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Gear Talk => Processing & Publication => Topic started by: Jan Anne on June 29, 2020, 18:52:36

Title: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on June 29, 2020, 18:52:36
A couple of months ago I accidentally dropped my 3 year old 15” MacBook Pro, besides some scratches everything seemed fine but lately the Mac started acting weird like port failures for disks or charging, vents making strange noises from time to time, etc. So with things still somewhat operational I started looking for alternatives which fitted my current personal and professional needs before the notebook died for good.

The requirements:
- At home it needs to fit my Apple, HomeKit, Hue, AirPlay, Ubiquity, etc ecosystems
- For work it needs to be fully compatible with Microsoft Office 365 including Outlook, Authenticator, Teams, Skype, Yammer, OneDrive, etc
- I live on a large property with poor WiFi reception and (usually) travel a lot so Internet connection needs to be built in
- For hobby’s I need to be able to process, manage and share images and files
- Needs to have a USB-C port, minimal USB 3.2 and preferably Thunderbolt 3
- Nice to have is the compatibility with the ton of iOS apps in use for media consumption and hobby’s

As I was already hesitant to shell out 3K to replace a Mac mid lifecycle while Apple is planning to move away from Intel silicon in the coming years my little list of requirements also made it apparent that yet another MacBook wasn’t the obvious choice anymore to meet all the latest anno 2020 demands, at least not in the current form but maybe with further integration of MacOS and iOS down the road.

After ditching the original iPad years ago as it was merely a glorified iPhone with a big screen it took some time to get used to the idea of an iOS only setup for all my computing needs but with the recent iPad Pro and iPadOS upgrades it was time to give it a try.

So in this topic I would like to share my journey from a MacBook Pro to an 12.9 2020 iPad Pro 4G but am of course also very curious about the experiences from others :)

Attached a snapshot of my new setup with the field grade SupCase Beetle Pro, Paperlike screen protector, Apple Pencil and Asus NVMe SSD.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Akira on June 29, 2020, 19:16:00
Congrats on your purchase of iPad Pro, Jan.!  I also moved from MacOS to iPaOS last year by switching from MacBook Air to iPad Air for my mobile system.  To me, iOS13 was the game changer as it allowed much more flexible handling of the files.  Now Adobe offers the iOS version of Photoshop.

Since my move, I had added iPhone 8 Plus and then sold both iPhone and iPad Air to buy iPad mini 5.  The system is simple and handy now.  :)
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: John Geerts on June 29, 2020, 20:46:01
Thanks for the information.  I am looking forward to learn about the experiences!
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on June 29, 2020, 21:06:06
As we are on NikonGear we of course also have to go into the nerdy technical stuff beyond the knowledge of the average YouTube “experts” whom will sell you anything for their Amazon commissions ;)

Let’s start with the basics and the first thing you need to do when receiving most of today’s new gadgets; charging.

Unlike some devices of the competition you can charge the iPad with almost any USB charger like you can with the recent MacBooks using USB-C ports, it will take some time but you can charge both with the 5W charger which comes with the iPhone in an emergency whereas my Dell work laptop with a USB-C “Thunderbolt 3” port needs a minimum of 45W to charge when in use.

There’s no upper limit either on which charger can be used as all devices determine themselves how many amps are being pulled in once the voltage has been set after the USB Power Delivery negotiations came to an agreed voltage of 5, 9, (12,) 15 or 20 Volt. So the good old 87W of my 15” MBP or the latest 96W charger which come with the 16” models can also be used but testing showed that the max power is around 32 Watt.

In the box however is Apple’s newest 18W USB-C charger which looks a lot like a fat version of the 5W iPhone charger, power wise the 30W USB-C charger which comes with the MacBook Air is better fit however which is close to what the iPad Pro can handle and isn’t much larger than the 18W charger. Especially when the iPad is almost empty a bigger than 18W charger will speed up charging times considerably but once the charge is above 80-90% things will slow down anyway. 

Attached an image of the measured wattage with the iPad less than half full and from left to right the tested 87W, 30W, 18W and 5W chargers.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on June 29, 2020, 23:06:45
Congrats on your purchase of iPad Pro, Jan.!  I also moved from MacOS to iPaOS last year by switching from MacBook Air to iPad Air for my mobile system.  To me, iOS13 was the game changer as it allowed much more flexible handling of the files.  Now Adobe offers the iOS version of Photoshop.

Since my move, I had added iPhone 8 Plus and then sold both iPhone and iPad Air to buy iPad mini 5.  The system is simple and handy now.  :)
That is some seriously impressive down sizing Akira, do I understand it correctly that you use the iPad Mini as a tablet and as a phone?
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Akira on June 29, 2020, 23:41:55
That is some seriously impressive down sizing Akira, do I understand it correctly that you use the iPad Mini as a tablet and as a phone?

You understood me correctly!  I still use my 4G phone for the dedicated "telephone" and iPad mini for all other communications.  To me, iPad mini is the largest possible device that I can hold with a single hand, which is one of my essential criteria for the mobile device.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Erik Lund on June 30, 2020, 10:37:04
Congrats! A mighty fine machine ;)
How about keyboard, you get away without it?
The ability for the iPads to charge from the tiny 5W charge is quite amazing!
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Thomas Stellwag on June 30, 2020, 10:40:36
can you use in the meantime the Adobe set on it?  I ask, because I bougt one last year for my daughter. They use Adobe design software at school, so she is blocking my image PC the whole weekend, cause her 2019 Ipad pro doesn´t accept it.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on June 30, 2020, 14:55:47
Congrats! A mighty fine machine ;)
How about keyboard, you get away without it?
For now I use the iPad without a physical keyboard, the screen is so big that there is still plenty of screen real estate left with a full size virtual keyboard.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on June 30, 2020, 15:01:40
can you use in the meantime the Adobe set on it?  I ask, because I bougt one last year for my daughter. They use Adobe design software at school, so she is blocking my image PC the whole weekend, cause her 2019 Ipad pro doesn´t accept it.
Hi Thomas, I refuse to install Adobe software in any form or shape on my devices so can’t help you with that question from experience.

I do know that the Adobe software is available for the iPad like Akira mentioned above but I don’t know whether this is part of your existing desktop subscription plan, maybe somebody else knows.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 01, 2020, 23:19:38
Using external drives with the iPad Pro is a mixed bag, some things are better than with the MacBook Pro while others are worse.

To get any decent performance with external SSD’s the disk needs to be formatted to the Apple File System (APFS) but currently iPadOS doesn’t offer a disk utility app to reformat external drives so you still need a Mac to get this sorted. Also encryption isn’t supported yet but that feature will come in iPadOS 14 which also supports NTFS btw which should only be used for mechanical hard drives or in case SSD’s are also being used with Windows devices.

Please be aware that once an SSD is formatted to APFS there’s no turning back.

Speed tests were done with multiple USB-C drives, on the MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports the 2TB WD NVMe Black in an Asus USB 3.2 case did 1000MB/s and the other was a 0.5TB Samsung T5 which supports speeds up to 500MB/s.

For both drives the import speeds where 335MB/s but somehow getting files off the iPad to the SSD drives things slowed down to a little over 100MB/s, so for 1GB of data it takes 3 seconds to import it but 10 seconds to export it again while the MBP does it in 1 second both ways with the faster NVMe drive.

I assume it’s an software issue as a 2.7GB file was imported in less than 3 seconds when the iPad Pro is hooked up to the MBP directly so very close to the 1000MB/s of the USB 3.2 gen2 speed limit. Anyways the speeds are more than sufficient for my type of shooting which is only a few hundred RAW files per outing but are usually well below a hundred.

On the plus side there’s no more unmounting drives like on the Mac, simply disconnect the USB cable when the drive did its intended job.

Attached a pic of the inside of the used WD NVMe SSD in the Asus ROG case, the 3400MB/s drive is a lot faster than the USB 3.2 case allows it to be but with the big SLC cache it can sustain very high speeds even when moving large amount of files around where drives with less cache drop in speed very quickly.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Ann on July 02, 2020, 00:42:20
You can connect a keyboard to an iPad and there are Lr and Ps versions for the iPad which are included in the basic Photography subscription.

I happen to have all of the above but I don't use them because I have now decided that I hate iOS with a passion and so I prefer to take my little 13" MacBookPro everywhere with me instead! The MBP is not much bigger than the iPad but it does so much more.

I do use the iPad Pro for a few things: mainly to yell at Alexa to turn on the Espresso machine and to turn lights on and off; and I do use the iPad as a Timer or Alarm Clock.
I also use it as a giant viewfinder to drive a camera by remote (which was my main reason for buying the iPad) — but I don't use it for too much else.

Excellent Espresso however!
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: HNBO on July 02, 2020, 10:09:25
A bit funny Jan Anne being Adobe adverse on iOS and Ann being iOS hater and Adobe expert. Time for some exchange of views? There might be things to learn. Birna might chip in from her island usually neither Mac nor Adobe
/Eric.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: MFloyd on July 02, 2020, 12:18:12
What should I say ? Being an intense iPad Pro and LrC, Ps user and having everything intertwined through Adobe’s Cloud. iPad Pro for doing LrC, Ps editing in stand-alone, iPad Pro as second screen, iPad Pro as slide show tool.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49076456478_f35e9c1246_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2hLHEHm)IMG_1812.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2hLHEHm)
Shanghai 2019
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 02, 2020, 16:44:10
A bit funny Jan Anne being Adobe adverse on iOS and Ann being iOS hater and Adobe expert. Time for some exchange of views? There might be things to learn. Birna might chip in from her island usually neither Mac nor Adobe
/Eric.
Always good to share experiences  :)

I manage IT vulnerabilities for a living and Adobe software has been an usual suspect in the top 5 of most vulnerable enterprise software for years, many enterprises are done with this and are actively phasing it out as the code reds keep screwing up the monthly patch cycles resulting in all kinds of regulatory issues.

A little more on topic for a photography forum; I only need a basic RAW editor like Capture NX-D and refuse to pay a monthly subscription fee for something I only occasionally use. If I were a pro or a more active hobbyist the choice would have probably been different and then Ps is the more logical choice.

For now I seem to be able to do everything I need to process RAW files with Affinity Photo on the iPad Pro which costed me a whopping €10.95, it seems extremely powerful and versatile without any recurring cost :)
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 02, 2020, 16:57:51
What should I say ? Being an intense iPad Pro and LrC, Ps user and having everything intertwined through Adobe’s Cloud. iPad Pro for doing LrC, Ps editing in stand-alone, iPad Pro as second screen, iPad Pro as slide show tool.
Nice setup indeed!!!

I use a similar setup for work with a Windows 10 laptop for the “lean forward“ activities and the iPad Pro for things like Microsoft Teams or Skype video calls, either standalone or as a sidekick of the laptop.

Is that Lacie drive by any chance a Thunderbolt 3 SSD? If so does it also work with the iPad?
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: MFloyd on July 02, 2020, 19:46:45
Nice setup indeed!!!

I use a similar setup for work with a Windows 10 laptop for the “lean forward“ activities and the iPad Pro for things like Microsoft Teams or Skype video calls, either standalone or as a sidekick of the laptop.

Is that Lacie drive by any chance a Thunderbolt 3 SSD? If so does it also work with the iPad?

Thx  :). No, it’s a rugged 5 TO HDD, which is used to store images, and with a USB-C connection. The only memory devices I link to the iPad are memory keys with some entertainment media content, when I’m traveling. Everything which is eventually stored on the iPad is backed up.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: CS on July 02, 2020, 21:56:49
You can connect a keyboard to an iPad and there are Lr and Ps versions for the iPad which are included in the basic Photography subscription.

I happen to have all of the above but I don't use them because I have now decided that I hate iOS with a passion and so I prefer to take my little 13" MacBookPro everywhere with me instead! The MBP is not much bigger than the iPad but it does so much more.

I do use the iPad Pro for a few things: mainly to yell at Alexa to turn on the Espresso machine and to turn lights on and off; and I do use the iPad as a Timer or Alarm Clock.
I also use it as a giant viewfinder to drive a camera by remote (which was my main reason for buying the iPad) — but I don't use it for too much else.

Excellent Espresso however!

None of the AMUG folks I know are happy about the upcoming move to make MacOS more like iOS. However, Apple has no problem ignoring us. One might call it a  standoff, except that Apple will proceed in spite of our posing opinions, so it's not really a standoff, it's a done deal as far as they're concerned.

The only wars where our side enjoys any victories worth mentioning is the one with the always ready to take control Alexa. Yes, we have the wall plugs that offer Alexa compatibility, but they remain in their unopened packages. Considering Alexa's history of unrequested vocal interruptions, including breaking silences for no apparent reason, there's no way she gets control of the lights, much less our beloved Espresso machine!

Tim Cook could use a double Espresso,  with a shot of Sambuca, which might wake him to our displeasure.You get Alexa to swing that one, and I'll install the wall plugs for her. 

Meanwhile, Alexa does a good job of getting my calls to "add wine to the shopping list!" over to our iPhones.  ;)
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Ann on July 02, 2020, 22:04:08
Alexa lives downstairs so I yell "Good Morning" to her over the bannisters from the top of the stairs when I first get up.

Alexa responds by reporting the Weather Forecast (so that I then know what to wear!); and turns on the Espresso machine so that it is ready to brew a good strong cup when I come downstairs.

The Espresso is excellent: come over and try it — once Covid allows us all to travel again.
 :)
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 03, 2020, 11:10:48
The MBP is not much bigger than the iPad but it does so much more.
This is a good point Ann, the iPad Pro 12.9 with the new Magic Keyboard weighs the same as the MacBook Air and costs a lot more.

So if one is looking for a laptop replacement than the iPad Pro surely isn’t on the same level of value for money yet.

Personally I was looking for an rugged hybrid solution between the iPhone and the MBP for work, hobbies and pleasure and don’t need things like keyboards, external screens, printing, etc for which a Mac or MacBook is a better solution.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Anthony on July 03, 2020, 13:03:25
For now I seem to be able to do everything I need to process RAW files with Affinity Photo on the iPad Pro which costed me a whopping €10.95, it seems extremely powerful and versatile without any recurring cost :)

I believe that Affinity on the iPad uses the Apple raw conversion engine, although it is, of course, a much more capable program than Apple Photos.

Unfortunately this means that it is unsuitable for me, as the Apple raw convertor does not recognise Fuji compressed raw files which is what I use.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 03, 2020, 16:06:24
I’m also using Darkroom which is a simple RAW editor but covers most of the basics, it is however fully integrated with iPhoto which is nice for sharing the end result across devices but not the place where I want to manage all My RAW files. One thing which does work better though is that you can save edits in the RAW file like Capture NX used to do and these are still editable after saving, in iPhoto you can even rollback all the changes and return to the original RAW.

With Affinity Photo I somehow can’t return to my previous changes after a save, all the controls return to zero as shown in the image in the first post. This is not ideal if you want to correct something but the other benefits of Affinity outweigh this minor inconvenience which might just be my unfamiliarity with the app.

Darkroom has a free trial period btw after one can choose for a one time purchase or a monthly subscription.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 04, 2020, 10:45:25
I think its common knowledge by now but please be aware that the USB-C cables provided by Apple for all their devices are for charging only, there are data wires connected for the USB (PD) power negotiations but they are USB 2.0 spec only. So they can be used in an emergency but the speeds are limited to around 50MB/s whereas the iPad Pro is capable of the mentioned 335MB/s for importing files or photos.

So always use the USB-C cables which come with the storage devices which can be used for both data and power with the latter usually limited to 3A / 60W (20Vx3A) unless its specifically mentioned that the cable supports 5A or 100W (20Vx5A) for which the certified cables have an onboard chip to allow the charger to use amps above the default 3A limit. These fatter 5A cables are only needed btw for the 15 or 16” MBP as all 13” models and iPads stay well below the 60W limit of the 3A cables and are a lot more expensive as the chips and official certifications aren’t cheap.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Anthony on July 04, 2020, 11:13:03
I think its common knowledge by now but please be aware that the USB-C cables provided by Apple for all their devices are for charging only, there are data wires connected for the USB (PD) power negotiations but they are USB 2.0 spec only. So they can be used in an emergency but the speeds are limited to around 50MB/s whereas the iPad Pro is capable of the mentioned 335MB/s for importing files or photos.

So always use the USB-C cables which come with the storage devices which can be used for both data and power with the latter usually limited to 3A / 60W (20Vx3A) unless its specifically mentioned that the cable supports 5A or 100W (20Vx5A) for which the certified cables have an onboard chip to allow the charger to use amps above the default 3A limit. These fatter 5A cables are only needed btw for the 15 or 16” MBP as all 13” models and iPads stay well below the 60W limit of the 3A cables and are a lot more expensive as the chips and official certifications aren’t cheap.

I did not know this. Thank you for the information.
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Eddie Draaisma on July 04, 2020, 14:18:44
Is that Lacie drive by any chance a Thunderbolt 3 SSD? If so does it also work with the iPad?

Jan, my LaCie D2 backup drives (with 2 TB3 and 1 USB-C 3.1 ports) do not work with the iPad Pro through their Thunderbolt 3 ports; they do work through their single USB-C 3.1 port.
Also, my (Thunderbolt 3) Blackjet TX-1CXQ CFexpress/XQD cardreader does not work with the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro throws the message "Thunderbolt accessories are not supported".
Title: Re: iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Post by: Jan Anne on July 04, 2020, 16:40:47
Thanks for the confirmation Eddie, exactly the kind of information I was looking for :)

I was hoping that the incompatibility with Thunderbolt 3 port was due to uncertified chipsets used in the cheap Chinese cases but when the same issue occurs with big name drives from LaCie then its pretty clear that the promised backwards compatibility with USB isn’t implemented as initially promissed.

The new USB 4 standard does promise backwards compatibility with older iterations of USB and Thunderbolt 3 protocols so hopefully somewhere next year I can upgrade the USB 3.2 case to version 4 and get both compatibility with the iPad Pro and the full speed of the 3400MB/s NVMe drive on the MBP.