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New 2018 Apple iPad Pro for Bible Study

The new 2018 Apple iPad Pro is a beautiful piece of hardware and works great for Bible study, sermon prep and general use for pastors and ministers. In fact, I’m really tempted to make it my primary computer for 90% of what I do.

Is the New iPad Pro Better for Bible Study?

Not really! The major difference between the older iPad Pro and the new 2018 Apple iPad Pro comes from the speed and size and the new Pencil. Apple gave it a little facelift to modernize the look.

An Apple A12X Bionic CPU powers the new 2018 iPad Pro, or as some say it over powers it. That’s sounds really cool and gives me memories of Steve Austin, the Bionic Man (see video above) running really slowly as that wonderful music plays behind him. However, there’s nothing slow about this chip. I did a review of Olive Tree Bible Study for all the platforms they support. I edited the video on my new 2018 Apple iPad Pro with Luma Fusion, a great video editing app. The video ran about ten minutes and took about a minute to render on the iPad. That’s half the time it used to take. It’s also faster than Premiere Pro can render a ten minute 1080p video on my 2017 MacBook Pro.

In spite of the great speed, the Bible app makers don’t exactly require that much power. Few digital Bible students own the new iPad so they can’t make their apps to take advantage of the power. However, the faster CPU will help with the initial start-up of apps like Faithlife’s Logos Bible app, which does some data crunching in the background after you first start it up.

In addition to speed we get a nice looking design with a new keyboard and Apple Pencil. The physical redesign means two things. First, the screen covers more of the front with smaller bezels. That means you’ll need to hold it more carefully, however, the accidental touch detection keeps you from accidentally tapping as you hold it and your thumb or fingers accidentally touch the screen. The iPad weighs a little less and takes up less space in your computer bag, if you use one. However, you wont notice that unless you hold them side-by-side. I like that the new Apple Smart Keyboard now covers the back as well as the screen.

The screen’s beautiful, which makes it a great tool for Bible study. Reading text on a screen for long periods of time requires a high quality screen with great resolution and excellent contrast.

Apple Pencil and Bible Study

Why won’t Bible study creators integrate the Apple Pencil or any stylus in their apps? It would feel so natural to add a handwritten note or highlight with the Pencil. I would love it if the Bible apps would recognize the Apple Pencil and put the app in a special mode where anything the Pencil writes would get saved as a vector drawing attached to the verse or the paragraph with an indicator icon, like they do with text notes now.

Developers working at some of the Bible app makers tell me that adding drawing is not a simple thing. Do they spend limited development time on something that a small fraction of the population can take advantage of or on features in great demand that a large percentage of users want? However, I think that the first Bible app maker who figures this out will really stand out and could easily demand a nice premium for this.

Until some app maker puts my inking dream into reality, we’ll have to use the Pencil as a glorified finger, pointing and selecting. The tip is finer than my man paw fingers. So, I can get more fine pointing with it than I can with my massive digits.

I love that the Pencil snaps into place on the edge of the iPad Pro when not in use. it also charges wirelessly so that it’s always ready to go. The old Pencil would use battery power even while not in use. You had to charge it by plugging into the Lightning port on the bottom/side fo the iPad. This was awkward.

I use my iPad for presentations during Bible studies. The Pencil lets me ink on the slides of Bible verses. Sometimes I would plug in my cable to send the video signal over a Lightning to HDMI adapter to our projector. The old Pencil would lose it’s connection and if I forgot to plug it in before each Bible study I often had to do without or unplug the video cable, something not ideal while a room of 20-30 people are staring at the screen.

The new 2018 iPad Pro and Apple Pencil solves most of these problems. However, carrying it around with the Pencil along the edge makes me nervous. I hit the iPad in just the right way with a hand or my side while carrying it and the iPad goes flying off. Today it landed in a puddle and scared me to death. I can share that a puddle won’t destroy the Pencil immediately. We’ll see if it has an effects over time.

Writing on the Apple Smart Keyboard

The new Apple Smart Keyboard is both smaller and heavier at the same time. The old keyboard felt like folding origami at time, especially if you tried to use it as a stand with the keyboard on the back. The new Smart Keyboard’s simpler. The special connector sits on the back of the iPad. The new keyboard has two grooves that the long edge of the iPad sit in. This gives the user two angles.

Since the new 2018 iPad Pro measures less width than the old one, the keyboard does too. However, the keys go edge-to-edge so you still get a comfortably sized keyboard for touch-typing. I can work on it for a long time without problem. The keys give you enough travel to feel nice while typing. I actually type more accurately on my iPad than on my MacBook with its terrible butterfly keyboard.

Conclusion

Using the new 2018 iPad Pro for my work as a pastor is an improvement for a few reasons.

  • Smaller size
  • Better Apple Pencil
  • Nice keyboard
  • Excellent display
  • Super fast processor

If you own the most recent iPad Pro, then I don’t think this thing’s enough of an upgrade to make the jump. It is a big change, but can you justify the expense when your “old” iPad will last you for many years to come. I upgraded, but I’m crazy about having the latest greatest.

People who own an older iPad or who don’t have one now and want and iPad for doing a lot of their work can with this iPad. Here’s a few things I enjoy more on my iPad Pro than on another device:

  • Editing video
  • Typing
  • Playing games
  • Casual web surfing
  • Short stints of reading
  • Checking email and social media

However, I’ll still prefer my MacBook Pro over my iPad for the following:

  • Serious Bible study with desktop class Bible software instead of mobile apps
  • Creating slides for my sermons/Bible study presentations

I don’t use it for long stints reading. The Kindle Paperwhite works best for reading for extended periods of time. The TV is my choice for watching movies and videos; call me old-fashioned.

What would it take to use the iPad Pro 100% of the day? The Bible apps have to get better. Mobile apps do a better job today than they did when I bought my first iPad back in April 2010. I’m not very good at creating my slides on the iPad, but I hope to get there. I could if I was better with using Affinity Photo, which is good enough. But using Adobe Photoshop on my desktop is easy because I have a decade of muscle memory that helps me do things quickly.

Kevin

Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.

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