As you can see from the title, I’m going to be reviewing my new iPad pro as well as the apple pencil and the apps I use most.
I know the iPad pro isn’t specifically Autism related, but the pencil does link to my disabilities and everyone on Instagram said they wanted a review, so here I am. I also thought it might be nice to hear my opinion on this incredibly expensive piece of equipment from an Autistic point of view and from a photographers point of view.
So let’s just dive right in shall we.
I bought the 11 inch IPad Pro (2020 edition) in Silver, with 256mb storage, AppleCare and WiFi only. My total came to £924
It hurts to type that because it was so much money, but it has proved to be a worthwhile purchase. Speaking of worthwhile, I thought I’d also better mention that I got a student discount by going into the store, which lowered the price slightly or it would have been over £1000. I also didn’t buy an apple pencil because my Dad already had one that I could use since he works in the tech industry. Those two things obviously helped the deficit slightly, but it was still an awful lot of money.
Watch the video review here: https://youtu.be/xjP_ev09iJQ
Pros & Cons:
So let’s go through the pros and cons.
When I was first looking at buying an IPad pro, I was actually hoping to get away with only buying an apple pencil since I did already have an IPad (albeit a very old one) that was in perfectly good condition. However, my IPad mini from about 7 years ago isn’t compatible with the apple pencil. It was for this reason that I had to buy a new IPad, so I decided to just spend the money on the IPad Pro that I knew would do everything since I had to buy a new one anyway. Although it was more expensive to do it this way it means I won’t have to upgrade for a long time and of course the IPad Pro does pretty much everything and I have to say it does it very well too.
The IPad itself does have a lot of cool features that you can find out about on their website and I think the 11 inch is a really nice size – big enough to not be like big phone, but smaller than a laptop, which I think is a great size.
What I really want to sing the praises of is the apple pencil, which I ADORE! The apple pencil was the thing I wanted really and, as I said I only upgraded my IPad because mine was such a dinosaur it wasn’t compatible with the pencil. I have looked for something similar to the apple pencil for years because Apple is stupidly expensive and I kind of wanted to avoid buying into them if I could, but nothing else I found compares, so I had to cave and go with Apple.
I could go on and on about the apple pencil, so I’m going to try and keep it short:
I love it because:
- No delay between you drawing and your line appearing on the screen
- It feels like you’re just holding a real pencil, so it is very natural to use
- A great weight and length (not too light or too heavy on one end)
- Really good pressure sensitivity
Those are the main features I love, but I did want to talk quickly about why it is that I was so desperate for an apple pencil. I assume you know I’m Autistic since you’re reading an Autism Review, but it’s because of my Autism and also my Tourette’s that I couldn’t get on with any other kind of digital pencil. The other screen pens I’ve used have a delay between your movement and what’s happening on the screen and they never have a fine enough point.
I’m sure for people who were using the pens just for normal day to day use, they would have been fine, but I was looking to use them as a drawing tool to do digital art, draw on my photos and make thumbnails and no other screen pen was cutting it.
My Tourette’s is the thing that made me really want to try digital drawing because if I’m doing traditional art and my hand tics then I can and have ruined the piece and there is nothing I can do about it. Generally my tics don’t bother me and I just work around them, but it is art that I’ve always had a problem with. My hands are also very shaky, which is another thing that isn’t great for traditional art. You can therefore see the lure of digital art I’m sure with the blessed undo button, tools to straighten you lines and the ability to zoom in and out.
I’ve always been artist, but over the last few years I just haven’t had time for it because getting materials out is a lengthy and tiring process, I don’t have much space in my room for it and of course I know I’m likely to mess it up. In the few short weeks I’ve had my IPad Pro though, I have been drawing almost every day.
That brings me nicely onto the apps I use on my IPad. Obviously I have the standard apps it comes with, but the two I added (and paid for) are Procreate and GoodNotes.
Procreate is very well known in the art community because pretty much everyone uses it and I have to say it is for a good reason. If you want to do digital art, graphic design or even just add some doodles to photos/thumbnails, then I would highly recommend Procreate. It has every brush and colour you could want and it really is just amazing. Every professional and student uses it for a reason.
It did cost me £10, but if you’re going to spend £1000 on and IPad Pro, then I think you can shell out an extra tenner for an app!
The second app is GoodNotes which you may not have heard of. I a lot of University students use it for taking notes and keeping a diary. I use it as a digital bullet journal and a place to plan blog posts, photoshoots and videos. You can have dotted ‘paper’, lined, squared, plain and save your own templates to use in a bullet journal or you can use it for note taking like a lot of other people do.
GoodNotes cost me £7.99. This app won’t be for everyone, but I think it would suit anyone who wants to bullet journal or has tried to in the past, but can’t keep up with it in an actual notebook. The ability to copy and paste pages is invaluable really and will save you hours of your life. It also means I have everything in one place, which means I no longer have to carry around 12 notebooks wherever I go!
It’s safe to say that I’m clearly loving my new IPad, Apple Pencil and apps, but there are a few downsides I want to go through.
The obvious one is that it is F**king EXPENSIVE! Excuse the language, but it is so expensive that I felt the need to emphasise it with expletives!
There is really no way around this, but I would advice that you try and take advantage of any discounts you can and try and hold off buying until there is a sale of some kind because I think it’s suitably pricey that it’s worth waiting a few months to save a few hundred quid.
I’d also urge you to think about whether you actually need the IPad PRO or whether an earlier model will do. I went with the IPad Pro as a long term investment and knew it would be used because I’m a photographer and an artist, but if you have different uses in mind or just don’t have the budget, then it’s totally fine to go for an earlier, cheaper model. It’s the apple pencil we should all be here for really!
The price is really the only thing that is ‘wrong’ with the IPad itself, but I did just want to mention a few tiny things I noticed about Procreate/the Apple Pencil that may interest any fellow artists.
Although I think Procreate is far superior to Photoshop if you want to draw digitally, it does have slightly less functionality when it comes to blend modes and copying and pasting layers. It’s not a huge issue, but just something I’ve noticed.
I also found the double tap on the apple pencil to switch between pencil and eraser incredibly annoying, but you can turn this off in the iPad settings.
Those are really the only cons because I do love my new toy a lot, even though it still hurts to think about how much I spent on it.
So how would rate it overall?
IPad Pro: 4/5 stars
Apple Pencil: 5/5 Stars
Procreate: 4.5/5 Stars
GoodNotes: 5/5 Stars
Despite the price, I do think the IPad Pro and especially the Apple Pencil are worth it (especially if you are an artist), but I would definitely urge you to research whether you need the IPad Pro or are fine with a cheaper model. It could save you hundreds of pounds!
I’m going to leave it here because I know this post is getting long, but I hope this review was useful and maybe entertaining in some way for everyone who requested it!
If you want to see what I’ve been drawing with my IPad, then you can follow me on Instagram: @theautisticdreamer
Goodbye for now
Over and Out