REVIEW: Apple’s iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil

iPad Pro with keyboard and PencilThe iPad Pro is Apple’s newest edition to the iPad family.  It has an expansive 12.9 inch Retina display and is much faster than any of the other iPads on the market (twice as fast as the iPad 2).  TLT recently purchased one and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

My first impression is that it’s big, really big.  It’s as wide as the iPad mini is tall.  The display is beautiful, crisp and clear.  It’s also faster and is great for streaming video.

What I loved…

Artist drawing on the ProI really did like the larger screen for some things, such as Excel, and for the split screen function.  I can use the split screen on my iPad mini but the screen is so small it’s not very effective.   The iPad Pro screen is actually larger than my MacBook Air screen so the real estate you get is amazing.

Apple PencilThe Apple Pencil was my favorite part of the iPad Pro.  I’m sad that it will not interact with any other iOS device because I’m in love with it.  The Pencil is far superior to any other stylus I’ve tried, and believe me, I’ve tried a lot.  Everything from the weight, to the feel, to the way it writes if far superior.  It’s pressure sensitive so, just like a real pen, pressing harder yields a darker, thinker line.  Depending upon the app you are using it also allows for shading.  In ArtRage, turn the Pencil on it’s side to shade like you would with an analog pencil (you know, the No. 2 kind).  In addition to ArtRage I used it extensively in Notability.  The control in writing produced handwritten notes that were comparable to a regular pen and paper.

ipad-pro-will-also-be-launched-on-wednesday-along-with-new-iphonesiMovie was my second favorite thing about the Pro.  It looks go good and was so easy to manipulate on the bigger screen.  The audio, via the two speakers, sounds really good and clear as well.  Over the years I have become quite adept at using iMovie on my phone so a small screen is not a deal breaker for me, but this was just beautiful and so easy to see.


The battery life is AMAZING!!  I’ve had it, and used it for several weeks and have only charged it once. It’s considerably better than the battery life of any of my other Apple products (iPads, Phones, Laptops).

What I didn’t love as much…

At the end of the day, it’s still an iPad which means that it won’t do all the things a laptop will do.  While there are a few programs (AutoCad 360) that take advantage of the new platform most of them just benefit from the larger screen.  Other than using the Pencil it’s just a bigger version of my iPad Mini.  For most things I like the mini better because of portability.  I’m not an artist or an engineer so I’m not really in need of these programs or the super large screen.  The Pro is hard to use without a desk or a table.  It’s not easy to use on the bus and not easy to cary around with me.

Would I recommend the iPad Pro?

Yes, but only to some people.

  • If you are an artist the YES YES YES.  The larger screen combined with the Pencil is hard to beat.
  • If you are an engineer then MAYBE.  Some of the apps work well on the Pro but are still not as powerful as on a laptop so you won’t be able to access all of the features you may need.
  • If you have some motor control or vision issues YES.  The larger screen helps with vision and the ability to hit the buttons you are trying to hit on the screen.
  • Everyone else who likes their iPad but thinks the Pro would be super awesome, NO.

It doesn’t do much that a regular iPad won’t do but costs a lot more.    Here’s how pricing shakes out after a quick internet search:

  • iPad Pro (base model) with Pencil and Keyboard – $799 + $99 + $169 = $1,067
  • iMac Air (base model) – $899
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (base model with keyboard and stylus) – $899 + $129 = $1,028

With both the Air and the Surface you are getting a fully functioning computer processor that can run any application you need.

In Conclusion…

I’m an Apple junkie so I wanted to love the iPad Pro.   I really did.  And I do, but only if you have unlimited funds, which I don’t.  As you can see, we couldn’t even afford the keyboard : ).  However, don’t take my word for it.  Soon you can try it out for yourself.  Soon, TLT will be making the iPad Pro and Pencil available for regular checkout.  If you are interested in trying it for yourself just contact your Instructional Technologist and we’ll let you know when it will be available.




App of the Week: SeeSaw – Reflective Journals and ePortfolios

Special thanks to Gustavo Urdaneta, a professor in the Spanish Department, for recommending this app.

SeeSaw is an easy to use, online journaling and portfolio application.  The many features allows faculty and students to use the app in many different ways.  Professor Urdaneta is using it to allow his students more language practice time and to deliver practice material.  At the end of the term, both he and his students can see their progress through the semester.

screenshot of seesaw appSeeSaw’s features:

ePORTFOLIO – Students can “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. You can also import directly from most popular apps.

JOURNALS ARE ORGANIZED AND ACCESSIBLE – When students add to their Seesaw journal, content is uploaded, organized by student, and immediately accessible to teachers from any device.  Browse work from the entire class, or for a single student. Optionally, use folders to organize work by subject area or project.
ENCOURAGE DEEPER LEARNING AND REFLECTION – Seesaw helps capture the learning process, not just the end result.  Students can use Seesaw’s built-in audio recording, drawing and caption tools to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they got their answer.
STUDENT BLOGGING HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER – Seesaw Blogs are a simple way to share a selection of work from students’ Seesaw portfolios on a public class blog, giving students a broader, global audience for their learning.

Price: Free

PlatformiOS DevicesAndroid DevicesChromebooks, Any Computer with Chrome

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App of the Week: AirSketch

Turn your iPad into a wireless whiteboard! Annotate PDF documents and images live.  You can project PDF documents such as exported PowerPoints, to a computer on the same local network then annotate them in real time. Airsketch works like a mirror image of your iPad (viewed inside of the Airsketch App) that is projected by another computer through a shared website.

In other words, it does not connect your iPad wirelessly through the projector — it allows you to display your Airsketch to a website, which is projected by another computer.

For example, when you open Airsketch on the iPad, there is a small wireless icon in the bottom left. When you select that icon, it gives you the IP address that your display can be seen. When you open Firefox (or another web browser) on a classroom computer and put that address in the URL, you will see the same screen as on the iPad.

From there, you can display PDFs (but not PPTs unless they are converted to PDFs) via Dropbox; select the Send-To icon in Dropbox located in the upper right. You can also show images on your iPad’s camera roll.

Price: Free, $9.99 for all the features

Platform: iPad only

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App of the Week: SyncPad

UPDATE: 3/1/16 – My apologies.  I wrote this post in advance and had it auto post.  It turns out between when I wrote it and when it posted, SyncPad is no longer available.  I attempted to contact them via their website but the contact form no longer works. — Mendi


SyncPad is the ultimate whiteboard for remote and local collaboration. Would you like to share your ideas with a coworker but you are out of town? Don’t worry, just create a room with your SyncPad and share the name of the room with your co-worker, who can enter in his SyncPad or simply use any browser, visiting


  • Remote Tutoring
  • Collaboration
  • Shared Whiteboard

Price: Free, $4.99/mo Pro.
Platform:  iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch
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App of the Week: Splice Video Editor

While iMovie has become the standard video editing app for the iPad, it is only free on newer iOS devices.  Splice allows you to create and edit videos from start to finish via your iPhone or iPod Touch with no laptop or desktop computer necessary and is free for all devices. The power of Hollywood is now with you, anytime, anywhere. Splice together HD photos and videos in an amazingly simple way. Add music tracks from your iPod library, sound effects, transitions, borders, effects (like Ken Burns, slow motion and fast forward), trim video and audio, narrate with your own voice, and much more.

Price: Free with ads, $3.99 ad-free

Platform: iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch

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