The new iPad Pro has an A12X Bionic, 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU. In benchmarks, it beats some models of the Core i7 MacBook Pro. The new 11-inch and 12.9 inch iPad Pro is a beast. It has a gorgeous screen, an all-new design and an Apple Pencil that’s finally seamless to carry and use.
All this amazing hardware deserves amazing software. While iOS 12 is still nowhere near as extensible as macOS, individual apps are catching up. And in some cases (mostly creative), it’s actually better to use the iPad than to use a MacBook.
If you’ve just got an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil you should install the following apps and really take the new hardware for a spin.
If you’ve got an iPad and an Apple Pencil, Procreate is an app you should buy (doesn’t matter if you’re not a creative/artist). You can do so much in this app. You can create complex drawings, illustrations, or just make awesome patterns or mandalas. Procreate is also the best way to do lettering work on the iPad.
There are tons of Procreate resources available online. You’ll find YouTube videos that will teach you to draw just using the Apple Pencil in Procreate, and you can download templates, calligraphy worksheets and more.
Download: Procreate ($9.99)
Pixelmator is one of the best photo editors on the iPad. It’s not a Photoshop replacement (we’ll get to that in a second), but it’s more than enough for quickly fixing images, and editing them. You’ll find all the standard retouching and editing tools in the app.
Download: Pixelmator ($4.99)
Funnily enough, Outlook is the best email app for both iPhone and iPad. It’s feature-rich, reliable, and supports a myriad of email services. The best part about Outlook is its all-in-one approach. You’ll find your inbox, calendar, and files all in the same app. This makes it easy to schedule meetings, set a reminder, attach files and send it all in a nice email to your boss.
Download: Microsoft Outlook
Affinity Photo is the Photoshop replacement for the iPad (until the real Photoshop shows up in 2019). You get the full photo editing suite on the iPad and on the new 2018 iPad, this app is crazy fast. The app supports limitless layers, masks, blends and everything in between (including more than 120 brushes). Of course, you can use the Apple Pencil to precisely select parts of the image you want to edit. Oh and you can import PSD files to edit on your iPad.
The app supports RAW as well, so you get access to desktop level image editing tools right on your iPad.
Download: Affinity Photo ($19.99)
Affinity Designer is yet another drawing app for the iPad. You can use it to sketch your designs no matter where you are. If Affinity Photo is the Photoshop replacement, then Affinity designer is like using Illustrator on your iPad. You can create artwork in vector. This means you can design any kind of graphics – logos, brochures or posters, right on your iPad.
Use the Apple Pencil to draw directly on the iPad. Then use the available tools to add color, pop and play with shapes to create something truly stunning.
Affinity Designer is a must have if you’re any kind of designer. Even UI designers can use the app to create user interface mockups.
Download: Affinity Designer ($19.99)
There’s no Final Cut X on the iPad. But LumaoFusion comes close. It’s the best video editing app available on the iPad and on the new iPad Pro, this thing just flies! Even when editing and exporting 4K footage.
You have multi-track editing so you have three separate tracks for video and audio each. Everything else like transition effects, slow motion, audio mixing, text layers, background music, and trimming is all here.
Download: LumaFusion ($19.99)
Autodesk has made the full version of their SketchBook app completely free on the iPhone and iPad. This is reason enough to download the app, take your Apple Pencil and just start sketching. You never know where it might lead.
Download: Autodesk SketchBook
Paper is the a creativity app that is a must-have on the iPad, even if you don’t use your iPad for art. It’s one of the first apps on the iPad that proved how easy and fun it was to just doodle and draw on the screen. And this was ages before the Apple Pencil showed up! Now, you can use Paper to take notes, doodle, create art, and even make graphs and charts.
Paper can serve as a great tool to offload whatever is going on in your mind. You can use templates like a grid paper or an iPhone body to even create UI wireframes for apps. Paper is super extensible.
LiquidText will change how you interact with documents and PDFs. It’s a must-have app for students, researchers, writers, editors and academics alike. The app lets you easily annotate papers, extract parts for taking notes (which you can arrange and control independently).
LiquidText takes the rigid format for a PDF and makes it fluid. Just open a PDF, and start doodling, connecting different parts, taking handwritten notes anymore. You can also open web pages in the app.
Microsoft Office Suite
The entire Microsoft Office Suite – Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are available on the iPad. And if you’re already paying for an Office subscription, you can use the iPad as one of the devices on your account. And almost all features from the desktop apps are available on the iPad, including keyboard shortcuts, cloud sync, templates and more.
Download: Microsoft Word
Download: Microsoft Excel
Download: Microsoft PowerPoint
Annotable has everything you need to annotate an image. You can easily crop, blur, annotate and zoom into a part of the image.
Safari on the iPad can be pretty frustrating, especially when the UI changes to the mobile view in split screen mode. And iPad Safari is still mobile safari. iCab Mobile is the closest you can get to a desktop browsing experience on the iPad. You’ll get Chrome-like UI, proper tab management, download manager, inspect tool and more. Plus iCab Mobile has its own version of extensions called Modules. Using the modules you can save web pages as ebooks and even do things that aren’t possible on iOS – like play YouTube videos in a picture-in-picture view.
If you’re serious about being productive on the iPad, you should replace Safari with iCab Mobile.
Download: iCab Mobile ($1.99)
Good Notes 4
If you’re looking for a feature-rich notes app on the iPad, something that will be worthy of the Apple Pencil, Good Notes is it. You can import any background to work as a sheet of paper that you can write on, or you can choose one of the built-in templates. If you’re a fan of writing on yellow legal pads, the 12.9 inch iPad Pro with Good Notes is the perfect way to do that.
Unlike the Apple Notes app, handwriting recognition and search actually works in the Good Notes app. And you can easily convert handwritten notes to text. You can import PDFs and annotate them in the app as well.
Download: Good Notes 4 ($7.99)
Ulysses is the best writing app on the iPad. While it’s subscription based, and it might not be worth the price of admission for everyone, full-time writers will get a lot out of this app. It has a gorgeous writing environment and a very sensible interface for managing your documents.
It uses a whole new nomenclature. Documents are called sheets and are stored in a folder. You can easily merge sheets, or move them. Exporting to PDF or Word is just a button press away. But what might be the best thing is Markdown support and keyboard shortcuts for formatting.
PDF Expert is the best PDF editor on the iPad Pro. The app takes the biggest headache from dealing with PDFs – editing. You can load up any PDF in the app, and just tap on any text box to instantly make it editable. You can change the text, while maintaining everything else – the font size, the spacing, everything.
You can add images, links and edit the font settings as well. If you deal with a lot of PDFs, where you need to approve and change details ever so often, PDF Expert is well worth the 10 dollar asking price.
Download: PDF Expert ($9.99)
The new iPad Pro ship with iOS 12. And one of the best new productivity features on iOS 12 is Siri Shortcuts. You can use Siri to interact with certain apps. But what’s more interesting is the new Shortcuts app by Apple. You can use this app to create complex workflows where one thing happens after the other. And it can be triggered by simply using your voice!
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides
Google Docs works on the iPad. It’s not the best experience but it works. It supports Split View as well. You can open Google Docs documents in the iPad and use it with all the supported features like collaboration and sharing.
It’s the same story for Google Sheets. Here some of the keyboard shortcuts can be really helpful.
And now that the iPad Pro has a USB-C port, you can use it to showcase your Slides presentation without the need for a dongle, or Apple TV.
Download: Google Docs
Download: Google Sheets
Download: Google Slides
Your Favorite Apps
What are some of your favorite apps for the new iPad Pro? Share with us in the comments below.