Categories
Apple iPad Pro Review

Magic Keyboard for 12.9-inch iPad Pro: A Review

The iPad has changed significantly since its initial introduction in 2010. There have been new features like multitasking, multiple windows, and split view. There have also been changes in the way that iOS looks, from the skeuomorphic design to a more refined one. There has even been changes in the size of the devices from a single 9.7-inch iPad to multiple sizes, 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.2-inch, 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch models. One of the things that has been true since the original iPad, with iPhone OS 3.2, is that some users want to use the iPad as a productivity tool. One way to be productive is by using a keyboard. The purpose for using a keyboard can be to write, like I do, but a keyboard can also be used for programming with applications like Swift Playgrounds, or even just to use keyboard shortcuts within apps like Photoshop for iPad. While it is possible to use the on-screen keyboard to accomplish some of these tasks, there are instances when using a physical keyboard is just a better overall experience.

You may think that Apple has only recently made a keyboard specifically for the iPad, but Apple has had keyboards available that you could pair with the iPad since 2010. Let us look at some of those now.

Apple’s iPad Keyboard History

Apple has been making iPad keyboards since the original iPad was introduced in 2010. They started with a forgotten device called the “iPad Keyboard Dock”. It is so forgotten that it is not even listed on the Wikipedia page for Apple keyboards, nor on the iPad page. This was a product that had an Apple keyboard attached to an iPad 30-pin dock that was specifically designed to work with the original iPad in portrait mode.

original iPad Keyboard Dock

If you did not want to purchase the iPad Keyboard Dock, you could pick up an Apple wireless keyboard for $69. The difference is that the Apple Wireless keyboard was bluetooth and could work with any bluetooth device, which makes using an external keyboard more versatile.

When I first got an iPad back in 2010, I did not get an iPad Keyboard Dock. Instead, I paired my iPad with an Apple Wireless keyboard. The ones that required 3 AA batteries to power. Once Apple introduced the updated version of the Wireless Keyboard that only required 2 AA batteries, I switched to using that model.

The fact that the keyboards required batteries did make it a bit difficult sometimes, particularly if you need to use the keyboard but the batteries are dead. Additionally, it was likely that you needed to carry extra batteries with you in order to be able to make sure you could use the keyboard when necessary.

In 2015, Apple introduced a completely redesigned keyboard, they called it the Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard changed almost every aspect of the keyboard. Instead of requiring batteries, it switched to being rechargeable, using the included lightning cable.

Due to the rechargeable battery the Magic Keyboard was able to have a new lower profile, which makes it much easier to carry and allowed for smaller bags and carrying cases as a result. Even though this is a much better result, it is still not ideal for some because you had to carry multiple items with you. Instead of having to carry multiple devices, it would be easier to only encompass everything into a single item. There are two different lines, depending on which iPad you own. These are called the iPad Smart Keyboard or the iPad Keyboard Folio.

iPad Smart Keyboard and iPad Smart Keyboard Folio

Apple has not focused solely on external keyboards for the iPad. They have also introduced keyboards that are embedded in cases. Apple has called these the Smart Keyboard Folio.

These are a combination of the Smart Folio, which is a case that covers both the front and back of the iPad, as well as a keyboard. The Keyboard Folio allows you to snap the Keyboard Folio onto the back of the iPad and the edge of the iPad sits on the Keyboard Folio right above the top of the keyboard. There are two positions for the iPad Smart Keyboard and iPad Smart Keyboard Folio. The iPad Smart Keyboard allows two different angles with the keyboard in front of the iPad. The iPad Smart Keyboard has one position for the iPad on the keyboard or the keyboard can be hidden behind the iPad for when you are viewing media on your iPad.

There is another additional difference between iPad Smart Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio. The Smart Keyboard Folio has a fabric cover on top of the keyboard. This has two functions. The first is that it protects the keyboard from any debris getting into the keyboard. The second function is to protect the iPad screen.

The second difference is that the keys have less travel for the keys. The travel is how far you have to press down on a key in order for the key to appear on the screen and the Smart Keyboard Folio has a very short amount of travel, similar to the butterfly keyboards on the late-2015 to 2018 MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

All of this changes with the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Before we delve into that, let us look at the design.

Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro

The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is three devices in one. These devices are a case, a keyboard, and a trackpad. The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro covers the entire back of the iPad and attaches to the iPad using magnets.The magnets allow the iPad Pro to be positioned properly for a few reasons. The first is so that the cutout for the camera will be positioned properly on the 4th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro as well as the 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro.

The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro works with the last two generations of the iPad Pro. These are the 3rd and 4th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the 1st and 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro. The latter of the two sizes has a new camera sensor that has a square design and the Magic Keyboards are designed with these iPads in mind. Therefore, on the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 1st generation 11-inch iPad Pro, you will see more of the back of the iPad. In practice, this is not a problem.

The second reason for the magnets is so that Smart Connector will be aligned properly. The Smart connector is how the Magic Keyboard actually gets its power from the iPad Pro and does not have any battery contained within the keyboard itself.

With the Magic Keyboard attached, the iPad Pro floats over the keyboard so that you can still hit the keys in the number row, if you need them. When you type on the keyboard, you will notice that the keyboard is backlit. This can come in handy if you are using the Magic Keyboard while in the dark. You are able to adjust the brightness of the Magic Keyboard through settings. You can go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Hardware Keyboard and you can adjust the brightness of the keyboard.

The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro has a cantilevered design. This means that you can adjust the iPad Pro’s angle to the most comfortable for you. This angle is limited though. This is due to the next item to discuss, the weight of the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro.

Weight

As you might expect, the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro does have some heft to it. In fact, it weighs 1.51 pounds, or 684 grams. When you combine this with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the entire package, including an Apple Pencil, coms to 2.95 pounds, or 1,337 grams. I wonder if this weight is purely accidental, or is this was the target weight for the entire pack. When you first hear that the iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Magic Keyboard comes to almost 3 pounds, it might sound like a lot. But the question is, how does this compare to other portable Apple devices.

I only have a few devices to compare this to. These are an Early 2015 MacBook Pro, a 16-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mid-2007 MacBook.

The Early-2015 13.3-inch MacBook Pro comes in at 3.48 pounds, or 1578.5 grams. This is approximately 20 percent heavier than the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard. So this is a bit heavier. Even heavier still is a 16-inch MacBook Pro, which comes in at 4.3 pounds, or 1,950.45 grams. This makes the 16-inch MacBook Pro 45.8% heavier than the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard. Lastly, the Mid-2007 Black MacBook is a hefty 5.2 pounds, or 3.45 times heavier than the MacBook.

While the Magic Keyboard does make the iPad heavier, it is not as heavy as other portable Apple devices, even somewhat recent ones.

Keyboard

The big draw for purchasing the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, for me anyway, is the keyboard. The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro honors its name, it is the Magic Keyboard. It has the same layout, the same key sizes, and even the same key mechanism. This means that it is a Magic Keyboard through and through. There are some differences between the standard Magic Keyboard and the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro.

The biggest change is that the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro has one fewer rows of keys. The entire top row is not present on the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro. This means that there is no physical escape key, nor any function keys. The lack of function keys does mean that some changes need to be made, if you are used to using another keyboard with the iPad Pro. Because of the changes, there are some things that you may have to get used to.

The first change, and for me it is the biggest, is the lack of an escape key. There may not be that many things that I can do well, but using a computer keyboard is one of them. Since I tend to use the keyboard as much as possible, the lack of an escape key makes it super difficult for me to adjust. I use the escape key for various tasks, particularly with a terminal. It is possible to re-map keys on iOS. These keys are:

  • Caps Lock
  • Control
  • Option
  • Command
  • Globe

So you can re-map one of these if you would like. Since I go between many devices, re-mapping one of the keys will not work for me. I really hope the second revision has a physical escape key. I completely understand the trade-offs made with the keyboard, and I agree with them, but it makes it more difficult for me. There is another way to simulate the escape key. The key combination of command and period will perform the same function as escape, for the most part anyway.

Next, let us look at the other item on the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, the trackpad.

Trackpad

iOS 13.4 was specifically designed for the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro. This is due to the addition of trackpad support within iOS. The first thing you will notice is the physical size of the trackpad. The trackpad is 4 inches wide by 2 inches tall. Let us see how this compares to other devices.

  • My Early 2015 13.3-inch MacBook Pro’s trackpad is 4.375 inches by 3.125 inches tall.
  • Apple stand-alone Magic Trackpad is 6.750 inches wide by 4.5625 inches tall.
  • The Late 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro’s trackpad is 6.750 inches wide by 4.00 inches tall.

When you look at these the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro might seem small. However, there is one last item to compare the trackpad to, the Mid-2007 MacBook. If you measure the trackpad for the 2007 MacBook you come up with 4 inches wide by 2 inches tall. Hmm…this is the same size as the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Therefore, while the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro may seem small, in comparison to more recent trackpads on devices, the trackpads on past devices have been the same size and we used those for years.

Here is an life-size comparison of the various trackpads. As you can see, the sizes really do differ quite a bit depending on the device being used.

Even though the physical size between the 2007 MacBook and the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro may be the same, they do not function the same, outside of moving the cursor. The trackpad on the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro supports many of the same gestures as the standard trackpads. This includes three finger swipes, pinch to zoom, and even four finger gestures, although the latter are a bit more difficult to accomplish with one hand.

The trackpad is a great addition and combined with iOS 13.4, it is will allow some to be even more productive than before.

Possible Drawbacks

To use the tag line of John Siracusa’s Hypercritical podcast, “Nothing is so perfect that it can’t be complained about.” That means there are a few things that could be possible drawbacks to be aware of regarding the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro. Most of these have been covered, but let us recap.

The first issue I mentioned earlier, the lack of a physical escape key. I completely understand the trade-offs being made. On a standard Magic Keyboard there is an additional row that has the Escape key as well as 12 function keys and an “eject” key; at least on the US English keyboard layout.

Also mentioned earlier is the fact that command + period will replicate the escape key, and for those who use the app “vim” for terminal editing, this does work well for the escape key. Despite this, a physical escape key would be nice, even if the other top row keys where reduced to accommodate the key.

The second possible drawback is the weight. As outlined above if you are accustomed to using the iPad on its own, the weight difference will be quite noticeable. However, if you compare it to a traditional laptop, it will be lighter and therefore more portable.

The third possible drawback is the possible angles. The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is limited in the angles that it can be tilted towards. Just as with the lack of a physical escape key, the reasons for this make sense. In the case of the limited angles is due to making sure that the keyboard is balanced.

In fact, the keyboard is so balanced that you can perch the keyboard, complete with iPad, on the edge of a desk and it will not fall. Which cannot be said for other keyboards that are on the market. I would not recommend always living on the edge, but the keyboard is quite balanced.

The last possible drawback, is the price, which is outlined below.

Price

At first glance when you look at it, the Magic Keyboard for the iPad is not an inexpensive product. The keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro is $299, and the keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $349. At first glance this may seem like a lot, and there is no denying that it is expensive. Yet, it may not be as expensive as you think. If you were to add up the cost of the three items in the Magic Keyboard for iPad, a cover, the magic keyboard, and a magic trackpad, it would be $99, $99, and $129 respectively, or a total of $327.

Therefore, this does make the overall price for the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro a bit more than buying each item separately, but for that price, you get allof them in a single package. Therefore, you do not need to worry about having three separate items. It is entirely true that you cold purchase less expensive solutions for the iPad Pro and you can be satisfied with those, but if you are looking at Apple-only solutions, then this really is comparable.

Closing Thoughts

I have used my 3rd Generation iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard for just about a week now. I used to use my iPad on a somewhat regular basis, but I feel as though I will be using my iPad a bit more than before. This is because I now have a device that can fill in most of the functions of my 2015 MacBook Pro. I am not sure whether or not I will end up replacing the MacBook Pro when it comes time. This is because the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard may be able to fulfill the role that my MacBook Pro has done so far, for the most part.

There are some items that I cannot do on my iPad, as easily, even with the Magic Keyboard and trackpad. The biggest of these is web development. I use the Safari Inspector quite a bit, and it is not available at all on iPadOS. Additionally, I use BBEdit for all of my web development. The built-in SFTP and browsing has become an absolute essential for me, and without this I am not able to be as productive with my web development. If you happen to know of another tool that is comparable, definitely let me know.

However, there are other tasks that I can do with the new setup. Chiefly among these is writing. It is my hope to be able to use the iPad to write most of the books I plan to write this summer, but time will tell. It is possible that significantly more of the books will be written using the iPad, now that there is a keyboard that makes it much easier to type on when sitting in various places.

The combination of iPadOS 13.4 and the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro has capability of fundamentally changing the way that you use the iPad Pro. While it was possible to use an iPad with a keyboard, the addition of a trackpad makes the iPad like a laptop. For those who really enjoy using iPadOS as their primary operating system, but would really benefit from using a TrackPad, then you cannot go wrong with the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, even with the starting price of $299.

Categories
Apple iPad Pro

Apple Releases new iPad Pro

Today Apple unveiled a pair of new iPad Pro models, the 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro and the 4th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. These two models are the same with the exception of the physical size. Both models still support the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil.

Processor

The new iPad Pro models have A12Z Bionic Chip. This is a slightly modified version of the A12X, which was in the previous generation iPad Pros. The new processor has 8 graphics and CPU cores, instead of the 7 GPU, and 8 CPU cores that were present in the previous models. This means that graphics and processing should be even faster. To quote from the press release

The eight-core GPU in the A12Z Bionic, along with an enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers, gives iPad Pro the highest performance ever in an iPad. Combined with the eight-core CPU and the powerful Neural Engine, which enables next-generation apps

Until we get our hands on the new iPad Pro and put it through its paces, it will be hard to see the real world improvement. One area where there will definitely be improvement is with the cameras.

Cameras

The new iPad Pros have an all new redesigned cameras. They now include two cameras, as 12MP wide camera and 10MP ultra-wide camera, similar to the cameras on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. This means that you can now take wider pictures. This also means that there is a new physical capability, optical zoom out with the Ultra-wide camera. The new cameras also include 240fps recording on both cameras. The Ultra-wide camera is capable of recording at 60fps. There is one last new feature to the cameras and is new to iOS entirely, it is called a “LiDAR Sensor”.

LiDAR Sensor

Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR, “is used to determine distance by measuring how long it takes light to reach an object and reflect back…and opens up tremendous possibilities for augmented reality and beyond.” The LiDAR Sensor will be able to measure depth, which is absolutely necessary for Augmented Reality apps.

It will be interesting to see what App developers are able to accomplish with the new LiDAR Sensor.

Sound

The 1st Generation 11-inch iPad Pro and the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro had four speakers for audio and would automatically adjust depending on the orientation. The new iPad Pros have that as well. However, the change with the new models is in the number of microphones. There were five microphones on the previous models, and there are on the new models but they are now “Studio Quality”, similar to the speakers in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. This should improve sound quality for your videos.

Magic Keyboard

The iPad is great with touch, however sometimes you need a physical keyboard to be able to handle the input. Previously, this can be accomplished using any Bluetooth keyboard or the Smart Keyboard Folio. There is a new option called the “Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro”. The Magic Keyboard is more than just a simple keyboard, but it is also an iPad Stand that can be adjusted to whatever viewing angle you need for your iPad Pro.

The Magic Keyboard for each model is significantly more than a regular case or stand. The 11-inch model is $299 and the 12.9-inch model is $349. Both will be available in May and will be available in over 30 languages, so you will be able to get the keyboard that is right for you.

One thing that should also be mentioned is that the Magic Keyboard will be compatible with the 1st Generation 11-inch iPad Pro as well as the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

iOS 13.4

The new iPads come with iOS 13.4. iOS 13.4 brings a new feature that some might expect to never arrive, trackpad support. This is not the same as the accessibility pointer support that has been in iOS 13, up until now. You can now use a connected mouse or trackpad and a cursor will appear on the screen. It will only show up on screen when you are using the mouse or trackpad. Some developers will need to improve their applications in order to fully utilize the new cursor support.

Pricing

The iPad Pro models are available in the same size, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. models, and are available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. What has changed is the price of all of the models, except for the base price.

The 11-inch iPad Pro is $799, $899, $1099, and $1299 respectively. For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the prices are $999, $1099, $1299, and $1499. You can order the models today and they will be delivered starting on March 25th.

Source: Apple

Categories
Apple iPad Pro

iPad Pro Availability for December 11th, 2018 (Evening)

Here is the iPad Pro availability for the evening of December 11th, 2018. If you are looking to purchase an iPad Pro for the holidays, there is still time. The only exception is the 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio which may not arrive until after Christmas.

11-inch iPad Pro
Wi-Fi Only 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20
Space Gray Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20
Wi-Fi + Cellular 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 18 – Dec 20
Space Gray Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20 Dec 18 – Dec 20
12.9-inch iPad Pro
Wi-Fi Only 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 18
Space Gray Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19
Wi-Fi + Cellular 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19
Space Gray Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19 Dec 17 – Dec 19
iPad Pro Accessories
AccessoryShips By
11-inch Smart Keyboard Folio Dec 19 – Dec 21
12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio Dec 26
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) Dec 21
11-inch Pink Sand Smart Folio Fri, Dec 14
11-inch Charcoal Smart Folio Fri, Dec 14
11-inch White Smart Folio Fri, Dec 14
12.9-inch Charcoal Smart Folio Fri, Dec 14
12.9-inch White Smart Folio Fri, Dec 14
Categories
Apple iPad Pro Review

Third Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro: A Review

iPad Pro size comparisons, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 3rd Gen, iPad Pro 2nd Gen

It is now well known that before the iPhone, Apple was working on a tablet. While the iPhone was released first, a tablet did eventually get introduced. Since its first introduction in 2010, the iPad has seen some transformations. The original iPad had a screen that measured 9.7-inches, diagonally. In 2013, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini, which had a 7.9-inch screen. It was not until November of 2015 when the direction of the iPad changed again with the first generation iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro, as the name suggests, is intended for professionals; however you want to define the word “professional”. The iPad Pro brought a few new features. The first was a larger screen size, 12.9-inches to be exact. The screen size also brought the ability to use two applications simultaneously, with each app taking a portion of the screen. The apps can take up 33%, 50%, or 66% of the screen. This change allowed users to be more productive on iOS, than they had been previously.

In lieu of using multiple apps simultaneously, the iPad Pro also brought the ability for users to just glance quickly at some information., you could also use another feature, Slide Over, to have an application hover over another application. This could be used temporarily, or a longer term basis; depending on need.

Even with the advancements of the iPad, and its software, the ultimately question is though, what does the 2018 iPad bring to enhance the iPad line? Quite a bit actually. Let us start with the physical size of the iPad Pro.

Physical Size

The biggest change with the iPad Pro is the bezels around the screen. The actual screen size has not changed, it is still 12.9-inches. However, the physical size of the iPad Pro has been reduced, because the bezels around the iPad are now the same around all sides. This means that the height has been reduced by an entire inch vertically. On the sides, it has been reduced by about half an inch total.

After having become accustomed to the 2018 iPad Pro, I held the `d Generation model again and noticed that the weight of the older device seemed much heavier than as compared to the third-generation. Even though the actual weight difference being 59 grams, or 0.13 pounds, it seems like it is actually more than that. I can only attribute this to the physical size difference.

2nd and 3rd Generation iPad Pro Depth comparison

With the new size of the device, Apple has also adjusted the depth of the iPad Pro to be a consistent size, instead of being tapered as it was before. This change does make it easier to grip the iPad Pro. The reduced physical size also means that the iPad Pro has been reduced in weight. This reduction makes it nicer to hold for longer. Even though holding the iPad Pro is much easier to hold, it is likely that you will not always be holding it. For these instances, and as a means of protecting the iPad Pro, Apple has created a new case for the iPad Pro, the Smart Folio.

Smart Folio

The iPad Pro has had a cover since the original iPad. With the release of the iPad 2, Apple brought out a new cover, the Smart Cover. The difference with the Smart Cover is that it utilized built-in magnets within the iPad 2 and connected the cover to the iPad itself. The Smart Cover protected the screen and put the iPad to sleep when closed, or woke it up when the cover is opened. This has been a Smart Cover available for each subsequent iPad as well. The Smart cover provided more than just a protective cover. It also doubled a stand. With the stand you could put it into a few different positions.

This is possible through the folds that are along the cover. They allow you to change the position of the iPad to best suit your needs. You can prop the iPad up almost vertically or you can lay it down so it a bit flatter.

The original iPad Pro had a cover designed for it. It encompassed the entire device, the front as well as the back. However, there were no smarts within the cover, it was merely a protective mechanism. The 2018 iPad Pro also has a Smart Cover, but it does more than just cover the screen. It also covers the entire back of the iPad Pro. This is a combination of the original iPad cover as well as a Smart Cover. Since it is neither a case nor a Smart Cover, it has a new name, it is called the Smart Folio.

The Smart Folio allows you to position the iPad Pro as you would with any other Smart Cover, but it encompasses the entire back by using magnets to attach the back of the Smart Folio to the back of the iPad.

There is one additional change, which is a nice touch. When you used a Smart Cover for previous iPads, if you wanted to use the camera on the iPad you would have to hold the cover back the entire time you needed to use the camera. However, with the Smart Folio, and the magnets, the back of the Smart Folio will stick to the back of the iPad Pro, which makes using the camera on iPad Pro much better. On the topic of the camera, let us briefly turn to it.

Camera

When you think of the major uses of an iPad, using it as a camera may not be the first ing that comes to mind. The reason for this, for long time iPad users, is because when the iPad was first introduced, it did not contain a camera that most would consider a first-rate camera. They have been functional, but not the best quality.

Through the iPad’s history, it took a while before Apple starting putting better cameras into the iPad. While the rear cameras steadily improved, however the Face Time camera did not really get much of an upgrade, until the first-generation iPad Pro.

The camera on the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a completely redesigned lens, even though the specs are the same as the previous generation. The quality, on the other hand, is improved.

Here are some examples of the same photo taken with different devices. You can clearly see the improved quality between the second-generation iPad Pro, and the third-generation. The improvement is even more prevalant when you compare the third-generation iPad Pro with the iPad Air 2.

The rear camera is not the only one on the third-generation iPad Pro. There is also the front camera assembly, including the Face ID camera.

Face ID

As mentioned earlier, the third generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro has consistent bezels around all of the edges of the iPad. Housed within the top edge of the iPad Pro is the Face ID sensor array. The iPad Pro’s Face ID is slightly different than the Face ID found on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, or the iPhone XR. The difference is that the iPad Pro can be used in any orientation. This can be in either portrait or landscape, upside down or right-side up.

With the ability to use any orientation, it is possible that you will be using the IPad Pro in landscape and holding either of the sides. If this occurs, your hand will likely be covering the Face ID camera. If this does happen, a message will be shown indicating that the camera is covered. The message will indicate where the camera is located, so you can uncover it.

Having a consistent experience between an iPad and iPhone is very nice. Instead of having to try and remember that I am using an iPad and that I have to use Touch ID, I can just use Face ID. Just as with the iPhone, it is much more convenient to use Face ID. Just by looking at the iPad Pro, which I am likely already doing, any authentication that needs to occur, can do so automatically.

It would be nice to see Face ID on the iPhone get the same treatment as the iPad, meaning that it can work in any orientation. It is understandable as to why it has come to the iPad Pro first. The primary reason for this is likely due to the iPad being used in landscape orientation significantly more than the iPhone is.

With the iPad Pro, Apple introduced a new connector, the Smart Connector. The Smart Connector is designed to allow devices to be attached to the keyboard, but not over Bluetooth or Wifi. The connector allows devices to draw power from the iPad, which means that they do not need to contain any batteries in order to work. The connector has only been used for one accessory, keyboards.

Keyboards

Apple does have a Smart Folio Keyboard for the 2018 iPad Pro, but I did not purchase one. This is because I prefer to use the Magic Keyboard 2 for my keyboard needs with the iPad. I would like to see a wireless version of the Magic Keyboard 2 in Space Gray, so that it would more closely match the iPad Pro, but unfortunately there is not one available.

I have been using an Apple Keyboard with the iPad since the original iPad. There has consistently been one issue with the iPad Pro and the Apple Keyboards. That issue is temporary loss of bluetooth connectivity. If you have been using the iPad Pro with a keyboard for a while, and if you do not touch the keyboard, the keyboard seems to disconnect. It will reconnect, but you need to hit at least three keys before any keystrokes are recognized. This happens in all applications, Apple apps as well as third-party applications. When it does occur, it usually results in missing letters, so that the word that you were expecting to type does not actually get put onto the screen. The errors can be corrected but it is quite inconvenient and it is not something that should occur, but alas, it does.

I completely get that Apple might be aggressive in saving battery life, in order to provide the longest battery. But this is not the way to save battery. Maybe it is just me, but in a vast majority of cases if you have a keyboard connected it means that you intend to use it; Hence, the keyboard should not disconnect so quickly, or at all. This has been happening intermittently since at least the first generation iPad Pro. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to this, but it can be problematic.

One of the other things that the iPad Pro introduced was a new input method, this time it is with a stylus. Apple calls their stylus the Apple Pencil. Let us look at that next.

The Apple Pencil

The 2018 iPad Pro brought with it a refinement to the Apple Pencil, the second generation Apple Pencil. Apple missed an excellent naming opportunity with the new Apple Pencil, they should have called it the “No. 2 Pencil”, but alas, they did not. But it does not stop me from doing so, and I will.

The No. 2 Pencil has been completely redesigned. It now sports a flat surface on one edge. The edge now helps prevent the Apple Pencil from rolling off the desk when it is put down. The previous Apple Pencil was completely round and would easily roll off a desk. The flat edge actually serves a second function. The second purpose is how the No 2. Apple Pencil is charged. The Apple Pencil magnetically attaches to one edge of the iPad Pro. This is a big difference over the previous Apple Pencil.

The first generation Apple Pencil required you to charge it over lightning, with the ability to charge it in the lightning port of the first, or second, generation iPad Pro. If you did not want to charge it with the iPad Pro, you could use the adapter that was included with the first Apple Pencil and a standard lightning cable. Many iPad Pro users who had purchased a pencil often found that when they wanted to use the Apple Pencil it was not charged, due to lack of usage. I often found this to be the case for myself as well.

The Apple Pencil has had the ability to quickly charge, and it still does. But with the Apple Pencil being able to charge while magnetically connected, it is more likely that when you want to use the Apple Pencil, that it will already be charged. This has been my experience with the Apple Pencil and the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Because the Apple Pencil has always been charged, I find myself using it more often than before. Additionally, since it is always connected, I actually think about it, and end up using it, way more often than I did with the previous iPad Pros. In order for the Apple Pencil to work, or charge, Bluetooth must be enabled on the iPad Pro.

While the No. 2 Apple Pencil has only one edge can connect, the direction of the point of the pencil tip does not make a difference. It can be facing either left or right. The tip of the No 2. Apple Pencil is the same as the previous generation, which means that if you had the previous Apple Pencil and had the spare tip that came with it, and/or bought some extra tips, you can use those previously purchased ones with the new Apple Pencil.

When you do connect the Apple Pencil to the iPad Pro, you will see a notification on the screen indicating that the Apple Pencil is connected, as well as how much battery power is left. It will be similar to the example below.

I use the Apple Pencil for a variety of things. These include, navigating the interface, using it to interact with items on the screen, scrolling through my twitter timeline, and even playing games, like Plants vs. Zombies, or Dissembler.

There is one more feature with Apple’s No. 2 Pencil, that will make some interactions much easier. In the lower third of the No 2. Apple Pencil, the third closest to the tip of the Apple Pencil, you can double-tap anywhere in the area and you will have the ability to switch actions. These actions can be defined by the application. For instance, with the Notes application it will switch between a pencil and an eraser. Developers are encouraged to provide the different interaction options within their app’s settings.

Overall, the Apple Pencil is a fantastic update, even though it cannot be used with any device, except the 11-inch or third generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The fact that it is almost always charged because it can be connected directly to the iPad means that it will always be available when you need it to be available. The flat edge does prevent it from rolling, and there is no longer a cap to lose, like on the last model. If you were a heavy Apple Pencil user with the previous iPads and you plan on getting a third-generation 12.9-inch, or an 11-inch, iPad Pro, you cannot go wrong with the No 2. Apple Pencil.

My Overall Usage

I cannot say for sure that my iPad usage has changed all that much from a month ago. What I can say is that I have tended to use my iPad more than my MacBook Pro. There are still times when I use my MacBook Pro instead of my iPad Pro. These times are typically when I need to do some development work, but also when I want to watch something on the TV.

I am not that artistic, so using the Apple Pencil for drawing is not something that I tend to do. Although using it for navigation is quite handy, as well as for playing some games.

This entire review, including uploading pictures, and editing all took place on the third-generation iPad Pro. There is one thing that did not take place on the iPad Pro was the stripping of the exif data from the photos. That was done on my Mac.

Price

There is one area that has not yet been tackled, the price of the new iPads. The new iPads are significantly more expensive than previous models. In fact, they are $220 more than the previous models, which is 20% higher. If you include Apple Care, that is an additional $30, or 30% higher. The Apple Pencil, likewise is $30 more, and also 30% higher. This means, that just to get the new iPad Pro, with Apple Care, and an Apple Pencil, you are going to spend $280 more, which is about 22% higher overall.

The increase in price though, is somewhat justified not just by the advances in technology, but also because the devices that are built now last significantly longer than in previous generations. In addition to this, the need to significantly improve with each generation is slightly diminished. It is not that each generation will not bring improvements, they will, but the need to upgrade to the new version with each release is not necessary. Besides not needing to update each to each new revision, the increased price is likely a deterrent for many. Next, let us briefly look at software on the iPad Pro.

Software

No matter how intricate a piece of hardware is, it does depend on software to operate. The iPad Pro absolutely depends on software, in particular iOS, for any operation.

Current Software

With the new iPad Pro and the new bezels, software will need to be recompiled before they will take full advantage of the new sizes. Software that has not been updated will show a black ring on all sides, both while using the software as well as when looking at all open applications.

Additionally, if you are using two applications in split view mode, and one of the applications has not been updated, then both will have black borders. This is because iOS cannot intuit the expected behavior of the previously compiled application. It will likely take a while for applications to be updated to take advantage of the new screen sizes. You can see a couple of examples below of how it will look if applications are not updated.

Future Software

Many people may use the idea of future software improvements as justifications for purchasing an iPad Pro. I would recommend against doing this, not just for the iPad, but for any piece of hardware. You cannot know the direction that software will take. It is best to make purchasing decisions based upon what the device can do now, and if the software does improve significantly, then its merely a bonus. That is not to say that software will not get improved, it will. But it should not be a primary motivation in a purchase decision.

Closing Thoughts

The third Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a solid update to the iPad Pro line. If you have a first generation iPad Pro and like the physical screen size, or if you are looking to upgrade from a 9.7-inch screen, you cannot go wrong with the third generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

If you do upgrade, you will enjoy the reduced physical size as well as the consistent bezels. The inclusion of Face ID does bring with it consistency between iOS devices, and signals that Touch ID is legacy and will eventually be phased out, likely within the next few years.

If you need a way to protect your new iPad Pro, the Smart Folio by Apple is not a bad way to go, particularly since it will cover the back of the iPad as well as the screen. The large number of magnets within the iPad, as well as the Smart Folio allows the cover to adhere to the iPad Pro without worrying about it sliding off.

The third-generation iPad Pro is a solid update. If you are coming from a first-generation iPad Pro, or earlier, you will really enjoy the speed as well the new features available. Pairing the iPad Pro with a No. 2 Apple Pencil will create a great portable computing environment that may be just what you need.

Categories
Apple iPad Pro

iPad Pro Availability for November 27th, 2018 (Evening)

Here is the iPad Pro availability for the iPad Pro. If you are looking to purchase an iPad Pro, or any accessories, for the holidays you will want to order now. The delivery dates are about a week outside of Christmas.

Changes for Apple

  • Wi-Fi Only – 64GB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 64GB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 64GB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Silver 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 64GB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Space Gray 11-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • Wi-Fi Only – 64GB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 64GB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 64GB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Silver 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 64GB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Space Gray 12.9-inch iPad Pro has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • 11-inch Smart Keyboard Folio has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio has changed from Dec 10 – Dec 13 to Dec 13 – Dec 18
  • Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) has changed from Dec 11 – Dec 14 to Dec 14 – Dec 19
  • 11-inch Pink Sand Smart Folio has changed from Tue, Nov 27 to Fri, Nov 30
  • 11-inch Charcoal Smart Folio has changed from Tue, Nov 27 to Fri, Nov 30
  • 11-inch White Smart Folio has changed from Tue, Nov 27 to Fri, Nov 30
  • 12.9-inch Charcoal Smart Folio has changed from Tue, Nov 27 to Fri, Nov 30
  • 12.9-inch White Smart Folio has changed from Tue, Nov 27 to Fri, Nov 30
11-inch iPad Pro
Wi-Fi Only 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19
Space Gray Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19
Wi-Fi + Cellular 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19
Space Gray Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19 Dec 14 – Dec 19
12.9-inch iPad Pro
Wi-Fi Only 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18
Space Gray Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18
Wi-Fi + Cellular 64GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Silver Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18
Space Gray Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18 Dec 13 – Dec 18
iPad Pro Accessories
Accessory Ships By
11-inch Smart Keyboard Folio Dec 13 – Dec 18
12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio Dec 13 – Dec 18
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) Dec 14 – Dec 19
11-inch Pink Sand Smart Folio Fri, Nov 30
11-inch Charcoal Smart Folio Fri, Nov 30
11-inch White Smart Folio Fri, Nov 30
12.9-inch Charcoal Smart Folio Fri, Nov 30
12.9-inch White Smart Folio Fri, Nov 30