Hugo Pinto

Innovation, Strategy, Technology, Data @IBM Interative Experience

IPad pro review: just a few more updates and I’ll dump the MacBook!

(This is not my drawing – but I do amazing stick figures…)

After being challenged by a colleague from our Mobile Centre of Competence, I took on the challenge of trying the iPad pro for a couple of weeks to see how I got along, and I used the opportunity to test if I really need to carry my MacBook Pro around with all the travel I do.

Setting up was as easy as any other device with apple – all synched from the cloud – 15 minutes and bang! (Great experience from apple).

The perfect DEVICE FOR media!

1. The screen – lovely resolution and perfect for content and browsing. Most of the big content apps work marvellously so Netflix, Amazon Prime video and iTunes all keep me hooked! Surprisingly, web stream on safari, firefox worked perfectly.

2. The keyboard – great feel and great to use
(Though I did test it first in the evening and missed the backlit keyboard just a little). Feels better than the MacBook Pro, and you quickly get used to the rugged feel of the keys.

3. The sound quality – miles away from the MacBook pro…for the better! Both on headphones and for media consumption it is crisp and with much better output levels.

Installed IBM account and email in no time with our Mac@IBM protocol (Huge improvement since I joined two years ago) – and paired up the pencil (plug it in, click pair and your set! Overall 20 minutes to do the whole thing!

First drawing on evernote!

Drawing with the pencil is fun and easy – outstanding precision and extremely useful if like myself, you draw a lot. Not a perfectly assisted drawing completion function but good enough to get going). It completes many geometrical shapes and perfects – squares, circles, etc. I love whiteboarding as it’s the best way to bring ideas and processes to life, so this sounded like a good challenge to my butterfly board (link here).

E-mail is as easy as iPhone and I’m more than used to working from my phone – that’s the easy part.

Advanced Powerpoint is the first challenge – the big decision criteria to replace your MacBook…or not.

While simple editing a ppt was quite simple and intuitive, the hurdle comes when you need to do the search and research and are used to do things like create folder, find and filter images and save them formatted to then use on presentations. Same happens with videos, and downloading and inserting youtube videos (don’t underestimate the power on not depending on wifi for your presentations and/or keynotes – Jeremy dixit – follow the link to learn how to design the perfect keynote.

The second hurdle comes when you try to use the feature of taking notes on the slides as your presenting – quite useful but awkward and not quite clear for video for instance. It’s pauses the video and you have to switch between pen and finger tip to be able to get it back playing. Maybe it’s me – you tell me.

Copy / paste – with the inter device update from IOS10 I expected more from the Pro.

Copy/pasting images between apps didn’t always work – evernote to ppt was not possible. Nothing the old screenshot to photo album and paste to ppt doesn’t solve, but still not straight forward. To be honest, I have the same issue on the Mac so can’t complain too much…

The litmus test: PPT editing from multiple documents

Because I handle a lot of open decks at the same time, and tend to do a lot of adaptions and customisation on my decks, hence switching between open decks quite a lot and copy/paste a lot of stuff from one to another.

I can do this on the ipad pro, but have to download the ppt file again every time i switch back (maybe I’m missing a trick here – help me out community!). I also had a tough time in easily selecting multiple slides to move or copy within a single presentation.

Why it doesn’t work for now

This is not time efficient as I typically go through a few phases when designing keynotes:
1. White board
2. Storyboard
3. Deck structure
4. Content research
5. Design
6. Review & proof read
7. Practice
8. fine tune
(The process goes on, typically between design and fine tune)

And for these I use loads of resources and tools simultaneously:

1. Typically I use a physical whiteboard or my adored butterfly board (my portable whiteboard – link).
2. Same for story board.
3. Deck structure on keynote or ppt.
4. Content research online (youtube, ted, google, IBM systems, e-mail, photos, wiki, or previous decks, etc.)
5. Design on ppt or keynote directly but sometimes use photoshop, aperture, iMovie
6. Repeat and tell the story using the deck itself and taking notes (on the deck)
7. Practice (same)
8. All on the deck

So not being able to swiftly transition between apps carrying content is not good. One other slight detail is the ability to print or export the speaker notes – haven’t figured it out on the iPad Pro…

One disappointing detail: Keyboard in flight. You’ll have to turn off flight mode if you want it to work, which can be disappointing if you spend a lot of time in the air, and don’t want to break the rules.

The big plus : drawing!

With evernote on the ipad pro it was a breeze and fun to do the white boarding and storyboard and even the deck structure. Even drawing comments or elements on top of slides and even video is quite cool.

The verdict:

For now, it still doesn’t fully replace the laptop but it is quite close. If you only need email and web to do you job it is the perfect companion. If you still use a lot of presentation editing, video or images then I haven’t been able to get as productive as with the MacBook pro.

If you’re an apple fanatic you’ll very whilfully go through the process of adapting to the realities of the iPad pro. If you’re a perfectionist in your presentations and formatting of your documents you’ll probably wait for a few new software generations to be able to do everything you need.

I fit in the second category so will still be looking forward to replacing my MacBook for one of the new slimmer versions.

PS: Has anyone tried Mural on iPad? It’s one of the missing test on my list so will update when I do…

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