iPad Pro 11“ impressions
So I replaced my iPad Air 2 with a 11“ today. I still haven’t tested everything, but here are some tidbits I haven’t seen addressed yet.
- The missing home button and the new app switcher don’t really affect music apps, even older ones. Updated apps like BeatMaker 3 (lol) can block the app switcher at the bottom so it doesn’t interfere with the keyboard. You have to swipe up to activate the switcher first, and then you can return to the home screen (swipe up) or switch apps (swipe left/right). If you don’t swipe, the active switcher (dark grey or bright, depending on the background) goes inactive (light grey) again after a few seconds. That’s pretty great! In older apps like TC-11 the App switcher stays active all the time, but it didn’t seem like a big deal in my first test.
Of all the apps BM3 (again: lol) seems to be the only non-Apple app to support the new ratio. Great! The iPad Pro 11“ isn’t 4:3 anymore, but a bit more widescreeny. So in BM3 the keyboard feels a little bit shorter than before, but actually the keys seem to be exactly as long as they used to be. All in all, you get the same keyboard as before, but everything — pads, AUv3s etc — is bigger thanks to the bigger display. See screenshot below.
Older apps don’t fill the screen completely. You get a black status bar at the top and the app switcher (~ 20 pixel) at the bottom. Not that big of a deal imho, but the new rounded corners look nice still.
- I opened a BM3 project my Air 2 could barely handle: a bank with drum shots and 3 banks with Zeeon each. I added a Moog Model 15 and a few plug ins (RoughRider2, Limiter etc), and, unsurprisingly, it went without a glitch. Needs more testing though, it’s all about how stable the whole system is (looking at you, BM3).
- IDAM between the 11“ and a MacBook Pro 13“ with an USB-C to USB-A cable works as you’d expect.
- The speakers are far, far better and louder than on the Air 2. Still no bass, though.
- Paradoxically, the 11“ feels just a tiny bit thicker than the Air 2, although it’s 2 mm (iirc) thinner. It’s also a tad heavier, but that’s barely noticeable.
- It‘s still an iPad with iOS. The discrepancy between the obvious potential of this magical device and reality is getting ridiculous now. It’s not that easy, I guess, but imho Apple has to address those glaring shortcomings: we need an OS far better optimized for iPads (it’s a Pro after all!), we need access to external storage, Time Machine and some kind of a Finder, and Apple has to start listening to app developers and make it possible for them to sell $ 600+ apps with demo versions, paid (but cheaper than the initial price) upgrades etc etc etc. This machine is more than capable to run pro software, but there’s a reason we’re still missing Ableton, Native Instruments or a version of Cubase on par with the desktop version. Unless Apple starts working on it, I doubt it’ll ever change.