Astropad originally launched on the iPad in February 2015 as a drawing tool that pairs with your Mac. It serves as a second screen, allowing you to interact with Mac apps using multitouch on the iPad. The standard Astropad app remains available for a one-time payment of $29.99.
The iPad has changed a lot since February 2015. The introduction of two iPadPro models, paired with multitasking features in iOS 9, enables more professionals than ever before to get their work done with an iPad. To better address the pro segment of the iPad market, today the makers of Astropad launched a new app called Astropad Studio.
Astropad Studio is a separate app from the original Astropad Standard.
Astropad Studio is focused on providing artists with customization options that tailor the app to their preferences and workflows. Central to this greater flexibility is the ability to perform special gestures that are customizable. This makes possible an assortment of two-handed workflows that are similar to what can be done with Microsoft's Surface Studio. One hand can use touch gestures for things like erasers and right-clicks, while the other hand can continue drawing with an Apple Pencil. Pencil use is also improved due to the option to customize pressure sensitivity to fit your preferences. The transfer speed from iPad to Mac has been bumped to a 40 MB/s max speed versus the 5 MB/s supported by the original Astropad app, helping create a more seamless iPad-to-Mac drawing experience. Another exclusive feature in Studio is its support for keyboard use, which adds to the workflow options available to users.
Two-handed workflows made possible by customizable gestures.
Astropad Studio follows a different business model than the original Astropad app, now dubbed Astropad Standard. It is a free download, but using it beyond the 7-day free trial requires a subscription: $7.99 monthly or $64.99 annually.
Though Astropad Studio isn't made for a casual Apple Pencil user like me, I'm always excited to see developers address professional users with their iPad apps. Because paid up front apps still can't offer free trials of any kind, my hope is that Apple's opening of subscription options to apps of all types will continue to expand options for pro users in the iOS App Store.
Stumbling around on a Monday morning, I wake up too late, throw on a hat, and unplug four devices: my 12.9" iPad Pro, my iPhone 7, its companion Apple Watch, and my 12" MacBook. The first and last are tossed in my backpack to be used in and between classes to take notes, check social media, and design documents.
When I sit down in my design class, I pull out my MacBook, open inDesign, and try to manage multiple windows as I pull images from the Web and import them into my document. On the MacBook's 12" screen, the limited real estate forces me to use a slew of keyboard shortcuts and trackpad gestures as I jump between apps. Frustrated, I pull out my iPad, fire up an iOS app to replace one on the Mac, and work in two separate environments.
The problem here is obvious: although macOS and iOS functionality overlaps, working in two OSes simultaneously isn't ideal. The inability of the iPad to act as an extension of the MacBook's display limits my productivity. Even people with larger 15" MacBook Pros would probably appreciate it if their iPad's screen was available to display Mac apps.
For a while, I've been trying to solve this problem by using Duet Display, an iOS app that allows your iPad or iPhone to function as a second screen for your Mac or Windows PC. Duet has been around for a couple of years, but continues to get significant updates to speed it up, reduce lag, and offer touchscreen support. The fundamentals, however, are still the same: Duet, with an iOS device, can be your mobile Mac monitor.
Many years ago, weekends at my grandparents' went like this: flip on the TV, peruse through all the channels hoping to find something I like, and eventually hand over the remote to my grandfather, when he would then search the paper TV guide for that night’s programming.
The days of using those guides are long gone, but the need to see what shows are coming up is still relevant. For that, I’ve been using Television Time, a beautiful TV guide for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
When Apple introduced the App Store in 2008, much of the excitement spanned from the opportunities and functionalities these new apps would bring to the iPhone. Many of the first apps were forays into markets untouched by the stock apps – games, social networks, and read-it-later services.
Eight years later, the trends are different; with millions of apps covering almost every genre imaginable, a lot of this year's best apps are refinements or new takes on the same functionalities some of Apple's stock apps offer.
That's where Partly Sunny comes in – it's a weather app that, at first glance of its icon, looks almost identical to Apple's Weather. But after tapping into it, Partly Sunny shakes the similarities and introduces a robust, beautiful new way to view weather information.
Logitech have today introduced a new charging dock for the iPad Pro. The Logi Base is rather unique in that it uses the iPad Pro's Smart Connector to charge the device. To date, the Smart Connector has only been used by Apple's Smart Keyboard and Logitech's keyboard case.
The minimalist looking dock will work with both the 9.7" and 12.9" iPad Pro, with magnets on the Logi Base helping guide the iPad Pro into the correct position for charging via the Smart Connector. Using the 12W power adapter and no apps running, Logitech advises that it will take 7 hours to charge the iPad Pro. The stand places the iPad Pro at a 70-degree viewing angle, and it is compatible with the iPad Pro Silicone cases from Apple.
I've just been using my iPad Pro Smart Keyboard as the "dock" for my iPad, but I'm really tempted by the Logi Base. It looks really elegant and just being able to drop the iPad down onto the dock, without fiddling with a lightning cable, would be great. But the lengthy charge time and hefty price are dampening my enthusiasm.
Today during Apple's September 9th Special Event Keynote, Apple officially unveiled the widely rumored iPad Pro. Apple's new iPad features a huge 12.9-inch Retina display, their new A9X chip, a four-speaker architecture, an 8 MP iSight Camera, support for the also-announced Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, and much more. To quote Tim Cook, it's "the biggest news in iPad since iPad."
After updating PDF Converter and Scanner Pro with support for iOS 8 extensions last week, Readdle released updates to Documents and PDF Expert yesterday, bringing full integration with iCloud Drive and document pickers.
Similarly, Panic's Transmit was updated with various enhancements including an Import/Export feature for iCloud Drive. These options let you save and copy files to and from Transmit (either in local or remote locations) using the native iOS 8 document picker.
I've been playing with both since yesterday and I noticed some good ideas and inconsistencies that I think are worth pointing out.
Microsoft yesterday updated their OneDrive iOS app to support a more seamless method of integration with their Office iPad apps. The app will now instantly open Word, Excel or PowerPoint if you tap on an Office document in OneDrive - provided you have the Office iPad apps installed. Previously OneDrive would simply display the document (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc) using iOS’ preview, which unfortunately struggles to properly format the more complex Office documents. The feature can be turned off by going to the OneDrive settings and toggling the ‘Use Office Apps’ switch.
The OneDrive app’s Camera Roll upload feature was also improved to support background uploads, allowing the app to contine upload images when you switch to another app. The app update also included various bug fixes, most notably making uploads more reliable.
In related news, Microsoft earlier this week announced that they would soon boost the storage space for Office365 users to 1TB per person on a family plan and 1TB per subscription for those on personal or university plans. For those without a Office365 subscription, the free storage available also got a boost to 15 GB (up from 7 GB) and standalone OneDrive storage plans got price cuts (starting from US$1.99 per month for 100 GB).