I upgraded my 9.7” iPad to the new 12.9” version after trying one out. Here are my observations:
The size and weight of the bigger iPad is now manageable (unlike the first models). It is so light that the programmed weight to size ratio in your head gets confused. Still, this remains a “2 hand” device in most cases. If you need a 1-hand device, this one is not for you.
The size is the main reason I got it, it enables me to read “magazines” by smaller publishers do not have the resources to invest in proper iPad apps and simply send out a PDF every month. For this purpose it is great. An A4-sized PDF on iPad is now one on one comparable to a paper one, probably even better.
The best way to get a feel for the screen quality is to go back to your old device that you thought was great. It is not yet as stark as the iPhone 3 to iPhone 4 jump, but it is a huge step up.
The thing is incredibly fast and snappy
The pencil is a huge improvement. I tried working with styli and pencils right from the launch of the first iPad, none of them really worked for me. This one snaps against the iPad with magnets (although it will fall of in your bag), has a matt feel, cannot roll away due to a flat side, has a tap function to quickly change pens, and charges on the side of the device rather than sticking out of the connector. Writing and drawing is awesome. The killer question will be how it behaves in an hour meeting: unlocking the device, battery life, both of which were wrong in the previous version. Constantly messing around with buttons and passwords to jot down something, and then leaving your meeting with a drained battery. Face ID should help (hopefully).
I did not get the keyboard, I still believe that writing long texts can be better done on a proper laptop.
The iPad is expensive, but you can save on storage if you restrict your movie downloads to those you need on one long haul flight.