My YouTube channel is pretty much self-funded.
I say “pretty much”, because I do get sent the odd review unit. And sometimes, they really are odd.
When it comes to Apple stuff, however, I have no choice but to buy the stuff they release myself. There’s a simple reason for this: Apple only knows I exist because of my credit card number. I’m some way off ever receiving review units from Cupertino HQ.
However, despite this, it’s rare that I have to convince myself to invest in one of their products – AirPods Max aside.
A case in point: I’ve thought long and hard about the M1 iPad Pro that was launched at the Spring Loaded event earlier this year, and I cannot think of a single reason why it might be worth my or my audience’s time.
I wish this wasn’t the case.
Let’s not beat around the bush: WWDC21 was a let down
The majority of the announcements made at this year’s WWDC keynote were either a) “well, that makes total sense”, or, b) “why on earth didn’t I think of that?!”.
macOS Monterey is effectively a point release featuring an absolute showstopper in Universal Control, and iOS 15 packs in enough nice-to-haves and mini surprises to make it worth getting excited about.
But iPadOS. Oh, Tim.
The headline on Apple’s preview page for iPadOS 15 tells us that we’ll soon be able to take our iPad’s versatility even further. Great! Only, as far as Apple is concerned, that means slightly better multitasking, widgets, quick notes, FaceTime updates, focus modes, and a few other minor updates to apps like Safari and Maps.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and the list of devices with which iPadOS 15 is compatible is colossal. It goes right down to the iPad Air 2.
What’s missing is a bit at the top which says “feature X only available on M1 iPad Pro”.
My YouTube comments said it all
“Wait until WWDC.”
“You’ve got this all wrong. Sure, it’s the same iPad now, but wait until WWDC.”
“I bought this iPad because I know what’s coming at WWDC.”
“Just you wait until June – big things are coming to the iPad.”
“Everyone who’s laughing at the M1 iPad will be laughing on the other sides of their faces when WWDC takes place.”
A bit like the massive hardware leak fail for WWDC this year, the expectations for some kind of huge update to iPadOS that would unleash the power of the M1 chip were completely quashed.
Nothing happened. I don’t think the M1 iPad Pro was even mentioned during the keynote.
There was a glimmer of hope during the demo for macOS Monterey’s brilliant Universal Control feature. This enables users to share the same input devices between Macs and iPads. Craig Federighi showed it off by dragging an image from an iPad, needlessly passing it through a MacBook and finally dropping it into a Final Cut Pro timeline on an iMac.
Perhaps, we all collectively thought, this means that the M1 iPad will be able to run macOS apps in some kind of extended way. Maybe Universal Control is only compatible with the new iPad Pro!
Nope. It even works on the third-generation iPad Air and fifth-generation iPad mini.
This was yet another minor, mildly iterative release for iPadOS – nothing more. Whatever it was that we were all waiting for simply didn’t materialise.
How I use my 2018 iPad Pro (it’s enough)
When I switched to the brilliant iPad Air 4, my 2018 12.9″ iPad Pro was almost put out to pasture.
I couldn’t think of a reason to use it, thanks to the Air’s far more comfortable size and blistering pace.
Then, I watched Peter McKinnon use the latest iPad Pro to edit photos and I decided to copy him. I do that a lot.
So, my 2018 iPad Pro is now my photo editing tool, and I absolutely love it. Why I didn’t do this earlier is anyone’s guess, but it has revitalised my photo editing; I enjoy it far more now that I’m using the iPad.
But it doesn’t feel like I’m pushing the 2018 iPad Pro when using Lightroom at all. It breezes through the workflow I’ve adopted for editing my RAW photos.
So, there’s still no need for me to buy that M1 iPad Pro, is there?
What I want
I’ve thought about this a lot.
I’d love to review the iPad Pro and use it in some way to boost my productivity and efficiency.
But, at the moment, it isn’t giving me a reason to do so. The review would be the shortest and most boring I’ve ever made (“here’s the new one – it feels the same as the old one”), and I already have an iPad Pro that’s faster than I need it to be.
One of the most taxing tasks I undertake is video editing. It’s hard work for both the computer on which I edit, and my brain (although it is deeply enjoyable). However, since I sold my 16″ MacBook Pro, I’m bound to one computer for video editing, which is the brilliant M1 Mac mini. That means I have to always undertake this vital part of my business at one desk.
I spend lots of time working either in coffee shops or on my sofa, and I miss the days when I could edit my videos on a portable device.
That’s why I would place an order right now for an M1 iPad Pro if it enabled me to do this, via Final Cut Pro, and seamlessly transfer the workflow back to the Mac mini whenever I needed to. That would be game-changing.
But it feels like a long way off.
What do you want?
There are two Apple products I’ve written about this year that have attracted more attention than even the M1 chip – the Apple TV and the M1 iPad Pro.
I suspect, therefore, that if you’ve got this far, you’ve probably got plenty of thoughts about it yourself. So, let me know what you’re expecting from the M1 iPad Pro. Were you disappointed by WWDC? Or am I completely missing the point?
Get involved in the comments!