When the iPad Pro was first announced, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The larger screen and stereo speakers are great, but the 1.5 lbs. device weight worried me. I like that the Air 2 is less than a pound in the hand, and I think that’s what one of the integral parts of its design: that you can hold it and use it in most any position, unlike a laptop.
In the weeks since the announcement, I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of talk about the iPad Pro. The best coverage came from Fraser Speirs, who had some hands-on time with the new tablet and discussed it on Out Of School episode 155. He says that much of the focus in iPad Pro apps has been on a giant content canvas. On-screen controls are around the same size as they are on the iPad Air 2 — there’s just a ton more space for the content. The 13-inch screen on the Pro provides enough space that you can run full iPad apps side-by-side, without any compromises on space or layout. It’s apparently a lot like having two iPads working side by side and communicating with each other.
I do think there is a good point about how immersive full-screen multitasking can be, but I find the pricing to be prohibitively expensive. If I were to get an iPad Pro, I’d want the 128 GB Wi-Fi version to store all of my photos on, and I’d also want to try a Smart Keyboard out. Factoring the 13% tax in Ontario, I’d pay nearly $1700 CAD for that combo. There’s definitely a lot of power, but that’s a paltry amount of storage for that price range.
At $1700 CAD, the iPad budget starts to compete with my “new MacBook” budget. I could pick up a top-of-the-line 512 GB 12-inch MacBook for $1800 (taxes included). That two-pound MacBook would be just as light and portable as an iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard, and it would also run applications in split-screen beautifully. I mainly tote an iPad around as a writing machine, mobile photo editor, and browser. A 12-inch MacBook could fulfill all of those same needs, and provide me with more power and automation on OS X. This certainly isn’t a big issue to Apple because they’re always happy to cannibalize their own sales.
However, as an iPad fan, I’m almost disappointed to not want one this year. I’m definitely curious about the iPad Pro’s feature set, but it’s is currently priced and specced like a full-fledged laptop when it isn’t quite there yet. With the kind of work I like to do and the files that I deal with, any device above the $1500 price point is going to a device that runs a desktop-level operating system.