Those of you who have been reading on the site for a looong time will remember that I started with a review of how things were on the iPad with iOS 5 Beta. That was on an iPad 2, I believe and it was the last large iPad I have owned. It is in fact, still in service with my mother in law! I then picked up an iPad Mini, which my son still uses for his cartoons.
Since then, I have been on a diet of Android and windows tablets, and for the most part, I have been happy with this. I always had this nagging feeling that I could do what I needed to do on an iPad, and this was only reinforced with the arrival of the iPad Pro last year. I hummed and hawed for nearly a year about getting one of these. But unfortunately, I found that the 12.9” iPad was going to be too big for me, whilst the 9.7 was not big enough. Then as if Jonny Ive’s underlings were listening or watching me, the 10.5” version appeared. Hurrah – an iPad that was in the “Goldilocks” zone, and it is gorgeous.
A lot of my writing is done when I am on the go, and having a small form-factor computer that the battery will just last and last is a godsend for me. Now admittedly, I have only had the iPad in my hands for under 48 hours, but I already love the form factor and its portability. I have had to go for the Apple Smart Keyboard to aid with my typing whilst on the move, and it is pretty good.
It may not be perfect for everyone – and the lack of a backlight may prove to be annoying in darker environments, but for now, I’m happy. What makes it work for me is the fact that iOS’s brilliant auto-correct is still fully-functional even with the keyboard in operation. This was one of the biggest negatives that I have encountered on most, if not all Windows and Android alternatives. I find that I am pretty much getting the same sort of typing speed that I could get out of a full-sized keyboard with very little adjustment needed. Please bear in mind that your experience may differ, as I am used to using smaller form-factor keyboards going back to the heady days of the ASUS EEE PC, which was only a 7” screen size!
Another reason for going with Apple is the inclusion of their iMovies video editing software. I have been looking for the easiest and most straight forward mobile video editing solution for years. I have tried using PowerDirector on Android and it was largely successful, but it just felt like a bit of a cludge. I am yet to use the program on my iPad Pro, but I have heard very good reports of what can be achieved and I have used it on the Mac for years.
Now I know that some of you are likely to be reading the above and saying ‘well you use an Android phone, how are you going to make things work smoothly?’ Well, you are indeed correct. I do use an Android phone in the form of the Galaxy S8+, so due to my inherent reliance on Google services things will not be as bad as it may seem. The availability of Google apps on iOS has become a lot better than my last time around with iOS, and I have really not found that I am missing anything. I installed the Chrome browser, set up Google drive for all my work files, and I even have Gboard as the onscreen keyboard! The one thing I have noticed is that the included Files app does not seem to play well completely with Google drive yet, so there may be a bit more work to be done there. For clarity, I am using the iOS 11 public beta 4 at this time of writing. Google Photos takes care of all my pictures from my phone, and if I need to transfer files from one device to the other, then I can use either Google Drive or my WiFi USB drive that I acquired a few years ago.
So in summary, is this going to be the solution I have been hunting for, for so long?Well it is bit early to say that now but the first impressions are very good so far. Please feel free to check back in a few weeks when I have had some time put it though its paces to get my final verdict.
Well, it is a bit early to say that now, but the first impressions are very good so far. Please feel free to check back in a few weeks when I have had some time put it through its paces to get my final verdict.
In the meantime, here is a bit of eye candy for you to enjoy.