Posts tagged with "iPad"

Mark Gurman on Dual-App Viewing Mode Coming to iPad

I don't usually write about rumors, but the latest report from Mark Gurman on dual-app viewing mode possibly coming to iPad with iOS 9 is too exciting for me to resist a link.

Gurman reports:

Sources now say that Apple plans to show off the side-by-side feature for iOS 9 using currently available iPad models. The latest plans suggest that the split-screen mode will support ½, 1/3, and 2/3 views depending on the apps. When split, the screen can either display two different apps side-by-side, or multiple views of the same app. This would enable iPad users to see two separate Safari tabs, or compare a pair of Pages documents at the same time. Sources are quick to warn, however, that the feature could still be pulled before next month’s conference, as additional polish would be needed to bring it to the same level as other features that will be making their way into the first iOS 9 beta next month

A new multitasking experience for iPad was one of my big wishes for iOS 9. I had, however, many questions and doubts about the implementation of flexible split-screen on the current generation of iPads. Here's what I wrote:

My issue with requesting a new multitasking experience is that I don't know if it would be possible to make one that doesn't put too much stress on the user. I think that I'd like the ability to see parts of two apps at once, but what if there simply isn't a way to make that work well? What happens when you bring up two apps that require keyboard input – how do you understand which app you're typing into if you have one keyboard and two apps? Can two apps receive touch input simultaneously? Can you open two camera apps at once? What about audio output? I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that, but, in theory, should you be able to run two games at the same time? Would this new mode only work in landscape?

Gurman's report doesn't have any details on how this mode would actually work. How would you activate a second app – with a gesture or a special menu inside apps? Will developers get new tools to optimize their apps for new iPad layouts? Will apps be able to invoke specific apps programmatically (could it be this 'app links' API mentioned in the WebKit source code)?

As I concluded last month, the iPad needs new multitasking features. I'm curious to see what Apple does.

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Apple Debuts ‘Make a Film with iPad’ Advert

Coinciding with Sunday's Academy Awards Ceremony, Apple debuted a new iPad advert with a focus on making films. The advert features students from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) as they prepare and shoot films for a school project. Also featured in the advert is Martin Scorsese, with audio excerpts from his 2014 commencement speech to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts serving as the narration to the advert.

iPad is the ultimate tool for independent filmmakers. It lets them chase their ambitions and dive deeper into the work they’re so passionate about. Learn how students at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts relied on the power and versatility of iPad to write, produce, shoot, score, and edit their films in a matter of days.

Like most of Apple's recent adverts, they've set up a page on their website with more information about the advert and those featured in it. As noted on the page, the apps featured in this advert are Final Draft Writer, FiLMiC Pro, Garageband, and VideoGrade.

We've embedded the advert below, but you can also view it on Apple's website and on YouTube.

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Making Music on iOS: Guitar Amps, Effects Apps & Hardware

BIAS custom amps

BIAS custom amps

Back in the 1980s I played guitar. Yes, I’m that old. I learned from books and by playing along with CDs, and I jacked my Charvel guitar (awesome) into a Session guitar amp (terrible), and I never really got any better.

Now, 30-odd years later, I’m at it again. And like most things, except mobile phones, everything is better than it was in the 80s. Mid-range and even low-end guitars are better-made and cheaper. Amps are cheap and no longer terrible. And we have iOS devices and apps which can replace whole suitcases full of effects pedals.

That’s what we’re looking at today – iPad (and iPhone) guitar amp simulations, along with virtual effects pedals. And along the way, we’ll look at hardware to connect up your guitar to the iPad, and at some speaker options so you can actually hear yourself play.

Spoiler alert – the guitar world has taken a big turn towards the awesome.

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iPad Air 2 Review: Why the iPad Became My Main Computer

My current iPad Home screen.

My current iPad Home screen.

Last week, I came across Kyle Vanhemert's story for Wired about the iPad and pondered, with a bit of fascination and surprise, his conclusion that “nobody knows what the iPad is good for anymore”. In particular, two arguments from the piece stood out to me.

First, Vanhemert argues that iPhone software is unequivocally superior to iPad apps:

An iPad might still be the best option for idly surfing around the web. But if you want to look something up, the iPhone has a huge advantage: It’s right there in your pocket. Today’s iPhones are arguably better than the iPad for reading news and ebooks; they’ve got nice big screens but you can still hold them with one hand. iPhones are certainly better than iPads for taking and sharing photos, if not “enjoying” those photos, which isn’t really something people do anyway.

Then, he makes the case for MacBooks as portable devices that are more comfortable than iPads:

And while iPads are indeed easier to use than Macs in terms of the software they run, as physical devices to be held and manipulated, iPads are often more awkward. MacBooks effectively have built-in kickstands. They can balance on coffee tabs, laps, stomaches. They’re light enough that it isn’t burdensome to move them between these perches. By contrast, you always have to hold a tablet.

I don't want to elaborate on the particulars of specific apps and use cases, but, in broad strokes, I disagree with the article's overall assessment of iPads being better suited as “consumption” devices.1 While I see some good points in parts of the article's thesis – that Apple has struggled to explain the iPad in many ways, for instance – the underlying characterization of the iPad experience strikes me as shortsighted and repetitive.

Therefore, three months after I bought an iPad Air 2 and three years into my iPad-as-a-computer experiment, I'd like to offer some thoughts on my current iPad setup and how the device has changed my computing habits.

Because not only do I know what the iPad is good for in my life – the iPad Air 2 finally let me replace my aging MacBook Air as my main computer.

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The iPad Introduction, Five Years Later

Five years later, Federico, Myke and Stephen re-visit Steve Jobs’ announcement of the original iPad.

On January 27, 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. Five years later, the iPad has sold over 200 million units and it has become my main computer. So, obviously, we'd have a special episode of Connected to revisit the keynote and its message after five years.

I'm very happy about how this turned out. We put a lot of work into it – don't miss the rumor section before the actual keynote – and it's been fun to look back at the origin of the device I now use every day. You can listen to the episode here.

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Khan Academy Brings All Courses to iPad App

Khan Academy – a personal favorite of mine when it comes to learning new things for free on the Internet in an engaging way – has brought its full catalog of exercises and videos to the iPad app, updated today.

Nathan Ingraham writes at The Verge:

That all changes today with the introduction of a completely redesigned app for the iPad — now, everything that lives on the site is also available to iPad users. That includes some 150,000 learning exercises, content that product director Matt Wahl said was “where the majority of people spend their time on Khan Academy today.” He also joked that looking at reviews for the current app revealed that adding those learning exercises was something that users really wanted — beyond just the app review, though Wahl says it is overall the most-requested feature for the app.

I've already started watching some Microeconomics videos in the app, and I like how everything is tracked in your profile and synced back to Khan Academy on the web. The app makes perfect sense on the iPad as a learning tool, and I can't wait to start using it regularly. Khan Academy 2.0 is available on the App Store.

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“Fork iOS for iPad”

Khoi Vinh, writing about iOS for iPad:

Unlike the projects above, this one could positively affect Apple’s bottom line: as I wrote in October, I believe that the iPad is at a crossroads. Its growth has stalled, and it’s failed to serve as a launching pad for transformative new software experiences and businesses the way its older sibling the iPhone has. What the iPad needs now is unique reasons for being—something that may be difficult to achieve while it remains in lockstep with the iPhone. Forking the operating system so that a dedicated team can focus exclusively on improvements that benefit the iPad solely could provide the right opportunity to open up new vistas for the device.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see results for the holiday quarter to assess sales of Apple's new iPad lineup and there have been major changes in iPad initiatives lately, but Khoi has a point.

I've long argued (see: iOS 7) that iOS doesn't feel truly optimized for the iPad and that several components of the OS are enlarged versions of their iPhone counterparts. Simplicity has always been one of the core tenets of the iPad, but sometimes simplicity works against user experience when functionality is too closely modelled after a smaller display for the sake of consistency or, worse, time constraints. I don't know if Apple needs to “fork” iOS for iPad and make it a separate entity, but improvements meant solely for iPad software would be great (multitasking, perhaps?).

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