The 2018 iPad Pro Dazzles -- Can it Finally Replace the Laptop?

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Drawing on the design aesthetic of the iPhone X, Apple’s latest iPad iPro is a thing of beauty — featuring an edge to edge display and Face ID to unlock. Under the hood, too, the new iPad Pro is impressive, with a powerful processor capable of outpacing many contemporary full-sized computers. But has it reached the “holy grail” point yearned for by many creatives and working professionals of becoming a full laptop replacement? Feedback is still mixed!

On the plus side, the iPad Pro offers all of the sleekness of an iPhone X, with the firepower of a MacBook Pro. It comes in 2 screen sizes, 11” and 12.9” (the latter of which has a much smaller form factor than the previous model, while maintaining its display size), allowing you to pick the device best suited to your work style. In conjunction with Apple’s newly redesigned Apple Pencil 2 (which can recharge magnetically on top of the iPad rather than plugged into the bottom) and the latest Apple Smart Keyboard connecting seamlessly and requiring no recharging, this latest tablet can truly be an effective productivity machine.

Initial reviews of the Pro have been spectacular among artists, creatives, and designers alike — though many working professionals are saying that the limitations of iPad’s OS prevents them from feeling 100% comfortable to to make the “ultimate” productivity switch that many have been yearning for — to ditch the laptop and go “full iPad.”

Last year, I tried a “tech experiment” where I took a (10.5” 2017) iPad Pro with me everywhere and left my laptop at home. After a couple of months of working with it, I could comfortably recommend it for doing most of what the majority of folks will want to do on a laptop, including:

  • email, word processing & writing (when keyboard is connected)

  • web surfing

  • watching shows & movies

  • taking & editing photos/videos

  • drawing & creating digital art (with Apple Pencil)

Like other professionals who attempted this, however, I also ran into some predictable snags as a result of iPad’s somewhat limited OS:

  • running apps side-by-side — although iOS 11 introduced split screen for iPad, this still feels slow compared to MacOS and multiple windows are not possible

  • managing & organizing files — again, the introduction of the Files app made this easier, but it’s still cumbersome compared to Finder

  • selecting on-screen items without touch — perhaps one of the biggest productivity downsides is the need to use a finger or stylus, rather than adding mouse support

  • spreadsheets — somewhat painful and tedious to do on a smaller screen without a mouse

  • handling more complicated workflows with digital media — reliance on the Photos app can hobble those who need more complicated digital media workflows

All in all, folks are saying that the iPad Pro is by far the very best tablet money can buy — however at the end of the day it’s still a tablet, and as of yet not ready to be a true laptop replacement.

If you are considering getting an iPad for work or personal use and are curious about what might be the best choice for your work-flow, feel free to reach out and we can discuss!