After a couple weeks of using the iPad Pro, I’m convinced that this iPad is suffering an identity crisis.

Make no mistakes, the iPad has always been a device design with content consumption in mind. In many ways, the iPad Pro is the best tool on the market for that. It has the highest resolution display available from Apple. And there’s four speakers to deliver a high-quality stereo sound. And it has the best CPU installed in an iPad yet.

But with the iPad Pro, Apple was reaching for something more.

Microsoft and its OEM partners have been working to create a new hybrid PC category. It’s part tablet, part laptop, and Windows 10 is at the centre of it. If Apple is trying to compete in that market, I don’t think the iPad Pro is a fully adequate response.

Whereas Microsoft Surface gives us an OS with desktop capabilities in a mobile package, the iPad Pro comes at it from the other side. It’s trying to create a desktop experience for a mobile-first OS. That’s a problem.

There’s just some productivity losses you’re going to take as a result of using an OS that’s designed for mobile. For example, Chrome doesn’t support its browser extensions on iOS. So I couldn’t rely on LastPass to manage my passwords.

One of the big new features in iOS that’s really supposed to shine on the iPad Pro is the split screen view. It’s an improvement over no split-screen support, sure. But managing my apps this way just feels more clunky than juggling several open windows on a desktop.

If you want to get any real work done here, you’ll definitely need the keyboard cover. This is a great accessory since it’s thin enough to function like a normal iPad cover, and still a good keyboard. I did a lot of typing on this and it was satisfactory. It’s nice that the iPad is sturdy enough to sit on my lap when you fold this cover up into stand mode.

There is one place where the iPad Pro shines for content creation. The Apple Pencil is an amazing stylus. And this is coming from a guy that hates using a stylus. The tip is thin enough that you can be very precise, and the device is sensitive to tilt and pressure. So it really feels like you’re writing or drawing on paper with a nice fountain pen.

Bottom line? This is a great iPad. If you want a big screen with nice speakers to enjoy Netflix, or read comics, or even for some video editing, this is for you. If using a great stylus to write cursive notes or doodle some sketches appeals to you, you’ll be happy. But don’t expect the iPad Pro to replace your MacBook – or for that matter, your Microsoft Surface.

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  • David Gallant

    Interesting review. I’ve been using my iPad Pro for a few weeks, I have to say I have been using iPad’s since version 1 and so my experience level with trying to do desktop replacement activities is already pretty advanced. But for the most part I would agree with your opinions. I would not give up my MacBook Pro, but I do find every day more things can do on my iPad Pro. I added Microsft’s Office Suite for IOS and Adobe Creative Cloud suite for anything creative. With those and adopting some new procedures I can now do almost all my Office activities on IOS as well as most of my early creative work’ sketching, colour work etc…

    I still go to my MacBook Pro to do more advanced work or finish things as the tools there just provide those finishing touches and professionalism I like.

    Wth all that said Its much easier to travel and work on planes (I fly about 200K miles a year) with my iPad Pro than my MacBook Pro.

    BTW I added the LogiTech Create Keyboard, it’s a real work of art compared to the Apple Keyboard. It brings a full Apple Mac keyboard with a great protective shell perfect for road warriors like myself. The keyboard charges straight from the iPad and connects instantly upon open and connection.

    I agree the Pencil might be the best tablet stylus created to date. Though I am still waiting to see what Wacom might produce once they figure out this new iPad Pro SDK.

    All in all great review, keep up the great work.

    • Thanks David. I did use the iPad Pro on a plane and I agree, it was a good size to fit on the tray table and allow me to do some typing. But I can squeeze my MacBook in there too, so no big gain. In a world where you can have both an iPad Pro and a laptop, you only win. But if you’re choosing where to spend money on a main productivity tool, you’re just worse off if you choose the iPad Pro. Your keyboard find sounds great.

  • Michael Wilson

    And don’t expect it to replace device to edit your reviews. The last 2 sentences of your article have been repeated

  • gisabun

    Seems the article is more like the iPad Pro competing against the previous iPads and not against the competition. It is normal for the latest model to be better than the previous one.