New iPad Pro 2018 13" is a wonderful gadget. But lacks the ability to really be useful part of workflow for me as professional photographer.
USB-C port with SD card attached via SD reader. Speedy transferring photos and video files, but won't play nicely with some of your existing connections.

2018 Apple iPad Pro isn't quite Pro enough

November 08, 2018

So what's the problem with the new 2018 Apple iPad Pros 11" and 13"? As a professional photographer and videographer, I carry a lot of gear at times, and the idea of travelling light, shedding weight, and downsizing your gear get's more appealing as every year passes. I bought the iPad Pro 13" on the UK launch day, and excitedly set to in the Apple Store bringing in a recent 4K drone shoot to test it out.

Yes, they are absolutely gorgeous to hold, use, carry, and fold. But it's actually working with one in the field that has had me reaching for my Macbook Pro, and after 48 hours I'm going to share some of the reasons why I'm returning mine.

  • Problem #1: Bulk / batch processing your day's photos: imagine a photoshoot requires you to bring in all the 300 RAW photos from the shoot. If you were in your studio with your iMac or Macbook Pro, you'd have brought them straight in to Lightroom. Here you have to use the iPad's native Photos software. You then see that you want to add a batch process using the iPad Pro, say, add sharpening to all 400 RAW photos, or perhaps alter the white balance. This isn't possible (yet?) with Adobe Lightroom CC, and I couldn't find a way to do it to a group of photos. All the apps expect you to do work on an image at a time.
  • Problem #2: Stabilize your video footage: So you've imported some great 4k footage, but it's a little shakey. 
  • Problem #3: Cost vs usefulness: If the iPad Pro turns out to be simply really good at banging out emails, previewing photos to clients, doing quick selections of favourite photos or video clips, it's a really expensive way of doing it.
  • Problem #4: Saving files. You have an option to save the files you've imported using a File Browser, but it's awkward to use, meaning you'll have to put a folder inside another folder, it really still seems to want you to use the cloud, which isn't practical if you're trying to batch process a whole bunch of photos.

As of right now, the iPad is constrained by the way the device handles files, making professional editing of video, or batch processing of photos much more difficult for professional photographers and videographers than it needs to be. Face recognition, Apple pen and split screen aren't top of my list - batch processing, and speed of use on location or at a client's offices are. I was reassured by the promises of the tablet being as fast as if not faster than my Macbook Pro - wow! But half the weight! The iPad Pro has some quirky workarounds, 

To assure anyone who is looking for a super-powerful tablet to do blog or vlog edits whilst sitting in a coffee shop, the iPad Pro can and will do it, and do it well. It's also perfect if you want the ultimate email / browser with split screen capabilities with a wow factor. 

Where the iPad Pro could excel is for travel / on the hoof photographers who want to review and edit a small number of favourite photos, work on them individually, and upload them. Also, with up to 1TB of storage, it's another way of having a backup of your photo or video footage whilst away from the studio.

But photographers needing advanced edits over numbers of images, or more advanced video editing, will find themselves lugging their laptops around for a while yet.