Earlier today I played with iPad Pro at the mall (super briefly because I had a bored toddler waiting for me). These are my impressions:

It’s a very big iPad. In that regard, it’s exactly what you’d expect. Not surprisingly, the weight and balance are just right for the size. It feels solidly made and comfortable to hold. It’s the iPad to use for reading and web surfing if you feel really nostalgic for reading an actual broadsheet newspaper every day.

iPad Pro on display at the Apple Store, Short Hills, NJ. Toddler shown for scale.

Most of the display models had Smart Keyboards attached; I didn’t ask whether Smart Keyboards (which are backordered online) are available in-store, for people who might fall in love with the typing experience and want to take it home right then. I will say that, as keyboards go, it’s solid but not perfect. The keys feel very small, compared to most other keyboards I’ve used, with lots of space between the keys. It’s not uncomfortable, but a few times my finger hit empty space where I was expecting a key.

One nice thing about the Smart Keyboard, compared to the Surface’s Type Cover, is that it actually props the iPad up on its own rigid-ish stand. Unlike the Surface Pro, you could conceivably use the iPad Pro on your lap. That said, the Smart Keyboard doesn’t have any space on which to rest your palms (the Surface, being a real laptop, has both palmrests and a trackpad).

The most important thing to know about the Smart Keyboard is that it’s an iPad keyboard, functionally just like every other iPad keyboard. As John Gruber points out, iOS’s keyboard support has come a long way but is still far behind the expectations of a die-hard PC/Mac user. If you think keyboard support is great on the iPad (and many do), there’s a chance you’ll think this one is excellent. The iPad Pro’s keyboard support is no better or worse than any other iPad.

The Apple Pencil is the best tablet pen I’ve used, beating the Surface Pro 3’s pen (and putting every single Bluetooth iPad stylus to shame). It’s perfectly responsive, palm rejection is great, pressure sensitivity is great. It is, in short, the stylus you’d expect the iPad to have if Apple bothered to add a Wacom-like digitizer to the display, as they apparently have here. Here’s hoping they add Pencil support to the next generation of 10" iPads.

Overall my impression was that it’s a lovely device for people who use iOS devices instead of regular PCs/Macs on purpose. If the App Store starts to fill up with excellent pro apps now that there’s hardware worthy of them, I might change my mind, but for someone like me who doesn’t mind toting around a laptop, the iPad Pro seems like both more and less than I need.

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