Entries in iPad Pro (7)

iPad Pro. "It’s an iPad that lets you be more creative..."

First, a little clarification about the apparent demise of this website. It's still alive, just.

It's hard to get enthused about a product if the company that created that product doesn't appear to know what to do with it. The iPad has been a phenomenal success for Apple, but despite an encouraging start it seems to have become a device for consuming media other people have created rather than a device for creating things yourself. This is despite a huge number of third party applications focused entirely on creating quality content.

So what's problem, what's behind this stagnation of the iPad as a platform for creating content?

The Mac is a superb tool for creating content. For a while the iPad had some important advantages over Apple laptops. It was thinner, lighter, it had double the battery life and a screen with a pixel density that was impossible to find on any Apple laptop. That changed. In 2012 Apple launched the MacBook Pro with Retina display. It had an 5 mega pixel display, battery life that was double that of the previous generation of MacBooks yet it was almost as light and as thin as the MacBook Air.

In short, many of the features that made the iPad special came to the MacBook range. However, arguably, nothing that made the MacBook Pro special came to the iPad. There was no pixel precise input, no proper multi-tasking, no desktop class CPU and GPU and no large screen option.

That changed when Apple announced the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. With its refined multi-touch experience, desktop class performance and multi-tasking, the iPad Pro seems to be a tablet that is capable of running professional content creation applications that have thus far been limited to desktop class OS's such as Windows and OS X. The Microsoft Surface Pro, even the i3 based variant, is more than capable of providing a useful Photoshop experience, so why not the iPad Pro?

I've not felt this optimistic about the iPad since early 2013. I'm eager to see what readers of this site will create using this new machine. Personally, I'm most excited about the prospect of editing 4K video. I've been shooting video content in 4K since 2013. You can certainly edit 4K video on a Mac or PC laptop, but iMovie for iOS is extremely intuitive, and fast too! If it works as demonstrated, the iPad Pro will become my default video editing tool once again, something that hasn't been true since 2013.

Going forward, I intend to only write about the things get me excited. I'm hoping that the iPad Pro will provide suitable motivation to make weekly updates. 

iPad split-screen multitasking

Hidden deep within the code of the iOS 8 beta is split-screen multitasking. To be clear, the presence of this code is no guarantee that the iPad will get split-screen app capability this year, but we certainly hope it does.

At the end of last year I switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I'll explain in more detail the reasons for my switch in a forthcoming post, but the ability to split-screen multitask was certainly one. As with much of what Samsung does, the idea is better than the execution. But still, it's a useful feature and one that I would love to see on the iPad in 2014.

Is Apple saving this for the iPad Pro?

One possible future for multi-touch technology: Smudges on everything!

We have to admit, this is extremely close to how we once imagined the near future to look. However, the future has a tendency to pick strange and exciting paths that few would have predicted. We think this Corning Incorporated version of the future is just too touch heavy. Not too surprising given Corning's core business.

Siri would seem to hint at much more voice interaction with computers, and Microsoft's Kinect sensor system and A.I. allows computers to interpret subtle gestures without the need for any physical surface. Still, it's an extremely well made concept video that does fire the imagination somewhat.

iPad Pro or iMac Touch?

The pixel precision that a larger iPad would provide is perhaps hard to imagine for some, we think this video helps. A desk bound iPad (or touch screen iMac?) is surely part of the plan at Cupertino?

Source: Patently Apple

Have we already seen the iPad Pro?

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, as Frank Poole and David Bowman catch up with news from home on their outward journey to Jupiter, we see them use devices that are remarkably similar to the iPad. As others have already noted, the similarity to the iPad, both in Clarke's description and Kubrick's representation, is quite remarkable. However, we think it might have more in common with the long rumoured iPad Pro.

Not everyone agrees that Apple are planning to launch an iPad Pro, some can't see the point given that it would compete more directly with the MacBook range, while others object to the idea of a larger tablet device claiming that it would simply be too big to be usable. We have long held the opinion that iOS will eventually replace Mac OS X and that the iPad will shortly become the most important computing platform for Apple. During the last quarter Apple made more money from the iPad than it did from all its Mac computers (desktops and laptops) combined.

The iPad is already more important to Apple than the Mac

With that it mind Apple might already be hard at work on the iPad Pro, a tablet computer with all the power and flexibility of a MacBook Pro or Air, but running iOS. The Mac platform has had its day in the sunshine, Lion is a worthy upgrade to OS X, but all the iOS bolt-ons just don't feel right on OS X, unsurprisingly they feel bolted on. The Mac belongs to a different age and that age is coming to an end.

Many of the features that an iPad Pro would need to compete with a MacBook in terms of power and flexibility can be added through upgrades to iOS. For example, iOS 5 brings wireless syncing and slick application switching gestures that make the iPad user experience more complete, but we are confident that iOS 6 will bring some major changes to iOS that will further age Mac OS X.

On the hardware front there are two areas where the iPad needs reinforcing in order to be crowned an iPad Pro.

Computing power

The A5 powered iPad 2 still surprises us with its speed of operation, but there is one area in particular where its dual 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM struggle. Image processing, both video and still, is pretty slow. It's fine when the video file is optimised specifically for the iPad hardware, as is the case with iMovie, but when it's not optimised, editing is either simply not allowed or it runs incredibly slowly and only via third party apps. Open up Apple's Pages app and try to compose a multilayered document with transparency, shadows and rotated images; it's doable, but only just. More power is needed. This is just one area that could do from a 4 fold boost in power.

Screen size and quality

Take another look at the 2001 clip above, we believe the screen size featured on the Newspad is roughly comparable to a sheet of A4 sized paper (210mm x 297mm). We think giving the iPad Pro a screen that is exactly the same size as the worlds most common single sheet of paper would be an extremely smart move. Another smart move would be to give it a Retina class display. We have written about this at length and believe that most analysts are completely underestimating the impact that a 300 PPI display would have, not only on the computer industry but also on the entire publishing industry.

If the iPad is to take its place in history as the first proper successor to printed paper, then it really ought to at least match, or even surpass, its key features. An A4 sized Retina class display would do just that.

We would love to hear your thoughts on a possible iPad Pro and what such a device might include. Please be sure to leave a comment below.

David Kassan painting from life with the iPad 2, using the Nomad Brush and ArtRage

David Kassan is no stranger to iPad painting, in fact it's safe to say that he is one of the most popular iPad artists currently on the scene. It's great to see David putting both the Nomad Brush and ArtRage (both of which we adore) to such superb use.

As an aside. Looking at David use the iPad 2 it struck us how much we really want an iPad Pro, basically an iPad with a larger screen. 15" would be perfect, but we wouldn't turn our noses up at a 13" iPad either. Are we alone here, do you see a market for a larger iPad?

App Store Link: ArtRage

Further Reading: Nomad Brush Review

The iPad, Mac killer

The Mac platform isn't going to be around forever, in fact, it may not even by around 5 years from now. No, the Mac will not be marginalised by Microsoft and its Windows homogeny, nor will it be thrown against the rocks by Google as it pushes Chrome and/or Android into every digital nook and cranny. The fate of the Mac rests in the hands of iPhone OS, more specifically the iPad.

There was a time when people assumed that the Apple II would always be around, many assumed that the Mac was a toy not a proper computer, an expensive gadget for Apple nuts and early adopters. It wasn't long however until it become clear that the Macintosh (as it was then called) was to become the very core of Apple.

The unveiling of the iPhone in January 2007 made the 23 year old Mac look old, in 2010 the iPad makes it look positively last century.

Going back to the Mac after prolonged time with the iPad is comforting, but it does leave you asking questions such as, "Why doesn't my £1000 Mac play back HD video as efficiently as my £429 iPad?", "Why don't Mac applications restart in exactly the same state like most iPad apps do?", "Where are push notifications?", the questions keep on coming...

If you doubt that Apple believe that the Mac has had its day, then I suggest you download a few Mac apps from the App Store... Of course, there are no Mac applications in the App Store. I would also refer you to the sneak peak headline on the Apple website shortly before the launch of the iPhone in 2007 which read, "The first 30 years were just the beginning". The transition will take a while — perhaps 5 years is a little too optimistic — but it will happen eventually and it will become quite clear to everyone that the transition is taking place once Mac sales start to drop off at the end of 2011.

It seems almost certain that monthly iPad sales will surpass monthly Mac sales from this point on. It will be interesting to see how Apple handles this. It is in Apple's best interests to make the transition as smooth and as profitable as possible, if buyers get even the slightest whiff of the notion that Apple is actively planning to put the Mac out to pasture then sales will dry up too quickly. There is another path that Apple could take...

Welcome to the iPad Pro

An iPad with a much larger screen and a significantly increased resolution — let's guess at 2048 x 1536 for the sake of existing iPad app doubling — with a industrial design that is specifically designed to reside on a desk, could command a higher price tag, enabling Apple to benefit from Mac sized profits. Battery life wouldn't be so much of an issue, so the iPad Pro could be packed with much more horsepower than the standard iPad. The App Store could include a section specifically for iPad Pro apps which would combine the ease of iPhone OS apps with the power and depth of today's Mac applications.

We appreciate that what we have outlined above is not the commonly held view, we would be interested in reading your thoughts on the future of the Mac and iPad, please be sure to leave a comment below.