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M4 iPad Pro 11” Review: Tablet Perfection

M4 iPad Pro 11 :

I have owned every iPad since its launch. Right away, I found use cases like digital sheet music, reading and things that were great for a tablet. I still have this iPad 2 that survived three children. And I can prove it with that disgusting 30-pin connector right there. But I have also been editing podcasts for more than seven years exclusively on iPad Pro.

I’ve had Macs all this time, I have Logic Pro X, but when it comes to editing podcasts, I find that the iPad with Apple Pencil is the best for me.

This new iPad M4 11-inch Pro looks like the final shape of the iPad, it’s the thinnest and lightest iPad yet, the new Magic Keyboard is amazing, and the new Apple Pencil Pro allows me to edit these podcasts incredibly quickly. So yes, I think this is the perfect iPad, but it may not be for you.

You may hear a lot of criticism about how the software is crippled or Apple should just let it run macOS, and I can understand these perspectives, but when you use the iPad as a tablet, which is still what it is at its core, I find this iPad Pro M4 amazing the way it is, and the main reason is the form factor.

Yes, it may look like a laptop when you attach it to the Magic Keyboard, especially if you have the 13-inch model, but the form factor of a tablet, which means that I can actually take it off and hold it, makes a huge difference in several use cases.

I edit podcasts on the iPad every day, and I’ve been doing it for more than seven years, and this form factor, namely a tablet with Apple Pencil, is what makes this process extremely fast for me.

But I can edit about an hour and a half of podcast in 20 to 25 minutes, I listen at a 2-fold speed using the amazing Fairite application, which has been released since 2015, and even though I have Logic Pro X and many other applications that can do this task on a Mac, doing it with this form factor with these tools makes all the difference.

Now, some people might say, they should just make a touchscreen Mac, it works with the Apple pencil.

Yeah, I guess it will work, but it’s a little heavy. And what is it? So maybe the argument, to create a touchscreen Mac book pro where the screen can come off, but runs an operating system, it’s better for the touch.

You should say this because Apple makes an amazing product with a detachable touchscreen and an operating system that is really optimized for touch.

Another argument I hear is, the new iPad pro is so expensive and you can do everything on this iPad that you could on the iPad mini or the basic iPad model, you are absolutely right, I have been editing the primary technology on this iPad mini for the last seven months, and it was a similar process to that of this iPad pro M4.

So what do I get when I spend more money? one of the biggest differences between the new iPad pro M4 and the older models is the tandem OLED display, not only does it have a promotion, which is exclusively available on the iPad pro, even the iPad air does not have it, but the new OLED tandem is incredibly bright, makes editing outdoors or doing anything outdoors easier.

And for my use case, which is podcast editing, promotion and this display makes a big difference so I’m going to edit some things with the Apple pencil and having a promotion display with this higher refresh rate allows me to see more waveforms when I move from side to side, again, I’m editing a podcast, listening at a speed multiplied by 2.

And this promotion makes all the difference. When I was editing podcasts on the iPad mini, although it was very capable, these waveforms would get super blurry when I tried to scroll and listen back, so the promotion makes a big difference with the iPad Pro. I’ll get back to podcasting in a second, but another use case I’ve used on the iPad since the original is a digital score.

Now even more people will say that it’s literally just about displaying a PDF, why do you need an iPad let alone an iPad Pro for that? Again, the form factor is important, and as you can see, precariously placing a MacBook Pro on a music stand is not really tenable, the iPad is again an ideal form factor for digital sheet music.

Now the new 13-inch iPad Air is probably an ideal device for this, for most people you can still use it with Apple pencil pro, which is important for annotations and sheet music, and you get a larger screen, which of the other key aspects when using digital sheet music, but the iPad pro also has some hardware advantages for this.

I find that the best application for digital sheet music is the four sheet music application again, I have been using it since its launch and having a very high resolution screen with great brightness is really essential, especially if you are trying to distinguish a natural from a sharp edge in the sheet music, be it piano music or flute, a professional flutist uses a 12.9-inch iPad pro and will literally perform from it with a Bluetooth pedal to change these pages and the four score app has this amazing feature where you can actually blink, and it will change the pages so that you don’t need to have a Bluetooth pedal or even touch the screen.

In the settings and you find the facial gestures that can also include a movement of the mouth or the head, I can literally just look at the iPad and blink and it will change the pages for me without having to touch the screen can you just view a PDF sheet music on the iPad air or even less the basic iPad model And if that’s part of your budget, it’s great to be able to do it on these devices.

But if you want a more pleasant experience or just more features that make your job a little easier, or because this promotion display, I can see a slightly clearer waveform, and then I can edit it with the Apple Pencil, then maybe the new iPad Pro M4 would be worth it.

Now, one of the reasons why so many people think that the iPad Pro should be more like a Mac is that it has an M4 chip, which is more powerful than the chip currently present in the MacBook Air. So technically, this iPad is more powerful than the basic laptop sold by Apple, but a powerful chip is not only ideal for powerful tasks like you can run Final Cut on an iPad Pro and the new multi-cam function is amazing.

We will benefit from some of this real-time processing, having a more powerful chip also contributes to efficiency and this is something that I have noticed when I edit podcasts, I see this battery drain while I edit hours and hours of podcasts because Fairide performs effects in real time. When I add an equalizer, a compressor, a noise gate and sometimes a voice isolation which is an amazing Apple plug-in for background noise and echo cancellation and while I’m editing, it applies these effects in real time.

This hits the processor and with the m4 I will get a better battery life thanks to this powerful processor.
Can three-year-old iPad mini do the same thing? Absolutely, but the battery life takes a hit and the export is slower.

My co-host was in a more sonorous environment and that makes a big difference, And the iPad Pro M4 is ready to go and the iPad Mini is still struggling with this vocal isolation on a track.
Now, other professional iPads like the M1 or the M2 will be closer to the performance of the M4, but it will be the fastest, and saving a few minutes every day for several years may be worth it if it is one of your main tasks.

Let’s talk about the magic keyboard, I have used the Magic Keyboard with my previous iPad Pros since its release as well and the new Magic keyboard is significantly improved, not only is it thinner and lighter, which makes it much better to carry, not only is it just as pleasant to type on as the last Magic Keyboard, but it has the new aluminum palmrest that feels good and a new haptic trackpad.

It is slightly larger than the previous models is pleasant to click, it’s funny if you remove the iPad from the Magic Keyboard, it doesn’t do anything because it’s no longer a physical depressing trackpad, it’s just haptic, a bit like when you turn off your MacBook Pro and the trackpad no longer clicks.

Now I have opted for the 11-inch because most of my use cases use the iPad as a tablet, as I mentioned.
You get all the same keys as the larger 13-inch Magic Keyboard, for the new iPad Pro, but if you compare it to the 13-inch, you get a full-size tab button, a full-size caps lock, the caps buttons are larger, so, if typing is really important to you, the 13-inch Magic Keyboard could offer a better experience.

Just in my few days of using this Magic Keyboard, the half-size support and slash buttons here, sometimes I miss those, and the half-size tab button is a little small, but typing on iPad is not my main use case.

So it’s ideal when I’m on the go or want to use it to perform some administrative tasks, but I must say that the row of function keys on the new Magic Keyboard enhancement simply allows you to adjust the screen brightness using these buttons and the volume, which alone is worth it.

Before everyone yells at me for my Apple pencil direction there, I’m giving it a week, I’ll see if I get used to it you also get this extra USB-C port, with the new Magic Keyboard and it allows faster charging than the old model.

Now one of the only negative points I have about the new Magic Keyboard is that it can be a little difficult to open sometimes, you need two hands to make sure you open it and if you have an Apple pencil, it makes it even more difficult because there is just less to grasp I’m getting used to it.

But it would be nice if there was like a little notch like a Macbook Pro, or another thing that you can hold on to and by the way Waterfield sent me this new Shinjuku messenger bag especially for iPad I love everything Waterfield does, I don’t get any affiliate commission, if you buy it It’s just a great bag and I’ll talk more about it in a series of accessories for iPad Pro, I also got it with the new Apple pencil Pro and just like the old Apple pencil, it works great especially for editing podcasts I use this handle of paper, and I can always do the same haptic gesture with the Apple pencil.

Now, one of the interesting things that you can do is program this compression gesture to a shortcut, choose the shortcut option and if I maybe want to run the shortcut that opens my iCloud passwords, I can do that, so wherever I am in my iPad, I can press the Apple pencil Pro and it literally switches to iCloud passwords and settings, and I can run any of my hundreds of shortcuts, besides I have a bunch of shortcut videos, the shortcut replaces this setting, so I keep it on one of the original Apple pencil settings, Not a shortcut and ferrite the application that I use to edit in a future version of the application.

You can set this compression gesture in addition to the double tap to whatever you want And I tested the insert a chapter action, and a title for the compression gesture this way when I edit a podcast and I want to insert a chapter very quickly, I can just press the chapter title in pencil and I’m ready to go, I don’t know what I’m going to land on using it in the long term, but great that ferrite will soon support.

I know that one of the other use cases that the iPad Pro M4 is really going to shine is for artists and those who use things like Procreate and the Apple Pencil Pro has other great gestures like this barrel in addition to compression.

Now, I said that I would identify with those who want something like macOS or a more powerful operating system on the iPad Pro, there are even things that I would like, for example, recording podcasts on iPad is a challenge because there is no choice of audio input or output device, choice of different peripherals and hard coding in the settings.

And I would like apps like Audio Hijack, which I love on the Mac, to run on the iPad so that I can record in the background or record from multiple sources.

But that being said, if I wanted to record a podcast on the new iPad Pro, I can actually connect a USB microphone like this Shure MV7 Plus, plug it in and Fairrite immediately recognizes that the USB mic can record high-quality sound.

I can record a solo podcast even in Fairrite, edit everything here and publish it, if I want to record a podcast with a remote guest, you can use the Riverside app with a USB microphone like this and I can record high quality video and audio to myself plus the microphone and I do a video podcast with remote people here on my iPad.

And since iPadOS 17, you can do powerful things like connect a webcam to FaceTime or to the built-in camera and the iPad will recognize that video stream, then it will use that webcam, and you can even do things like use a USB-C hub. Maybe you want to charge your iPad and use that micro USB?

A hub allows this and you can connect Ethernet and even an HDMI display, another powerful use case is the use of an application, like Orion which sometimes when I film myself on iPhone, I want to use the rear camera for high quality ProRes video, but preview the camera and what I see, I can use the Orion application and an HDMI capture device to see my iPhone screen on my iPad screen, you can also use it to plug in a switch or a game system and when you are on the go, a 13-inch screen would be even better for you.

Conclusion :

So, for my use, namely editing podcasts, digital sheet music, and occasionally reading and doing other tablets, or even as computers, the iPad pro M4 is pretty perfect. And some people might say it’s way too expensive for one or two use cases.

But I would say that there are a lot of devices that people buy that are expensive but are excellent for these one or two things.

Like if you wanted a Santic Wacom, you could spend $3,500 on a device for a very specific type of task, and you can record a podcast with a USB mic for $50 and that’s great value for money.

But if you want to have a slightly better or more pleasant sound, you could spend $700 for a single-use device, namely a microphone.

To be honest, unless you have one of those use cases that really take advantage of the Pro Motion, the OLED tandem, the Apple Pencil Pro, maybe the iPad Pro is not for you, the iPad Air is another great option, especially now that it comes in the size of 13 inches.

Or if you literally just want basic computer tasks with a simple operating system without having to worry about malware and viruses, the iPad basic model is also excellent and costs only $350. The iPad is not a computer for everyone, it is a computer for some.

I use the iPad Pro to edit podcasts and sheet music, I have my Mac studio when I want to record content or edit live streams and final cut, the Mac is better for that, and I have my MacBook Pro if I need to edit videos on the go or perform other powerful tasks.

And although I can also edit podcasts and load PDFs on these devices, the form factor of the iPad with the features of the iPad Pro M4, such as promotion, the OLED tandem makes this device an amazing tool of my use cases. And no, I don’t think the iPad should run macOS.

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