Power to rival a laptop? The iPad Pro leads the way

iPad Pro

By: Deidre Doezema-Burkholder


Apple debuted the iPad Pro last September. A full size tablet with a 12.9-inch screen made it nearly the size of the laptop that I use on a daily basis. However, the iPad Pro came with a more beautiful Retina display for a crisper and cleaner viewing experience.


After it was introduced, my business partner – and husband – and I took the time to look into the tech specs and read hands-on reviews from other tech experts. When we completed our research, we looked at each other and thought: Is this the iPad we’ve been waiting for? The iPad Pro seemed powerful enough, and the drawing features kicked it up a notch from finger painting to a much more detail oriented Apple Pencil.


You see, it isn’t that we haven’t had an iPad before. We had bought the original iPad the year it was released, and we (me) liked it, but a full-sized laptop was still a better option to suit our needs. Fast forward to 2016, and we are again talking again about an iPad. While the both of us are heavy computer users, we started to find it almost necessary to have something just as powerful but more compact. We have our phones, but even on the largest phone screen it can be frustrating at time for our needs.


iPad ProEnter the iPad Pro… but smaller?


A few months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Pro….again…this time with a smaller, more manageable, 9.7-inch screen. The size was certainly attractive, but Apple doesn’t just take the same product and shrink it down. Along with a smaller size, the smaller iPad Pro also added better features including a 12-megapixle camera in the back and a 5-megapixle camera on the front. With the better cameras came the ability to shoot 4K video and still work with the Apple Pencil.


So, we caved and bought a space grey 9.7 inch 128GB iPad Pro from $750, and it fits right in with our Apple family. Setup was easy and it seamlessly  integrated into our daily lives. Now I don’t have to pack up my laptop when going to clients. My purse is big enough to slide in and carry it around.


After purchasing our new work tool, the next logical step involved purchasing the Apple Pencil to take advantage of one of our favorite features – writing and drawing on the tablet. The pencil, costing $99, has some girth and feels like holding a nice, heavy pen. The touch sensitivity allows me to quickly change the pressure with how I write. I can change from a nice fine tip ball point pen with just a light touch to the screen to a much thicker line much like a sharpie when I press harder. Both the pencil and the iPad share by a lightning cable and charge quite quickly. The pencil requires bluetooth to function properly but I find that it lasts several days between charges.


Apple PencilOf course, once we purchased and had the device in our hands, it was natural to set out to find apps that were designed specifically for the iPad Pro. Drawing/Design and writing apps dominated the types of apps we searched for. When looking for a drawing/design app, we went to Adobe for our first choice.


Adobe Photoshop Sketch creates expressive drawing and painting without opening sketchbook. The artwork can be sent to Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator via the Creative Cloud.  So, if you are already a member of the Creative Cloud family, it’s a pretty handy app to have.


Adult Coloring books have become a recent trend and of course there’s an app for that. My favorite is Pigment. Pigment is a free app comes with several coloring “books.” Each book allows 3 free coloring pages, additional pages can be purchased with either a monthly or yearly membership. I’m currently making my way through the 135 free coloring pages.


When it comes to writing, searching for a note taking app wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Several of the free apps felt clunky and unrealistic to writing on a sheet of paper. While part of the challenge comes from writing on the smooth glass surface of the iPad Pro, the other difficulty is completely unrelated to the writing surface and deals with finding an app with the right type of features. A few of the apps gave me the option of just writing on a piece of plain white boring scratch paper. It took me about four different apps before I settled on one designed by Evernote called Penultimate.


Penultimate states that it “combines distraction-free, natural handwriting and sketching with the power of Evernote’s sync and search.” While an Evernote account is needed to utilize their ‘sync and search’ feature, you don’t need to have an account to use the basic program. Penultimates gives many options for writing like note taking, daily planners, graphing paper, music scoring, and even classic games like tic-tac-toe and hangman.


In the weeks since we brought the iPad Pro home, it has become integrated into our daily lives. By day, the iPad Pro is a tool of the trade for an executive assistant (me) to help clients near and far. When the sun sets, it’s becomes a release for my creative side!


Deidre owns and operates Organisum: Technology Services, a business serving the West Michigan area. In her free time she likes to hike & bike local trails with friends and family when she isn’t pinning, instagram’ing or Netflix’ing.