iPad Pro 2018: MCB Impressions

# Finally!

The new iPad Pro is here! And it is fantastic!

Having owned the 10.5″ second generation device, I’ve been very happy with it and not particularly obsessed with the news of the new one. However, this latest generation is another strong re-iteration of Apple’s best mobile computer. It is especially important given the competition from Microsoft (Surface Go), Google (Pixel Slate), and others.

# Event updates:

So the devices were announced during Apple’s special event (October 30, 2018) at Brooklyn, NY.

A new MacBook Air was announced (long overdue!), and a new Mac Mini as well (very long overdue!!). Between the two, I’d be more interested in the Mac Mini as a secondary computer than the MacBook Air. For me, the iPad – as a companion to my Mac – is an excellent laptop replacement.

# The new iPad Pro:

The anticipation for this year’s iteration of the iPad Pro was higher than usual. It was rumored for a long time that, beside the usual spec upgrades, the new iPad Pro will come in a new design with Face ID and probably USB-C. Unsurprisingly (especially after the Steve Jobs era), the official announcement almost completely matched the rumors!

Here’s the breakdown:

– New form factor

I’ve always said that a true mobile computer should hit the balance between mobility and ability. I believe that the iPad Pro 10.5″ had been the king in this regard as it had more than enough power and was easy to carry around. The new iPad Pros, however, are surely going to claim the throne!

The new 11″ in particular is very attractive! It is about the same overall size of the previous 10.5″ model, yet packs a slightly larger screen. This, coupled with the other spec upgrades, means it offers the same mobility, but higher ability.

Oh yes, and it is the thinnest iPad ever!

– Apple Pencil

The new Apple Pencil is here! This second generation Pencil comes with important upgrades. First, it seems to be easier to hold with its flat sides. Second, It is finally able to attach to the iPad!

You know, the question of where to place the Pencil had been bugging us for a long time. With my 10.5″ model, I use a clip accessory. The new version, however, is able to magnetically attach to the iPad. Not only that; it easily pairs and – more importantly – it charges wirelessly while attached to the iPad!

Another interesting feature of the Pencil is that you could double tap on it to switch (app-specific) functions, like between pencil and eraser. This could prove to be very useful!

It is worth noting that the new Pencil would not work with previous generation iPad Pros (or iPads for that matter!). It only works with the 2018 iPad Pro. Similarly, the first generation Pencil cannot work with the new devices.

Oh yes, and it will cost more than the first generation Pencil!


Some people are thrilled about this. I do believe that it would expand the possibilities of accessorizing and extending the iPad.

On the other hand, it also means that your previous accessories won’t be able to work with the iPad (well, unless you carry an adapter with you everywhere!). But this is the cost of evolution; new technology replaces old technology. I suppose we just have to live with it. And, perhaps, we would appreciate it more day by day.

One interesting application of the new port is the iPad’s ability to connect to external monitors up to 5k resolution. Previous generations have been able to mirror (or project) to external monitors. The 2018 iPad Pros would be able to connect to an extended monitor with different views and functionalities. This is exciting!

– Face ID

I’m honestly a bit indifferent about this. I still use an iPhone 7, so I haven’t tested the feature extensively. From people’s reporting of their experience with Face ID, it does seem to be a bit slower than Touch ID for now.

However, as with the USB-C case, I suppose that we would first get used to it. It could then prove to add to the usability and ease of use of the device.

– Performance bump

Since the introduction of the first iPad Pro, Apple has been positioning it as a laptop replacement. In many respects, it is. And with the latest generation, this is more credible considering the fact (Apple’s claim!) that the the device is “faster” than 92% of all portable PCs!

Well, the iPad (2017 version) is already very powerful. Unless you are using it for hard-core gaming or video editing, you would probably not notice the performance upgrade. However, it is always good to have the latest chips so as to make your device as future-proof as possible.

# Overall impression

To say that I’m excited about this device is an understatement!

Ok, I am not planning to immediately buy it. My 10.5″ model (on which I’m typing this article!) is still plenty powerful enough for my needs. However, I don’t know how long I could hold the part of me that is (very!) excited about this device (space gray please!).

Seriously though, this device is a monster. It is more powerful than most laptops, and more fun to use. The form factor even raises it a lever higher in hitting the balance of mobility and ability. And the new Apple Pencil builds on the foundation that the first Pencil has set (which was already, in my opinion, the best writing tool, digital or traditional!).

Another intriguing thought that’s starting to (quietly!) bug me is the prospect of the 12.9″ iPad Pro! It has the same large screen, but at a more mobile form factor. I would have to see it closer to have a more informed opinion about it.

If you’re in the market for the iPad Pro, you really have to test out the two sizes.

# Should you buy it?

Of course you should go and buy it!!

Well, ok wait. It depends…

If you are a power user and have been using the iPad Pro for a while, or if you’ve been seriously considering the idea, then yes go for it. It is such a fantastic device and would make your life easier and more productive. I would recommend holding both devices and trying them out before committing to either one.

On the other hand, if you’re just getting into the iPad (Pro) territory to taste the waters, and you prefer not to spend too much money on new gadgets, you might be better off getting the previous generation (at a reduced price now).

Well done Apple!

5 thoughts on “iPad Pro 2018: MCB Impressions

  1. This apple event was amazing unlike the iPhone event this year.
    USB-C wooow i was impressed I thought it’s just a rumour and apple will never do it. I hope we see the same for the next iPhone… the device is amazing,
    Removing headphone jack on an iPad!!! WHY… in this big device. Typical apple to force more airpods sell


    1. Yes, the device takes a leap forward and makes it more difficult on the competitors to catch up.

      The combined decisions of removing the headphone jack and changing the port to USB-C means that you cannot even use your latest iPhone’s headset since it uses Lightning cable!

      My current 10.5” iPad Pro has a headphone jack, but it also accepts the iPhone’s Lightning-cable headset. This won’t be possible with the 2018 model!


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