iPad Pro 10.5 or 12.9 for academic use ?!?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by fb3, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. fb3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    #1
    Hi guys.

    On the fence about pulling the trigger for the new 10.5 or 12.9. They really triggered me :) !!!
    I'm kind of fully equipped (iMac at work & home (older models but OK), rMB for work on the go, iPad Air 1 for couching) but I really fancy the new iPPs as I always wanted to have the Apple Pen for note taking and annotating scientific papers.

    I'm a scientist and my top 3 uses for a iPP would be:
    - read new papers and take notes (on the paper margin, ideas, highlight stuff)
    - sketch illustrations that might become figures later (Affinity Designer et al.)
    - as a lab notebook/ ideas (GoodNotes or so)
    - occasional writing while on the go (Word, GDocs, Scrivener; but would probably shift to the rMB)
    - web search and the usual stuff

    My main concerns now are:
    1 Price: These things are expensive in Europe - at a minimum I'd need the Apple Pen and would probably go for the 256GB version for future proofing (128GB would be ideal I guess)... Do I really want the crazy expensive keyboard on top?
    2 Benefit for reading A4 sized Pdfs: I briefly saw a colleague use the original 12.9 and at that time it seemed crazy bulky; however I have the feeling that the 10.5 could compromize the reading of letter / A4 sized scientific articles as one has to zoom often I assume?
    3 Handling: The weight of the 12.9 is approaching the weight of the rMB and I cannot see myself comfortably holding that one or two-handed for a long time for reading? Anyone using the 12.9 in this way or is everyone using it as a laptop on a desk most of the time (connected to the keyboard)...

    Opinions? Anyone use them in their academic life (maybe not as a student but on the PostDoc level or up)?

    Cheers,
    fb3
     
  2. Dave245 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    #2
    I currently use a 12.9" iPad Pro 1st gen and for taking notes, drawing reading comics/newspapers, multitasking and so on it is a great device. I think for academic use the 12.9" would be great, i was at university in the UK a few years back and i had the iPad Air which to me wasn't enough screen estate to do everything i wanted, this was before the iPad Pro was introduced. If you plan on typing taking notes and writing up essay's and things i would say get the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

    They are expensive devices but they are also great devices in fact i think the iPad is easily the best tablet on the market and well worth the cost but that's just my personal opinion based on what i use my iPad Pro for at the moment, in fact i plan on upgrading to the iPad Pro second gen soon.

    I mainly use my iPad Pro in different places, i take it with me when I record podcasts with my co-creators, i use it around the house in different rooms, living room, office, bedroom and to me it isn't really that heavy.
     
  3. Tovenaar macrumors member

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #3
    I can't answer all your concerns but I can tell you that the 10.5" in portrait mode is too small for me to read A4 size pages for any lengthy period of time. It just causes too much eye strain. But rather than going to the bigger iPad, I prefer to read A4 pages with the iPad in landscape mode, reading half a page at a time.

    I haven't tried the bigger iPad but I've read that it's big enough to read an A4 page at close to 100% of its original size.
     
  4. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    #4
    Hm,

    thanks for your input. Another thought I had was if I should look out for a cheap used 12.9 first gen iPP as a trial device and see how I get along over time (size, bulk, apple pen for notes etc.) and eventually sell it again...? Have to check eBay what they are going for now...

    Not sure if this would get me a fair experience though as the new one is supposed to be so much nicer/ better (pen laf etc.)...

    Decisions, decisions...
     
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017

    T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
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    Denmark
    #5
    1. The price is really up to you to assess (Edit: Not asses :p). But personally, if you write a lot, a hardware keyboard is a must. YMMV of course. A keyboard will add to the weight of what you choose of course.

    2. I have a 9.7" iPad, and I find it perfectly fine for reading scientific manuscripts/articles. You zoom often and move around, but then again, it almost A4 sized, so its not a lot. And it is never something you think about anyway, so I consider it a non-issue. I could imagine that I would prefer a ~10" screen over the 12.9" screen just for reading, since it is smaller and lighter, and the larger size of the latter and added weight, doesn't make up for the zooming. Of course, if you have really bad eyes, you'd likely have to zoom on both anyway. And for blowing up small figures, again, zoom on both.

    I'd recommend you go down to your local store and download a scientific article and read a few minutes, and handle the iPads at the same time, and see what fits you.
     
  6. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #6
    @Tovenaar good point about landscape mode... Problem is that often papers are two column layout which makes for a lot of up and down scrolling ;-)
    --- Post Merged, Jun 20, 2017 ---
    Yeah, my gut feeling was that the 10.5 might be just large enough (landscape, zooming) as I cannot really envision holding the 12.9 in hand most of the time. I had an OK experience using Papers3 on my iPad Air for PDF reading, but it was not really perfect (also, the software is kind of laggy). Plus, I really missed annotating the PDFs (that's my main reason why I would want an iPP I guess)...
    Overall, I think I would not use it as a laptop replacement much (I quite like my rMB for typing and I still need it for data analysis and coding anyways).

    Thanks for your opinions guys!
     
  7. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #7
    Oh yeah, I should mention I *always* read in landscape mode.
     
  8. Sprack Daddy macrumors newbie

    Sprack Daddy

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    Jan 7, 2012
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    #8
    This is how I felt also. I am a third year Postdoc moving from iPad Air 2 to iPP 10.5. I primarily use my current iPad for reading papers, manuscript drafts, searching pubmed, etc. while on couch, traveling, or just away from my laptop/desktop. I have been eyeing an Apple Pencil for a long time now. That and some of the new features in iOS 11 look good enough to compel me to upgrade. I am hoping that I find the pencil useful for hand written notes in weekly meetings, at conferences, and for drawing/sketching ideas and artwork for figures in papers and posters.
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #9
    I found the 10.5" to be (for my needs) a great form factor. It offers a nice mixture of large size, but still being fairly portable. I wanted the 12.9" when it first came out, but the bulkiness of that iPad prevented me from buying it. I felt as a tablet it was unwieldy but nonetheless gorgeous. The new 10.5 gave not only a small bump in size, but other improvements that really pushed that tablet into the buy column for me. I think you'll be happy with either or, but its my opinion that the 10.5 checks off more of your needs and being light/portable.
     
  10. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #10
    Now @SprackDaddy, this could have been written by me. Pretty much exact same needs!

    Current gut feeling: iPP 10.5", Apple Pencil, no ASK for now, GoodNotes, Affinity Designer (hopefully soon), Papers3

    If there would be a Back2School or other EDU event soon it's almost an instant purchase for me ;-) Prices are tought if it's just a big _WANT_ and not a real _NEED_ ;-) haha
     
  11. Sprack Daddy macrumors newbie

    Sprack Daddy

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    #11
    I was actually going to mention Papers earlier too! It is a pretty solid app, and in my opinion, a must have for library management. The ability to sync libraries between "mobile" devices like the iPad and my main machine (15 inch MBP) is amazing.
     
  12. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #12
    Re: Papers3

    Yes, however it seems almost dead - no development for over a year after their buyout. Big fan previously (esp. on the Macs with Dropbox sync), now I fear for the worst... Searching for a comparable replacement (Mac& iPad) once they go full ReadCube/ subscription

    Also: do you use it with the Apple Pencil on the iPP? How do annotations on PDFs work? Good, bad, or not at all?
     
  13. Sprack Daddy macrumors newbie

    Sprack Daddy

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    #13
    I just ordered my iPP yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to try it with anything yet. Honestly, I don't even know to what extent it might or might not support the pencil. I was also unaware that Papers had been bought out. I was just thinking to myself the other day, "I am surprised that I haven't seen an email urging me to upgrade to Papers4 yet"--guess that explains why. Too bad really.
     
  14. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #14
    Ordered the 10.5” 256 cellular + pen today :) couldn‘t resist the temptation any longer

    Let’s see how it goes. Can’t wait... about 1-2 weeks before delivery though
     
  15. gmillz22 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2011
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    New York
    #15
    No apple stores nearby to check stock of? In my area we had every color, size and capacity available to walk in and out with.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 22, 2017 ---
    Missing an s there. Reading quickly i would’ve sworn you were calling OP and others @$$es lol I’m with you on the going to the store and checking it out point.
     
  16. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
  17. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #17
    Seems the 256gb models are in great demand in germany...?

    Anyways,
    Can’t wait
     
  18. iPadified macrumors member

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    Apr 25, 2017
    #18
    I am sure you will be quite happy with 10.5 for the academic use. I use a 12.9, often in landscape, but then I am 40+ and eye sight get naturally a little poorer with age. I have no issues with portability as I always have a desk closeby to rest the iPad on. I annotate student reports in portait mode becuase reports typically have large fonts compared to those found in scientific articles. For labwork, 10.5 is likely a better solutions due to its smaller footprint.

    It is also agreat device in teaching/supervisor situation as it works like a block of paper that you can sketch out ideas on and then mail to students.

    If you use Mendeley, I can recommand Papership as it has better annotations tools compared to Mendeleys own iPad app. Do not expect to use reference manager software for writing scientific articles on the iPad.
     
  19. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #19
    Yeah, I do not really expect much in this regard. Maybe IOS 11 will change things up regarding App integration? Hope developers see the need and jump at it... Must be quite a market! Apple at universities in Germany is not as big as in the States, but much more established than in the general public here... Esp. MB, MBP but also iPads
     
  20. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

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    Los Angeles
    #20
    I really don't think you need iPP because you already have a rMB, unless you are planning to sell this one.
     
  21. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #21
    I'm in the fine position that the rMB is from work, so no need/ way to sell it ;-). Also, I still need it to code, and do data analysis...

    Just want an interactive device to annotate, sketch, scribble on pdfs etc. with on the go light office/ email stuff plus my couching needs...

    I'm aware that at times I will have to carry both or decide upfront if I will need to do rMB specifically stuff (read code) so that kind of sucks but no way around it (also, surface is not an option in any way for me).
     
  22. va1984 macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2011
    #22
    I am an academic and I have been using iPad Pro 12.9 as a main computer since it first launched and I am now running the second version -- there was a brief and unrewarding return to the Mac in between the first and second generation. In my opinion the 12.9 is hard to beat for annotating. That said, I have a 9.7 Pro around as well for when I don't need to do any serious work.
    Most PDFs will be a little squeezed on the 10.5 and 9.7 (I tried the 10.5 for a week, sent it back, as I couldn't justify upgrading the still-great 9.7 Pro). Landscape mode is no good for academic journals, of course, because -- as you said -- it involves a lot of scrolling. Also, if you use an app like Liquid Text, which was designed for the 12.9 screen, you're really going to appreciate the space to take notes.

    I currently use Papers 3 but I am a very unhappy customer. Since they were bought by Read Cube they stopped updating the app -- it still doesn't support Split View, which is ridiculous, since it would work just great in 2/3 Split landscape on the 12.9 iPad. I hope at least the transition to Read Cube goes through quickly. The academic note taking world has not been the same since Micheal of Third Street Software abandoned Sente, which used to be by far the best reference manager for Mac/iOS until a couple of years ago.
    Mendeley is Elsevier, and you probably know what I mean, and sadly PaperShip, which tried hard to make Mendeley useful on an iPad, has also been bought up by Elsevier and abandoned. It's not a pretty picture, at the moment: the iPad Pro 12.9 is the definitive tool for academic research and annotation, but the software scene is in a complete mess.
     
  23. fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #23
    thanks @va1984

    My thing is that unfortunately I cannot fully drop my rMB for commuting on the go since I need Python, C++, netcdf and all other kinds of stuff (well do not need it, I do have HPC and an iMac too, but I couldn't do it on the go).

    I guess I will try the 12.9 in a store and eventually return the 10.9 if I feel PDF annotation and notes is so much better.

    So currently what happens when you use Papers3? It simply always takes full screen? Can you somehow send a PDF to another app without losing the library sync for annotations?
     
  24. va1984 macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2011
    #24

    Do try the 12.9 at some point, but my obvious disclaimer is that I sing its praises as a main computer. If I also had a laptop with me then the use case would be different. I personally have taken to only using the 12.9 in the office and when working in other locations, because I enjoy the fast transition from a "pencil-in-hand" mode to a typing-mode, and the size of the screen enables me to have Ulysses and a PDF app both at good enough sizes. But if you have a laptop next to you, this is may not apply to you.

    Yes: Papers 3 right now takes the whole screen, which on the 12.9 is frustrating. You can slide an app over for a quick peek, but not properly multitask. For some academic journals that print (or used to print) in a larger format, the 12.9 in portrait actually works well - it's like an A4 sheet of paper. For anything else (book scans in particular), I use the 2-page view option in Papers 3 in landscape mode. It's also a nice layout. Still, I am so frustrated with the way Papers app has never bothered with Split View, I have been poking them on twitter about it for a good while...
     
  25. fb3, Jun 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017

    fb3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2017
    #25
    I too cannot believe how they dropped the ball twice. Suffered through the Papers2 - Papers3 transition travesty, was an very early user and it seemed they finally nailed it on the Mac after a full year P3 (well sorted sync to the iPad). And then they sell and nothing happens any more? So much potential! If they force me to a ridiculous Readcube subscription I will cry!

    Also, if you don't mind: do notes on Papers3 PDFs work nice or is this problematic, too?

    Also also, I'm currently watching all LiquidText videos I can find! Wow! I actually discussed something like this way back briefly in the old Papers forums. I have to check this out 8-D
     

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