbedded in my behavior and habits. As the MacBook Pro has gotten lighter and lighter (I can’t bring myself to go smaller than the 15″) it’s increasingly easy to tote around with me. I tend to also demand a lot out of my processors. Using the (don’t tell Apple I used this word) laptop also allows me to have everything in one place. yes, yes, the cloud, I know… But I can’t bring myself to totally rely on it and so having my games along with my photography programs, music programs, and everything else I can jam pack on here feels more convenient.
        I worry that I romanticize the idea of slimming down to iOS and will find myself wanting to return to a keyboard at which I can type faster than a mile a minute. The portability to me almost feels like I would be more interested in NOT using it to be productive!
        What is beginning to bridge the gap for me is actually my iPhone. I have the 6 Plus and with it’s size and capabilities I admit I DO use it for some writing or research in a pinch without too much trouble. It still doesn’t quite bring the joy that my MacBook Pro does.
        With so much and all that being said… I am not up to date on my iPad experience. It’s been quite some time since I had an updated one – I still have one of the very early and now outdated generations. Perhaps a visit to the Apple Store is in my near future!
        Thanks for the link, I’ll check out the podcast!!


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