No matter where we’ve travel, the MacBook has been our faithful companion. What before was a MacBook Air later became a MacBook Pro 15”, with an increase in performance but also in weight. I actually don’t mind what amounts to barely 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) more. But if you want to squeeze your camera gear into your carry-on luggage, you quickly start looking for alternatives.

A year ago, I took a look at the 12.9” iPad Pro in the context of a test, mostly because I was curious about the stylus. Today I’m writing this text on the new iPad Pro 10.5”, which was introduced in June at Apple’s developer conference. As with its big brother, I find working with the pencil really cool, although that’s still no reason to trade in your MacBook. With a keyboard, iOS11, and finally a holder for the pencil, the iPad Pro became competition for my MacBook.


A couple of facts about the iPad Pro

At 477 grams (16.8 oz), the iPad weighs a good 1.1 kg (2.4 lb) less than the MacBook Pro. The screen is about 20% larger than its predecessor’s, although the tablet itself is no bigger, which gives you more space to work. As with every new device, the performance has improved. Two improvements that I find relevant relate to the image refresh rate, which is now supported for up to 120 Hz instead of 60 Hz. This innovation makes games and, above all, videos look even more spectacular. With the new P3 color space, the iPad’s colors are even more vivid than with the previous display, a change that improves both your working and image-viewing experience.

The iPad as “writing machine”

Until now, I really couldn’t get used to the idea of using a tablet to write long texts. It had to do with either the bad keyboard, which required a cumbersome connection to Bluetooth, or the size of the tablet. I wrote my first long text on the iPad while riding the train on the way to a wedding. Since I didn’t want to show up with my laptop and I only got the idea for the content the night before, the experience turned into a crash test. Unfortunately, the train had no tables, so I had to write on my lap and was won over within the first few sentences. Since that experience, I regularly use my iPad to write blog posts and e-mails.

Image editing on the iPad

To be honest, I hardly ever use my smartphone for image editing anymore since having my MacBook and Lightroom handy. For this test, I worked more intensively with Pixelmator, Affinity Photo, and Lightroom Mobile, the three apps I also used on my MacBook. What struck me about all the apps was their speed. The apps start fast, and the iPad also responds quickly when you’re retouching images of people or objects. Affinity Photo has been a real RocketStar for several months now. Developers are apparently also already working on a Lightroom variation, which I personally find cool, since the program is still really slow on the computer.

The Apple pencil is a great tool for detailed image editing without always having to zoom in. I also recommend Pixelmator and Affinity Photo. They’re both great apps. They’re simple to use and include useful tutorials, which makes access to image editing on the tablet even easier. I could never get used to using Lightroom on my smartphone, and it’s not much better on the iPad, although I find working with the larger display a little easier.

Why iOS 11 will make the iPad even better

iOS11 won’t actually be available until autumn, but I’ve already installed the beta version in order to try out the new combo of iPad Pro and iOS11. With this new operating system, Apple is finally turning the iPad into a suitable device for mobile work. A file manager as well as multitasking and drag-and-drop functions are just a few of the improvements that now make it easier to work on the iPad.

Bottom Line

At a starting price of $649.00, the 10.5” iPad Pro packs in a load of technology. The software that will make the whole thing into a better device for work is expected to arrive in September along with the introduction of the new iPhone. Those of you who aren’t accustomed to working with a tablet will get used to this device in no time at all. It’s the perfect on-the-road solution for writers, photographers, and movie fans.