2018 11 inch iPad Pro and Smart Folio Keyboard

Apple’s newest tablet is here, and I decided to take the plunge and upgrade.  Having upgraded to the MacBook Pro 6-core beast, the iPhone X S Max and the  Apple Watch series 4, why not round it off with the iPad Pro?

EE-k!

As I’ve a good relationship with EE (I spend enough with them!), so I ordered the iPad from them with a 20Gb monthly plan.  As the iPhone X S Max plan has 100Gb, I can potentially move some of that to the iPad depending on where I am at any one time.  And that’s why I have an iPad – as a potential on-call/out-of-hours device that I can troubleshoot and fix problems with client websites.  Yes, I have a 15″ MacBook Pro, but a laptop can still be cumbersome to carry around and I don’t like carting it about.  If the new MacBook Air had been released earlier, I’d have probably gone for that instead.  But where are where we are.

Mice?  Where we’re going, we don’t need mice…

Some of the biggest criticisms of the iPad (and especially of the iPad Pro) is that it can’t completely replace your laptop because iOS:

  • Doesn’t support mice or trackpads for refined selection work
  • iOS is still a glorified iPhone operating system

and

  • Not professional enough

The iPad has only ever been designed to be a touch device, and when the Apple Pencil was introduced, it gave it more refined control over a mouse or trackpad when it comes to drawing or writing freehand.  Indeed, the Apple Pencil works with some word prcoessors and note taking apps to allow you to highlight and make notes alongside typewritten text.  It allows for greater selection too.  The Apple Pencil *is* the mouse/trackpad of the iPad Pro, and that’s not going to change any time soon.

That’s a pricey meatball!

Even without the Apple Pencil, writing on the 2018 iPad Pro is still a good experience when combined with the Smart Folio Keyboard.  While the 11″ model doesn’t feature a full sized keyboard, my big E.T. fingers (“E.T. iPhone home..”) can still type perfectly well with it.  The changes this year seem to be keys which are clickier than before, but with still the same amount of travel.  Selecting things with your fingers can be a bit fiddly, and given the exhorborant cost of the new iPad, Smart Folio Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2, along with the limited time you have to buy AppleCare+, I am having to stagger the purchases.  At the time of writing this, I only have the iPad Pro and the Smart Folio Keyboard.  It will be a few more months before I’ll have the Apple Pencil 2.

Folio, folio, why the hell are you so heavy, folio?

The biggest complaint about the £179 Smart Folio Keyboard is that when you encase your iPad within it, the whole package feels kind of heavy, and bulky.  A bit like me.  If you want something a bit more lighter, Apple sells a folio case without the keyboard for an eye watering £85. 

For the power of  Greyskull?

It is no doubt that the iPad Pro 2018 is a beast.  Under the hood is the A12X system-on-a-chip which features an octa-core processor (4 high performance, 4 low power cores which can be utilisied all at once), a seven-core GPU (which is said to be equal to the performance of the Xbox One S, and an octa-core neural engine capable of 5 trillion operations per second.  The display has ProMotion 120Hz refresh from the last generation, alongside better speakers and microphones.  And it is the first iPad to feature Face ID which is undoubtedly more advanced that than of the iPhone XS.  It can be used in any orientation, providing the front facing camera is not obscured. 

A fondleslab now with extra fondles

Using the 2018 iPad Pro is a joy.  It’s lightweight, and the extra screen space means that you have a bit more real screen estate to play with assuming app developers update their apps to make use of it.  Having no home button is no problem – having used an iPhone X for the past year and an iPhone XS for the past few months, the gestures come naturally.

Just make sure you don’t attempt to snap it in half..

As this video shows, you’ll need to use a case when carrying this thing about, because if you exhert any kind of pressure on it, well, you’ll see..

An expensive brick if you’re not careful with it..

In conclusion

This is an iPad Pro that’s designed to last.  It’s hardware is more advanced than it needs to be for now – though, as a example, with the use of the £20 LumaFusion video editor, you can easily edit 4K video and export it in times that come close to, or beat a fully fledged Intel laptop. 

Only time will tell to see what Apple intends to do with iOS.  To be fair to them, the iPad has seen some pretty dramatic changes to how you use it over the years – and I’ve feeling Apple has many more tricks up its sleeve.  And this machine has the pulling power to last at least 2-3 years comfortably without breaking a sweat.