When Apple released the iPad Pro in 2015, I knew it would be a fantastic device for students.
As a graphic design major, the iPad Pro is a staple in my daily life. From taking notes in my general education classes or drawing comics in my art classes, I go to my iPad Pro first.
The keyboard is fantastic. The keys have less travel than a typical laptop, and the entire keyboard is covered in a plastic material that waterproofs it while dampening the noise. I can type on my iPad Pro while a student sits next to me, and their keyboard clicks are noticeably louder and more pronounced than mine. It’s great for those super small desks that barely fit a piece of paper because it has a much smaller footprint compared to any MacBook.
Another standout feature of the iPad Pro is the Apple Pencil. The Pencil is the perfect accessory for this device, as much of my work is done by hand. Sure, I can still take notes and make lists while typing on the keyboard, but I can use the Pencil at the same time to mark up, highlight and annotate my notes. You can set the iPad Pro on your desk and write on it just as you would with a regular pencil and notebook, and it feels more natural than any other device I’ve used.
One advantage of using an iPad Pro for your classes is that all of your notes, sketches or brainstorm sessions are all saved and backed up. Not only are they saved on your iPad Pro, but if my iPad Pro dies or I forget to throw it in my bag, I can use my iPhone or MacBook to take notes or refer back to my past notes.
I use an app called Notability for this. Out of all the note-taking apps on the App Store, Notability is the most versatile, reliable app I’ve used. I can also have a folder for each class I take, and I can have my class folders in semester specific folders. Notability backs up my notes on my MacBook, so I can go back to the Fall 2015 folder if I need to reference those notes.
I also use the file import feature all the time. If my professors put their class notes or a slideshow on Canvas, I can import that file right into Notability. There, I can highlight and mark up their pages or slides.
Because the iPad Pro has a newer processor inside, it has plenty of power to get things done. While I have the Canvas or Notability apps on the left side of my screen, I can run Safari on the right side of the screen to look up information or research a topic. I can drag and drop photos from Safari into Notability, and it’s saved in my notes.