Molly Watt: What I think of the new iPad Pro and Pencil!

Posted on December 1, 2015

As a naturally creative person, I was particularly excited about the arrival of the iPad Pro and Pencil but I did have the usual reservations that go with only having 5 degrees of vision and big screens.

When I opened the box and saw the size of the screen I was very apprehensive, as big is not necessarily better for somebody with tunnel vision, especially a tunnel as small as mine.

On taking the tablet from its box I was surprised at how light it was and how much bigger it was than my iPad air. Switching on the iPad Pro the screen clarity was profound, even to me and it was big!

Strange as it might sound, as poor as my eyes are I notice differences, I guess because I have to look so carefully and scan everything. it is rare for me to miss something new or different.

First impressions, very impressive but size for me could be an issue! Switched on and straight to accessibility, all appearing to be quite familiar but some confusing issues for those of us with visual impairments when using split screens.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.27.25It took me some time to set up and I am very familiar with iOS, so I would suggest perhaps help would be needed with an initial setup. I found split screens useful as I could concentrate on smaller areas at any one time which was good, however, the white bar to drag screens across is very difficult to see despite using zoom settings.

The Zoom window with adjustable lens is fantastic for somebody with tunnel vision, as it makes navigating and reading on such a big screen so much easier and its great to not get lost on the crystal clear screen.

I did found it tricky using full screen zoom and three fingers to scan and drag around the larger screen but think it may get easier with practice.

Even with my bad eyes, the clarity of the screen really is brilliant both with and without zoom, I am truly blown away by it. At this early stage not all third party apps are compatible with the multitasking screens but hopefully more will be in time.

Using two apps at the same time is incredibly useful. I found using pages whilst having email open to consult was brilliant, much more visual for me than message alerts popping up, which I never saw.

For me, being able to scan each side of the screen using zoom makes using the iPad Pro much smoother and more productive than my iPad air. Being an author and illustrator of a children’s book, (book two coming soon and book three on the drawing board) I was very interested in trying out the pencil.

I was disappointed to have to wait a week longer for the pencil to arrive but it was definitely worth the wait. I was amazed by its accuracy, I can ‘paint’ with it without the mess! It’s also possible to zoom in on drawings to tidy up rough lines and edges.

Lots of these things will be useful to the creatives amongst us but for me it makes life so much easier and very therapeutic, no more spilt water, paint everywhere or trying to perfect on inaccessible programs.

Being able to zoom in to my own work and see it closely and clearly allows me to alter and perfect without the painful eye strain I’ve had to endure up to now.

Art has always been my passion, often my therapy, but it has gotten very difficult. However, it is one thing I absolutely do not want to have to give up because of my blindness.

The screen size is big but surprisingly manageable, particularly with the split screens and fabulous zoom features, I like it a lot. I like that I can position the iPad Pro wherever I need to, which is often quite close to my face, quite hard to do with a laptop!

I have not yet transitioned to voiceover, preferring to still use my 5 degrees of sight to access text so cannot really comment on how voiceover works on iPad Pro, although I am intrigued to know how it works on split screens.

I settled on using two screens at a time, even though I know it is possible to have more. However, as previously mentioned, the white bar used to drag open is so small it’s difficult for me to see and somewhat confusing too.

I would imagine familiarity with multitasking using several split screens at once can be very productive and, from my point of view, so much easier as I will know what is where and be able to use the Zoom window at whatever size and lens strength needed to scan in and out with relative ease – rather than the constant eye strain up to now of opening app after app, often being lost as to where I got to and having to start over regularly on several occasions.

I like having the ability to invert colours if preferable, albeit I would like to see something done to enable pictures to be viewed correctly when using this feature.

I was absolutely right to be excited about the iPad Pro, it will make my life easier and more productive. My concerns about the big screen have been eradicated as although it is a big screen, I am initially using it as two smaller screens and with practice probably more.

My third book will most certainly be written and illustrated using this awesome technology and that makes me very happy. The picture you see above was produced by me on iPad Pro.

Molly has Usher Syndrome and spearheads her own charity, The Molly Watt Trust, where she actively raises awareness of Usher Syndrome. She is Sense’s youngest Ambassador, a motivational speaker and avid blogger. Molly can be contacted via her new personal, accessible website or her charity

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