Why I won’t buy the iPad Pro yet

Within my office, I am known as the Apple fan boy. Well, how can I blame them? I am carrying an iPhone 6 plus, I use a 13′” Macbook Pro Retina for my main primary work amidst all the internal IT security policies (which I argue that my Macbook is a lot more secure) and I carry around an iPad Air especially for quick meetings to record down notes on Evernote (read about my comparison on note taking here).

Image Source: XE.com
Image Source: XE.com

When Apple launched the iPad Pro, it was during the worse time possible. The ringgit was weakening against the US dollar and Apple had just made a price revision. What could have been priced at the mid-range RM3,000 is now priced at more than RM4,000. Yes, I am talking about the iPad Pro 128Gb version with cellular capabilities.

Image Source: Wall Street Journal
Image Source: Wall Street Journal

That makes it close to a price of full-fledged laptop which I know can be a lot more productive with. Still, I already have a laptop and my iPad functions more of a digital companion at this point in time.

Now a lot of tech review sites have written off the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, not because of it’s technical performance but rather the limitations of iOS, the operating system on which the iPad Pro and other mobile devices from Apple uses. That has and will be the hindering fact. On the other end of the extreme user map, there are folks who love the extra real estate the iPad Pro provides and when still used as a digital companion, proves to be quite useful.

iOS 9

So what is a digital companion? To some folks, the iPad or a tablet plays the role of a quick digital viewer. Meaning it’s used to read emails on the go, browse through PDF files or slide decks as well as make little changes and adjustments to files. Others use it to consume media such as videos or Netflix and iflix.

That is pretty much what I do right now with my iPad Air.

Smart Keyboard
iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard

I used to pair my old iPad 3 with a bluetooth keyboard at one point but after a while decided not to use it due to the fact the keyboard made the iPad heavier to lug around and typing on it wasn’t that fantastic. I believe this to still be true with the iPad Pro as it is already heavier than the iPad Air and having an additional keyboard on it would make it less portable for me.

Just the other day I was getting a hair cut and instead of reading the magazines provided, I pulled out my iPad and played a couple of rounds of Hearthstone while getting my hair cut. At it’s current size, it just works well. If I had the iPad Pro, I am sure I would enjoy the large screen and the smooth gameplay but holding it whilst getting my hair cut wouldn’t really work.

Image Source: Macworld

Another main use of my current iPad is taking down notes. Last week I attended a full week on-site training on design thinking and I was busy taking notes with my iPad. At one point of the class, there was a session where everyone would give both positive and negative feedback about a team-mate and one of the feedback I received was that I was perceived to be not paying attention during the training because I was looking at my iPad (of course I showed them that I had captured notes on Evernote). Still, imagine if I had the iPad Pro and was doing the same thing, they would think I would have been a lot more distracted.

Apple Pencil
Apple Pencil

What I do like about the iPad Pro is the ability of the Apple Pencil. But I don’t feel compelled enough to actually get the iPad Pro purely because of the pencil. My handwriting is horrid and I like to have my notes nice and neat. I am no artist, so anything I tend to sketch out might turn out quite horrible as well.

In a nutshell, here are the quick reasons why I wouldn’t get the iPad Pro yet:

  • It is expensive, costing more than RM4,000
  • Without the Smart Keyboard, it isn’t so easy to type on the virtual keyboard
  • It is heavy and due to its large size, a little more inconvenient to lug around without a bag
heavy
Screenshot from the Lowyat forums
  • It still isn’t a full laptop replacement yet
  • Reading on the iPad Pro would be a little tiring as the device is heavy to constantly prop up
  • Initial bug issues plaguing it
pencil issue
Screenshot from the Lowyat forums

Here are some of the considerations that were going through my head when considering about the iPad Pro

  1. Watching media on it would be awesome especially on holiday (plane, hotel, etc..)
  2. Playing Hearthstone on it would be amazing (larger screen size, better performance)
  3. Reading Manga on it would be incredible thanks to the large screen size
  4. Working on emails would be feasible
  5. Taking notes with the Apple Pencil would allow me to sketch out items even on Evernote

Although there are many smaller reasons, I guess that thanks to this economy that we are in, the price point of the iPad Pro just doesn’t really jive with the benefits I would get over my existing iPad Air. Although I did consider trading in my iPad Air for the Pro.