I'm an Apple fanboy. I admit it. Whenever something new comes out, I am usually one of the first to fork over the digits on my credit card to get it.

Apple Fan Boy

After several weeks of back and forth, I could no longer resist the siren's call of the new iPad Pro and the magic keyboard that seemed to be the final piece needed to make it a legitimate replacement for a traditional laptop.

This wasn't just an entertainment purchase. I wanted an iPad that would really help me run my business more effectively and efficiently. 

So, I bought the...

  • 11" 2020 iPad Pro 256gb wifi only model ($1,099.00) 
  • 2nd generation Apple Pencil ($129)
  • 2020 Magic Keyboard ($299)
  • 2020 Apple Magic Mouse 2 ($99)
  • 2 Years of Apple Care ($99)

Total After Tax$1,845.75

Michael Scott

Keep in mind, this isn't even the high end. I only got 256gb of storage, the smaller screen and didn't get the option that supports a data plan (which also saved me from the monthly data plan costs).

Right out of the gate, the price here is nearly equivalent to a MacBook and far more than many other laptops on the market. 

WARNING

An iPad Pro won't be a low cost alternative to a laptop, even a Macbook. As you can see...the prices add up if you're really trying to replace a laptop entirely.  Don't let the low base prices fool you. If you're trying to save money, abandon this article ASAP.

Was it worth it? 

Short answer, for me, yes. It fell short in a lot of areas (more on that shortly) but what it does well made up for the shortcomings. 

Where the iPad Pro Excelled

Let's go through what the iPad Pro does well for business first and then we'll go into where it fell short for me..

Quick Note

Most of the features I love about the iPad Pro are available on earlier iPad models or other lower cost tablets. This is not a big advertisement for Apple or any of their products.

#1 Virtual Learning

I've learned that the ROI on education (especially for the self employed) is greater than almost anything except maybe robbing a bank and getting away with it.

So, if I do nothing with the iPad Pro except consume educational content at a higher level, the ROI will be there and my $1,845.75 will become an investment vs. a lavish expense. 

I can appreciate that not everyone sees it this way and that yes, I could absolutely consume content on more affordable devices. However, the iPad Pro will...

  • Increase my desire to consume content (and therefore the amount I consume) since it's such an awesome user experience.
  • Increase the amount I can gain from what I consume thanks to the ability to take detailed notes (more on that in a second).

My favorite feature is the ability to take screenshots of courses or content I'm reading and add my own annotations with the Apple Pencil. 

Apple Pro for Learning

Sure, you can do this with an older generation iPad and with or without the pencil using your finger, but this is really slick.

#2 Proofreading/Annotating

I manage a blogging group called 21 Day Blogs and I regularly review student's content. The iPad pro allows me to easily take screenshots and make annotations to websites or on PDFs with 3rd party apps. 

#3 Front Camera Recording

Although it’s the same 7MP, f/2.2 selfie camera that was launched way back on the 2017 iPad Pro and it's not as great as the selfie-camera Apple has on their latest iPhones, it's still very good. For a tablet, it's extremely good.

iPad Front Camera

I don't ever take pictures or videos with the default rear facing camera, I use my iPhone or other specialized cameras for that, but I do use the selfie focused front camera for various things. 

#4 Teleprompter

If you've ever needed a teleprompter, an iPad is what you want. 

This is one of the most overlooked uses you'll find. 

iPad as Teleprompter

There are dozens of apps that can do this, but I'm using the Teleprompter Premium app currently. 

When paired with the front camera, you can create really solid videos. 

Of course, tread lightly with overusing the teleprompter. If you're videos seem too scripted, they can lose their power.

#5 Google Analytics and Ads Review

The iPad is amazing for viewing data. It's subpar for creating it or filtering it, but I'll touch on that shortly. 

iPad for Google Analytics

I spend a lot of my time staring at reports for SEO insights and ad spend so this has been a big plus for me.

It's difficult however to create Google ads. Messing with keyword match types and all of that stuff is tedious and not enjoyable on the iPad. 

#6 Social Media Engagement

I proudly deleted both the Facebook and Instagram mobile apps from my iPhone this year and haven't looked back. 

There were too many distractions and let's be honest, the conversation quality has taken a turn for the worse over the past few years. 

Using social solely on my iPad is nice because it's not as easy for me to just whip distractions out of my pocket throughout the day like I would on my iPhone. 

#7 Second Monitor for Lap Top

If you haven't experimented with a second monitor for your desktop or laptop, you're missing out.  A second monitor is one of those "how did I live without this," sorts of things. 

The iPad can become a second monitor in a matter of seconds via it's built in wireless airplay connections with other Apple products or with a direct USB-C cable to any device. 

You have the option to either mirror your screen or create additional real estate that you can use for other tabs or programs (as shown in the image below).

Pro as Second Monitor

Oh, and as you see the Apple devices aren't yet glare proof 😎

Where the iPad Pro Fell Short 

Here are some things that didn't work well for me out of the gate. I'm not giving up on them though because I know with some getting used to, I can probably make these work.

#1 Video Editing 

In fairness, I'm an average video editor even when I'm given the best tools and a big powerful iMac to work with. Editing videos in the way that I wanted to simply wasn't going to happen anytime soon on my iPad. 

Although I'm positive that what I want to do with my editing could be done (much like I could use my non-dominant hand to brush my teeth) it was awkward and inefficient. 

Also, the 256gb of storage would have likely been cutting it close in a few months if I was planning on doing all of my video editing this way.

#2 Graphic Design

Just like the video editing, I'm not skilled at this to begin with and anything I need could be done on an iPad, it's not the user/beginner friendly option. Luckily it doesn't have to be. 

Apple does seem to love to showcase all the features and possibilities that the iPad brings to designers, most of us don't know how to utilize them. It's like how I purchased a fancy camera and still just take still shots with hardly any fancy features. Awesome stuff that has a learning curve that is too steep to realistically utilize without some serious time and effort. 

#3 Long Form Writing

I dramatically overestimated the size of the new Magic keyboard. This was really pretty dumb on my part when you think about it. Of course it was going to be small. It's a small device!

I thought that maybe it was the trackpad that I had been missing with my previous tablet keyboards. It was nice but the real issue was the small keys that just don't feel great to write on. I don't have massive hands but the keys just feel tiny to me. Maybe if you have really small ones it will be just right? 

Anyway, I won't be cranking out long blog posts or ebooks on the iPad which is a bummer but one that I should have seen. 

Getting the larger screen might have helped but I still don't think I would have utilized it.

#4 Most Browser Related Work

Google Chrome and their ridiculous library of add on Chrome extensions is a staple of my work day. On a Macbook, I get full access to my extensions but that isn't the case with the iPad.

You get a lean version that sacrifices much of the added benefits of the extensions and other cool features like the ability to pin tabs that we've come to know and love.

#5 E-Reader

I was thinking that I'd lay down at night and read blog posts and ebooks on my iPad but I still find myself using my Kindle Oasis (which I have always highly recommended). 

Here's why...

  • The brightness of the display. We all know that it's better to avoid screens at night. The blue light can harm our quality of sleep
  • I don't love to scroll. I like the Kindle Oasis because I can lay on my side and just click the page right or left button as I go. This sounds lazy but I like to read to fall asleep so laziness is done with intention in this case. 

Using the iPad during the day in a normal, non sleep time setting is fantastic though. 

#6 E-Commerce (Amazon FBA Related Work)

Although it's fine for managing a basic storefront or accessing seller central on Amazon but it's far from perfect the iPad is just not built for high end product research. 

Where It Really Fell Short

These tasks were nearly impossible to do on the iPad Pro.

#1 WordPress OR Any Site Development

Wordpress blue logo.svg

I wrote this blog post on my MacBook Pro if that tells you anything. This one stings for me since a huge portion of my work is done on WordPress. 

I had hoped that the Magic keyboard's new touch trackpad would solve the issues of dragging and dropping elements on my websites but it had only a negligible impact. 

Combining that with the less than perfect keyboard experience and the small screen and it's just not gonna work for me as a tool for using on my websites. 

#2 Spreadsheets

I mentioned how amazing the iPad is for viewing data but it's extremely unimpressive for making spreadsheets out of data. 

Whether it's Google Sheets, Excel or Numbers, you won't like the experience of creating anything beyond a rudimentary list.

If you use complex formulas or advanced tables etc., you'll be hurting.

Other Things I Liked

Here's a quick hit list of other benefits...

  • It looks amazing (I know...this means nothing, but it does look awesome!)
  • Starts immediately upon waking
  • Amazingly portable
  • Charges faster than laptop
  • Screen resolution is beautiful 
  • Syncs seamlessly with my other Apple devices

Other Things I Didn't Like

And here's some other random things I didn't love.

  • The Magic keyboard must be completely removed to use the tablet in portrait mode. This means it will also be unprotected when you do that unless you want to also buy a separate case and take it on and off every time you switch around. 
  • Battery life isn't much better than most laptops.
  • Will surely be replaced by a marginally better option by the time I click publish on this article.

Functionality Recap

Amazing

Ok

Bad

Virtual Learning

Video Editing

Web Development

Proofreading

Graphic Design

Spreadsheet Creation

Front Camera

Writing

Teleprompter

Web Browser Work

Data Review

E-Reader

Social Media Engagement

E-Commerce Research

Second Monitor

The Bottom Line

The iPad Pro, even with all of the add ons money can buy, isn't yet a perfect replacement to most laptops, especially MacBooks in the same price range.

I don't regret my decision to grab one and I do enjoy it but I can't recommend it blindly to cash strapped readers looking to get a big return on the investment.

If you're ok with an awesome device that likely won't solve every single one of your needs and you can afford the price point, go grab one and tell the Apple Geniuses Nate sent you...they'll have no idea what that means. 

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  1. Great post. I was also thinking about buying an ipad pro mainly for amazon related stuff. But i’m hesitant that hellum 10 especially xray extension wont work.

  2. I parked my IPAD and got a Chromebook for versatility. So many compromises with the IPAD on softwareundefinedapps, reminded me of the only thing wrong with Kindles. The Chromebook runs all extensions so it functions like a desktopundefinedlaptop. It also runs some apps. I can run my Amazon business, including research and shipping (though scanning is easier with phoneundefinedtablet). Stands on its own for videoconferencing. Waaaay cheaper to buy and operate! Keyboard spacing is good for large fingers, though missing a few useful keys.

  3. Hey Nate,

    For video editing have you tried VlogEasy (more for talking-head style videos) or if doing more movie style editing Lumafusion? Both apps are REALLY good.

    One of the first things I did with the original iPad was to use it as a teleprompter with beam splitter glass it sure is nice that iPads have cameras now. Have you tried PromptSmart? It pays attention to your voice and autoscrolls to the next part based on what you said.

    For the web devundefinedspreadsheets you can remote desktop into an actual computer and use WindowsundefinedMac via your iPad. I use AnyDesk for this.

    Reed

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