M1 iPad Pro - Experiences?

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
iOS and iPadOS

I'm expecting my new M1 iPad Pro next week. I looked around AppleVis but did not find a good summary of experiences and issues. If you have one of these devices, would you please share your experience here? I'm particularly interested in hearing about VoiceOver with current iPad OS: problems, tips, etc. Generally speaking, if anyone thinks I made a big mistake with this purchase, please tell me what the major flaws are. Be specific. Thanks!



Submitted by Maldalain on Saturday, January 29, 2022

I used iPad Pro 2017 then M1 as my main working machine. This had gone for two years for the 2017 and not for long for the M1. I came back to MacOS.
Pros: light weight, great mic, great speakers, great battery, huge selection of accessories, silent operations, versatile.
Cons: M1 has nothing to show off in terms of battery life in comparison to older iPads, not noticeable difference in performance for average users, horrible and sometimes useless editing and writing device, you have to shed money on accessories if you want decent one like a keyboard and adaptors, fluctuating VoiceOver performance, braille is sometimes good; sometimes bad but never great, file management is still fighting against Apple's restrictions etc.
My Verdict: the Mac Air M1 is a better device, considering its weight and the battery life it offers.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, January 29, 2022

Do not know if makes any difference but I am using iPad 9 for the first time. I also got the Apple smart keyboard and I like it. My only issue with the keyboard not to many commands compare to windows.. Using iOS 15.3 and no issues with the keyboard or without it. Although I do not have the M1 in my iPad the battery is great. Fast and responsive with or without keyboard. Take your time and have fun using it.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, January 29, 2022

I think that, for the moment, the m1 mac doesn't have much value and is more of a sales pitch. Saying that, you are getting the latest version which means it will have more runway for the future.

I think that the iPad os changes suggest that apple is moving more towards a laptop replacement and imagine there will be more and more of a difference between iPad os and iOS and a closer resemblance to mac os, in which case, better processors will come into their own.

I had the 11 inch iPad pro and the speakers were pretty much the only improvement for someone who doesn't use the camera or screen over the iPad air, even then, most movie watching I do is with headphones on.

I'd personally, and I am myself, wait for the iPad air 5 rumoured to be coming out in a couple of months. I've not checked the price of the pro but imagine there is quite a premium over the cost of the iPad air.

Sorry if I sound down on your choice, and maybe it will shine better in the future but the cost to feature ratio for myself, who doesn't use professional grade movie and photo editing software, the camera and the screen, is low.

I can do exactly what I would do on a 12.9 inch iPad pro for over a thousand pounds on my iPad mini 6 for less than half the price, though there is no keyboard that's really works with the mini compared with the 11 inch devices.

Hope you enjoy your purchase though and if you would, maybe do a review of it for everyone?

Submitted by Dave Nason on Saturday, January 29, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Paul. I don’t have the M1 iPad Pro but do have the 4th generation iPad Air, which is not a million miles away from it in design etc. I also have the attachable magic keyboard from Apple.
I love my iPad in many ways, but it is certainly flawed, and mileage will vary depending on what you want to do with it and how you want to interact with it.
The hardware is fantastic overall, and your’s will be even better, far more powerful than you will ever need probably. You also have the advantage of Face ID. Mine has Touch ID in the power button which does not work quite as reliably as the old home button. Face ID will be a nice seamless experience.
My only real gripe with the hardware is that it only has one USB C port and no headphone jack. I wish they had maintained the headphone jac k on iPad as they have on the Mac. This means for example that its difficult to connect a separate microphone and headphones if you wanted to use it to record podcasts.
Software too is a mixed bag. VoiceOver works great as a touch device, extremely snappy and responsive.
It’s when I connect the keyboard that I become frustrated.
There is no first letter navigation. So if you have 20 apps on a home screen and 10 or 15 in the dock, it can be very laborious to get to the one you want with the keyboard. Similarly if moving an email to folder, unlike on Mac, you cannot type the first letters of the folder you’re looking for in the long list.
Mail can also be buggy when trying to select actions like reply or forward.
Navigation around different sections of the screen, especially when using a keyboard is not great either. There is the Containers of course, but these are not very well or consistently implemented across the system. Containers are available in the rotor, but if you want to use the quicker keyboard action, Control + Arrow, you have to switch on QuickNav first. You can’t even assign it in the custom commands area.
Safari is great but again buggy, especially with a keyboard. When typing this message, it refused to type into the text field. I had to refresh the page to get it working. And sometimes I find I have to select links twice. In other ways it’s a joy though, very snappy and no “busy busy” messages ☺️
I find Office applications are not great. ?Spreadsheets especially are essentially impossible to use with VoiceOver. Text editing apps can be good though, but I do wish it had Text Edit.
So as always with these things, it probably depends what you want to get from it. I mainly use mine for consuming video and browsing, and for that I absolutely love it. And I love having the keyboard there, which is really easy to attach and detach, when I want to type something like this. However I’d like to use it with the keyboard more, and to do more productivity, but it’s not quite there yet for me on that side.
Hope that helps and I’ll be keen to hear what you make of it yourself.

Submitted by Betsy on Saturday, January 29, 2022

Club AppleVis Member

I have the big iPad Pro fifth generation which I believe has the M1 chip. I'm not going to be of much help though because I'm not very technical, I use my iPads for everyday practical stuff, nothing fancy like audio or video editing. And I'm ashamed to admit I'm still relying mostly on my first generation iPad Pro because I have shunned updates and it's still running iOS 12. The new iPad is a beautiful thing and the sound quality is great. I just don't like iOS 15 which is not the fault of the new iPad. One glaring problem for me is the onscreen keyboard. I still have some useable vision so I like to go without Voiceover whenever I can. On my old Pro the keyboard was like the new one - they have squeezed so much onto it that the keys are too small to read without zooming. However when I set the display to zoom (under display and brightness) the keyboard morphed into a nice easy to see keyboard without all the extra keys and functions. But even though I set my display to zoom on the new Pro the keyboard did not change from the impossible to see version. I did email Apple Accessibility and someone said they would forward the info to the right team but so far none of the updates has helped. If that changes then I will use the new one more. Even though I don't use the new Pro heavily I have to charge it every three or four days and that doesn't seem right so it may not be great as far as battery power goes. I love Face I.D. because it works way better than Touch I.D. I'm glad I've been using the Assistive Touch menu for a long time because it made the transition from having a home button to not having one very easy. Obviously the new Pro is very fast. If I think of anything else I'll add another comment.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, January 29, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I'm glad to hear there will be no unpleasant surprises. It sounds like I could've saved a few dollars by getting an iPad Air, at the expense of having an M1 - the chip of the future.

I already use an (old) iPad, and I'm already used to OS-specific issues like no first-letter navigation. I generally use my iPad lying flat with screen curtain enabled. I'll probably want to keep the new iPad upright in a kickstand case for Face ID.