iPad Pro 11" Impressions

October 20, 2019 • #

I just got the latest version of the iPad Pro, opting for the 11” model instead of the previous generation 12.9” one that I’ve been using for 2 years. Some brief thoughts so far on a week’s worth of usage:

The iPad

So far the smaller form factor takes a little bit of getting used to, but the weight and size is a huge improvement in portability. When this iPad is the only thing in my bag, it almost feels empty it’s so light. I also love the ability to one-hand the device without feeling like I’m about to drop it. One of the downsides of the 12.9” size is that using it sans-keyboard as a reading device (especially in portrait mode) is unwieldy. The 11” size can be comfortably used in one hand for reading. You also still get all of the iPadOS multitasking features for split screen productivity apps, which was one of the biggest drivers for originally going with the Pro model.

Keyboard Folio & Pencil

I got the Smart Keyboard Folio and the new Pencil to go with it, and both are pretty major improvements over those two products from a generation ago. The smaller size keyboard is taking a little adjustment, but it’s not too bad. I love the feel of the keys on Apple’s iPad keyboards, and this one is an incremental improvement in tactile feeling from the last generation. The new version of the Pencil seems to have less latency in sketching, which makes writing and drawing feel more natural than it did — even though the Pencil even since version 1 has been leaps and bounds better than any other stylus hardware ever made. With the magnetic docking inductive charging, it’s also nice to have a Pencil that’s always at 100% full charge, ready to go. Too often I’d get out the old one after a period of not using it only to find it dead. It’s a quick charge, but taking up the Lightning port to charge it was always annoying.

Since I made the switch, I’ve been doing a lot more work on the iPad versus the MacBook Pro. Even with multitasking, the “modal” nature of app usage on an iPad seems to keep my mind more focused and less alt-tabbing between various windows. While not impossible to do, it’s hard to end up in the trap of 50 open browser tabs on an iPad than a full laptop. There’s also the fact that I don’t have a heating element on the lap while using it, like the superheated aluminum case on a MBP when Chrome, Slack, and other memory-heavy apps are churning hard.

So far, so good. This week with some travel abroad I’ll give it a shot as the primary device and see how it feels.