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  • iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, a brief review

    Posted on February 19th, 2016 Cahit Crcioglu No comments

    I usually take notes, think, draw drafts, schemes, etc.. on paper to either advance my ideas or find solutions to certain problems. I noticed that a tablet with a stylus/pencil “may” make it easier.

    At first I planned to get a Samsung Android device (I have been using Note 5 for some time and it is VERY good for various note taking styles. REALLY GOOD). Then, I figured out that I didn’t have a new iPad for testing purposes and other necessary stuff. So it was a good excuse to get an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil instead.

    I won’t be reviewing these products in detail; I will only share some short notes about what I think about iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. In short: It works pretty good.

    1. iPad Pro is heavy. Unless you are lifting weights daily (including heavy laptops) or using iPad at a stationary position, you will notice the weight of it.
    2. I tried different applications and all of them showed different kind of delay/lag while using Apple Pencil. In some applications it’s almost invisible (almost no lag), and in others it’s very obvious. Even though this shows that application developers are not yet very capable of optimizing their code for faster operation, it also shows that either the communication between Apple Pencil and iPad Pro is slow (or the part where iOS pushes relevant data up to the application) and/or iPad Pro Gen 1 itself is not yet fast enough.
    3. There is no 3D Touch (force touch) on iPad Pro 1st generation device. They probably didn’t have time to expand that feature on iPad Pro. Probably next generations will have that feature.
    4. The screen made me feel like I am making pressure on an LCD screen; I can see the liquid moving beneath the point where I press with the Apple Pencil. This might have been ignored by Apple in the tests as it is not significant and maybe that’s the disadvantage of the technology used at that time. It is not very obvious and most users won’t notice it.
    5. Apple Pencil is long, probably both to imitate a regular pencil and also let artists use it as a physical brush by handling it from nearest or farthest part. A bigger Pencil is also hard to lose. The disadvantage is it’s also hard to make it stay magnetized (stick) on an iPad Pro while not using it and it probably makes it hard to add an eraser function to the pencil when holding it in the opposite direction. I think there must be either 3rd party pencils or Apple Pencil variations designed with different purposes.
    6. Apple Pencil is thick, probably similar to the reasons I noted above. Once you get used to it, you will no longer notice it; but if you use thinner pencils, switching in and out between the Apple Pencil and other pencils can make you feel uncomfortable.
    7. Each time bluetooth is turned off and on again, Apple Pencil must be paired by inserting it to iPad Pro. As I always turn off bluetooth while not using the device, I have to pair it again and again when I want to use the Apple Pencil again. This might have been created for the purpose of battery preservation. Just a guess. May be the Apple Pencil turns it off in a short time after it finds out that the connection through bluetooth is no longer available, and inserting it to iPad Pro may actually also be turning it on, not just pairing it. It’s not my job to find a solution to this but maybe a low-power mode for the Apple Pencil or a tiny button? Actually, it could be cool to turn it on by just making a small pressure to the tip of the Apple Pencil. I don’t like inserting and removing the Apple Pencil to the iPad Pro continuously, it doesn’t really feel right for me.
    8. I couldn’t see a perfectly working palm rejection feature integrated into the iOS itself. So, application developers have to find a good way to do that. Some of them does it pretty good but not enough for me. This problem may not be solved perfectly by just firmware updates; but still, some sort of it can be integrated by Apple which could be turned on and off from the settings app on iOS. (Please note that, Apple handles palm rejection in it’s own Notes app beautifully)
    9. At some point you look for selection-cut/copy/paste for what you see on the screen graphically. So, multitasking and taking screenshot features need to be improved. It would make a HUGE difference for me at least.

    AND

    It works. I mean I am happy. I am able to do what I have wanted before purchasing an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. If you just can’t resist not having one and you have never used a stylus/pencil for a tablet before, go for it. If you are not sure and not in a hurry, wait until the next generation versions of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are released. Even if at least some of the improvements I have written are made by Apple, you may be highly satisfied with these products.

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