Day Two of the “iPad Pro Only” was a busy one. There were a few meetings, interspersed with writing, and well, even a bit of image tweaking. In short, leaving aside media events (which do tend to take place from time to time), this was a slightly more typical day in this writer’s life – meet people, talk, browse, write, shoot.
So, how did the iPad Pro stand up to the task? Well, once again, rather well, I must say, though the day did show up some chinks in its armour. And one of them popped right up in the Costa Coffee cafe – the fact that Siri gets relatively ineffectual in places like cafes. For all the criticism of Apple’s virtual assistant, the fact is that I have got rather addicted to her, and tend to ask her to take notes and so on. She works just fine even in crowded conditions – I just need to bring the phone closer to my mouth. Unfortunately, THAT option is not so comfortable in the iPad Pro as the device itself is rather big and if it happens to be on the Smart Keyboard, well then you do end up making a sight of yourself – leaning forward and shouting at your device even as others in the cafe wonder what the Baristas put in your coffee. I tried my best to make Siri take notes, but after about ten minutes of angst gave up. She will work perfectly fine in a quiet room, but unless you are up to hefting the Pro near your mouth, we would not recommend using her in a area with ambient noise. Mind you, Siri worked perfectly fine on the iPhone and Apple Watch in the same conditions, so we think it is an issue of proximity.
But the highlight of the day perhaps was my experience of working on two applications on the iPad Pro – multiple windows mode. I have to be brutally honest about one thing – I have never been too awe struck by the multi-window views that some devices showcase. Perhaps because I have always found the displays a trifle too small to be split into two with separate apps running in them – even with the Note 5, I somehow did not like the idea of splitting the display and doing something on one half of the display and something else on the other half. Perhaps I am too much a child of the “Alt+Tab to see apps and switch between them” culture. One of my friends had however shown me the split windows on the iPad Air 2 and somehow it seemed better because well, you had two large phone sized Windows to play around on. And well, on the iPad Pro, they are really handy because there is just so much real estate to play around with. I actually found myself writing on half the display, and browsing the Web on the other and switching between them easily. This gets supremely handy when you are discussing an article with someone on a messaging client in one window and making the changes or taking notes in the other. There is a slight catch, though – the apps have to support this functionality. So for instance, in iA Writer, swiping in from the right side (which should show the running apps) actually brings you to the template page, from where you need to swipe inwards again to get to the apps. Just for the record, hitting Command and Tab on the Smart Keyboard did show us the list of running apps and switch between them.
I also noticed that the Smart Keyboard responds much faster to keystrokes than other Bluetooth keyboards do. I switched to my Logitech K480 for a short while and there was a slight lag between my hitting the keys and the letters appearing on the display. With the Smart Keyboard, however, the letters appeared almost instantaneously – it might not sound like a big deal for most people but let me tell you that writers love it when text appears the moment they hit the keys for it.
It was also the day which saw me finally put the iPad Pro to some image editing work. I had taken a snap of a bell on a Christmas tree (well, they are still up here – we are not complaining!) using the background blur effect on my Vibe Shot, and while the picture came out rather well, I transferred it to the iPad Pro using SHAREit (done in less than ten seconds, hooray!) and opened it in Adobe’s Photoshop Express app. And well, for the first time, the sheer speed of the device hit me. The app works fine on other Android and iOS devices too, but there is a discernible lag that comes in when you switch from one filter option to another – on the Pro, they just kept changing with incredible smoothness. And yes, the big display meant you could REALLY zoom into the picture to see how cleanly our changes were being implemented. I am no artist, but I can see those who mess around with images loving the speed and detail on this display. Also, unlike on a PC, you do not have to move a mouse to make a change but can do so with your finger on the picture itself – it feels more immersive and intuitive, well, to me it does.
The ability to see content in detail continues to be a massive plus for the iPad Pro. I loved using Flipboard, News Republic and even just going to the New York Times website, simply because I had a more magazine-y feeling (akin to what I had on the short-lived Kindle DX!) with it. And well, graphic novels absolutely rock on it – the first time I have said that about them on a digital medium.
By the time I put the iPad Pro away for the day, I once again noted the battery life – down to about 57 per cent from 100 per cent on a day which had seen more meetings than writing, and a fair bit of multi-tasking and just some image editing. All with hardly any lags!
The amazing thing is that once again, I did not really miss my notebook. Or even feel like reaching out for the SanDisk wireless stick. You know, this thing could work.
To be continued tomorrow…