Quick review: 12.9” iPad Pro (2018)

I owned the 2016 9.7” iPad Pro with the first generation Apple Pencil, which I mainly used for drawing cartoons and for watching Netflix in bed. When the 12.9” iPad Pro was announced by Apple I thought it just looked so damn cool, such a huge screen! Science-fiction made real. The new Apple Pencil was a huge improvement as well and as I was using my iPad for drawing cartoons it was an easy decision to spend an awful lot of money and upgrade.

For no particular reason I lost my interest in drawing pretty soon after I got the 12.9” iPad Pro, and it started to seem like I made a bad purchase. I tried to use the iPad for note taking, but I hated that. It’s not just the feel of the pencil on the screen that’s not great, it’s also that you have to write way bigger than you’d ever do with a normal pen on paper. It feels clunky and weird and I’m not a fan.

Luckily I discovered that the big iPad was a really welcome addition to my D&D games. My digital character sheets fit perfectly on the screen without having to scroll (I use dndbeyond.com), all the D&D books are always with me without breaking my back, I can easily keep notes during the evening (shout out to critical-notes.com), it’s great! Of course you can do all of this on a laptop as well, which some other players at the table used. But I found that the iPad, laying flat on the table, keeps you more in touch with the other players compared to sitting behind a screen. I’m also not tempted to open a different tab and just surf the internet, getting distracted from the game, since everybody can see the screen as well.

And then Apple added Sidecar; the feature that turns the iPad into an external monitor. I could now travel with my 14” MacBook Pro and my iPad Pro, and be properly productive and get work done much easier with the iPad as a second screen. The iPad went from a gadget for D&D and Netflix, to a truly valuable addition to my tools.

It’s now 2024 and I still use the iPad almost every day and I still see no reason to upgrade to a newer model. It’s the perfect gadget, the best thing Apple has ever made (maybe shared first place with the 2021 MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip?). The Apple Pencil though, that’s been gathering dust in my junk drawer for a number of years now. After I stopped drawing cartoons I never found any other reason to use the thing.