Apple iPad Pro Long-Term Review: Here’s How I Replaced My Laptop – Forbes

A beautiful screen and powerful apps make the Pro very likable

The iPad Pro has replaced my laptop for almost everything I do – image credit: Ian Morris

A bit over one year ago I published my review of the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro. At the time I said that I believed the iPad has changed my life, and that it was rapidly replacing my laptop. Because this was controversial I wanted to revisit it after living with the iPad as a serious day-to-day device over the past year.

And I have put a lot of hours in with the iPad. It’s been to press events with me, flown around the world and generally not left my side for every meeting and commute into town I’ve undertaken. I’ve lost count of the articles for Forbes I’ve written on this thing, and how much weight it’s saved me lugging about.

So let’s take a look at this tablet and see how I’ve used it, and how that might translate to your decision to buy one.

What’s Right For Me May Not Be For You

Last time I wrote about the iPad Pro I did get a bit of a hammering over the tasks I perform with it. I certainly can see that there are a lot of jobs where switching to a mobile device over a laptop isn’t practical. Later in this review I’ll talk about video, but only in the context that it exists in the Apple ecosystem. If you want to edit footage shot on SLRs or standalone video cameras then this isn’t going to be the device for you.

There’s an element of common sense in this, but I’ll say one other thing – I have done some pretty advanced stuff by connecting to my home PC using Microsoft’s amazing Remote Desktop app for iOS. I’m a big fan of remote desktop, and while it won’t be suitable for everyone, if you have a desktop PC you keep on then it can make for a powerful way to perform certain tasks. I have, for example, used it to render After Effects sequences. Likewise, having the option to put files on a server and have it process them for you can save a lot of horsepower on an iPad.

Where I think the iPad Pro comes in handy is for the sort of jobs you usually do when you’re travelling. For me that’s writing, invoicing and light photo manipulation but there are also more fun things like editing video and playing games, which also work brilliantly.

The optional keybaord is worth every dollar

The optional keybaord is worth every dollar – image credit Ian Morris

Why You Can’t Compare The iPad To The Surface Pro

One of the arguments I heard a lot of last year was that I should have compared the iPad Pro to the Surface Pro. I didn’t really anticipate this question, and honestly it’s one of the things I wanted to address a year later.

Here’s the deal: the iPad Pro isn’t a computer and the Surface Pro isn’t a tablet. The Apple system is about creating a new model for computers, one that steps away from x86 and moves toward the paradigm of mobile devices. Apple can do this with much more success than Microsoft could – note the failed Surface RT, which was basically Microsoft’s iPad Pro. Why is Apple able to do it? Because there is a huge app library that exists for iOS. Microsoft had to try and achieve that from scratch, and struggled.

The Surface Pro is an amazing machine, and as some people point out, in some configurations the iPad Pro is a lot more expensive than Microsoft’s laptop. I can see why some people would rule the iPad out on that basis, and I do think that the price is likely to be a barrier for some.

Also, it’s worth remembering that Microsoft is now showing off Windows 10 running on ARM chips like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. This may well shake things up for Apple in the coming year, if Microsoft releases a tablet that runs full Windows and can work with desktop apps.

And I’m not here to tell you which of the two is right for you, but I can also tell you that the decision is reasonably easy to make – either you need a PC, or you can switch to iOS for your mobile computing.

I’ve Almost Totally Given Up On My Laptop

Here’s one thing that I think Apple does better than any other company, it ushers you toward new technology. When I started with the iPad Pro I assumed that I’d need to keep using a laptop for video editing. That’s absolutely right, even now, but what the iPad has made me consider is that some of the video I do could, actually, be done on the iPhone and edited on the iPad

This sort of thing has made a transition to the iPad easier, with a bit of forethought and good lighting you could use the iPhone for a lot of video. After all, that’s 4K video you can edit on a tablet, rather than needing to lug a big and powerful laptop around. I’ve tested this approach, and I’ll explain how it went, with the actual video later in this article.

But when it comes to a lot of other things, I have been able to move to the iPad with little to no friction. Here’s a real-world example that I think will give some insight into how I’ve used the machine.

ON THE NEXT PAGE: My case studies for using the iPad Pro, and how I think it performed


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