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Posts tagged with "iPad"


Serenity Caldwell’s 2018 iPad Review

Serenity Caldwell, writing on iMore:

To me, the 2018 base-model 9.7-inch iPad is a special beast: It hits a line drive right through the company's fabled intersection of technology and liberal arts — and at the right price point. The iPad Pro did it first, but at a cost unattainable for all but the tinkerers and serious artists, and without iOS 11's crucial multitasking features. At $329, the iPad offers a low-end tablet experience unlike any other on the market. Add an extra $99 for Apple Pencil, and Apple has created the best device for all-purpose education, period.

But it's easy to make that claim, and a whole other thing to explain why I believe it so whole-heartedly. As a result, I decided to try and prove it: Starting with a blank page in Procreate, I created an entire iPad review video by just using my 2018 iPad, Apple Pencil, and third-party apps. My Mac came into play only once — when I uploaded my video to YouTube.

I know what you're thinking – the new iPad is "boring" compared to the iPad Pro and you don't need to watch another video about it. But trust me, you'll want to watch Serenity's review because it's unlike anything you've seen for a new iPad. Only Serenity could put this together – including the music, which she composed in GarageBand; everything was drawn, assembled, and edited on a "boring" 2018 iPad. You can watch the video below and read Serenity's technical notes here.

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11 Tips for Working on the iPad

In a recent episode of Connected, we rounded up some of our favorite "iOS little wonders" and Myke was surprised by one of my picks: the ability to launch individual notes on iOS through shared links. The ensuing discussion inspired me to assemble a list of tips and tricks to improve how you can work on an iPad with iOS 11.

Even though I covered or mentioned some of these suggestions in my iOS 11 review or podcast segments before, I realized that it would useful to explain them in detail again for those who missed them. From keyboard recommendations and shortcuts to gestures and Siri, I've tried to remember all the little tricks I use to get work done on my iPad Pro on a daily basis.

After several years of being iPad-only for the majority of my work, I often take some of these features for granted. And admittedly, Apple doesn't always do a great job at teaching users about these lesser known details, which have become especially important after the productivity-focused iPad update in iOS 11. I hope this collection can be useful for those who haven't yet explored the fascinating world of iPad productivity.

Let's dig in.

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An iPad Gesture Dilemma

Tom Warren, writing for The Verge, poses an interesting question: if Apple is going to release a Home button-free iPad, are they going to implement the same Home gesture as the iPhone X?

At its launch back in 2010, the iPad was heavily criticized for being a big iPhone. iOS 11 and the iPad Pro proved that wasn’t the case. Things further diverged with the introduction of the iPhone X, which has led to some confusion for anyone who regularly uses an iPad. I’ve been using an iPhone X and iPad Pro together for nearly six months now, and I often feel lost when moving back and forth between the devices — one with a physical home button, the other with webOS-like gestures. The result is a vastly different user experience, even though they run the same version of iOS on large rectangles of glass.

Now, Apple is rumored to be ditching the home button on the iPad Pro in favor of Face ID. It’s a move that makes sense, and it will present Apple with an opportunity to more closely align its tablet with the iPhone X gestures or to further differentiate the iPad as an entirely different computing platform (one that’s wholly separate from the iPhone, in the same way that the iPhone is distinct from the Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch). Either way, Apple is facing an iPad gesture dilemma.

I'm not sure if Apple should strive for gesture consistency between the iPad and iPhone at all costs (personally, I don't find switching between my iPhone X and iPad Pro confusing), but this becomes a fascinating design discussion if the iPad is indeed abandoning the physical Home button.

Assuming Apple uses the same Home button indicator at the bottom of the screen (you can't use the side on an iPad, as that's dedicated to Slide Over), how is the dock going to coexist with a vertical swipe gesture to go back Home? Should you perhaps be able to swipe on the indicator to exit apps, and around it to quickly reveal the dock? Alternatively, what if the half-step swipe gesture to open multitasking on the iPhone X becomes the new way to show the dock on both the iPhone and iPad? If the rumor is true, I'm extremely curious to see what Apple does with gestures on the new iPad.

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The Xcode Cliff

Paul Miller, writing for The Verge, argues that Swift Playgrounds, while an amazing tool to learn the fundamentals of coding and Swift, ultimately doesn't let kids build real apps:

The Swift Playgrounds fantasy of what ARKit is like is closer to an ad than a tutorial. I’ve actually worked on an app using Apple’s ARKit and SceneKit APIs directly. I got stuck when my API call to Apple’s sound playback system wouldn’t work, despite all my best efforts at debugging. Writing software with Apple’s APIs is a powerful but difficult practice, and Swift Playgrounds’ penchant for hiding true complexity makes it hard to recommend for someone who doesn’t want to just “learn how to code” but instead wants to build something.

Apple would do its learners a huge service by providing them an Xcode equivalent on the iPad. Not because it would suddenly be easy to make applications and release them on the App Store, but because it would give iPad-bound learners a chance to engage that challenge and grow into true application developers in time.

I agree with Miller. I've been crossing my fingers for an iPad version of Xcode ever since the first-generation iPad Pro in late 2015. From aspiring programmers who would have a chance to see their creations on the iPad's Home screen (without using a Mac) to developers who could create commercial iPad software on their own iPads, the iPad needs Xcode. If coding is as important as learning a language, the lack of Xcode for iPad is like not having a keyboard to express our thoughts.

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Comparing the 2018 iPad and iPad Pro

In the wake of Apple's spring iPad and education event, I've received a lot of questions about how the base-model 2018 iPad fits in next to the 10.5-inch and second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro line — does giving Pencil support to the base-model iPad eliminate the need for a Pro-level iPad?

In short, no. But why? Here's how the two models compare, and why you'll probably want to stick with a Pro for more high-level work.

Great guide by iMore's Serenity Caldwell that covers all the key differences between the new 9.7" iPad and the iPad Pro line (including the first-generation models). I should call out two of them specifically: the first-gen Touch ID (it's worse than the second-gen not only because it's slightly slower, but because it fails more often), and the lack of three interactive apps at once when using Slide Over and Split View together.

As I noted yesterday, I think the new iPad, thanks to the A10 chip and Pencil, is a fantastic choice for users who want a solid iPad experience without the extra power of the Pro models. Arguably, True Tone, the Smart Connector, ProMotion, and a four-speaker system aren't absolute must-haves for someone who doesn't need the most powerful iPad experience; the Pencil is a natural complement to the iPad with a broader consumer appeal than other Pro-only features. It makes sense for the Pencil to trickle down into the iPad line.

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The New 9.7″ iPad: Our Complete Overview

At their education event held in Chicago earlier today, Apple announced an update for the 9.7" iPad model that, while not adopting all the features from the more powerful iPad Pro line, brings support for the Apple Pencil and includes the A10 Fusion chip.

“iPad is our vision for the future of computing and hundreds of millions of people around the world use it every day at work, in school and for play. This new 9.7-inch iPad takes everything people love about our most popular iPad and makes it even better for inspiring creativity and learning,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “Our most popular and affordable iPad now includes support for Apple Pencil, bringing the advanced capabilities of one of our most creative tools to even more users. This iPad also has the power of the A10 Fusion chip, combined with the big, beautiful Retina display, advanced cameras and sensors that enable incredible AR experiences simply not possible on other devices.”

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Linea Sketch 2.0: Elegant, Approachable Sketching for the iPad

Today, The Iconfactory released a major update to its iPad sketching app, Linea. Version 2.0, which has been renamed Linea Sketch, takes what was already one of my favorite Apple Pencil-enabled drawing apps and has extended it with new features that make it more powerful than ever before. Most importantly though, the new features don’t come at the expense of the app’s usability.

When I reviewed Linea 1.0 last year, I was struck by how approachable yet capable the app was. That’s still the case, but The Iconfactory has added several new features that should make it appeal to an even broader audience.

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New Apps for 2018

You can download my wallpaper here.

The new year is always an opportunity for me to take some time off work and better understand how I use technology and, more importantly, what I want from the devices I write about. Historically, that meant I would take a short break over the holidays and come back to MacStories with a handful of recommendations for new apps I wanted to test throughout the year, from text editors to finance management utilities and health apps.

This time, the break lasted a little longer. Last year was a particularly stressful one for me, and I felt that I needed to take at least a couple of weeks off all my work projects to clear my mind and make a plan for the year ahead. That turned out to be a fantastic idea: not only was I able to finally relax (to the point where I was craving the website and feeling the urge to write again) – the extended break also allowed me to identify areas of my life that I wanted to act upon immediately and improve in 2018.

This is why, when Myke Hurley asked me on Analog(ue) which big project I was working on for the new year, my first answer was "myself". My plan for 2018 is to take better care of myself – from multiple perspectives – so I can avoid the stress of 2017, feel more inspired, write more, and, ultimately, be happier. I don't have a single big "work project" for 2018; my goal is to improve every aspect of my daily routine, in big and small ways, so everything I do can subsequently grow as well. Essentially, I need to fix the foundation before I can build on top of it again.

In addition to new habits (which I detailed in last month's issue of the MacStories Monthly Log for Club members; you should subscribe if you haven't yet), this effort involves new apps I'm using to help me along the way. I decided to wait a full month after I came back to work because I wanted to see which ones would actually stick around; what you'll find below is a collection of apps I'm now using on my iPhone and iPad on a daily basis.

While this type of story isn't new to longtime MacStories readers, I feel like the 2018 version is more personal and pragmatic. These aren't advanced automation apps or utilities I'm just experimenting with for the mere sake of geekery; from mental health to time tracking, each of these apps is having a tangible, positive impact on my life that I'd like to highlight.

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