Let's get this out of the way up front: this isn't going to be a feature review. I'm not interested in breaking down whether the screen is better than previous versions, or what liquid retina means, or if USB-C on an iPad is ready for prime time.
My goal when I set out a little less than six months ago to answer one question: could I use a 2018 11" iPad Pro exclusively for work? The short answer is yes, but the more interesting answer is why.
I'm a writer and the iPad Pro has been my primary work device since the newest version came out a little less than six months ago. In fact, I'm writing this column on my iPad Pro. On a regular basis, I write about 10,000 words a week and the vast majority of them are on my iPad Pro using software like Bear (what I use for this column), Evernote, and Google Docs. I also regularly use it for photo editing, research, and social media without any issues.
Here are my impressions about how it's changed the way I work after almost six months:
It doesn't do everything
There are plenty of things that the iPad Pro doesn't do well. It's not the greatest at multitasking. It basically has no native file system (no, the Files App is not a native file system). It's really not the best for creating graphics or managing large content libraries.
It's also not great at things that require real web browsers. The content management system here at Inc. doesn't support mobile browsers, so I still had to use my MacBook Pro to actually publish this post.
Here's the thing, I don't mind that it doesn't do everything. In fact, all of the things it doesn't currently do well have almost nothing to do with the device or interface, and everything to do with the software, which means I'm confident it's only a matter of time before that's no longer the case.
It keeps me focused
On the flip side, those limitations have actually helped me be more productive. When I work on my iPad Pro, I get more done because it keeps me focused on the task at hand. Distraction is the enemy of writing and most of the things that the iPad doesn't do well are often the things that keep me from doing what I'm supposed to do.
On my iPad Pro, I just work. I don't get side-tracked by email, or twitter, or name your favorite distraction. Regular multitasking on the iPad involves just enough resistance that it serves a signal indicator that I should probably just get back to work. As a result, I'm actually more productive at the things that are important for my work, and more easily avoid time-wasting distractions.
It's really good at creative work
I know I said this would not be a review of the specs and features of the iPad Pro, but I feel like it's worth saying at this point that it's at least as capable as my 13" MacBook Pro at just about any creative project I work on. It's amazingly fast and can handle Lightroom CC photo editing just as quickly as my laptop. LumaFusion isn't Final Cut Pro X, but it's really good for video editing, even with 4K footage.
In fact, I love that when I'm working on an article or creative project, I can grab the Apple Pencil and quickly sketch an idea. I do this for sharing quick layout mock-ups, sending graphic ideas to designers, or creating a simple info graphic. The Apple Pencil 2 is especially well-designed for creative work, as well as serving as a natural interface for editing and marking up designs and articles.
It has made me work differently
I work differently now, which is a good thing. Many of the complaints about using an iPad for work are based on the fact that you have to work differently.
I'm not worried about making it fit my old way of working because the new way is so much more efficient and productive. My iPad Pro is what goes with me everywhere. I walk into every meeting with a notebook, pen, and my iPad. I use it to work in coffee shops, airports, airplanes, hotels, and at my kitchen table.
I'm able to make better use of the in-between time because it's easy to have everything I need with me in one place. Many of the things I found myself unable to do as well on the iPad Pro I don't miss. I'm able to be more focused on the work I do, which means I'm able to spend less time overall working. I've said it before, but I'm a big fan of technology that makes life a little better, and anything that helps me work smarter is technology I can get behind.