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So far so good.

Back on a plane to NY, and a few weeks experience with the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil and some of the Logitech keyboard – more later.

First impressions of the iPad Pro were very positive. A couple of hours and couple of Apps, and very positive with a few niggles.

Now several weeks later, well first impressions have only got better. The Apple Pencil really can replace paper, with the right Apps. And I am sure that they will get better.

Pencil

For drawing I have been using the rather badly named Procreate. It is an excellent App for sketching out ideas. The reaction of colleagues and clients of mine when I said this was “you’re an IT guy, what do you draw” and the answer is “ideas”.

When I think about a problem, design a new system, look at an existing flow, I, like many other IT guys draw a bunch of interconnected boxes with arrows showing inputs / outputs. I design screens by drawing boxes with more boxes in.

I do this on a white board normally. And it is great when I am near a whiteboard.

Procreate does all this, and in some ways when you get to detail level even better than paper. What you can’t do on paper is zoom in, fill in a tiny detail, zoom out, rotate the page, zoom in, detail, out, for big picture.

The abilty to transparently undo / erase / cut and move, allows you to correct the bits you don’t get right first time easily. Rather than starting again.

It is the first handheld white board replacement that I have used that really works. And in some ways it is better, because it allows simple store, forward, PDF, JPG of your Ideas. Which other than Smartboards, you can’t do on a whiteboard without photos.

And if you are using Smartboards, the cost conversation as to the expense of the iPad Pro is far reduced.

Diagrams

Once I have my Ideas nailed down, I move to Graphic, which iCloud syncs to my Mac. So I draw on this, and can copy / paste to PowerPoint.

Meetings

The other Apps are also excellent.

I attend a lot of meetings with groups of people, when talking about releases or just grabbing client ideas. In those meetings you can take notes with a keyboard, and it works well, but due to the tap tap tap of the keyboards, can be quite distracting.

Using the Pencil in the meetings works well. No noise, good notes, few diagrams to capture thoughts, and if you use Goodnotes, it recognises the text and lets you search in the text. It is very flexible with cut / paste being very neat, and the addition of pages very easy.

There are a lot of Notes apps, and Goodnotes is good, but I still like OneNote for it’s organisation And it’s sync to Mac / PC though OneDrive. However if you are using Office365 this is a lot of effort in the setup.

Issues

This brings me onto the two issues with the iPad Pro that I have experienced so far.

Office 365 is just broken. Sitting on this plane right now, I can’t use any of the Apps. Used them yesterday – no problem. Can’t use them today, because they can’t see the Internet, and therefore can’t Activate. So frustrating just because no Internet connection. And happens all the time. Have to keep re-activating, so logging in again and again, even with Internet. Microsoft really have to fix this.

The Logitech Keyboard I am using right now is good. It is solid, back lit works well on a plane with an idiot tipping their chair back in economy, and there is still just enough space. When off the plane and carrying around though it adds a substantial enough bulk to the iPad to almost make it not an iPad.

For the Office 365 issue, there are increasingly good alternatives. Graphic is better than Visio, as was ConceptDraw and OmniGraffe before. Keynotes is not as easy as PowerPoint, but for what I do, simple presentations, it is fine. Pages is good for Word replacement. the sticking point for me is still Excel. Still looking.

The keyboard issue, well I now have a cover, and the keyboard, and I interchange them. Not ideal. Did look at the Apple keyboard, and it is not as good as the Logitech in several ways. Lack of lighting in a dark plane, strange positions for standing and laying the iPad, still sticks out in a bag, hardly any if any weight benefit, and a worse typing experience.

Covers

So I bought a Geo Cover, £15 from Amazon for when I didn’t need to carry the keyboard, and it is what Apple forgot to do. The separated Apple covers at £65 for a back, and £49 for the magnetic front cover, come to £114. The very good Geo Cover is £99 cheaper than the Apple pair equivalent, and far more protective.

Most of us moved away from the magnetic Smart Covers as soon as Apple released the Smart Case. The reason, if you picked an iPad 2 up by it’s magnetic front cover, the iPad fell off, and hurtled to the floor whilst all watching held their breath. Having checked this effect of the Smart Cover, on a very thick carpet, the iPad Pro does exactly the same thing.

Moving to a third party Smart Case makes far more sense than spending £99 on an inferior Apple offering with a Smart Cover that falls off and hoping the Pro lands on the Smart Back Cover.

And it brings it back to being an iPad which you want to lift and carry, and prop up in bed.

Summary

The iPad Pro is excellent. It is fast, clear, powerful, and great to use. The Pencil is truly revolutionary, and the first device you can truly write and draw on, that you can carry around.

It is large, and to mitigate that you need a third party Smart Cover. There are lots, and they meet different needs. They do make it more of an iPad experience though.

The iPad Pro is expensive. It is not a toy.

It makes a great device to watch TV shows and Video on, and easily as good as the TV’s in my house.

The sound quality when used to watch videos, or listen to music is excellent. I don’t need portable speakers when I travel if I have the iPad Pro. Apple Music combined with this is a far better combination for my hotel or apartment.

If you want to read, watch movies, browse – stick with the iPad Air. Still have my Air2, used it earlier in the flight to check, it is excellent.

If you need to draw, doodle, take meeting notes, work in a confined place due to idiot in economy, where you can’t use a laptop, not have to carry speakers when you travel and do all the stuff above, the iPad Pro is the only device on the market today that does this so effectively.

Feedback and questions welcome. worldflow are now working on our first App’s to take advantage of the new, and unique features of the iPad Pro. Would love to hear your experiences and to answer any questions.So far so good.

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