iPad Getting rid of Surface Pro 4 for iPad Pro 9.7"

Discussion in 'iPad' started by KOTULCN, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. KOTULCN, Aug 13, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016

    KOTULCN macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    Let me start this off by stating I'm deeply invested in Apple's ecosystem; four iPhones, an iPad 4th generation, '13 27" iMac and a 2015 MBP. I also use a reconditioned HP as a Linux box.

    Last semester I decided to buy a Surface Pro 4 (i5/128gb) solely for note taking in class. For the most part it worked for my needs except for frequent hard restarts due to Windows 10 issues. Since I gave up my iPad Mini 2 for SP4 I can say that the Surface is flat out garbage as a tablet. No matter how I adjusted usage the device, it was just not comfortable.

    I toyed with iPad Pros both sizes at the store and I felt the 12" version would be just as unwieldy as my Surface. The smaller iPad Pro (9.7") was just really more comfortable to use.

    This gets me back to my intended use. Back in November last year Apple did not have Pencil so the SP4's pen made sense. I mean the device, for me, was intended to replace several notebooks for college note taking. I decided to go the Microsoft route.

    During the semester I encountered multiple issues from the universities Cisco NAC agent, to having to force restart the SP4 even after utilizing the community workaround. This just made note taking that much more cumbersome.

    I recently had a friend ask me if I'd be willing to trade him my SP4 with extra keyboard ($150) for his 128gb iPad Pro LTE with some case.

    After thinking about how invested I am in 's ecosystem I have decided to trade him. I will be gaining a SG iPad Pro 9.7", an Apple Pencil, and some incipio case. I will be losing the extended BB warranty (valid until 12-17). I'm hoping the iPad Pro will be more user friendly and the note taking function will at least meet what I had with the SP4.

    One thing I'm not excited about is the non-eraser with a the  Pencil, hopefully they release a revised version with a similar function as the one on the Surface Pen.

    Do any of you use the iPad Pro for note taking? If so how does the Pencils tip perform compared to writing on paper with a real pencil. M$ added different tips to reduce drag and simulate a more natural pencil-in-paper feel which I like and I'm hoping Apple will too!
  2. Pyxus macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2010
    I use the Pro 13" to take notes and annotate PDFs - with a matte screen protector, it feels very much like pen & paper. Overall experience is better than Surface Pro 3. OneNote works really well - although not as complete as on SP3.
    Hope this helps.
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    I still prefer old school pen and notebook to take notes. Or I just use iPhone to type on it. iPad Pro is too expensive for me. Tried Apple Pencil and it is great. But $99 per Pencil is also too expensive.
    Writing feeling on iPad Pro is similar to the case when writing on, what should I say, whiteboard. Not that similar to the feeling of writing on paper.
  4. KOTULCN thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012

    That's where M$ came through. They released a tip kit which has 4 tips with varying resistance. I preferred the #2HB tip. I'm hoping Apple offers more Pencil tips for those of us that prefer a different wring experience. That's also why I am hesitant to trade my SP4 whose sole purpose is for note taking for the iPad Pro which has the added benefit of being a comfortable tablet to use.
  5. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    But based on current Apple Pencil shape, Apple would not provide multiple tips like Microsoft does, on their surface pen.
    Eraser feature also renders surface pen more like a real pencil, not just a stylus. This is what I don't like on Apple Pencil.
  6. SDColorado Contributor


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    I have been kind of digging Notability. Perhaps I should have another, deeper, look at One Note. Goodnotes 4 also looks interesting.

    The good news is that there are choices and you should be able to find something that works well for you.
  7. Beavix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2010
    Writing on an iPad is like writing with plastic on glass. Much different than pencil on paper.
  8. Forchaza macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2012
    I use Notes Plus when I take notes, it's has pretty good handwriting recognition and also allows audio notes to be recorded, certainly worth a try. Taking notes on the iPad feels a bit strange at first but you'll get use to it pretty quick.
  9. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Jun 6, 2015
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    I admit I do this too. But then I "scan" them into my 6s+ with the Scanner Pro app. Save as pdf to iCloud.
  10. jrs22 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2012
    I think most people get used to the feel of the Apple Pencil on the glass screen very quickly because the writing experience is so smooth. The tips are removable and replaceable, which is essential because they can wear out or meet with an accident, so I suppose that Apple could introduce variations in the future.

    I wouldn't want a built in eraser tip. I would worry about dropping the pencil on the screen when flipping it. I do miss the undo button on my old Bluetooth stylus. Any of the note taking apps has an easy way to erase or undo, which is more than you have with a pen.

    The different apps have different strengths. I use notability because my notes automatically sync via iCloud so they're also available on my MacBook Pro and iPod touch. There were several long threads about note taking a while back. I could never return to paper and pencil for note taking after upgrading to the pro.
  11. geemiller05 macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2011
    New York
    +1 for notability. Best handwriting app I've used. iCloud syncing works wonderfully.
  12. specialk0449 macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Notability is my note taking app of choice. I purchased good notes, notes plus and onenote (it was free) and tried them all out. There is an eraser function built in to each note taking app. It only takes a second to switch it on and then back to the pen function when you are finished. As added benefit you will be able to view and/or update your notes on your iPhone or your MacBook.
  13. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    I use OneNote on multiple devices (iPad Pro 12.9, iPad Mini 4, Dell Venue Pro 8, and Surface Pro 3 [with the Surface Pro 4 Pen] - among others).

    For writing notes (and drawing) I absolutely LOVE the Apple Pencil. I admit - the SP4 pen is super nice and it does rival the Apple Pencil for feel while writing, but for me the Apple Pencil is FAR more comfortable in my hand. Personally I prefer the Apple Pencil and love the way it writes - but I have to give props to Microsoft for continuously improving their stylus (the eraser even works on my SP3!).
  14. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    OneNote on windows desktop is actually a fantastic touch app. It is very customisable to show custom tools in the window bar that makes it efficient for me to swap out pen looks, make shapes, get erasure, etc. OneNote modern or touch is far less developed and is distributed as a freebee.

    I wanted to love the pencil--but i was very put off by the tappy noise of the hard plastic tip. I found the latency claims of the pencil relative to the surface pro pen to be overblown--in similar softwares they performed similarly (sketchbook pro). I found both the pencil and sp pen easy to hold and work with.

    I think the oneNote engine could be improved--it draws in a hybrid vector format and seems to have some resolution/speed issues. I have small fast handwriting. Nitpicking--works great 99 percent of the time
  15. mrex macrumors 68040


    Jul 16, 2014

    i have mbpr, iphone, ipad, atv... and i can use windows and android.

    the question is, are you really willing to replace a full computer by a consumption device?
  16. Michael Goff Suspended

    Michael Goff

    Jul 5, 2012
    The Apple Pencil makes me think more of this:

    No eraser on art pencils.
  17. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    I really find the click option on surface pen or a menu tap easier than flipping the pen. That microsoft set up
    an erasure top in SP4 just seemed retarded to me. I think a majority like the eraser top analogy, but clicking is
    much faster
  18. KOTULCN thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    The SP4 just doesn't work as a tablet and I purchased it with the intention of using both for handwritten notes as well as a tablet. Computers are consumable devices in almost any regard unless it's custom built.

    The setting in OneNote for Windows allows you to erase incrementally like a normal eraser. Unfortunately on iOS it only removed large chunks. For this reason I prefer Notability which has the incremental erase function. The reason why I like the flip to top and erase is because using the pen tip causes extra wear on the tip, reducing life of tip...they do wear out. I am hoping Apple releases a revised Pencil next month but I'm not holding my breath.
  19. jouster macrumors 65816

    Jan 21, 2002
    Is there any way, on either device, to have the paper scroll up as you write? I hate having to move my hand down the page on real paper, because my handwriting deteriorates. I would love to be able to constantly write on the top line.
  20. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    So, perhaps they get the idea from this, thus don't include eraser on their Apple Pencil. Which implies iPad Pro is best for creators and artists.
  21. Michael Goff Suspended

    Michael Goff

    Jul 5, 2012
    At least it implies that the pencil is best for artists.
  22. iMi macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    Very interesting to read the comments on this tread. I have just recently purchased the Surface Pro 4 and absolutely love it, but I am in the same boat as the OP - heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. Yet, I am finding myself using the Surface more and more. I split the use about 50/50 as laptop and in tablet mode. I found the versatility very solid in both modes. Now that I am getting used to Windows 10 (Anniversary) everything is falling in place for me. I haven't touch my iPad since I got the Surface. A really solid device.

    Back in the day when I was in grad school, I used word with audio recording to take notes and record lectures. All on a MacBook, of course. That worked really well for me. Today I love OneNote and use it everyday with the pen. I scribble notes on it and have gotten rid of the paper notebook. I would take my old school notebook to meetings but it was completely unsecure. If I were to leave the notebook behind, someone would have access to trade information and proprietary info. In fact, someone would be able to see notes I've taken from meetings with their competitors - not good (I'm a consultant). This is much more secure and more convenient. I love it.
  23. KOTULCN thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    I liked taking notes on my SP4 but there were many times that it wouldn't come out of sleep or had to be force restarted. The thing that really bothered me about tablet mode is having to click the keyboard icon to bring up the onscreen keyboard when entering a text box. The Surface is also awkward to hold in tablet mode.

    I had the i5/128gb model with 4gb's of memory yet that 4gigs of ram seemed lacking a lot of times because it was running an entire desktop OS. I like taking handwritten notes vs typing them and learning to do it proficiently on a computer/tablet gets some getting used to. The Surface Pen is far superior to the Apple Pencil IMO now but I've only had the Pencil for a few days.

    Since I carry my laptop with me everyday the added weight of carrying a Surface is also less than ideal, the iPad Pro 9.7" weighs less and is ready to go at all times. If I were to have had a similarly equipped SP4 like my MBP(i7/16gb/1tb) I'm sure it could have been more useful but than again it's running Windows 10, not OSX/macOS. I tried running a Linux through a VM but the hiDPI settings never worked correctly enough to be useful.
  24. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    I bought my ipad pro as well just for notes taking and reading all the digital books that we get in university. I use GoodNotes for note taking, but Notability is at least just as good with some more features.
    I also like to use the Readdle bunch; documents, PDF Expert 5, scanner etc.
    Documents might replace even GoodNotes and Notability as they updated it and it is much better at handwriting and preventing unintentional writing with your hand. Handwriting looks much more smooth as well.

    When I bought it I intended to use it just for university, but it has become my main machine, using it on the road, using it with clients, writing text, reading books and sometimes comics, watching online television. My MBP never leaves the desk and only when I need to do some extensive spreadsheets or OCR really large PDF's I turn to my MBP.
  25. iMi macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2014
    Interesting. At first, I had the same problem and thought it was a bug. It turns out that the keyboard will not pop up automatically unless you are in the tablet mode. With the tablet mode switched off, the keyboard has to be manually selected the way you described. It makes sense though. Because if you are in the non-tablet mode then you really don't want the onscreen keyboard to pop up. That would be annoying. In tablet mode, the keyboard shows up automatically.

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