Thoughts on iPad Pro and MacBook Air

It was a big day for Apple with the announcement of new iPad Pros and a MacBook Air. There’s a lot to like about both products, but I want to start with my favorite announcement of the day, iPad Pro.

The list of new features and improvements to the iPad Pro is impressive, but for me, the most exciting change is the Magic Keyboard. I realize that some people will like to technology advances more, but the keyboard has been a thorn in my side since it was released.

The older Smart Keyboard didn’t resemble any other Apple keyboard. The keys were small, and I found it challenging to use, even for the simplest of tasks. I have asked for years why they couldn’t make the Smart Keyboard more like what we see on the Mac—beautiful large keys with the look and feel of a traditional Apple keyboard.

Well, not only did they give me that, but Apple also included a trackpad in the keyboard. I never really understood the logic in using a trackpad on an iPad—I figured the screen was the trackpad. What I failed to consider is how Apple would intelligently implement a trackpad into the workflow.

Apple said that they wanted to rethink how a trackpad is used on the iPad. They didn’t want to just bring the Mac experience over the iPad, but rather bring a familiar and intuitive experience that has been adapted for the touch interface. From what I’ve seen, they’ve done precisely that.

The way the cursor transforms over interface elements will make the trackpad useful for anyone, and the Multi-Touch support will further expand what users can do on the trackpad.

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this changes my workflow on the iPad Pro.

One of the problems I’ve had working on the iPad is how it sits on my lap. Now, with its floating design and 130-degree viewing angle, I have high hopes that the iPad will become even more useful in more places. Much like the MacBook, it’s important to me to be able to work on the iPad no matter where I am.

I could go on all day about the Magic Keyboard and my hopes for how it will change the way I work on the device, but there are more features to discuss.

When the iPad was introduced, and for years following, I think we were all trying to figure out how to use the device to its fullest. As Apple continues to update with advanced technologies, the company is giving developers new app possibilities not available on other mobile devices.

A perfect example of that is the addition of LiDAR in the iPad Pro. I couldn’t explain it any better than Apple does in its release:

The breakthrough LiDAR Scanner enables capabilities never before possible on any mobile device. The LiDAR Scanner measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, works both indoors and outdoors, and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds. New depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from both cameras and motion sensors, and is enhanced by computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic for a more detailed understanding of a scene. The tight integration of these elements enables a whole new class of AR experiences on iPad Pro.

Every existing ARKit app automatically gets instant AR placement, improved motion capture and people occlusion. Using the latest update to ARKit with a new Scene Geometry API, developers can harness the power of the new LiDAR Scanner to unleash scenarios never before possible.

Apple goes on to explain how the Measure app has been improved, but think beyond that one app to games, engineering, and interior design. This is going to change how developers think about creating apps for the iPad, and therefore, how we use it.

With the addition of five studio-quality microphones and four-speaker audio that adjust to any orientation, and Apple is giving everyone that wants to create content on the iPad, all the power and features they need.

MacBook Air

As much as I love the iPad, I am a Mac guy at heart. Almost everything I create is done on my Mac (an iMac and 16-inch MacBook Pro).

It’s not hard to see why the MacBook Air is Apple’s most popular Mac. It’s speedy, very light, affordable, and it gives users the technology they need to get the job done on the fly.

Of course, MacBook Air isn’t suited for the more high-end movie, audio, and photography jobs, but that’s why we have the MacBook Pro line. I will say that a few years ago, I only had a MacBook Air, and I needed to complete an audio project on the road. It did a remarkable job in getting it done. I would recommend one of the pro models, but hey, it did the job.

Apple recognizes that power is vital to all of its users, whether they are pros or consumers. In the latest MacBook Air, CPU performance is up to two times faster, it has 80 percent faster graphics performance, and it now starts with 256GB of storage.

The new MacBook Air also comes with the new Apple keyboard, which we all expected would happen. I’ve used the new keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it works very well. I still liked the older butterfly design, but I’m probably one of the few.

I love the MacBook Air. With its features and light-weight, it would be hard to find anything else I’d rather use while traveling, except maybe the new iPad.