Things We Love: The 12.9" iPad Pro and 2nd-Gen Apple Pencil


Since its debut, in 2015, the iPad Pro has remained one of my favorite pieces of tech. And the latest iteration, the 12.9-inch 2018 model, ranks, for me, as an absolute must-have. The reasons for my affection are threefold: the gorgeous screen, the optional 2nd-gen Apple Pencil, and the plethora of compatible drawing apps, all of which support my number-one favorite pastime: drawing.

Shawn and I spent countless hours putting the iPad Pro through rigorous, highly technical tests. Drawn in Procreate.
Shawn and I spent countless hours putting the iPad Pro through rigorous, highly technical tests. Drawn in Procreate.

Spec-wise, the iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch display isn’t that dissimilar from last year’s model, which is to say it’s super sharp. Colors look great in all my design apps, and the response between the screen and my Apple Pencil is flawless. I love the new edge-to-edge design, as well, which gives you more real estate to work with at no extra cost to overall body size (plus, aesthetically speaking, it’s just nice to look at).

Thanks to the iPad’s small size and powerful performance, I can draw anywhere—even at my boss’s desk. Please don’t tell him I was sitting in his chair.

Getting back to the new Pencil: Apple took something I had previously viewed as near perfect and somehow made it even better. The true-to-life response feels akin to the original model, but what’s even better this time around is the body design, which is just so natural and feels much more like an authentic pencil. On top of that, the newly added double-tapping feature is a great shortcut tool. Changing brushes, undoing strokes, switching design modes—all just by tapping my finger. It’s such a nice feature, one that really lets you stay in the moment, no more chasing menus or pausing to find a different brush.

As great as the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are for illustrators and designers, it would be tough to appreciate their capabilities fully without quality apps to harness their potential. Luckily, Apple made both the iPad Pro and Pencil compatible with some of the best design apps available. My personal go-tos are Procreate, Affinity, and Adobe Illustrator Draw.

Used with powerful design apps, the 12.9-inch 2018 iPad Pro and the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil make a perfect drawing solution. It looks great, it’s easy to work with, and you can take it anywhere. Do I get the same functionality as my desktop setup? No, of course not. But I also can’t jam a 27-inch iMac into my messenger bag or comfortably draw with one at the park. I can, however, take whatever iPad Pro project I’m working on and quickly port it over to my home setup for some final editing, so go ahead and add “plays well with others” to the list of lovable qualities. For illustrators and designers, what more could you want?

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.


I’ve always been a Wacom and a Cintiq Pro user myself, but I am curious about the new iPad, especially if Photoshop and other full versions of Adobe apps are on the way.

Ps I like that youre wearing the same shirt in your illustration as in real life. Very meta

Thanks for the comment, Darnell (and nice catch on the shirt!). I'm a fan of Wacom as well - especially the Cintiq Pro. For me, what separates the iPad Pro is its mobility. I love to draw with it on the train. Also, I too am very excited to see what Adobe's future, full version of Photoshop and (hopefully) Illustrator will look like on the iPad. Thanks again for reading.