iPad Air and iPad Pro: A theory

I’m testing a theory: My theory is that everybody who uses the iPad Air and iPad Pro also uses the Apple Pencil.

Any counter-examples here?

Define “use.” I’ve got an Apple Pencil and occasionally use it to do things like sign electronic documents, but it doesn’t come out day to day (it’s currently sitting on my iPad mini just to keep it charged). Contrast this with the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, which gets used every day.

Of course, this didn’t keep me from shelling out for an Apple Pencil Pro to go with my new iPad. Nice that they kept it at the same price point despite adding quite a bit of capability and adding Pro to the name.


iPadPro user. Never use Apple Pencil.


Anecdotally most people I know in life who have bought iPads in recent years wanted them for school, artwork, or personal productivity which all involved the Pencil so this supports your claim. Even at work, most executives with iPads have the Pencil even though they use it once and never again.

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Yep. iPP and pencil user. I use the pencil mainly for taking notes and occasionally as a pointing device.

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I have an iPad Pro 10,5” since 2017 and never used an Apple Pencil, so your theory is false…


@ChrisUpchurch I would define “use” as using daily or almost daily. So yes you are a point disproving my initial theory.

@rob As are you … sort of.

My revised theory is that iPad users are visual thinkers who use the Pencil for drawing or notetaking or people looking to get a relatively inexpensive Apple device to augment a desktop.

As for me, I have two relatively new iPads—went a little nuts there—and new MacBook Air and iPhone. Since I got the MBA and iPhone, I barely use the iPads. But if I didn’t have a MacBook I’d probably still be using an iPad in situations where the phone isn’t enough. However, with the nice iPhone 15 Pro Max, those situations where the phone isn’t enough are few.

The third use case for iPads are folks who bought their iPads before the M-series chips, and use the iPads as laptop replacements. I used to do that myself in 2019.

My theory is that iPad users are people who use iPads.

I have another theory that Mac users are people who use Macs.

And I have a third theory that the set of iPad users and the set of Mac users overlap.

And some of those users, call them “visual thinkers” would likely use a Venn diagram to express this third theory. And others, call then “analytical thinkers” would likely use set notation.

And some might use both! :exploding_head:

And my last theory is that I probably shouldn’t post after the office happy hour. :slight_smile:

Cheers! :beer:


I only use the Pencil for editing my podcast using Ferrite. I have no artistic talent, so drawing is not something I do.

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iPad Pro user. I never really got into the pencil. Gave it to my son who teaches. He uses it constantly.

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I don’t know if I’m a good fit that theory either.

The iPad definitely isn’t an “inexpensive” device for me (the iPad Pro I just bought came out about 35% more than my M2 MacBook Air).

The iPad could be described as augmenting my desktop Mac, but so could the MacBook Air. Fundamentally, both devices fit in the same category: computing away from the desk in my office. The Mac can do some things the iPad can’t do and can do other things more easily. The iPad can do some things the Mac can’t do and can do other things more easily. I have the luxury of owning both, so I can grab whichever device is best suited to what I’m doing at the moment.


My theory is that iPads are fundamentally aspirational purchases for most people. Buying an iPad is like buying a Peloton or a new cooking gadget, we think it’s going to change our lives for the better. My sister got an iPad to manage her life as a busy farm wife and community leader, her daughters got them after high school to take notes and stay organized for school, my sister-in-law got an Air so she could get back into drawing and painting when she’s not working as a nurse. People on this site buy Minis so they can use Readwise Reader and learn more from the content they consume. For my visually-impaired wife, her life is measured pre and post iPads because they totally changed how she worked and interacted with the world. They allowed her to read books, watch movies, graduate college, and start a full-time art business.

These are all anecdotal but I think this aligns with how Apple markets the devices. Like any aspirational purchase, it’s really about us putting in the work to change our lives but sometimes a fancy thing does help to motivate.


I asked my friend what he uses his Apple Pencil for these days and he was miffed that I asked, haha.

My Dad loves his post-retirement Air but won’t get a Pencil, I think because until Freeform you really needed to push into app exploration to make the most use of one and he’s slow to trust third party developers.

I’m with the few non-contrarians in having a straightforward “I use the Pencil” answer.

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For beginner artist or people interested in drawing as a hobby tend to buy iPad 10 or Air to draw because Pencil is available and Pro is too expensive. This is what I noticed from forums, Reddit and other young artist I encounter.

They don’t need the Promotion or they don’t work with large canvas yet. So for them, the pro is overpowered.

As iPad Pro user, the Pencil is a must for me. The latest Air can replaced my aging 2018 Pro, but I don’t think it could match my requirements in the future.

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Our household has an Air and Mini. The pencil is used on the mini and not the air.

IPad Pro, have a Pencil, not even sure where it is at the moment, don’t miss it much.

False again… :wink:

(I use my iPad a lot, but wouldn’t describe myself as a visual thinker)


What’s an Apple Pencil? :wink:

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I have two iPads- a 12.9 M1 Pro and the current mini. Both have pencils attached to them. I bought the logitech keyboard case for the Pro and never use it (although that might change now that I only have a desktop Mac). I use the pencil multiple times a day to write with. And I love it

We have a family iPad Air and Pencil. I tried handwriting to text on it but it wasn’t accurate enough, at least with my handwriting. My Pro Max iPhone is close enough to an iPad Mini that I don’t have much use for a tablet. I find the giant touchscreens and soft keyboards on full-sized iPads kind of clunky and awkward, and once you add a keyboard and pointing device, you have to deal with the annoying limitations of the operating system.