My 2018 12.9 iPad Pro has been one of my greatest tech purchases. I’ve used it nearly every day for the last 5.5 years, and it’s still in great shape. Why upgrade now? While I’m not an artist, I love my Apple Pencil for taking notes, sketching my thoughts, and drawing; andwhen I tried the Apple Pencil Pro in a store the other day, I really liked the new squeeze feature and how it makes the tool palette much quicker to access and my old iPad Pro never got the support for the pencil hover, so the combo made me keen to upgrade.

The new iPad Pro would have been the bigger overall upgrade but the spec differences do not justify the much higher price for my usage – especially considering that I do like using a keyboard occasionally and I have a Magic Keyboard, but shelfing out another 500 (Aussie) bucks on top was just a big no and going to no keyboard would have been a big downgrade. I was very happy when I learned that the new iPad Airs are compatible with my Magic Keyboard1 (and various covers), so I took the plunge.

Here’s my impressions after a few days:

  • The purple is subtle and more lavender than purple, but better a little splash of colour than none.
  • The initial set-up was the worst set-up experience I’ve ever had with an Apple device. My home WiFi was a slow at the time, which caused the set-up to fail multiple times early on, the upgrade to iOS 17.5.1 just stopped the first time around near the end and I had to figure out how to abort it near the end, and when it finally worked the second time around, I tried to migrate my iPad Pro over to it, and then that failed near the end with no other option that to reset and start all over. In total it me a good 4 hours from unboxing to seeing the home screen of my new iPad – which I then had to set it up from scratch.
  • Touch ID is effectively an upgrade for me as I often use my iPad with a pencil and it lying (nearly) flat down. Face ID never worked then, so I trained myself to do a chicken head movement and tilt the iPad up whenever I needed to unlock it. No more! Now I just need to un-train that head movement…
  • ProMotion makes little difference to my aging eyes. I notice it a wee bit in a side-by-side comparison, but don’t miss it in use.
  • The M2 is a noticable update. The 2018 A12x had a lot of longevity but everything feels a lot smoother. It’s also nice to have access to M1+-only features such as the “more space” screen option and hooking it up to an external display. 2
  • The landscape camera is great as I often use my iPad for work video calls. (Keeping my Mac free of Zoom and Teams.)
  • I wish it still had a SIM card slot, not just eSIMs. Australia’s a bit behind on those.
  • I’m looking forward to trying out the Apple Intelligence features on this whenever those land.
  • I love the Apple Pencil Pro!
  1. Curiously enough, when I tried out the device at an Apple Store, I asked an employee and they claiming otherwise and were oddly assertive about it when I pointed out that the keyboard on display looked and felt exactly like the one I had at home for my iPad Pro. 

  2. Are there any others? Centre State maybe? I couldn’t find an up-to-date overview and, no, Apple I’ll not waste the time going through those footnotes in this PDF