The first day the iPad came out, I went to the original Apple store in downtown Palo Alto. I sprinted through the front door and snuck my small head through the crowds of bodies to hold this bowed, aluminum-backed, massive canvas of a device. It was the first truly new Apple product that I watched the keynote for as it launched, and I was beyond ecstatic to make the argument to my dad why we(well really he) had to buy it.
But, in the near ten years of iPads being released annually, I hadn’t really jumped into getting one. It wasn’t just that it isn’t cheap, but I felt like it was a device that I could accomplish the same tasks I could on my phone or laptop. I thought a 9.7-inch media streaming device would be great, but I just saw it as that.
However, I think that’s changed.
A few months ago, I picked up the new iPad Pro 11” as a birthday gift on a significant Amazon discount and it’s accompanying keyboard, with my friends chipping in to get me the pencil.
For about two months straight, I did not take my laptop to school (for reference, I use a mid-2015 Retina MacBook Pro 15”, the last generation before the Thunderbolt 3 refresh). My high school relies heavily on tech, but every single thing we did in class was feasible on an iPad. Google Classroom, Drive, emails, and note-taking are all I really did on a daily basis. This machine blazed through every single task without any issues. While I run many windows and tabs on Chrome on my Mac and it chugs through everything, I haven’t had a single slow down or freeze.
The biggest thing I really appreciated with the iPad Pro though was the weight reduction. Going from a 5 lb laptop with a pound charger down to a pound overall with the iPad and accessories and charger is game-changing. I’d sometimes just check my backpack at school and worry I left something at home because of how much lighter my backpack got using this device. With it taking less space and weighing significantly less, I got to take my camera around more often since it wasn’t as much of an inconvenience.
Another factor in this equation that I didn’t anticipate was how much I enjoy typing and writing with the iPad Pro. I am always for more travel on keys (why I’ll be keeping my current laptop until there’s a better Mac keyboard). But this Keyboard Folio, however overpriced it is, is a solid typing experience. I wrote a significant chunk of my final paper for AP Literature with this, written a few blog posts (including this one), and gone through numerous article drafts without any complaints. On the pencil side of things, I’ll say that although it hasn’t replaced my Muji notebook and pens for daily jot-downs, the organization for classes like AP Stats was infinitely better having digital handwritten notes. Usually, I hand write all my notes, so having digital organization on top of a solid writing experience has been a nice upgrade.
Every single significant critique I had about the iPad Pro were almost singlehandedly corrected last week at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). They announced iPadOS, built on iOS 13, which establishes the iPad as its own true platform. Widgets, external storage support, possible mouse support (via accessibility), desktop-esque browsing with download management, split screen with the same app, sidecar multitasking. I could go on and on about all the further changes that I am so glad to have arrived, but those are the ones that I was looking for the most. If Apple is able to further continue to flesh out the platform, who knows where this will take the iPad Pro with consumers.
Yes, I still edit videos on my Mac, and yes for extended writing, I may go to my Mac. But, that isn’t a regular part of my schedule. For everyday use, for the tasks I need to work through, the iPad Pro does all of these things incredibly well. For the majority of people, when iPadOS releases in the fall, an iPad could replace your laptop completely. Aside from the high upfront cost, this new iPad Pro is truly the best refresh to an Apple device in years. I’ll be bringing my laptop to college, but I imagine it will be spending a lot of time sitting on my desk next year because of this incredible piece of tech.
Being Noah Tesfaye #85: The iPad Pro is Close to Replacing My Laptop as a Student
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