Menu

Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Becky Hansmeyer on iPad Pro

Becky Hansmeyer:

There’s a lot more to like about the iPad Pro, especially if you’re upgrading from an iPad Air 2 like I did. The display is top-notch, ProMotion is one of those things you don’t understand how you lived without, and the Apple Pencil is downright magical. It’s much heavier than the Air, of course, but still light enough to comfortably pick up with one hand. If you love iPads, don’t own last year’s generation, and have the dough: what are you waiting for? You should buy one.

Her review is a lot like what my review will be (coming in a week or two). But, the above snippet is very true – if you haven’t updated iPads in a while I recommend picking up this latest batch. I think by next year the software will catch up with the hardware.

The iPad is Apple’s best product

Faruk, of iPhonedo, on iPad:

iPads are Apple’s best products. They almost never get old. They work for years.

I agree. The iPad is a good investment as a product. Whatever you end up spending on them you get that back and much more. I’m still using my 4+ year old iPad Air 2 and love it. It works perfectly and I have no issues with it. In fact, it feels as snappy as ever.

I’d like to upgrade to the one of these new iPads Pro simply because of the new screen, the pencil, USB-C, and the seemingly amazing internals. But I don’t feel I need to. Usually 4+ years in with a laptop I feel I need to upgrade.

iOS 11 and iPad wishes from Mac Stories

Federico Viticci:

We haven’t seen something truly new, bold, and transformational happen on the iPad platform in nearly two years. It’s time for Apple to step up their game and continue pursuing the vision for the future of computing set forth in 2015. There’s so much more work to be done with iOS, multitasking, and the redefinition of computing for the multitouch era. The iPad Pro can be a computer for everything, but it needs another leap forward to become the computer for everyone. And that can’t happen without a serious reconsideration of its software.

I’ll be publishing my wishlist for WWDC before the June event and it will, undoubtedly, include some updates to iOS and the iPad. However, do take a moment to review the hard work Mac Stories has put into conceptualizing how they would enhance both iOS and the iPad. Cool video.

iPad sales

Marco Arment posits the idea that, maybe, the iPad isn’t the future of computing based on the fact that sales are down year-over-year again. He writes:

What if, like so much in technology, it’s mostly just additive, rather than largely replacing PCs and Macs, and furthermore had a cooling-fad effect as initial enthusiasm wore off and customers came to this conclusion?

I don’t think this is the case. I do believe the iPad, or something like it, is the future of computing. And I’m personally just as enthusiastic about it as a product as I was when I bought the original iPad. I use my iPad every single day.

As an aside: I think the Surface Book is certainly in the running to be the traditional PC replacement. This category is getting harder to define. What is a tablet? What is a laptop? The Surface Book surely fits into both. And, arguably, Apple’s own Macbook is getting more iPad-like with each release. Less ports, thinner, lighter. Laptops and tablets may become indistinguishable at some point.

Why the sales decrease? I agree with John Gruber:

The peak years (2013 and 2014) were inflated because it was an untapped market. Steve Jobs was right, there was room for a new device in between a phone and a laptop, and the iPad was and remains an excellent product in that space. But people don’t need to keep buying new iPads. I think the replacement cycle is clearly much more like that of laptops than that of phones. This was not obvious to me at the time, but it seems obvious now.

I’ve owned 3 iPads and my wife 2. In the same amount of time we’ve owned 6 iPhones each. iPads simply do not require updating nearly as often as iPhones. We both currently have iPads (iPad Air 2 for me, iPad Pro for her) and we likely won’t be updating for a few more years at least.

I don’t think sales are the right metric to track the success of the iPad but rather marketshare in tablets which, again, is an increasingly tough category to define.

Horace Dediu and the iPad Pro

Horace Dediu of Asymco “reviews” the iPad Pro in this video by going through the evolution of the “desktop computer” as Apple has posited it over the last 5 or 6 years.

Horace attempts to be funny in this which I think misses (no offense Horace) but the point he makes about the iPad Pro being used in a fixed location with two hands is one I hadn’t thought of. The iPad Pro seems like a whole different device that would have very different uses that I’m sure may take a few years to realize. Watch his video and you may be able to think of some yourself.

His demonstration of using the iPad Pro helped me finally make a decision regarding the iPad Pro. I definitely do not want one.

Gruber’s iPad Pro review

You can see why I believe Apple is going to regret not making OS X available on iPads by reading some of the points in John Gruber’s iPad Pro review:

First, when the iPad Pro is open with the keyboard attached, holding your arm up to touch the screen for anything longer than a moment or two is ergonomically uncomfortable. Apple has stated for years that this is why they don’t make the displays on MacBooks or iMacs touchscreens (that, combined with the relatively tiny click targets of Mac OS X, which are designed for very precise mice and trackpads, not imprecise finger tips). Scrolling through a long document using the iPad Pro touch screen is uncomfortable when it’s in laptop position. Going through a slew of new emails, likewise. In laptop mode, I want to use the keyboard for these things — and in most cases, because of bugs and/or software limitations, I can’t.

I don’t know if John has ever used a Surface or even a Windows 10 device so I do not know what he would think of them. However, the fact that Windows 10 can switch between Tablet mode and Windows mode is exactly what makes it work better in these in-between situations and on these in-between devices. Devices that are both touch capable and can have keyboards and mice, I mean. Windows 10 handles this exact situation far better than iOS or OS X do today. And as someone that uses an iPad daily I long for the ability to switch between iOS and OS X on a single device.

Don’t take my quoted bit out of context. Read his entire review.

The best iPad keyboard

The Sweet Setup:

The Belkin Qode Pro is the Cadillac of iPad keyboards. It comes with a shell for the iPad to clip into that works in conjunction with the keyboard itself. When you’re done working, simply pull the iPad away from the magnets in the base and supporting piece in the back, and the keyboard will stay behind, leaving the iPad in a thin rubbery case.

I’ve had this iPad keyboard since just a few days after Belkin released it and I love it. The battery life on the keyboard is amazing as well. I think iOS 9 will only make my decision to have an iPad keyboard all the wiser.

VSCO Cam for iPad

VSCO Cam is now available for iPad.

Good catch by Shawn Blanc:

With this update, your VSCO Cam Library now syncs across devices. You can tell if a photo is synced by the double-circle icon in an image’s top right corner. And, not only do the images themselves sync, so too do the edits you’ve made. But! Not only do the edited images sync, it’s the non-destructive edits. Meaning, you can edit an image on your iPad, save it, sync it, open it up on the iPhone, and revert it back to the original version. Slick.

Very slick.

Tools and Toys reviews the iPad Air 2

Josh Ginter for Tools and Toys:

Overall, the thinness of the new iPad Air 2 makes it the best iPad to hold, use, and carry with you on a daily basis. The image of Steve Jobs using the original iPad on the couch during the famous 2010 keynote has come into full fruition with the iPad Air 2. This iPad is a true couch computer and won’t tire anyone out after long periods of use. The hardware has caught up to the initial vision of the iPad from four years ago.

I upgraded from an iPad 2 to an iPad Air 2. The difference is incredible and I’m absolutely loving this new iPad.

iPad Air 2 Review

Speaking of John Gruber, he just published his review of the iPad Air 2 — a review I’ve been patiently waiting for.

I spent a lot of time in this review comparing the new Air 2 to the iPad 3/4. I think that’s fair, because normal people aren’t supposed to even consider replacing their iPads on an annual basis. And from what we’re learning as the iPad era marches on, iPad users aren’t even upgrading them as often as they do their iPhones. They’re more like PCs, where people use them for several years. Anyone upgrading from an iPad 3/4 to an iPad Air 2 is going to be delighted. Anyone upgrading from an iPad 2 or original iPad is going to be amazed.

He’s right, of course. I had an original iPad and, months later, updated to the iPad 2 which I’ve been using every single day since. It still works great (though iOS 8 slowed it down a lot), battery still lasts far longer than I ever expect, and it is a joy to use. It still amazes me daily.

But it is time to upgrade. I could use the iPad 2 until one of Apple’s software updates bricks it, but I’d rather not. This iPad Air 2 seems like the right time to make the jump and I’m planning on doing so. I hope it lasts as long as my iPad 2 has.

Not an iPad nano

Jason Snell, on his still smells-like-a-new-car blog Six Colors regarding whether or not the iPhone 6 Plus is like a small iPad:

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 9, I entertained the idea that it might be a replacement for my iPad mini. At last, the promise of a single device small enough to fit in my pocket, but big enough to satisfy my productivity needs.
Then I used the iPhone 6 Plus. And while it will have its fans—in fact, I’ll wager that the iPhone 6 Plus will have rabid fans—it’s just not for me, because I wasn’t seeking a bigger iPhone. I was seeking an iPad nano, and that’s not something the iPhone 6 Plus is willing to be.

Since upgrading my iPad 2 (which I love and use daily) to iOS 8 it is a dog. In fact, I’m thinking of downgrading it to iOS 7. Supposedly Apple will be releasing new iPads in October. I’m going to wait until then to make my final decision — but, like Snell, I was hoping the iPhone 6 Plus would give me exactly what he described; one device to fit them all.

But perhaps the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t the device to do it.

Fuelling the iPad-as-Camera Bandwagon

Shadoe Huard, on his personal blog:

I‘m officially coming out in favour of iPads as cameras.

Brave man.

Loosely related: Craig Mod’s piece in The New Yorker, and Apple’s new iPad ad.

Three weeks with two iPads

Shawn Blanc has had both the iPad Air and iPad Mini for three weeks. He goes through and tries to answer all of the questions anyone could possibly have if they are considering a new iPad and simply can’t choose between the two.

One of two things will have to happen before I get a new iPad; my iPad 2 dies or Apple releases an iPad with TouchID.

Coast, a browser for iPad by Opera

Coast is a new web browser built for the iPad by Opera.  (App Store link)

Why is there a back button in iPad browsers? The iPad is, after all, designed for touch. You swipe, drag and use gestures to move around.

Bringing Chrome or Safari from the desktop to iPad always felt like bringing a known app in a known environment to a new device where it really didn’t fit. Even tabs, a location bar, a search bar, all feel a bit out of place. A touch-based browser really should be re-thought from the ground up. I don’t know if Opera is going to do it with Coast but after using it for a few minutes on my iPad I can say it is a breath of fresh air. So easy to use.

Think about this experience from a child’s point of view. Someone who has almost never used a desktop browser. Something like Coast would be second nature to them. Awesome.

Shawn Blanc on the iPad mini. Nails it.

Shawn Blanc:

The iPad mini is the first iOS device (iPod touch not included) that I haven’t pre-ordered or waited in line for. Partly because I’m prejudice against that non-Retina display, but also because I just don’t see the iPad mini being worth it for me. As an additional device to use for reading and Web browsing around the house it seems like a superfluous expense, and as a full-on replacement for my current iPad it seems like it would be a downgrade as my laptop replacement.

Bingo.

Shawn Blanc on John Gruber’s iPad mini review

Turns out Shawn noticed the very same things that I did.

John Gruber on the iPad mini

John Gruber on the iPad mini:

It’s really light and easy to hold one-handed. The hardware design — chamfered edges, less tapered back, metal rather than plastic buttons — strikes me as better, more elegant, than that of the full-size iPad 3/4. But it’s disappointing to go non-retina after using the retina iPad for the last seven months. All of the accolades and advantages of retina displays work in reverse. I adore the size and form factor of the iPad Mini, but I also adore the retina display on my full-size iPad. My ideal iPad would be a Mini with a retina display.

I don’t even need to hold an iPad mini to know that my thinking is aligned with John’s. I’ve already made a deal with myself not to buy any more products, from Apple or any other company, that do not include a retina-quality display. The mini looks like a device that has found the right balance of size, speed, and weight. But the display is the thing you stare at the most.

Unlike John, Eliza and I will be waiting for an iPad mini that has a Retina Display. That iPad 4, on the other hand, looks like a good deal to me. Hmm.

(Side note to John: iPad Mini? Apple writes iPad mini. So I will too. Sorry.)

NY Times for iPad in HTML5

Have a NY Times account? And an iPad? You might want to give their new web app a try. All in HTML5.

Netbot for iPhone and iPad

Things are getting very, very interesting. Tapbots releases Netbot, a Tweetbot-esque client for App.net for both iPhone and iPad.

Notes on iOS 6 for iPhone 4 and iPad 2

In case you don’t follow me on Twitter; (really, how can you live with yourself?) earlier today I tweeted a few notes about iOS 6 on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2. I’ve taken those tweets and put them below.

  • iOS 6 note: The new Maps application is pretty fast even on the iPhone 4.
  • iOS 6 note: Clicking “App Store” in Passbook lead to a blank screen for me.
  • iOS 6 note: Love love love the new Phone features. Being able to reply with an SMS with two taps is awesome.
  • iOS 6 note: Change your “Reply with message” messages in Settings > Phone > Reply with Message. Just customized all three.
  • iOS 6 note: The new App Store layouts are such a welcomed change. Screenshots of app are readily available now.
  • iOS 6: Don’t forget to download the new YouTube app. Because the old one from Apple is gonzo.
  • iOS 6 note: The new YouTube app forces landscape video viewing. All is right in the world.
  • iOS 6 note: How to preview a song in the iTunes Music Store is still not apparent. You have to click the number. I never understood that.
  • iOS 6 note: Song previews continue to play while your browsing around. Makes for a much less jerky experience.
  • iOS 6 note: Six versions too late, but… you can now attach a photo/video to a Mail message after you’ve begun writing. Huzzah!
  • iOS 6 note: Shared Photo Streams appears to be dead simple. Looking forward to using this on vacations with friends.
  • iOS 6 note: With Passbook I suddenly have the urge to go to a movie or book a flight to try it out.
  • iOS 6 note: Unsurprisingly iOS 6 does not make my iPhone 4’s screen any taller. I guess I have to wait a few days for that.
  • iOS 6 note: The new “share screen” is also available from any Messages attachments. It used to just be “Save image…”
  • iOS 6 note: iOS 6 on an iPhone 4 runs faster than its predecessor. Even camera readiness from Lock Screen is quicker.
  • iOS 6 note: No matter how loud I yell at my iPhone 4 Siri refuses to listen.
  • iOS 6 note: You “agree to terms” at least 3 times. In iTunes before the download and on first run and a confirmation button. I AGREE APPLE.
  • iOS 6 on iPad 2 note: The clock app is droooool worthy. Wow.
  • iOS 6 on iPad 2 note: Mail is much, much faster. It checks and downloads new email instantaneously.
  • iOS 6 on iPad 2 note: Since the built-in YouTube app is gone. And Google’s isn’t iPad-ready. There is no good YouTube app for iPad.
  • iOS 6 note: To use iCloud tabs you must turn on Safari in Settings > iCloud. And also use Safari on your Mac/PC.
  • iOS 6 note: iCloud tabs works even if Safari is closed on your Mac. It remembers the last opened tab.
  • iOS 6 on iPad 2 note: 3D maps work. And they are amazing.
  • iOS 6 on iPad 2 note: I’ve never seen New York City like this. It is surreal.
  • iOS 6 note: The Yelp integration in Maps is really awesome.
  • iOS 6 note: Something new to me, Street View is gone. 3D maps are good. But Street View will be missed.
  • iOS 6 note: Apple uses the term “200 new features” fairly loosely but this is an excellent upgrade. Recommended for all.
  • iOS 6 note: The Pull-to-refresh animation is way too fun.

As of this writing – 5:45pm – Passbook still doesn’t work yet.

The Devour app for iPhone and iPad

Devour, a site I visit just about every day on my iPad, has an app to match.

What an iPad Mini, or Air, could weigh

MG Seigler compares the weights of some leading e-readers, phones, and tablets to visualize where the iPad Mini, or Air, may stack up:

As you can see, this new iPad would be closest to the Kindle with a keyboard in weight. It would weigh noticeably less than a Nexus 7. It would weigh less than half of what all of the current iPads weigh. And it would weigh just a third of what a Surface running Windows Pro will weigh.

Yesterday I held a Nexus 7 (thanks Jeff) for the first time. It is incredibly light. Remember, I’m used to lugging around an iPad 2. The iPad 2 is downright heavy when compared to the Nexus 7. Jeff was walking around with the Nexus 7 in his back pants pocket! I’ll admit it, I was jealous.

If the iPad Mini, or Air, or whatever Cook & Co. call it, weighs in anywhere near these estimates, and costs anywhere near $200, and has the features of the existing iPads, it is going to be a smash hit. Even bigger than the iPad is now.

 

(This isn’t to say I’ll be getting one. I do not know if I need the ~8″ form-factor. I use my iPad every single day and while it would be nice to have a smaller, easier to handle, iPad I can’t see springing for one out the gate. I’d probably weight until I retire my current iPad 2 and pick up the second-generation iPad Air (I’ll stick with this, though I doubt Apple will) at that time.)

Andrew Kim reviews the new iPad Smart Case

Andrew Kim, at the speed of light, has already reviewed the new iPad Smart Case. Spoiler: he doesn’t love it.

I had high hopes for this case but it’s simply lacking in proper execution. This is the first time I’ve ever been disappointed this badly by an Apple product. I’m returning it tomorrow.

I’m glad he published this. Saved me $49.

Notebook over iPad

20120606-154527.jpg

I’m going with a notebook today.

My iPad 3 event predictions

Looking at Apple’s invitation to March 7th’s iPad 3 event may give away exactly what is on the agenda. This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has dropped not-so-subtle hints in their invitations.

Here is the short list of things I think Apple is hinting at with their invitation.

Retina Display. If you’ve ever used an iPad or iPad 2 you will immediately notice the resolution on the iPad in the invitation as being much better than the current models. So, while I think this was a given, they certainly confirmed it for me.

Maps update. I think the Maps app will get updated signifigantly. Not only do I believe that Apple will drop Google Maps as their API-of-choice to power the application I think, as a result of Apple’s acquisition of C3 Technologies, the application will come with even more 3D-powered features.

iWork update. iWork on the iPad is incredibly powerful and, I’d guess, popular. A nice update to these applications would be welcomed.

No more home button? This one is simply conjecture but the invitation, if the iPad is in portrait, shows no home button on the iPad. I think the iPhone, iPad, iPod having a home button is incredibly useful and I can’t imagine life without it – but the home button has also been one of the main components of these devices to end up giving users trouble. So perhaps Apple has found an even better way. We’ll see.

I think the iPad 3 will have a better camera (ala the iPhone 4S), faster processor, more storage (iBooks are coming in at Gigabytes a piece), and perhaps more RAM.

Here is an off-the-wall prediction: colors. The iPad comes in white and black fronts. I think if Apple is really going to go after the school market they might consider giving people color choices. I realize that Apple’s own iPad Smart Covers come in a variety of colors but I think the iPad may come in more than the current choices too.

A fair and balanced comparison of the Kindle Fire and iPad 2

Well, not really.

CNN for iPad

The CNN for iPad app is nicer than the CNN.com website.

20111215-221430.jpg

Restore recently closed tabs on iPad

[Great tip](http://lifehacker.com/5853873/reopen-closed-tabs-in-safari-on-the-ipad). To restore a recently closed tab on iPad just hold down the new tab button to see a list.

iOS 5 and up only.

/via [Shawn Blanc](http://shawnblanc.net/2011/10/reopen-tabs-ipad/).

Codify – Build games for iPad on iPad

How in the world is [Codify](http://twolivesleft.com/Codify/) only $7.99? Watch the video demo. Trs impressive.

/via [John Gruber](http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/10/26/codify).

I use core iPad apps

Marco Arment [writing about core tablet apps](http://www.marco.org/2011/08/29/what-does-the-amazon-tablet-need-to-do):

> “I see normal people using iPads all the time, and I hardly ever see them using Safari, Calendar, Maps, or Music.”

Maybe I’m not what many would consider “normal” but I use the core iPad apps all the time. In fact, I spend most of my time using the core apps. In my post [The iPad apps that I use most](http://cdevroe.com/notes/ipad-apps/) I failed to mention that the applications I listed were, in fact, in addition to the core apps. (I’ve since updated that post with an addendum.)

I can’t imagine someone using an iPad without using Safari. Though Marco lists Safari as an application he _doesn’t see_ people using often he then says that one of the main apps they _do use_ is a web browser. I’m not sure if that was by accident or he actually means a different browser than Safari.

In any case, I use these applications every time I use my iPad and I would think that for Amazon to jump into the tablet market and compete with the iPad (if that is indeed what they’re going to do) they’d definitely need to design some very good core applications. At least for this tablet user to consider giving one a try.