Our iPad Pro & Apple Pencil Experience

At the beginning of June, my wife and I walked into the Greenville Apple Store and bought her a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. 

This was a purchase I’d been excited about for months, but she wasn’t completely sold on it at first. As a long-time MacBook Pro user, she didn’t know if the iPad Pro would be powerful enough and was concerned that Adobe doesn’t offer a full-featured version of Photoshop for iPad. Should we buy a Cintiq, a traditional Wacom, a new laptop? There was a lot to consider.

Each time my wife and I walked into an Apple Store, I would beeline to the same table and show her the Apple Pencil and all the cool things about the iPad Pro. If I’m honest, I wanted a pair for myself, but I knew I didn’t need them. 

I had a feeling that the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil would be the perfect tools for her artwork. Much of Alyssa’s artwork followed the same basic workflow:

  • Work with traditional mediums (pencil, pen, paint, etc) to plan, sketch, and create initial versions  
  • Scan her work into her laptop
  • Use Photoshop to create finished work

With the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, she could paint and sketch and illustrate and fine tune all in one place. 

I think I was more excited for her than she was when we made the purchase. I immediately installed every drawing app that I had ever heard of and all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps. After a few minutes of playing around with each, she began using Procreate. By the next day, she was showing me work she was excited about, and by the end of the week, I noticed how often she was using her iPad.

Two months later, Alyssa has used her iPad in airplanes, at coffee shops, in Honduras, at work (for a design agency), and countless other places. As I tweeted a few days ago, Alyssa has almost completely moved away from her MacBook Pro.

Although I believe these are game-changing tools for many, I don’t think the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are for everyone or every situation. For example:

  • Without full-featured productivity software from Adobe for her iPad, Alyssa still primarily uses a Mac Pro at work.  
  • Many people, like myself, don’t need a precision drawing tool, even if it's helpful for note taking.
  • At least for now, laptops provide a better typing experience than can be found with a detachable tablet keyboard. If you type a lot, it might not be fore you.

Caveats aside, Apple has begun to turn the corner with its stagnating iPad lineup. In their earnings call yesterday, Apple reported revenue growth from iPads (YOY) for the first time in 10 quarters. Apple brought in 4.9 billion dollars in revenue from iPads this past quarter, up from 4.5 billion last year at this time.

I’m excited to see the future of the iPad Pro. Who knows? Maybe next year at this time, I’ll be writing on one.