iPad Pro 10.5 as my Main Computer – Part 2

Now that I’d decided to take the leap, what setup did I opt for?

In Part 1, I wrote about my reservations about switching to iPad Pro when it was first released, and subsequently when the 9.7-inch model was released. I had been reluctant to make the leap right up until WWDC’s reveal of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and iOS 11. That was when everything changed. So what did I do?

Well, I spent a while thinking carefully about my configuration options, as well as what I’d need to do to ensure I was able to solely rely on the iPad for all that I do.


Storage

A big factor in me deciding to move full-time to iPad was the storage bumps Apple introduced with the new machines. Now, the standard configurations are 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. Previously, the maximum storage was 256GB.

My trusted 15” MacBook Pro has 512GB of storage and I have found myself to consistently have averaged around 350–400GB of usage. With this in mind, the previous 256GB maximum would have resulted in potential concessions. While I know the cloud is now a great way to save physical space on devices, I’m still a bit old-school in the sense I like my stuff to be stored on-device, accessible with or without an internet connection.

The announcement of the 512GB model made the decision to move to iPad full-time that bit easier, and this was an easy decision for me.


To Cellular or not to Cellular?

The next debate I had with myself was whether or not to opt for the cellular model. Coming at an increased price, choosing cellular would not be a decision to make lightly.

I use my computer 99% of the time in a Wi-Fi area; there are very rare times I am without a connection of some sort. But with the gift of portability iPad offers, would I find myself working in different places, for example outdoors? What about on train rides or abroad?

I considered that I could tether my iPhone to the iPad with the non-cellular version in these cases, but was conscious of the battery drain this causes to the phone. It was a difficult decision.

In the end, I decided that this machine was an investment. My MacBook Pro had lasted a good number of years, and I intended for this new iPad to last the same amount of time. I opted for the cellular model, with the view of using the Apple Sim functionality for data as and when needed.

Apple Sim is great, because it’s embedded into the device and means that — anywhere in the world — data can be purchased on the device for immediate use, whether that’s just for the day or for a whole month.

Having this freedom does seem to be a slight luxury, and one I might not use that often, but it feels empowering to know the iPad Pro I have purchased can be used anywhere, any time.


Colour Choice and Accessories

With iPad Pro, Apple have provided a raft of first-party accessories for use with the product. With the Smart Keyboard, which interfaces with the Smart Connector on the iPad, your keyboard is also your smart cover. And with the Apple Pencil, photo editing, sketching and note-taking is made a joy.

Some people prefer to get bulkier keyboard cases for their iPads, like Logitech’s offerings, while others opt for Apple’s Magic Keyboard. But all of this seemed to detract from the core experience Apple has crafted. Third party accessories add a lot of bulk and seem to imprison the device in casing, while the Magic Keyboard is just another thing to pair and carry around.

So for my keyboard, I chose the Smart Keyboard. I’d gone and tested it out in a store first, because I remember the 9.7-inch keyboard being quite cramped. This one, however, felt more spacious and easy to type on. Indeed, in my first week of iPad Pro usage with the Smart Keyboard, I have been able to type as fast as on my MacBook. I did a typing test on it on the third day, and my score was 92wpm. I find it to be a great keyboard and one that can handle any amount of writing, from tweets to novels.

I also bought an Apple Pencil and have enjoyed using it to write notes, sketch logos designs for clients and sometimes, when I’m feeling lazy, as an alternative to my finger for scrolling and tapping. The Pencil is something that you have to bother to use, want to use, to get the best out of it. I know I won’t use it a great deal, but when I do it will add real value to my experience.

While I haven’t bought it yet, I also intend to buy Apple’s Leather Sleeve to protect the iPad in transit. I was relieved to hear the sleeve has space for the iPad and the Smart Keyboard, as I’d heard it might not initially.

Choosing the iPad colour was a very easy decision for me. I’m not a fan of white bezels, so the Space Grey option was an immediate decision for me. I’d have liked if Apple offered a matte black option like the iPhone 7, or maybe even a silver iPad with a black bezel, but you can’t have it all. I’m more than happy with the Space Grey option.


And we’re off!

So that was it! I head to the Apple Store, told the kind man inside what I wanted, and a bright-eyed colleague came out soon thereafter with all my goods:

  • iPad Pro, 10.5-inch, 512GB, Cellular, Space Grey
  • Smart Keyboard
  • Apple Pencil

I left the store, opting not to do set up there, very excited.

Coming up in Part 3: first impressions of the iPad Pro and its accessories, downloading my apps and establishing workflows. Follow me on Twitter to know when Part 3 is ready.