My Thoughts on the iPad Pro

Last week, at the Apple Keynote, the iPad Pro was announced to plenty of fanfare. Collectively, many artists around the web cheered “Hurrah!” while others with a more jaded viewpoint outrightly dismissed the new Pro model as nothing more than a toy.

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In the time since the last Apple keynote, several artists have asked me to weigh in on the iPad Pro and whether or not I plan to get one. The short and sweet answer is: The iPad Pro has plenty of potential, but I have no immediate plans to buy one.

My long answer is this:

While it was great to see Apple finally acquiescing to the idea of adding a stylus to a larger sized tablet, I remain unconvinced that it will sell in large enough volumes for companies like Adobe, Corel and Smith-Micro to develop professional apps for it.

It’s presumptuous to claim that the iPad Pro is a Wacom killer. Wacom’s distinct advantage right now is that it already works with nearly all professional-grade design applications. The iPad Pro, as of this writing, is an unknown quantity. If enough design professionals rush to purchase an iPad Pro, we might see developers rewrite their apps to take advantage of the iPad Pro’s unique offerings. But I suspect many artists will take a wait and see attitude before they jump in. I’m curious about the iPad Pro’s responsiveness and palm rejection and hope to test these aspects of the iPad Pro in the Apple Store when the product ships.

At a starting price of $799, the iPad Pro is clearly a niche product. The target audience seems to be design professionals, which makes the choice of not including the Apple Pencil a baffling one. The extra cost of the Smart Keyboard ($169) and Apple Pencil ($99) bring the iPad Pro within range of Microsoft’s Surface and Wacom’s own Cintiq Companion 2 – both of which run already run the Adobe Suite and other commercially available design apps.

The iPad Pro is a tantalizing device – time will tell how it fares. For now, I plan to take a wait-and-see approach with the hopes that the professional grade apps I rely on will eventually make their way over to the platform.

-Krishna

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  • hari
    September 25, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I’m pretty lucky to own a HP Touchsmart tm2 which I purchased in around 2011 with an active digitizer pen which I can draw on screen. Of course it doesn’t have 1024 pressure levels, but it has enough pressure for me to enjoy drawing and painting without the disconnect between eye and hand coordination.

    It’s very difficult to get any pressure sensitive device similar to this laptop nowadays. We are left with Microsoft Surface Pro and like devices or else tablet-monitors like Cintiq (too expensive) or Huion or Yiynova. I’m doing an extensive research on this and it’s difficult to find a budget device that amateur digital artists can enjoy without the hefty price tag.

    Of course, the traditional drawing tablets are always there, but it’s hard to go back to them once you get used to drawing directly on the screen.