Category Archives: Apple iPad

Update from iPad Air 2 to iPad Pro?

I have an iPad Air 2 . The iPad Pro is now available. Should I upgrade?

A number of iPad users are asking that same question.  There is no stock answer. As with many upgrade decisions,  “It all depends” holds true once again.

For myself, my reason for contemplating an upgrade is the addictive desire to be on the cutting edge. I need the new tech because it is new.

But when I step back an review my use of the iPad, I have difficulty justifying the leap forward. My use of the iPad Air 2 is media consumption; email, video, web browsing etc. Not really a productivity thing. In fact, I have never quite worked out a good workflow for use of an iPad as a productivity device. I suppose I am too entrenched in thePC-based paridigm to  devise a suitable alternative that incorporates the iPad. Too much “sand boxing” going on, i.e., I want to search for my data, select it and then select the tool I want to use to manipulate the data. I want to share a file among many tools, but I don’t want to be forced to store the file in the “cloud” in order to do so. Sometimes the sun is out and the “cloud” is gone (no wi-fi).

With the iPad Air 2, I get some of the “goodness” in that iOS 9 provides the split screen, multitasking view which I find very useful. The iPad Pro would, in this case, provide more screen real estate for the side-by-side apps. But there’s not really anything else that entices me to make the move.

I say this with a brave face and resolute conviction, but, that adiction is tingling in the shadows of my mind.

 

iPad mini 3; Is Touch ID Enough for You?

 

Apple rolled out the new 2014 lineup of iPads. The star of the show was the iPad Air 2. With more RAM, faster CPU and GPU, the iPad Air 2 is a step up from the iPad Air.

But what about the iPad mini 3?. The only new feature available on the mini 3 is the Touch ID sensor on the Home button and the addition of the “gold” color scheme. The rest of the specs remained consistent with the previous generation (now called iPad mini 2).

Of the 2014 changes to the mini, the Touch ID is the most compelling. In my estimation, save the money on the iPad mini 3 and buy the mini 2.   it appears that the iPhone 6 Plus is weighing heavy in the minds of the Apple folk in Cupertino. There might not be an iPad mini 4.

 

iPad as Laptop? Workflow Issues

iPad as Laptop
iPad as Laptop

I have, from time to time, made the attempt to re-task my iPad as a productivity device; my “not a laptop” laptop.

After going through many keyboard configurations (ZAGG, Logitech, Apple, etc.) and any number of productivity apps (Pages, Numbers, KeyNote, Docs TO Go to name a few), I have finally accepted that the iPad is just not a laptop replacement for me.

This is not to say that the iPad could not be used by others for that purpose. The hurtle that I cannot seem to clear is the workflow issues. The sandboxing of the different apps make it difficult for me to achieve the level of productivity I need. Too many years of “drag and drop” between applications I guess.

The iPad can be used as a laptop stand-in for at times, and, with the introduction of iOS 8, perhaps the software is moving into a new phase that would provide more of the workflow model I use.

But, for now, I will use my MacBook Air for the brunt of my mobile work and relegate the iPad to it’s rightful place as an outstanding media consumption device.

Then again, there is a hint of an iPad Pro. Hmmm….

 

New use for Zagg Auto Fit Keyboard

zagg autofit 10A few weeks ago, I purchased the ZAGG Auto Fit 10” keyboard folio to replace the dreadful keyboard supplied with the ASUS Transformer Book T100. The ASUS tablet popped right into place and I have been using the keyboard with the Windows tablet ever since.

On a lark, I tried to insert my iPad 3rd generation into the keyboard enclosure, but the form factor was too tall.

In the intervening weeks, I shipped the iPad 3 off to Gazelle. On Saturday. en email from Best Buy arrived in my inbox. In it was a trade-in offer for the iPad 2 I had purchased some three years ago. I took the iPad 2 to my local Best Buy and walked out with a new iPad Air 2.

I looked at the iPad Air 2 and noted the sleek lines when compared to my iPad 3. I picked up the ZAGG keyboard and popped the ASUS tablet out and popped the iPad Air 2 in. Well, by gosh and by golly (pardon my language) the new iPad fit very nicely. The new iPad is clad in a thin TPU case. I positioned the tablet with a slight bias to the right to clear the “Volume Up” button.

I haven’t paired the iPad and ZAGG keyboard yet. That will be the next step in the process. The iPad may be compatible with the keyboard in fit alone, but I am hopeful of more.

 

The Continuing iPad Keyboard Chase

I had been hearing of the upcoming release of a new iPad Bluetooth keyboard from Logitech. This, of course, peaked my internal craving for new technologies which is clearly evident when in comes to iPad related accessories.

On Saturday, I was strolling through the various displays at my local Best Buy store when I turned a corner and there it was; a cardboard stand adorned with FabricSkin keyboards.

I am certainly aware of my continuous battle between “Want” and “Need” in the realm of technology and the great tendency for “Wants” to masquerade as “Needs”.

At the time, I was ocillating between the use of the Logitech UltraThin  keyboard and the Apple Wireless keyboard/Incase Origami combination. Both are good solutions, but each lacked something. The Logitech ultraThin lacked the protection I wanted for my iPad. The Apple/Incase combo allowed me to use a separate protective case for the iPad, but lacked some basic function. Most notably was a simple On/Off switch for the keyboard. It’s somewhat embarrassing when a cool tune starts playing from your briefcase when the Apple keyboard’s media button gets bumped because the keyboard wasn’t officially “off”.

Well, “Want” kicked “Need” out the door today when I walked out of the Best Buy with the FabricSkin tucked under my arm (after I paid for it, of course). The case paired easily with the iPad; no “pin” was requested. The case is currently sitting next to me charging up; getting ready for it’s debut at work in the morning.

The case addresses the two basic issues noted above. The FabricSkin is a case completely enclosing the iPad. Like the Apple wireless keyboard, it doesn’t have an On/Off switch, but it has something better. When the iPad is placed in “typing” position, magnets within the case detect the positioning and the keyboard is turned on. When the iPad is moved from the “typing” position, the keyboard is turned off; kind of a “set it and forget it” operating mode.

My test typing at Best Buy and here at home seem fine, but the true test is typing notes during my day-to-day use of the iPad at work. Will I have to search for keys more than I touch type? Time will tell.

The one downside currently is the price. At $149.99, the case seems a little overpriced. But “Want” didn’t care about that.

 

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iPad mini; The 7″ Tablet for the Holiday Season.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Having used the first 3 versions of the iPad, I have a good “feel” for the 10″ (9.7″ to be precise) Apple tablet. The 3rd Gen, with Retina Display, provides a great option for viewing text, reading books, magazines, productivity tasks,  and watching videos.

On a lark, I recently purchased an Pad mini (the Mini). I was impressed by the quality of it’s fit and finish; the thinness and reduced weight. I didn’t “need” the mini, but I “wanted” the Mini. For that, I named this new addition to my iPad family “toomuch”.

 

Apple Introduces iPad Mini... and some new com...
Now that I have used the smaller edition of the iPad for two weeks, it makes the ideal media companion. All of the iPad apps work as expected. The lack of a Retina Display does not affect the overall usability of the product. And the small size makes the Mini seem like a more personal device. My iPad is still the “workhorse” device, substituting for a laptop on the road and assisting me at work, but the Mini is the device I reach for at home when checking email, social networks, viewing video, etc.  In fact, I was surprised in how many areas the Mini supplanted my use of the iPad.

My interest  was fueled by the smaller size. I had toyed with the idea of getting a 7″ tablet for some time. I came close to purchasing the 1st generation Amazon Kindle Fire. Later I considered the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. I chose the Mini for a number of reasons

  • Thinner and lighter
  • Better Accessibility features than the competition
  • Larger screen (7.9″) than the competition.
  • Great performance and battery life
  • Already have an established iOS/iPad eco system

In other words, what you expect from an iPad in a smaller, more personal incarnation.

For those of you in the holiday tablet shopping scene, consider the iPad Mini. While it’s price tag is higher than the competition, it certainly does not disappoint on the overall experience; a perfect entry level item in the iPad family.

 

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The iPad mini…Too Much Is Not Enough

As a loyal tablet user, I have purchased a new iPad from the 1st Generation release in March, 2010. At the time of the Apple announcement in October, 2012, I have been enjoying the iPad 3rd Generation both at home, on the road and at work.

The announcement left me in somewhat of a quandry. Not only did Apple announce the long awaited iPad mini, but also the next (4th) generation of the full sized iPad.

ipad-mini

I had been considering the purchase of a 7″ tablet and had seriously looked at both the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7. Both had their pros and cons. The cons tended to outweigh the pros; especially in the area of accessibility.

Last Saturday, I wandered into a local Apple store and waited patiently for a turn at the iPad mini table. Once I had the device in my hands, I knew that I was holding the 7″ tablet I wanted. Light and responsive, familiar in form and function, the accessibility features I depend on;…

I left the Apple store that day with a new iPad mini 32 GB WiFi white. Now my iPad 3rd Generation and iPad mini are shuffling around in an attempt to determine the usage model. For now, the iPad 3rd Gen is my workhorse device; faithfully performing flawlessly at work. The iPad mini is generally serving as my lightweight consumption device for audio books, Youtube videos, etc.

My wife even provided a name for the new iPad mini. When I walked out of the store, she said “Too much is not enough.” I wholeheartedly agreed. “Toomuch it is” I replied as I held it in my hand.

I agree with my wife in that I didn’t need the iPad mini. My full sized iPad provided all the function I needed.  But the new iPad mini provides a level of portability I didn’t have before. I can actually place the mini in the front pocket of my dress pants. Using it somehow feels more personal than the full iPad; less self concious in a crowd. In fact, the mini attended church with me last week. Something the iPad 3 would never do.

 

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Amazon Is Waiting for the Shoe

The long anticipated refresh of the Amazon Kindle lineup has finally been announced.  Amazon is venturing further into the Tablet Universe with the increased offerings in the Kindle Fire selection.

The original Kindle Fire has undergone a small refresh and a price drop from the $199 price point to $159.

The Kingle Fire HD has been added to the mix with both a 7″ and 8.9″ form factor. In a fashion similar to iPad, there are multiple configurations available.

Kindle Fire Model Price Point Description
Kindle Fire (Original) $159 Price drop from $199
Kindle Fire HD 7″ $199 16 GB
$299 32 GB
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ $299 16 GB
$359 32 GB
$499 32 GB with LTE
$599 64 GB with LTE

Amazon is aggressively pricing the AT&T LTE with a 12-month service offering for $50 which provides a 250 MB/month data plan. Apple, please make a note of this.

The original Kindle Fire was not marketed as a direct competitor for the iPad, but the new Kindle Fire HD is. In fact, the Amazon site provides a price comparison between the LTE-capable Kindles and the iPad 3.

But, there is still a shoe out there looming over the new Kindles in the form of the rumored iPad mini which is “scheduled” for an announcement  perhaps as early as October of this year.

The fear is that an aggressively priced iPad Mini may suck all the air out of the room. But, both the iPad and iPad Mini may need to consider the AT&T LTE plans offered with the Kindle Fire HD. Amazon appears to have a shoe of it’s own.

Only time will tell. The Kindle Fire HD is a real product. The iPad mini is still just a rumored glint in the eye of Apple.

 

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iBook Reborn

There’s been a lot of rumor and speculation surrounding the release of a smaller device to fill a niche between the iPod Touch and the iPad. The device is usually referred to as the “iPad Mini”.

5-9-12, iPad Mini Legal Pad

However,  there is another naming possibility; a name that held a prominent place at Apple; a name that was rumored for the original iPad before the iPad was. That name is “iBook”.

Yes, I know that Apple recycled the “iBook” moniker when it opened the iBook Store, but that was a “software only” use of the name.

The first Apple laptop I owned was the iBook. I still have that machine, running OS X Leopard. Occasionally, I bring it out, dust it off and start it up. Still works fine.

A 1st generation Apple iPad showing i...

The obvious market for the new device is direct competition with the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and the Asus Nexus 7, i.e., it will compete in a market area generally understood as eReaders. What better name than iBook for the Apple eReader.

Of course, Apple marketing is most likely considering the “halo effect” available if “iPad” is linked with the new offering.

 

 

 

 

 

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iPad Keyboarding With A Twist

I’ve searched the world over for the perfect iPad keyboard. Turns out that it’s like most things in life. It was in front of me all the time.

Since my first iPad (April, 2010), I have been searching for a external keyboard solution that provided both a great typing experience and a simple and elegant usage model.

ZAGGmate Case + Keyboard for iPad

For the original iPad, I settled on the ZAGGmate Keyboard/Case combo. It worked well, but I never considered it a case. The inset keyboard seemed to be somewhat confining when typing. I don’t know how much the “confined” feeling was actual or perceived due to the shape of the enclosure.

When I purchased the iPad 2, my first keyboard was the iPad 2 version of the ZAGGmate (actually manufactured by Logitech). It still had a “confined” feel to it, but it served me well.

Staying with the ZAGG family of keyboards, I moved to the ZAGGKeys Solo

ZAGGKeys SOLO

keyboard. This keyboard lacked the confining enclosure. The keyboard provided a flat typing surface with chiclet key spacing.  A good keyboard, but like all the other ZAGG models, there was no slant to the typing surface.

All these keyboards have moved on and found homes with other iPad users.

Logitech Wireless Keyboard for iPad

My next keyboard candidate was the Logitech Wireless Keyboard for iPad. This keyboard, unlike the others, provided a typing slant. The keyboard had a nice feel to it. No complaints for the keyboard. The one complaint I had was the companion case. The case  was somewhat cumbersome to deploy. The case provides a  flip-out, plastic  connector that snaps in place. The snapping into place activity and the unsnapping to close operations were not enjoyable. I always had a fear of breaking the plastic clasp.

Now we come to the latest, and best, keyboard I have used with my iPad; the Apple Wireless Keyboard. I recently “retired” my Apple Wireless Keyboard for use with my desktop for the full-sized Logitech Solar Keyboard K750. This left

Incase Origami Workstation

my Apple keyboard on the sidelines. While strolling through a local Apple Store, I noticed the Incase Origami Workstation keyboard case. The case is designed to work explicitly with the Apple Wireless Keyboard. The case provides two velcro straps. Using the straps and the “origami” folding action of the case, the Apple keyboard can be quickly and EASILY deployed or placed back in the stowed position.

Now my favorite keyboard and favorite device are paired. It just took that Origami “twist” to bring them together.

 

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