iPad Pro with Apple Pencil first impressions

Did you know if you don't show a screen shot of your iPad pro after using Procreate, Tim Cook cries! 

Did you know if you don't show a screen shot of your iPad pro after using Procreate, Tim Cook cries! 

Ok……..so these are my first impressions about the iPad Pro which I have now had for a couple of days…..god there are a lot of these on the Internet, so sorry, if you are sick of hearing about it.

First of all why did I get one…well you may have noticed that RGBHQ has been quiet of late. Truthfully, this is because after working all day as jobbing CG artist, sometimes (wellll...most times) the last thing you want to do is sit at your desk and write about being a CG artist, especially when you have a partner and young kids, and are over 40…..wow that got a bit specific!

So I thought a Surface Pro maybe an answer, to having a mobile machine that can do everything and save me from having to move from the sofa of an evening, but the issue with the surface for me was, as it ran Windows 10 it was still ‘ a computer’ and made it feel like work.

So then Apple brought out the IPad Pro, their take on my laziness issue. I was slightly dismissive, as most nights, I am firmly planted with an iPad Air on my lap watching Netflix, and consuming content rather than creating it, and besides iOS doesn't have the pro apps.

But the more I thought about it, and also asthe initial buzz about the Apple Pencil came through, maybe the big iPad could be something different than a hobbled Surface Pro.

When the initial reviews came in showing specs comparable to an i5 Surface Pro, it occurred to me that the iPad would be silent, as the i5 and i7 Surface both have fans. I hate fan noise to an almost pathological level, and my partner hates it even more than I do. So if I wanted a device that I could use on the sofa that ruled out all but the m3 Surface’s.....ick!

Naturally some of you may be asking…. Have you heard of a laptop? Well yes, and I have a very nice MacBook Pro thank you. Even though by big laptop standards it's quiet, it still makes a racket when your working on anything serious, it doesn't have touch or stylus input without something like a Cintiq, and at the end of the day both OS X as well as Windows are environments where I still feel like I am working, which is why I game on a PS4, even though my PC would eat up any game I could throw at it.

Also I was noticing that when I used my 22HD Cintiq that I was mistake prone for some reason, a lot more than I was when just using a normal Wacom tablet, and also the 1080p screen was becoming cramped, so potentially it's time was up, especially as it took up a lot of my desk space (first world problems, I know).

Then I tried an Apple Pencil……..and 5 minutes later I ordered the IPad Pro, and had to wait and wait and oh the waiting, and then it was all here.

I have the Gold one with LTE and 128gb as quite frankly I was done with waiting for a grey one, and my local Apple Store had managed to find me a Pencil after a lot of pestering (If you are a freelancer, get to know your Apple stores business rep. It makes life less painful).

Hello again desk, wow I missed you! 

Hello again desk, wow I missed you! 

So what do I think, well I suddenly have a lot more desk space, and yes the Pencil is the closest device to a ….pencil which I am sure you have heard before, but the best thing about the iPad Pro is funnily enough the thing everyone’s been dissing it about…it’s a big iPad.

I used to live in A4 sketch books when I was in college and starting out, and then that faded away, and even though it's been a few days, I feel like I have my sketchbook again.

I have doodled more in the last 48 hrs probably more than I have in the last 6 months. I took actual written notes today for a client meeting today in my own handwriting in Microsoft OneNote, (due to the airgap, I have never found Cintiq’s great for handwriting) which then synced through to the workstation which were legible and easy to manage.

I am writing this article on it now using the screen keyboard, which is good enough for me at the moment that I don’t feel an urge to buy a hardware one, and this is the first iPad I have owned with split view which is just frankly awesome on the big screen, and when the apps support it, it feels better than the equivalent workflow on a Mac…..oh and the IPad is crazy fast.

I need to figure out a decent workflow for editing video, which hopefully means a lot more RGBHQ reviews sooner rather than later, iMovie and premiere clips or whatever it's called are at the top of my video list, but we shall see (oh and the reviews will be worth it, we have the Go Pro Hero 4 Black, the Nvidia Quadro M5000 and Poser 11 amongst others on the way).

This is a potentially transformative device for a lot of people as it really has the potential to be the ‘notebook’ for a lot of artist's, with the right apps! Adobe have the right idea with what can be achieved, just their implementation is all over the place at the moment. Although both iCloud Drive and Dropbox workflows mean that a smaller developer could step right in and make something amazing for creative workflows on this device, such as has happened with Procreate and it's position as everyone's favourite art tool on iOS. 

Over the weekend, my son started to use GarageBand for the first time, he had never liked it on the smaller iPad, and the speakers on the Pro are great, obviously my daughter used it for drawing, and I read magazines, and doodled, emailed, and watched tv, without feeling like anything was compromised because I was on iOS. I even mucked about in proper Photoshop from the sofa using Astropad to screen share to my laptop way in the back of the house. 

If you want to know more about which app’s I’m using to get stuff done, let me know in the comments, as well as share any workflows you have found with your iPad Pro.

To sum up, calling this an iPad pro isn’t quite right. This device has the potential to be my primary ‘entry’ point into what I want to try and achieve with my creative journey through life, which to be honest is all I ever want todo when I am on the sofa or the travelling, (if I need to do something 'proper' I will go and use the big computers).

This isn't something that can be captured in a quick demo at an Apple Store, when married with an Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro, is one of the most personal pieces of technology I have ever used, and is worth checking out properly by anyone who is interested in creating 'your stuff'.