The world of computing is changing. No longer are you bound to a traditional desktop PC with one or more big monitors in order to actually get any real work done, because you can accomplish so much on the go with suitably equipped mobile devices. And we’re not just talking about regular old laptops either, because convertible tablets have become the name of the new productivity game.
Heavily following in the path paved forth by devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro series, the Apple iPad Pro is described as thin, light and “epic.” No longer can you assume that OS X is for productivity and iOS is for consumption, because you really can accomplish something with the iPad Pro. You just need to outfit it the right way.
True Side-By-Side Multitasking
In many ways, the new iPad Pro really is just a giant iPad. As such, it only makes sense to maximize your usage of that giant screen by splitting it in half. Even though the 12.9-inch Retina display (2732 x 2048 pixels) is only about three inches larger than the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, this represents 78% more display. More notably, half the width of an iPad Pro is exactly the height of an iPad Air 2, so this is as close to having two iPads stuck side-by-side as you’re going to get without actually sticking two iPads side by side. It’s easy enough to tap and slide to adjust the relative window size too, making multitasking a breeze. Jot notes while watching a YouTube video or schedule a tweet while referencing a news article.
Draw with the Apple Pencil
One of the two main accessories announced alongside the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil is one big stylus to go with one big iPad. It’s easy to scoff and ignore this item, but the $99 Pencil is far and away the best stylus you can get for your Apple tablet. It offers incredibly low latency input, tilt support and hundreds of points of pressure sensitivity. You charge it via the Lightning port on your iPad Pro for only a few minutes every few days. Several apps, including Paper and Procreate 3 have already been adapted to support Pencil. This is the accessory for visual creatives and for people who love taking handwritten notes.
Must Have: Smart Keyboard
Not everyone is going to want the Apple Pencil, but everyone who picks up an iPad Pro will need to get the $169 Smart Keyboard. Doubling as a cover for your iPad, the Smart Keyboard still gives that folding triangle stand, but it has a flip out keyboard with comfortable key travel and practically no latency. Since it uses the new smart connector for two-way power and data transfer, the Smart Keyboard never needs to be charged and it will be thinner than any Bluetooth alternative you can find. This clearly borrows another page out of Microsoft’s Surface playbook and for good reason.
Get Microsoft Office
Speaking of Microsoft, if you plan on getting your real work done on the iPad Pro, then you’ll need to pick up Microsoft Office for iPad too. It has also been optimized to work with the bigger tablet, including Slide Over for multi-tasking (perfect for OneNote notes while giving a PowerPoint presentation) and “inking” support for on-page annotations using the Apple Pencil. There’s even shape recognition in PowerPoint. The sacrifices of “downgrading” from a full desktop version of Office to the mobile version for tablets are getting fewer and further between, especially when the iPad version has features the desktop version does not.
Replace Your Laptop Without Decreasing Performance
That’s the real argument here. For most business people, it’s unlikely that the iPad Pro will become their primary computer of choice. The desktop with multiple monitors still has its place. However, for productivity on the go, the iPad Pro (with a Smart Keyboard) offers a compelling option. The faster A9X processor (dual core 2.15GHz) and 4GB of RAM make it a powerhouse in a portable package that will still last as much as 10 hours on a single charge.
As a productivity workhorse, a 32GB iPad Pro for $799 will definitely have a harder time cutting the mustard. It’s unfortunate that there is no 64GB “Golidlocks” option, so you’ll need to pony up $949 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model or $1079 for the one with cellular. Is it enough to replace your MacBook Air? That’s up to you and your IT department to decide.
Image credit: Apple