Apple wants graphic designers to be able to use the new iPad Pro as a graphics tablet. But a simple - but old - design flaw means that it will be frustrating to use in the way that Apple demonstrated during the unveiling.
Yesterday Apple unveiled the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the device that the company hopes will replace the 600 million or so old PCs out there. That's an ambitious aspiration for sure, but Apple has high hopes for its new tablet to help turn sales around.
Apple is pushing the iPad Pro hard at graphic designers, so much so that Apple showed the device being used in just this way in a video during the launch. Here are a couple of screen grabs.
But the iPad has a design flaw that makes this sort of application frustrating, if not impossible.
"What's that design flaw?" I hear you ask. Well, it's not a new one and it will be familiar to anyone who owns (or owned) an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S.
Here's a shot of several camera nubbins, all in a row.
In case you've not figured it out, the camera nubbin is a protrusion on the back of the device to accommodate a camera that's thicker than the overall thickness of the iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is 6.9mm thick, but the new 9.7-inch model is only 6.1mm thick. The camera, it seems, is thicker than this, so Apple's solution -- once again -- is to make it stick out.
What's interesting is that I didn't notice this during the unveiling, and it wasn't until I looked at the official images on the Apple website that I noticed the nubbin was present.
Now you might be thinking that this is no big deal. Well, as someone who uses a graphics tablet a lot, let me assure you that unless graphics tablets are flat on the surface you're using them on, they're a major pain to use. Having the tablet teeter-totter on that camera nubbin while trying to work with it isn't going to be conducive to accurate work.
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As I've mentioned before, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S both have a similar camera nubbin, and it made the device frustrating to use on a flat surface until it was put into a case.
I understand that "thin and light" is important to Apple, but when it's done in a way that compromises the functionality of the device, it's putting form over function. Rather than having that ugly, annoying "camera nubbin," why not make the iPad Pro fractionally thicker, and use that space for an even bigger battery? Or if the battery would have added too much weight, just leave it empty. Sheesh, Apple could fill the void with helium for all I care, anything would be better than that ugly pustule.