New iPad Pro: Is it a good choice for photographers?
As regular readers will know, I have a love-hate relationship with the iPad. As an Apple-head, former diligent blogger about all things Apple, and long-time small investor in the company, I feel duty-bound to sample what’s new. I’m a confirmed Mac user and the iPhone is terrific — without a doubt the most crucial tool in my daily life. I don’t take pictures, don’t play games and seldom view Netflix on the phone. But I do use it for productivity tasks and gathering news and information.
By rights, then, the iPad should be something of an iPhone/Mac hybrid, with that extra screen-estate to make work a pleasure. I’ve had mixed experience over the years, however, and, sometimes, my iPad remains unused for weeks on end. I often find it easier to pick up the MacBook or rely on the smaller-but-always-in-my-pocket smartphone. The iPad is just something else to carry.
None of this is to say that I don’t realise I could probably get work done efficiently if I had the right relationship with the iPad and forced myself to use it more often. And the new iPad Pros, with their wall-to-wall screening and banished home button, present an enticing prospect. I am strongly tempted to buy the 12.9in iPad Pro and the matching keyboard in the hope that it can become an invaluable part of my blogging workflow. I’m also intrigued to experiment with using it for photographs, despite my long-time preference for processing on the Mac.
I was very interested to read Austin Mann’s assessment of the bigger iPad Pro. He has the experience of managing photographs on the tablet that I lack, and his insights will be of use to anyone contemplating moving from PC or Mac to a tablet. I won’t go that far — I suspect the iPad will always be a standby or a medium for on-the-road viewing and processing. On the other hand, many photographers have already made a move. My friend Ivor Cooper of Red Dot Cameras does all his photographic processing and asset management on his iPad Pro, and I know many other photographers who have made a similar move.
Austin’s views are therefore well worth digesting:
The first time I held the iPad Pro 12.9”, I had to confirm with the demo’er that this indeed was a 12.9”. I was halfway convinced they’d handed me the smaller one because it felt akin to the 10.5” I use regularly. From that first moment on, it’s been a pleasure to both hold and view the new 12.9” iPad Pro. The same Liquid Retina technology I wrote about with iPhone XR is used, and it’s even more impressive at scale.
One of my favorite things about iPad has always been how elegantly it showcases photographs. When displaying an image full screen, it basically transforms into a big, beautiful digital picture frame, ready to pass around a group or rotate 180° to show a friend across the table. Now without a home button on the new iPad Pro, there are literally no buttons, no controls, absolutely nothing except your photo on screen, and they look better than ever on this vibrant Liquid Retina display.
His point about using this large 12.9in screen for viewing photographs is well made and it is perhaps the most compelling reason for me to consider buying the tablet. And Austin’s detailed explanation of his workflows and his advice on buying (“go for the maximum memory”) is calculated to be very useful for any prospective buyer.
As a photographer you will find the new iPad Pro super useful in day-to-day activities, but as you come to understand the strengths of this tool, I think you’ll find yourself turning to it frequently as you look for fresh ways to express your artistic vision and create your best work.