iPad Pro 12.9” first thoughts

I got the iPad Pro 12.9” yesterday and loving it so far; I’m coming from the original iPad Pro, which is a good jump up.

Quick pros:

  • Keyboard is excellent and feels laptop-y
  • Pencil is great I particularly like that you can start writing on the screen when on standby, as it allows you to take a handwritten note in Apple Notes
  • FaceID is good, a big improvement coming from TouchID on my old iPad
  • Camera great at keeping you in the middle of the frame when you move around
  • Magnet holding the iPad to the keyboard is great

Quick cons:

  • Camera position when in landscape mode is still to the side, and the iPad still doesn’t stand up in Portrait mode - it would have been nice if the keyboard would hold the iPad and work in portrait mode.

Share your thoughts if you have the new iPad!


I’m also coming from the original 12.9" iPad Pro - so your take is useful to me. (Still 2-3 weeks way in my case.)

I am enjoying the screen, the speed, etc. Although the 12.9 M1 can be used as a second display with Sidecar, I am also experimenting with how the M1 iPad 12.9 could be integrated into my desktop setup. Here are the components:

M1 iPad Pro 12.9
OWC Thunderbolt 4 Hub (One Thunderbolt 4 port for computer, Three Thunderbolt 3 ports, and One USB port)
One Thunderbolt 3 SSD (2TB)
LG UltraFine 5K Display (the original one)
Logitech MX Keys
Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse

A little history. My main computer is the base model M1 Mac mini (8GB Ram/256GB SSD). I purchased the OWC Thunderbolt 4 to add three Thunderbolt 3 ports to expand the M1’s capabilities. I repurposed a 2TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD for the mini’s storage. By hooking the display’s T-3 cable into the hub’s first port, the SSD cable into the second T-3 port, and using the third T-3 port for my backup drive I was able to have everything feed into the OWC hub. I then connected the Thunderbolt/USB 4 cable supplied by OWC into the mini. Everything worked and I there was one Thunderbolt/USB 4 port still available on the mini.

I experimented with this setup after I received the M1 iPad Pro yesterday. When I connected the Thunderbolt/USB 4 cable into the M1 iPad Pro there was a slight hesitation and then the LG 5K monitor mirrored the iPad’s current screen. I next checked the Files system and the storage SSD was listed in the sidebar. I was able to scroll through my documents and open them with no difficulties.

Because the Logitech MX keyboard and mouse can recognize multiple devices, I just added them to the M1 iPad Pro as input devices. By unplugging the cable from the Mac mini and plugging it into the iPad Pro, I can use the same setup for either “computer.” Why do this? To see if I could and I can. The experiment continues…

As with a lot of others, hoping at WWDC Apple will surprise with massive/innovative updates to iPad OS - or not.


Two additional thoughts as I use my iPad more:


  • The Magic Keyboard comes with a USB-C slot, meaning the iPad now has two, which is great for charging your phone and iPad with only one plug, for example.
  • The floating look of the iPad with the strong magnet attaching it to the case is excellent, and it is easy to take off and use as a standalone tablet.


  • It’s rather hard to open the keyboard. There’s no notch like on a MacBook, and the Pencil is in the way for opening from the middle, so you need to open it from the corner, and it takes a bit of effort. Probably a not-being-used-to-it issue, but all the same, it takes a second extra and a little effort.
1 Like

I’m upgrading from the 2018 iPad Pro. I’m surprised at how much faster it is. I thought the 2018 was fast already. Even downloading files over WiFi is faster, does it have a newer, faster version of WiFi?

This is my first experience with the magic keyboard. First thing, I can’t believe how heavy it is! Since the original iPad Pro, I’ve used the Smart Keyboard, which is much lighter in comparison. I do love the feel of the keyboard, almost laptop quality. Plus having the trackpad is opening up a whole new way to interact with the iPad. I do have a hard time getting it out as you say, I hope that just takes some getting used to.

I’m comparing the screen to the 2018 side by side. I do see a difference, but to me it isn’t as big as I’ve been reading about. I don’t know if that means my eyes are crappy or what, but to me it isn’t a big improvement.

It’s going to make the choice between my MacBook and iPad harder, especially now that they both have the same CPU! Of course for my work, I have no choice, but maybe with WWDC we will see some real support for development (XCode I hope :crossed_fingers:).

A second USB-C you say. If I ever get to a hotel room again :slight_smile: that’s going to simplify things for me.

I’m upgrading from the 10.5-inch Pro and briefly the iPad Air. This thing is sooo fast and the screen is beautiful. I’ve never had the 12.9 before, but after doing more art and design work, I wanted to take advantage of the huge screen. I traded in my 10.5-inch Pro and a base iPad 7, which basically paid for the keyboard and then some. The only thing holding me back from going iPad-only is the file system (I can’t let go of that security blanket yet) and inDesign. But I’ve heard that Affinity is working on a robust desktop publisher for the iPad. Once that happens, it will be be really hard to justify having an iPad and MacBook Pro.

I’d never have noticed it - I was googling features and came across it.


1 Like

The patent for the Magic Keyboard also contemplated that hinge storing the pencil as well. I would have preferred that over the usbc slot.

1 Like

Because of my set up my charging cable MUST come from my left. Which was a major annoyance with my previous iPad Pro with keyboard.

This addition is a huge plus for me.

1 Like

From the Apple Support document, FYI….

The USB-C port on Magic Keyboard provides power, but it doesn’t transmit data. This means you can’t use this port with an input device such as a USB-C mouse. Never connect one end of a USB-C cable to the USB-C port on your iPad and the other end to the USB-C port on your Magic Keyboard.

Coming from a first-generation 12.9" I’ve not stuck the pencil on top. I expect I’ll like that - and if so would prefer this design to a tube in the hinge.

Experiences with sticking the pencil on top? Especially when travelling?

You have to be a bit wary of the pencil when taking it out of a bag and slipping it back in as the magnets are not designed to be extra strong, but I’ve never lost mine in three years of use.

1 Like

Yes, I agree with KillerWhale, sticking the pencil on top has been fine. You do have to be aware of it when transferring the ipad to/from a backpack etc, but it hasn’t been a problem in practice. One really big plus of this approach is that the pencil is always charged when you want to use it!


Like the others said, good for storing when using, but it’ll fall off if it catches something coming out of a bag.

Perfectly safe when carrying it around the office, home, etc.

1 Like

Charging is one niceness. Immediacy is what I think I’m looking forward to the most.

Might even get me using Apple Notes.