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iPad Pro iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard - review and use cases

Pangalactic

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 28, 2016
460
1,047
So, I’ve been using the iPad Pro with a magic keyboard for a while (along with the latest Dell XPS 15) as a duo combination. I mostly do financial and communication work, so this review won’t be touching on any creative / drawing / artist aspects. This is an iPad-as-a-laptop-replacement / companion review.

First, what I found the iPad Pro to be really good at:

1) On-the-go task and productivity manager. The iPad Pro combines the benefits of a mobile OS with a great keyboard and does a wonderful job at it: it has a great home view, a ton of productivity apps that are miles better than anything on Windows (or MacOS for that matter), a great Google Calendar application that again none of the systems have, much better notifications and reminders and so on. I usually place it alongside my laptop and use it to manage my day, plan projects and so on, works wonders.

2) Second display. I do a lot of “Look at something and then make it into an excel spreadsheet” work, and I’ve never liked the splitscreen view, even on a 15’’ laptop. With the iPad, I open the PDF or a web page on it, and do the main work on the laptop. Very nice and convenient (and also works great for online courses, where you watch the lectures while exploring a video editor at the same time, for example)

3) Mobile banking or investments. I never though about this before, but doing any financial transactions is great on an iPad (especially if you have a lot of them) - logging in with FaceID is a lot more convenient than laptop passwords or even Touch ID, and the apps are usually much more convenient than the banking websites.

4) On-the-go video watching or book reading or music listening. Pretty obvious, nothing really to add here, everything is great.

5) LTE on the go. Not really that useful in offices or at home, but in airports or on trains it’s wonderful, and I wish more laptops would go with the LTE options.

6) The touchscreen. I don’t think it’s that good on larger laptops (like my 15’’), but on the 11’’ it’s very convenient because it’s so close to your hands. I’ve been using it a lot in desktop mode and it’s definitely better that just keyboard and mouse for this form factor.
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Now for the things that I’ve disliked on the IPad Pro:

1) A lot of the apps are not optimized for the keyboard usage at all. Some are just annoying like:
Space bar doesn’t pause in the YouTube App
Can’t start typing in chrome when you open a new tab right away, instead you have to click on it
Can’t rearrange tabs in chrome
The right click menu takes a while to load up an is very bare-bones

And so on.

On the other hands, some of the apps are completely unusable, like instagram, which still cannot load up in horizontal mode (!!!) and certain news sites. Obviously its the developers fault and not Apple, but still.

2) The iOS file system. Let’s be honest, it’s terrible. It has abysmal file management on the iPad itself, and makes you rely solely on the Google Drives and Dropboxes (which for some apps are still not functioning properly).

3) The keyboard keys. Specifically, it for some reason iPad Pro foregoes ESC, any volume controls, screen brightness and so on, which I think would be great to have right there at your fingertips. Still, not really a big deal. The keyboard itself by the way is great and typing on it is very enjoyable.

4) The productivity apps - Excel, Word and so on. Decent for occasional work or simple corrections, but definitely not even close to what the desktops have to offer. I really hope they’ll be brought up to the level of Windows apps at some point in the future.


Overall, I definitely don’t see the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. Where I think it really shines is being a companion device that you use alongside your computer or on its own when you need to be mobile, and I think it fills that role fantastically.
 

ejin222

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
417
244
#1 and #4 are developer issues. We’ve had those same issues for a while. If the developers would give us more desktop quality apps, I would be able to forgive #2 and #3. I mean, I still love my iPad Pro and MK, but it’ll never be the first thing I grab when I really need to do work... yet.
 
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AutomaticApple

macrumors 601
Nov 28, 2018
4,998
1,939
Massachusetts
4) The productivity apps - Excel, Word and so on. Decent for occasional work or simple corrections, but definitely not even close to what the desktops have to offer. I really hope they’ll be brought up to the level of Windows apps at some point in the future.
Microsoft plans on updating Microsoft Office to support the Magic Keyboard sometime this year.
 
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KittyKatta

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2011
800
648
SoCal
Overall, I definitely don’t see the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. Where I think it really shines is being a companion device that you use alongside your computer or on its own when you need to be mobile, and I think it fills that role fantastically.
What size iPad do you use?

For me, I bought the 12.9 Magic Keyboard and hated it. But recently bought it for the 11" and like it much more.

For me, the difference came to the purpose of the device. Personally, I feel like Apple isn't allowing the 12.9 to reach its Pro potential (with missing Pro apps, reliance on truncated 3rd party apps, file system, multitasking, etc). So the keyboard felt like yet another instance of Apple marketing to Pros but ignoring Pro needs (f-keys, esc, durable materials).

Now that we have an pro11 "tablet sized tablet" then my opinion has changed. I dont expect a heavy reliance on pro tasks so missing keys or ignored apps aren't as big a deal. Also, the weight and horrible material choices feels more reasonable on a "lighter" device.

So for me then I like the Magic Keyboard concept but I guess my thinking is that if theyre making it for a big pro machine then it shouldnt sacrifice on features.
 
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Pangalactic

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 28, 2016
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What size iPad do you use?

For me, I bought the 12.9 Magic Keyboard and hated it. But recently bought it for the 11" and like it much more.
Yeah, I'm totally on the 11'' bandwagon. The 12.9'' is so big you might use a laptop instead and get all its benefits.


I feel like Apple isn't allowing the 12.9 to reach its Pro potential


That is true is well, I don't think neither Apple nor the Devs are putting a lot of effort into the iPad Pro. It feels like it's almost there in a lot of ways...until you see the watered-down applications, a lot of iOS limitations, a keyboard with limited functionality and so on.
 
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