Richard Bucker

An iPad for all occasions

Posted at — Sep 13, 2015

I have been a hardware geek as far back as I can remember … and I have been predicting the iPad 13in for about 4+ years. At the time I was the director of a small software development  department for a payments company headquartered in Alabama. Since I was responsible for everything that had a CPU in it I also contributed to the design of the call center. At the time we were experiencing rapid growth with not much of a disaster recovery plan.  My hope was that Apple was going to expand their tablet offering so that we could (a) deploy a wifi network anywhere we needed it to be including just generally remote with a VPN (b) in-house we could reduce the cost of wiring phone, power, and wired networking (c) the enterprise support for managing users and remote destruction of corporate assets was a huge plus (d) by looping Apple or our hardware leasing company into the DR plan we could have hardware at the ready for on demand deployment to the DR location.And now here is the iPad Pro in all of it’s 13in goodness.While the iPad of 2010 would have been sufficient the iPad Pro has a lot to offer.  The CPU, RAM and Storage are good. It also has better support for multiple foreground applications… and I’m certain all of the other enterprise features are still there.But there are some weaknesses.Since it is not supporting the USB-C standard we can expect to see a refresh in the next few releases. Or at least yet another dongle.Lightening is a fine connector, however, the HDMI and DisplayPort adapters are sub par. There are issues with resolution control of external displays. (a) there is only support for one at a time (b) does not add audio (c) mirror mode only (d) no touch.If I buy the 128GB pro then I need a lot of iCloud storage for backups.When comparing the iPad Pro to the Google Pixel my intuition make some recommendations:the operating cost between apps and cloud storage leans to the Pixel. iCloud costs $20 per month and over 3 yeas that’s $720. Google normally charges $10 per month or half of Apple’s price. Just on that alone that negates the $300 price difference between the iPad and Pixel.The iPad only has the one port.  The Pixel has 2x USB-C and 2x USB-2 and 1 SD card slot. The Pixel even offers a slow charge from a USB to USB-C adapter cord. (but it’s really slow) The one iPad port means that accessing media cards might require disconnecting the external monitor etc…And of course there is the 10s boot time on the PixelLastly you can also install any alternative to ChromeOS.…do not forget beta and dev modes… so much easier than Apple.The Pixel does not have tablet mode. Ratts! Actually who cares? I have an Asus Flip and it’s just too f*cking heavy to use it like a Kindle Whitepaper.What does my professional hardware look like:all of my day to day interaction with my development servers, in the cloud, is thru my ASUS Chromebox [MU075 16GB RAM] (twin 27" monitors)When I have to work on the road, library, or Starbucks I use my Pixel (sometimes around the house too)My ASUS flip is very rarely used. It’s a rescue machine when I’m remote or when I visit family and friends. I can never tell when I’ll be called on to rescue someone.I rarely use my MacBook or iPad; although I recently deployed a dashboard on an iPad so I had to use an older device that I want to give my kids.I wouldn’t mind a better Pixel that get’s closer to the iPad Pro but I hope Google does not go too far.UPDATE - I just looked up the actual pricing of the iPad Pro.  First of all Apple does not offer a 64GB model. Only 32 and 128GB models. I would like to choose the 32GB model for comparison, however, many of the ChromeOS models start at 4GB storage so 32GB storage for the iPad Pro model would to be too optimistic. Keep in mind that iOS keeps everything local and that the applications are mainly Objective-C binaries. While the ChromeOS applications are mainly javascript, css and html which offers a higher compression ratio. (android uses java and other languages)… so the point I was making here is that the base price for an iPad Pro is going to be $1300 for the 128GB iPad with the pen and keyboard. I still get more use-cases out of my Pixel.