iPad Pro 2017 MP6G2LL

I have always looked at tablets as a gaming device. I have yet to use them to be productive. Being a programmer I can’t use it to develop anything, at least I have yet to figure out a workflow. I have owned several tablets, both Android and iOS. I can’t get past just playing games on it. I have always been curious about the iPad Pro. I just couldn’t justify the size or the cost. But the combination of the upcoming iOS 11 and the 2nd gen iPad Pro may change my mind. Since Apple’s announcement in WWDC, I have been excited about the new iPad Pro. I preordered one and now have it.

I picked up the 12.9″ MP6G2LL model in space gray to match my MacBook Pro 2016. I also found an open box Apple Pencil to save a few bucks. I was curious to see if the pencil worked exclusively with the iPad Pro and it does. I was hoping for it to work with my iPhone or regular iPad.

Apple Pencil

So the pencil is sold separately and cost $100. Its connected via Bluetooth. One thing I suggest to enable is the battery widget. It’s a widget for both the iPad and pencil battery.

Battery widget for iPad and Pencil

The pencil charges fast. You can stick it on the Lightning port at the bottom of the iPad. But it’s kind of weird because it sticks out awkwardly and in the way. The pencil does come with a female to female adapter where you can use a regular charging cable.

apple_pencil.jpg
Apple Pencil and charging adapter

The pencil feels smooth and natural when it is used on the iPad. I have been playing with different apps and doodling. They say it has 20ms latency. I cannot determine how accurate this is and I doubt many would. It’s currently leading in all devices. I have seen videos in slow motion that shows some latency. It’s not a bad thing but interesting.

Media Consumption

With 12.9″ LED display and 2732×2048 resolution, it’s a pleasure to consume media. I have yet to do any activities that take advantage of ProMotion (120Hz). I’m sure it kicks in when using the pencil. I have yet to play games. The display though is beautiful and bright. I have an iPad Mini 4 (128GB) and an iPhone 7 Plus (128GB), the iPad Pro’s display is brighter and better by a huge marging when compared to the iPad Mini 4 (obviously). I have been watching my movies on Plex using the iPad Pro, very nice. I wouldn’t hold it for a long time – 1.49 pounds (677 grams). It sounds wonderful as well – four speakers. There are two on top and two on the bottom. Older iPads only have two and their at the bottom.

Computing Power

The 2nd generation iPad Pro is powered by the A10X processor and 4GB ram. To put in perspective, the 1st generation iPad Pro uses the A9X. For non pro models, the iPad Air 2 uses the A8X and the 2017 iPad uses the A9 chip. On iPhones, the 7 and 7 Plus uses A10 Fusion. I currently have the iPhone 7 Plus (3GB ram) and iPad Mini 4 (A8 chip, 2GB ram) to compare performance. The closest hardware I can compare would be my iPhone 7 Plus. One of the biggest difference in terms of performance that I’ve noticed so far is app installation time – not the time it takes to download but the time it after the app is download until the button changes to “open”. I see a difference. The coprocessor also got an upgrade to the M10. This handles the sensor data from accelerometers, gyroscopes, etc from the main CPU. The TouchID seems to be as fast as the iPhone 7. It is surely faster than the iPad Mini 4.

The camera features and functions now match what you will find in the iPhone 7.

  • 12-megapixel camera
  • f/1.8 aperture
  • optical image stabilization for photos and videos
  • 4K video record at 30 fps, 1080p 30/60 fps, 720p 30 fps

Those are the standout features I care about. There are more if you check the specs page. The FaceTime camera is now HD – 1080p recording.

Battery Life

Apple claims 10 hours. In all honesty, I can never test these since I have charging cables every where. Almost every room in the house has one, the car, at work, etc. I’ve got into the habit of whenever possible, charge my devices. Or if my battery is halfway discharged, I make an extra effort to charge it. I have read that the iPad Pro 2nd generation supports fast charging but not with the included adapter. You will need to purchase a lightning to USB-C adapter or the lightning to camera adapter then use a 29W plug. Luckily, I have a Macbook 12″ retina and it came with the 29W adapter. I could also use my 2016 Macbook Pro adapter as well. This combination should use the fast charging capability. Otherwise, it will charge at the “normal” rate which will work but at a “normal” rate.

Conclusion

Overall, I may be using the iPad more with the Pro. Currently it’s running iOS10. I have joined the public beta for iOS11. Right now at the time of writing, I am at iOS10.3.3 beta 3. There are many features that will be release with iOS11 for the iPad Pro.

I have downloaded a few apps from Adobe that will let me use the pencil. My kids and I are having fun with playing around and doodling. As far as typing, because of the larger size, in landscape mode the on-screen keyboard is not bad. Paired with the predictive text and auto correct, it is very usable. I started this blog post using the WordPress app running on the iPad Pro. Have of this post was typed on the digital keyboard in landscape mode. I did get tired after a few minutes, but I was in bed typing. It may be more comfortable if I was on a table but I doubt I’ll use it for long periods of time. I will be getting a keyboard though.

There are many accessories to consider as well. First off, find a cover. This is such a nice hardware that you don’t want it scratched or damaged. As mentioned, the pencil is not included. If you will be doing a lot of typing, it’s recommended to get an external keyboard – one that uses the smart connector. So far, you can look at either the Apple Smart Keyboard or the Logitech Create Keyboard.

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