I’m still struggling to get excited about the M1 iPad Pro, but the use cases I’m hearing from professional photographers and content creators have inspired me to make quite a big change.
Earlier this year, I switched from a 12.9” iPad Pro to an iPad Air, but I held onto the former. The Air has fulfilled pretty much every requirement I have for an iPad since then, but I’ve not been able to let go of the big one.
I’ve attempted to resurrect it as a secondary screen on my main desk, and while a cheap little stand from Amazon brought it back to life for a while, a studio re-jig has left me with less space to play with on said desk.
So, what to do with the big iPad Pro?
I think I’ve found the answer.
The ultimate photography studio?
Practically all of the images you see on my blogs are photos taken by yours truly. I use a professional DSLR camera to capture them and take great pride in ensuring they’re as interesting and clickable as possible.
The same goes for my YouTube thumbnails – they’re all based around a photo I’ve taken myself (usually of my own face – which, yes, is weird).
As fellow content creators will know, in order to encourage clicks, you need decent imagery, and that does mean spending a fair amount of time on the edit.
Until now, my editing suite has always been a Mac. Whether it’s my M1 Mac mini, iMac or MacBook Air (yes, the Air), once photos have been captured, they’re treated to my finely-honed editing process.
I recently made the switch from Adobe Lightroom Classic to Lightroom. For the uninitiated, Classic is the version which has been around for many years, while it’s singular namesake is the latest iteration. The latter relies more heavily on cloud storage (or, at least, Adobe continually pushes you in that direction in order to increase their services revenue), which consequently means it’s far easier to use on multiple devices compared to Lightroom Classic.
One of those devices is the iPad, and I’ve been aware for quite some time that the combination of that lovely, expansive 12.9” screen, Apple Pencil and ultra portability makes Apple’s tablet a rather compelling photo editing device.
So, I’ve made the switch. From today, and, specifically, this blog, the iPad Pro is going to be the only device on which I edit my photos. This is quite a change for a device which – while enjoying a fleeting period as my writing tool of choice – has largely been a consumption tool since I purchased it.
If you’re thinking that this probably isn’t the bravest or most innovative tech switch that has ever been made, you’d be right. But if you know me, you’ll know that I stick with workflows and tools as soon as they embed themselves into my working day. Switching bothers me; I see myself losing time reconfiguring the new ‘thing’, and potentially being less productive while I learn a new way of working.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried, because editing photos on the iPad Pro feels about as natural as anything I’ve ever experienced in tech. It is a simply brilliant photo editing suite.
Why I’m holding off on the M1 iPad Pro
You might be wondering at this juncture why I haven’t decided to upgrade my 2018 iPad Pro to the latest M1 version. It’s a compelling question, and one which I’m going to dig into over the next few weeks.
I’ve made my thoughts on the M1 iPad Pro pretty clear. Until something significant happens to iPadOS and the availability of pro apps on that platform, it remains Apple’s most boring release of this year.
I badly want to be wrong about this, and I’m clinging on (like so many others) to the thought of some big, exciting iPad-related announcements at WWDC in a couple of week’s time.
But in the meantime, the switch I’ve made to editing photos on my iPad Pro reveals once more why this tablet has always been so far ahead of itself and the competition. Lightroom zips along on mine perfectly. There is a slight, millisecond delay as you wait for your chosen tweak to affect the image, but it doesn’t slow you down.
I don’t feel like I’m pushing the 2018 iPad Pro while using Lightroom to edit photos at all. It appears to be perfectly content and packing plenty of headroom should I decide to get particularly fruity with my edits.
The only thing that could tempt me across to the M1 version sooner rather than later is the screen. I poked fun at the ‘XDR workflow’ that was revealed during the M1 iPad’s launch, but Apple is making quite an interesting point. I still suspect that precisely no one is going to be regularly hooking up their iPad to a Pro Display XDR, but those who value accurate colour reproduction and a highly dynamic screen will be drawn to the new 12.9” iPad.
My list of iPad productivity apps remains woefully unambitious, but it has been bolstered a little with the addition of Lightroom. However, I want to go further, and this experimentation with photo editing on the iPad feels like the start of something much more significant.
At least, I hope it is. For now, my interest in utilising my iPad Pro more fully has piqued, and I hope that WWDC will push me to use this wonderful tablet even more wholesomely.
Who knows – it might even tempt me to finally buy that M1 iPad Pro.
Late comment but I’ve fallen out of love with my iPad Pro and watch. The fact I can’t easily export/backup photos to an external drive in 2022 is appalling. Similarly the fact you can only mirror to an external monitor extend is tragic. It has the potential to be magic but apple have crippled it to be nothing more than a high price content consumption device. And the fact that ram is limited, so limits the functionality of apps. Sorry apple bug fail. I’m considering dumping it all and just love with the worst alternative of a crappy windows laptop
Meant : big fail and “live with a crappy Windows’s device”. Never type in anger….
The iPP’s are a fail for photography. I’ve been using iPads for photo editing since the ipad 1. Other than ram and usb-c, the M1 iPP’s bring utterly nothing to the table. Still use a silo’d file system (making it accessible doesn’t solve the problem), apps often can’t work on the same image due to proprietary file types or the aforementioned silo’d file system, no one at Apple cares, no active community. The initial buzz is dead. People went back to their laptops. I’m one of them. I now have a $1,000+ doorstop.