My ‘Pro’ Experience

BY John Nilo

{UI/UX Designer}

24 March 2017

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ever since the release of the first iPhone, I’ve found myself throwing money at Apple every couple of years to update my handset. I was attracted to the sleek minimalistic aesthetics of their products, ease of use, and functionality complimented by beautifully crafted applications. It didn’t take long before I adopted the phone’s bigger brother; the iPad.


The larger screen, iPad-exclusive applications, improved user experience for a number of apps available on both phone and tablet; did I mention the larger screen? Reading on a mobile device became a joy (online comic scans), watching movies in bed trumped sitting on the couch in front of the tv, and I could finally play Clash of Clans without ever needing to pinch or expand to see my minions go to work.
Fast forward several years to the start of 2017 and my Apple craze had somewhat subsided. I’m a couple of generations behind in phones now. It wasn’t until recently that I had decided to part ways with my old iPad Air to make room for a 12.9′ iPad Pro. So what was it that put the wheels in motion regarding the decision to upgrade from the air to a pro? As an entertainment tool there really is very little to separate the two models considering the vast price difference, and considering that

the primary task of my previous tablet was for entertainment, what was the point of upgrading? Well, the following are just a few factors that had me reaching for my wallet again.

The Pencil

No, no not pencil 53; the sleek and wonderfully functional Apple Pencil. Drawing on a piece of glass has never been better. It’s no secret that the Apple Pencil was a big motivator for illustrators and designers around the globe to once again don a bib and drool over an Apple product – two products actually as these two gadgets are pretty much joined at the hip; cha ching cha ching – touché Apple, tou-friggin-ché.

The Screen

One doesn’t fully come to appreciate the scale and vibrancy of their new tablet’s screen until they turn the lights off and the bloody thing illuminates the room. The larger model iPad Pro has a 12.9′ screen so learning to hold it steadily took some getting used to. All that extra real estate and jump in resolution is fantastic for watching movies, reading, and provides ample canvas space when drawing with the Apple Pencil. Additional functionality such as the split screen mode for multitasking also benefits greatly from the extra screen space.


Creative Applications

As brilliant as a piece hardware is, it’s the applications that harness their resources successfully that help define their quality and worth. As a member of the creative community, I’m no stranger to quality applications that have become the industry standard. So I was curious to see how well iPad drawing applications would measure up to the bells and whistles of PS or AI. Having tested a few my general opinion is, well, brilliantly; to a point. Popular digital art application Procreate is a shining example not only of great functionality, but is also purpose built with mobile touchscreen devices in mind. This particular application also has the ability to save files as PSDs so creative pieces can be polished up in Photoshop.


“Aw but that’s such a hassle having to use two applications instead of one >:(“

“Wacom Cintiq doesn’t have this problem :3”

Valid point, though personally for myself it’s a non-issue as it takes very little effort exporting from one device to another, and the iPad Pro and Pencil is only a fraction of the cost of the current Cintiq range (that is a standalone functional device range, not reliant on a desktop to function). It’s also a non-issue for designers who happen to own a MacBook or iMac all thanks to a nifty application called Astropad. Essentially this application allows your personal computer and iPad Pro to sync regarding application usage so users can avail the full versions of apps like PS on their tablets instead of the gimped version native to the App Store.


So now three months on from purchase, I’m still as happy with the device as I was from day one. As well as a device for entertainment, it has also become my companion on my own creative journey.

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