Thursday, September 10, 2015

iPad Pro

Jason Snell:

In the hands-on area, I also got to type on the Smart Keyboard as well as the iPad Pro’s own on-screen keyboard. The iPad Pro’s screen is so large, the on-screen keyboard is practically a full-sized keyboard on its own, complete with a number/symbol row. There’s even a Tab key. If I focused really hard on my fingers, I found that I could type on the keyboard at a blistering pace.

The Smart Keyboard seems great for what it is, which is a keyboard so small and thin that you can carry it with you everywhere and use it as a screen protector. The keys move, a little, and it’s a comfort to feel real key caps.

John Gruber:

As with other iPads and iPhones, Apple won’t talk about RAM, even though developers will be able to find out as soon as they get their hands on them. If we were to wager on the amount of RAM in iPad Pro, my bet would be 4 GB. And I would wager very heavily.

To me, the interesting part of the iPad Pro is the Apple Pencil. If you aren’t using that, it seems like a tweener for many uses. Ergonomically, the smaller iPads would be better for reading, and a MacBook would be better for productivity. But what a screen!

Update (2015-09-10): Ben Thompson:

Cook’s assumption is that the iPad problem is Apple’s problem, and given that Apple is a company that makes hardware products, Cook’s solution is, well, a new product.


That, then, means that Cook’s conclusion that Apple could best improve the iPad by making a new product isn’t quite right: Apple could best improve the iPad by making it a better platform for developers. Specifically, being a great platform for developers is about more than having a well-developed SDK, or an App Store: what is most important is ensuring that said developers have access to sustainable business models that justify building the sort of complicated apps that transform the iPad’s glass into something indispensable.

Emanuel Sa:

But the biggest problem is the platform. Apps on iOS sell for unsustainably low prices due to the lack of trials. We cannot port Sketch to the iPad if we have no reasonable expectation of earning back on our investment. Maintaining an application on two different platforms and provide one of them for a 10th of it’s value won’t work, and iPad volumes are low enough to disqualify the “make it up in volume” argument.

Linda Dong (comments):

Currently the Wacom Cintiq is regarded as the pinnacle of professional drawing stylus/surface design. A lot of hesitation (or dismissal) of the Apple Pencil seems to stem from people’s belief that Cintiq is superior in performance and design at a similar price. *sigh*

Quite plainly, the Cintiq sucks in comparison. And I’ve been using them for years for industrial design sketching, UI, and art.

Update (2015-09-11): Fraser Speirs:

On Wednesday, Tim Cook came out and put the iPad front and center. It led and, arguably, dominated the substantive announcements at the event. He called it the future of personal computing and that means more than any specifics of any current version of the iPad.

Update (2015-09-22): John Brayton:

There are many reasons the iPad Pro cannot replace the Mac for many people. I think the most overlooked reason is that there is no comfortable way to touch the iPad’s display when using it with a hardware keyboard. You need the iPad to be upright in order to see it. Reaching to touch the upright iPad screen becomes extremely uncomfortable over time. There is no mouse or trackpad for iOS.

Update (2015-09-23): Blair Hanley Frank:

What sets the iPad Pro apart from its counterparts in Microsoft’s eyes is the massive 12.9-inch display. Microsoft allows users with devices that have screens smaller than 10.1 inches to edit documents for free, but users of devices larger than that have to pony up for an Office 365 subscription. It’s not just iOS: the same policy goes for Android and Windows tablets as well.

Update (2015-09-25): Pieter Omvlee (via Gus Mueller):

This puts the fate of the iPad Pro back in the hands of those who nearly killed Apple in the 90s: Adobe and Microsoft. It is almost like a Greek Tragedy; while Apple desperately tried to avoid it, it has unknowingly helped make the inevitable come to pass.

John Gruber:

The iPad is five years old and there just isn’t as much “pro” software for it as there should be. And I think it’s hurting the platform. In theory, developers like Bohemian Coding (the makers of Sketch) should be all over the iPad Pro. In reality, they’re staying away simply because they don’t think they’ll make enough money to justify the costs of development.

Update (2015-10-04): Pierre Lebeaupin:

And so, what corresponding iOS platform news did we get from Apple this September? Err, none. From a policy standpoint, iOS is still as developer-unfriendly, by not supporting software trials for instance, even though this is a fundamental commercial practice; in fact, this appear to be backfiring on Apple, as this resulted in potential buyers going for the already established brands when it comes to professional iPad software, and in Apple coming to bringing Adobe and Microsoft on stage in the presentation to prove the professional potential of the iPad pro; those two companies are probably the ones Apple wishes to be least dependent upon, and yet here we are.

10 Comments RSS · Twitter


It's like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it.

Thank god it's a Pencil™ and not a stylus...

Glad you added that Ben Thompson post, Michael. As is often the case, he really hits the nail on the head today.

@Chucky: "punches the nail straight through the wall" I think you mean.


Steve Jobs to Tim Cook: "I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what's right."

"Steve Jobs to Tim Cook: "I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what's right."

No doubt. But that quote only applies when there is fundamental disagreement over some topic. Here, they're in complete agreement. Styli are bad. Pencils™ are good.

(I mean, seriously, we can all cite various passages out of the Book of Jobs to make any point under the sun. But mine is a lot funnier than yours here.)

I know that being a developer I'm probably not the "average" user, but man do I find the iPad completely uncompelling. I tried traveling exclusively with an iPad for on four consecutive cross continental trips, and I hated it. Except for watching movies on a plane, a MacBook Air was superior in just about every way.

Maybe everyone else "gets" the iPad. I'm willing to concede that not everyone writes code all the time, but I have zero way to gauge if an iPad jumbo with a stylus is what the world has been waiting for.

Feel free to poke all the fun in the world at the numerous of times that Apple has changed its mind about something and done what they first argued against.

For instance:
2007: 3.5 inches is the perfect size for a phone display! You don't need a larger one, trust us!
2012: You know what's even better? 4 inches! This is the perfect display size!
2014: Well, actually, 4.7 is better than 4 inches. And look at this amazing 5.5 inches display, it's gorgeous!

So go ahead and score points, they've done this a lot.

But when it comes to the styluses used to navigate the user interface of phones before 2007 it has nothing in common with the new pencil as a tool for illustrations. Brining it up for cheap points just makes you look… well, kind of stupid. Or, as Kontra put it:

If you spread your cream cheese on a bagel with an ax, you probably think Apple Pencil is a 'stylus' the way Jobs framed it five years ago.

"Feel free to poke all the fun in the world at the numerous of times that Apple has changed its mind about something and done what they first argued against"

Well, this is much lower-hanging fruit for humor than your other examples. It's the "They blew it" line that makes it funny. Never had the slightest inclination to make jokes about your other examples; the material just isn't there.

"Brining it up for cheap points just makes you look… well, kind of stupid."

Thinking that what you acknowledge as 'poking fun' equals trying to score "cheap points" does make you look... well, something not particularly complimentary.

"To me, the interesting part of the iPad Pro is the Apple Pencil."

It's also a source of questioning:
- other than for drawing, can it prove useful? Can it solve the big precision issues in apps like Keynote on iOS when it comes to manipulating objects?
- the presentation was a bit confusing when it comes to pressure/orientation detection because in one video it's said to work off the shelves, but then in the Microsoft Demo you had to choose the "line" width.
- will handwriting recognition be back at some point?
- since it's probably the second most visible new feature of the iPad Pro (the first one being the "big" screen), why is it sold as an accessory?

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