When Apple held their “There’s More in the Making” event on October 30th, it was widely anticipated that they would release new iPad Pros, and they were not disappointed. The thing that most did not expect is that they would be available for ordering on the same day.

Many people ordered new iPad Pros, myself included. I ordered a 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wifi + Cellular model. Along with the iPad Pro, I also ordered the new Apple Pencil. Both items were delivered on November 7th, as expected. I also ordered the Smart Folio case, which arrived before the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I thought I would provide my initial thoughts on the new items.

Form Factor

The screen size of the larger iPad Pro screen has not changed, however the bezels have changed. The bezels have been reduced and they are now the same size all the way around the front of the device. This reduction means that the physical size is smaller, which makes it much easier to hold, as compared to the 2nd Generation iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro is now a uniform depth all the way around. This is contrary to all other iPads, which have had tapered edges, but it is not the first time that this form factor has been used on Apple Products. It is quite reminiscent of the iPhone 4/4s/5/5s, which all had the same look, but with bigger bezels.

Even though the iPad Pro has larger bezels than iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, the new iPad Pro does have a common feature with the iPhone, Face ID. The bezels on the iPad Pro house the Face ID camera, which means there is no notch on the iPad Pro, unlike the iPhoneX, XS, and XS Max.

Face ID

One of the biggest changes, besides the bezels is the inclusion of Face ID. Unlike on the iPhone, Face ID works in any orientation. With the bezels being the same size around the device, you may not immediately know where the Face ID camera is. Luckily, if you hand is covering the camera, the iPad Pro will let you know that it is covered, so you can move your hand. This is a nice touch.

Apple Pencil

The 2nd Generation Apple Pencil, or as I call it, the No. 2 Apple Pencil, is a solid update. The Pencil now magnetically attaches, using the flat side of the Apple Pencil, to the iPad Pro. Specifically, it is the the “East Side” of the iPad Pro when the Face ID camera is at the top.

With the Pencil being magnetically connected, it automatically charges and is automatically paired whenever it is connected. The Apple Pencil still requires Bluetooth to be enabled in order to operate.

Smart Folio Case

Beginning with the iPad 2 Apple created a cover that would protect just the iPad’s screen. They called this the “Smart Cover”. What made is “Smart” was that it could detect when it was covering the iPad and when it was opened through the use of magnets. This has been the case (no pun intended), until now. The 3rd Generation iPad Pro reverts back to the original iPad with a case that covers the front and back, but still includes the “smarts” from the Smart Cover. the new name is the “Smart Folio”. It is nice to have full protection of the entire iPad, particularly since there is now a very prominent camera bump on the back.

Closing Thoughts

I have owned an iPad since 2010. I have owned the following iPads:

  • Original iPad
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad Air 2
  • 1st Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro

My usage of the iPad has not been as much as I would have expected. It has mostly been games, application development, and taking notes during meetings at work. While these activities will still continue, I am hoping to expand beyond that.

With the 3rd Generation iPad Pro, I am going to attempt to increase my usage. I am going to try and use the iPad Pro for more than I have in the past. In particular, for many of the things that I may have previously grabbed my laptop.

Part of the idea behind this is that I have an early 2015 MacBook Pro. While it still works well, it is inevitable that it will stop working at some point and I want to see if I can replace most of the functions of the MacBook Pro with the iPad Pro.

Yes, there are some things that the iPad Pro cannot do, like app development, but I still have an iMac that I can use for that. I am not sure how this is going to go, but I am going to try and give it a shot. I am not going to put a time limit on it.

I will do a more comprehensive review of the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro after I have had a lot more time with it.