I have had a 12.9 inch iPad Pro for over year, it was my brother's old model and I really loved it. The large screen combined with the Apple Pencil was simply awesome for drawing and even though it was from 2015 it was still overpowered for any app I can think of for iPad. So why replace it?
The problems I had with the device were definitely 1st world. The battery wasn't lasting as long because of it's age but it still was good for 5 hours of drawing which was more than enough. I did love the large screen but it was awkward for me to move around or take anywhere - it wasn't any more portable than my laptop. Portable enough, but heavy and took up too much space where I was using it. I also had really annoying layer limitation with Procreate, 4 layers at the size I usually draw on which is mostly a RAM limitation.
So I decided to either sell or return it to Apple for credit and get the 11 inch new model that was just released. It arrived on release day and honestly I didn't expect much difference in how it worked with what I do. It has surprised me, though. My layers in Procreate went up to 9... OK not so much but better. This is because I went form 6 gigs of RAM (I think) to 16 and 256 gigs of storage to 1 terabyte. The new M1 processor and graphics card is noticeably faster. Loading programs, even heavy ones like Affinity Photo or Designer pretty much just pop open as did my copy of Real Myst. I started drawing on a regular base iPad with the Apple Pencil and since this is larger than that, the loss of screen space hasn't felt dramatic, but I am missing that extra space for tools a little bit. Manipulating the smaller tablet has made up for that and this is so light and portable it's easier to work on while sitting on the deck or moving around. I am working on a new pen and ink drawing using Sketchbook Pro and so far, it's pretty nice.
The storage and RAM were good enough reasons to update but the M1 chip, but having the same chip set up as the mac mini, MacBook and new iMacs is hinting that more professional apps should be coming up. The hardware on the iPad has been ridiculously ahead of iPad IOS and I am hoping the next update will allow Affinity to finally have what it needs to port Publisher to the iPad and it should make it easier for developers to add an iPad version of their lineup. My hope is Blender will take the leap and eventually so I can dump my laptop completely and still have a backup system in case my desktop has some mishap.
A friend bought himself an Apple Pencil 2.... and never opened it so I ended up with that upgrade free of charge. The pencil does seem more responsive but it has a nice feature where I can tap the end to change from my brush to the eraser and back again without thinking. It's really handy! Sometimes the small things count more than any big new feature. The fact is charts by magnetically attaching the the side instead of the super fragile was the original pen worked provides peace of mind of that very expensive accessory.
Developers Conference update:
I will post about this again after the Mac Developers Conference makes it's announcements because the new hardware updates would be much less a reason to spend this cash without a substantial update to the iOS. I don't think I will regret buying it, but I could certainly use more reasons to love it.