Some Average Guy Thoughts on the iPad Pro...
I clowned on the Pro pretty hard when it was announced, but then I got my hands on one and haven't put it down. In full disclosure, I live in the Google ecosystem and like my devices running stock Android. That being said, here is the set up I've been using followed by some thoughts the hardware (keyboard + pencil), available apps and what I would like to see moving forward.
1. My Rig - I went with the 128 wifi + cellular model, the pencil, the keyboard smart case and the back cover case thing. I use Project Fi for my mobile service and can add a data only device for free and the Pro is listed as supported. I'll drop some notes on performance once I have my SIM card on Monday.
The Keyboard - I actually really like typing on the keyboard case. I'm a bit of a snob and use a DasKeyboard Pro with my machine at work, but really do enjoy typing on the keyboard case. The origami folding is a bit confusing the first time you use it, but is no problem once you get it down. I really like that they covered the keyboard itself with the soft touch surface so the keys aren't touching the screen when it's closed. It could use some iOS specific controls like volume and whatnot, but that's just being picky.
The Back Cover - It's insane that this isn't included in the price of the keyboard cover, but this is Apple we are talking about. #GetPaid
The Pencil - It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that the purchase of this tablet was based on use with the pencil. It is the best stylus I have ever used with a tablet and being a designer I've used quite a few and never been happy with any of them. Charging is wicked fast but scary when doing it from the device itself. I haven't put it down all weekend only had to charge the Pencil once.
The iPad Itself - It's huge, but honestly the second you start using it you won't care. It was sort of like the first time I got my hands on a 5" phone. I thought it was crazy large but a day into it I have no idea how I ever used anything smaller. It's the perfect amount of screen real estate for the Pencil.
Multitasking - It would be odd not to mention how useful it really is. Being able to work on a sketch while I have a Slack conversation going on the screen is awesome on an iOS device. As more apps up their support this will only get better.
PIP Multitasking - This is seriously awesome. To have This Week in Tech running in a small corner screen while doing my project planning in OmniFocus for the week is super cool. Google Play Movies and YouTube aren't supported natively at the moment, but you can get around this going to an embedded player window and activating PIP. There are a few websites that are built just for this that you can find with a quick Google search.
Apps - There aren't a lot that take full advantage of the iPad Pro and Pencil combo just yet, but from what I've found there are a couple that make using the device a great experience...
Penultimate by Evernote - This has been my go-to app. It's got a ton of features for note taking and planning and uploads your sketches in HD straight to your Evernote account so you can access them anywhere. A few teammates and I had a brain storming session at a local pub where we passed the pencil around and sketched out some user flows. It was an awesome experience that I will continue to use. It also has this auto progressing note taking option that guides you along the page when you're zoomed into an individual line that is brilliant.
There are some things it's missing though... Like the color blue in it's color palette. Seriously? No blue? I wish I could copy and paste elements within a sketch too. This might be an option I just haven't figured out yet. I would also love a ruler similar to what is available in the stock Notes app.
Adobe Comp - This app is pretty cool... You can quickly mock up layouts within the the app by drawing, say, a circle free hand and the app will transform it into a vector shape you can edit, clone, scale, etc. It's pretty fun.
Adobe Sketch & Draw - Both really fun apps from the Adobe family that allow you to tap into your libraries for colors and images. They even let you work in 3D spaces by giving you perspective guides. You can't lock the app though like you can with the Evernote apps which is a bit of a bummer.
What I would like to see moving forward...
3D Touch - Seriously, they couldn't roll that out in this device? A good right click with the pencil would be amazing.
A Good Way to Attach the Pencil - The Surface Pro pretty much nailed this with the ability to attach the pencil to the side of the device with a magnet. Something similar would be ideal for the Pencil and Pro. I feel like a big enough nerd as is without having to put the Pencil in my shirt pocket between uses.
Some Sort of Extra Button on the Pencil - Being able to flip the Pencil upside down to erase would be amazing. My Walcom stylus has programmable buttons for right click and undo that are incredibly useful.
I've been droning on long enough, so to wrap up, the Pro is a really solid device. As updates come on the software side it's only going to get better and as more apps start to take advantage of the screen real estate and multitasking features it's going to become more of a power house.
Is it a replacement for a laptop? Not yet, at least not for me. Is it going to be an extremely useful tool in my day to day? Absolutely.