New iPad Pros! And Magic Keyboard!

Apple suddenly announced a pair for brand new iPad Pros, coming sometime next week. It features an updated CPU with more horsepower than the previous model, even promoting as being faster than most computer notebooks currently out there on the market. It also features new cameras and LIDAR technology all packed into a tiny package with the camera bump at the back of the iPad Pro. This enables a better augmented reality experience for creative apps and for gaming.

However, after looking at the specs, aside from the faster CPU and new camera technology, I still feel that my current iPad Pro is blazingly fast for my type of use. I also don’t use the camera much on the iPad Pro. In other words, there isn’t really much the new iPad Pro has on offer that would make want to upgrade. However, the new Magic Keyboard is another story altogether.

A floating cantilever design, that allows for better height and angle adjustment caught my attention the moment I laid eyes on this new Magic Keyboard.

Apple will also release a new Magic Keyboard that not only feature a Touchpad, (bringing touchpad support to the iPad for the first time), but also a unique cantilever design, allowing the iPad to ‘float’ once it attaches magnetically at the back. This allows the iPad Pro to have better height and angle adjustment than before, allowing you to get the perfect viewing angle. And the best part is that the Magic Keyboard is compatible the previous generation iPad Pro.

Personally, I find the new cantilever design on the Magic Keyboard just look sick and a little futuristic. I mean, this is a tablet. But once you attach the tablet to this Magic Keyboard, it becomes this whole different beast. Design wise, I think Apple nailed it this time round. I think it is safe to say, that this will greatly enhance the experience of using the iPad Pro. Finally, desk bound users of the iPad Pro can look forward to an accessory that will make the entire setup look professional, hence the name, iPad Pro.

A couple of other great features include USB-C passthrough that allows charging and backlit keyboard. Now, its a little too early to tell how the keys will feel while typing onto his new Magic Keyboard. It appears that it is going back to the chiclet style keys on the keyboard or maybe the scissor mechanism. I all in when it comes to the backlit feature, but not too sure about the feeling of the keys yet. I love the feeling of the current Smart Keyboard Folio. I really allows me to type fast and accurate with just the right amount of key travel. Even the size is just perfect on the 11 inch model.

Now, the disappointing part of the new Magic Keyboard is the price. Holy hell, its more than SGD300 just for the Magic Keyboard! It’s close to 500 for the 12 inch version. Once I saw the price, I am now hesitant. Should I really get the new Magic Keyboard. I think it all boils down to the feeling of the keyboard. And that is something I must try before I buy.

iOS 13 for iPad is now known as iPad OS

Last night, I watched the entirety of the WWDC 2019 keynote, announcing a slew of new software changes and update coming to all Apple devices this fall. One particular update that caught me off guard was the renaming of iOS13 for iPad to a standalone iPad OS. And the new OS just for the iPad introduces a slew of great multitasking abilities that will take iPad to a whole new level in terms of productivity and efficiency.

I am particularly excited about improvements made over Split View and a new multitasking function called Slide Over. Slide Over allows to quickly switch apps that appear on the right side of the screen as a second app running in the background. No more fumbling over going back to the home screen and finding the secondary app you wish to open off to the side and coming back to the main app you were interacting with earlier. With Slide Over, you can quickly switch apps on the right, while keeping the main one intact.

Multiple Spaces is another great multitasking feature that I am looking forward to using it. Think of Multiple Spaces as working with multiple windows of the same app or program on windows, or just like having multiple tabs on your browser. Instead however you can open and interact with multiple spaces within the same app. I can open two different notes from the Notes app and put them side to side. Or I can open two documents from Microsoft Office app and work on those two documents side by side. This new multitasking ability will surely make the iPad a powerhouse when it comes to multitasking.

New gestures are also introduced in the upcoming software update. My favourite is the new way you can copy and paste pieces of texts. With the new update you can simply highlight a piece of text by dragging your finger over the text, rather than tapping twice and highlighting them. Copying the text is now a simple three finger pinch rather than tapping the screen twice to bring up the copy button before tapping on the copy function. Paste is now simply dropping the text down with three fingers. It is that easy. The on-screen keyboard can now shrink and more to wherever you want on the screen for easy one-handed typing. This is a boon for bigger iPads, like the iPad Pro 12.9 inch models.

These are some of the many new features being introduced in the upcoming software update in iOS 13 coming this fall. I seriously cannot wait for the update to drop so that my iPad Pro can not be treated like a serious machine for heavy multitasking purposes.

One month impression of the iPad Pro 11 inch

So it has been more than a month of using the iPad Pro 11 inch and despite the screen issues that I had when I initially bought it, I managed to get it replaced free of charge within the week and everything is fine and dandy. I am pretty sure that the replacement iPad Pro is a brand new one, since it came in a plain cardboard box that is sealed, but I am not complaining if it is refurbished. I practically cannot tell if it is brand new or refurbished. It looks brand new to me and I am not going to complain.

So far, using the iPad Pro is fantastic. The device when used as a media consumption device, is terrific, probably overkill since the iPad Pro has a super powerful processor inside that is meant for cpu intensive tasks like photo editing and video editing, tasks that I have never done on my iPad Pro. But still, the experience of using the iPad Pro for reading and watching videos is second to none.

I read stuff on my iPad Pro a lot, and so texts are crisps, scrolling is buttery smooth and the overall layout in whatever I read is perfectly aligned and easy to navigate, apps like the NYT, Washington Post, National Geographic, The New Yorker and many others makes reading on the iPad Pro a joy because of the apps that are streamline to take the experience of reading articles on the device that much more pleasant. Coupled with the fact that the iPad Pro is pretty lightweight, means that holding the device for a hours on end is not an issues. I experience very little fatigue holding the device for extended durations while consuming content on the iPad Pro.

I have had no regrets getting the 11 inch model over 12.9 inch model. I believe for my use case, the 11 inch model is a better fit. Using my device in public places like while commuting in the train to work is not an issue for me on my 11 inch iPad Pro. It’s light and big enough without looking too pretentious using the bigger version. I believe that If I were to get the bigger version, it would have been too big for my use case. If I were an artist, and have the capability of using the iPad Pro to draw and use it as a creative device, then the 12.9 inch model would have been a better use case. But no, I read a lot on my device and the 11 inch model is not too big for my liking.

Battery life is amazing. It sips battery at simple tasks and is able to perform admirably smooth in more demanding situations. App switching is seamless and have no issues with the amount of RAM that comes with the device.

I find the Smart Keyboard folio that I bought along with the iPad Pro a joy to use. Typing feels amazing and accurate. Despite what some reviewers say about the keys being too mushy, or the feeling isn’t right because it is wrapped in some kind of cloth material, I have zero issues with it whatsoever. I am typing this entry on my iPad Pro, with the Smart Keyboard folio and have no problems typing accuracies. I am pretty sure that I would have typed just as fast on my mechanical keyboard on my main PC rig as compared to the Smart Keyboard folio.

The added peripheral just adds value to the overall functionality of the iPad Pro. With the keyboard, I not only consume content, but I can be more productive in creating content, typing documents, journaling, blogging on the device. The only minor complain or suggestion that I would make in making the keyboard more attractive to use would be to have backlit capabilities. That would have been a useful feature to have in situations where you type in dark lit places.

The mobility of the iPad Pro, coupled with powerful specs and a keyboard makes this device one of the ultimate portable device I have ever used. Apple’s iPad have come a long way since its inception in 2010. I believe that now, only the software is pulling back what the iPad is truly capable of. And I hope that future iOS upgrades will make fundamental changes in how we interact with a device such as the iPad Pro that will take the functionality of the iPad a miles ahead of its competition (assuming there is any competition at all)

Got my iPad replaced.

It was a painless experience. After I got the call from Apple informing me that they had the replacement unit on hand, I went to the Apple Store the next day. I approached one of the staff and they checked my credentials. Sure enough, they had record of the expected exchange. Within 15 minutes someone came to me with a brand new iPad Pro.

I looked. I hope its new. It came in a sealed brown box containing just the iPad. It was shrieked wrap and I had the privilege of unwrapping the iPad for the second time. I wiped my old iPad and gave it to the staff and just like that, the transaction was done.

Soon after I went about setting up my new iPad in the same process as before. I went to one of the empty table and a chair and took my time setting up the iPad and downloading all the apps again. Thankfully, there weren’t many apps for now and re-downloading all the apps didn’t take too long thanks to the speedy wifi provided free in the store.

I hope that everything is ok with the replaced version.

iPad Pro display issues

This morning as I woke up and started using the iPad to read today’s news, I noticed a peculiar green line running across the display of my new iPad Pro. I have been very happy with my purchase so far and been using it with great satisfaction. For some odd reason I did not have the usual buyer’s remorse when buying an expensive device. Probably because I used the sales proceeds of my MacBook Pro to get the iPad Pro. It may sound like a downgrade since the MBP can do so much more, but for me I really want to explore what I can potentially do with the iPad Pro outside of the traditional keypad and trackpad set up.

Every aspect about the new iPad Pro just screams quality. Then, this issue cropped up. It was annoying. I don’t know how it appeared or why it suddenly appeared or what caused this razor thin green line to appear on the display. You can have a look below.

Can you see it? It runs right smack in the middle!

So I spent a better part of my Sunday afternoon (which could have been spent on something more productive by the way) trying to contact Apple support and see if I could schedule an appointment with the support staff at Apple Store. The good news is that chatting online with the support staff was incredible. He were responsive and patient, and he fully understood what the issue was. The bad news is that I have to go down to the Apple Store and make the exchange. The even more bad news is that the appointments were full and then if you walk in without an appointment, you might be queued and had to wait for a couple of hours to be served. Hours wasted.

But it had to be done. And so I did. I went down and waited patiently till my turn came and then told the staff the problem. The problem was straightforward; hardware issue, needed the entire device to be replaced, meaning a 1-to-1 exchange. And considering that this is a newly launch product, and that I gotten the product mere days ago, most likely it will be exchange with a brand new set.

But then again, alas since this is so new, they don’t have readily available stocks for them to make the exchange, and so they had to put one up on order, which according to them, will take 3 days at least, after which, I can head down and perform the exchange anytime after that.

I won’t be heading down during the weekdays, even after work this week as I had to focus on my presentation for my course. The last activity before graduation. So I will be doing it during the weekend.

But the funny thing is: The thin green line isn’t persistent. It goes on and off intermittently. And now after hours of using it I don’t see the green line anymore. So I am starting to wonder if I may have jumped the gun and declared my device defective a little too early. Is there such a thing as letting your electronic device ‘warm up to your touch’, and ‘season’ you device and making sure to use it thoroughly for a couple of weeks before declaring it useless?

I hope the exchange process is smooth and painless. Although I have backed up my data on this iPad to iCloud, but the thought of waiting for the apps to download and logging into my credentials on all the apps seems… a little troublesome. Not to mention downloading all my content stored within the app once again. And I hope I don’t get a refurbished piece. I know its only fair to get a refurbished set, when I am giving up my own used set for the exchange, but I just got this device brand new. And this thing just came out a week ago. So, a brand new set would be great. Just sayin’!

I got the iPad Pro! (And saying goodbye to my MacBook Pro)

Today, I took a major leap. I took the plunge and went ahead in buying the brand new iPad Pro. I bought the 11 inch, space grey, 256GB model from Challenger along with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. I am planning to use this device as my main mobile device. I have already sold my MacBook Pro 13 inch model from 2017 on Carousell for about the same price as the iPad. So it wasn’t really a loss. Although the Smart Keyboard is crazy expensive, but it is essential in ensuring that I remain productive while using the iPad Pro. All in all, I just had to top up just a couple hundred dollars. I don’t see myself using the MBP much, since I have already completed my study. The motive behind getting the iPad Pro is mainly getting a portable device more suited for content consumption and perhaps inspiring me to be creative, now that I have already graduated. I may have plans to get an Apple Pencil to perhaps one day learn how to draw using the iPad.

This morning I went to the store to check out the new iPad Pro. They also had the 12.9 inch version. Both sizes were fantastic looking. I had a pretty hard time choosing between those two. I love sheer size of the 12.9 inch version. Everything is big and immersive, especially when you surf websites filled with beautiful pictures and typography. You feel so much closer to the content that you just don’t get it while using a traditional PC or a notebook. But after comparing both sizes, I had to be practical. The 11 inch is a more suited for someone who carries their iPad along wherever they go. While the weight of the 12.9 inch is not heavy, the 11 inch is definitely more compact.

The keyboard was important for me. It should not be too small for me to type on. I was pleasantly surprised that the key distance between the keys for the 11 inch version was not too near to each other. The overall size is perfect for typing. That seals the deal as I needed both portability, and keyboard ease of us. If it were otherwise, I would have gone for the 12.9 inch version. Plus, its cheaper overall without compromising on performance. Both model carry the same A12X bionic chip, with equally long battery life and identical screen quality and PPI density.

I was glad that the store had available stock for the type and model that I wanted. I plunked down $1688 at the counter and I went straight home to set my iPad up. Setting up was easy, as I set it up as a new device.

The first thing I noticed when I switched on the iPad was how gorgeous the screen is. Apple increased the screen size from 10.5 inch in the previous version to 11 inch by extending the screen to the edge. Though not as extreme as the iPhone X’s screen edge goes, the bezels are noticeably smaller. The curve round edges makes the whole device really slick and refined. It is incredibly thin as well.

Next up was playing music. My god the speakers are a world apart from other mobile devices currently out there. Four stereo speakers, two on each side, the bass is deeper and low frequency sounds just reverberates through the chassis of the iPad. Stereo separation is now better than ever, even on the 11 inch version. It is now a joy to watch and listen on this device. Apple has really done a terrific job in the sound department for the new iPad Pro.

This is the first time actually having an iPad Pro, and the 120 hz screen makes every visual animation smooth and silky. Coupled with an incredibly power processor, snapping between apps is fast and fluid, which makes the fast refresh rate screen really shine.

The Smart Keyboard Folio that I bought together with the iPad was surprisingly comfortable and

tactile. I wasn’t initially a fan of the overall build quality of the keyboard, since the keys are covered in a cloth-like fabric, but the tactile feedback is surprising tight and key travel is better than I expected. The size is perfect, without having any issues pressing the wrong button at the wrong places. I was a little hesitant about getting the 11 inch version precisely because of the overall keyboard size. But after trying out at Challenger store, I was convinced and remained convinced that despite looking small, the size of the keyboard makes it comfortable to type on. The experience of typing on the bigger keyboard attached to the 12.9 inch model offers little differences. You simply have to stretch your fingers a little bit more to reach the keys. It’s still a comfortable keyboard. Anyone with larger hands or longer fingers will appreciate the extra space afforded by the 12.9 inch version.

I haven’t had the chance to test out the camera, but no doubt, it will be as good as the latest iPhones out there right now.

So these are some of my first impressions about the new iPad Pro. I am very excited to explore what I can potentially do with the device in the near future. This iPad Pro is very powerful and no doubt it will last me for a very long time. I am very optimistic about the long battery life that Apple has touted it to be. I will look forward in using this device for hours on end, watching movies, Netflix, YouTube, typing documents and just surfing the web.

As for AppleCare+ I have 60 days to decide before getting one. At this point of time, I am leaning toward getting AppleCare+ for the iPad Pro. I will be using this device for a long time to come and the accidental repair cost (up to 2 instances) costs $68, instead of a potential out-of- warranty repair cost of $888. I think the cost of the AppleCare+ is $168, which is relatively cheap as compared to one that covers accidental damages for the iPhone X series of phones.

I will be giving additional updates as I go along, using this device.

ProMotion display on the new iPad Pro.

ipad pro 10.5Although I do not have the new iPad Pro 10.5 inch in my hand right now, I had the opportunity to check it out at the official Apple Store at Orchard Road. Of all the many new features touted by Apple on the new iPad Pro, I was most intrigued by the new display, specifically the ProMotion technology.

The ProMotion technology advertised by Apple on its latest iPad pro is just a term conjured up by the marketing department to give the technology substance. Basically the LCD display on Apple’s new lineup of iPad Pro (both the 10.5 and 12.9 inch version) features a 120hz refresh rate. Conventional LCD display on all tablets released thus far only goes up to 60hz. The faster refresh rate apparently makes every UI animation within the iPad Pro butter smooth. I never got the chance to see first hand until I saw an actual iPad Pro at the Apple Store. All the reviews on YouTube about the new iPad Pro’s incredible display couldn’t capture the butter-smoothness animation because of the slow FPS when watching videos. Truly, this is one feature that despite its awesome rave reviews, you have to see it live in person with the new iPad Pro in front of you to understand why it’s amazing.

As I was at the store and holding the iPad Pro for the first time, the first thing that immediate struck me was how sexy the device looked like. The thinner bezels on the sides made the iPad Pro so much more sleeker. The bigger display (without considerably increasing the overall size of the tablet) is now even more capable of absorbing you in, focusing on it’s colour accurate display without distractions from the other parts of the iPad.

Colour accurate and wide colour gamut display is the main stay of the iPad Pro’s feature. But once I interacted with the tablet, swiping left, right, up and down, going through the various menus, website and general UI, I was truly amazed how smooth the interaction was. 120hz display really does makes a profound difference in the overall experience when using the iPad. Again, you really have to try it out for yourself to really understand what I am saying. There is no competition out there so far. The faster refresh rate is to me, personally what stands out from the rest of the competing tablet makers out there.

For some reason, in addition for the display to capture your attention due to its overall area occupied on the tablet, the faster refresh rate of the display now really really absorbs you in completely. While you interact with the screen, your eyes just cannot peel away from it’s butter smoothness operation.

At the store as I played around with the new iPad Pro, I was quite surprised (though not unexpected, since Apple products always sell like hotcakes regardless) that there were a lot of iPad Pro purchases. Everywhere around me in the midst of the crowd in the store, there were all the Apple Geniuses tending to some customers’ purchases. And under their arms, there will almost always be a box (or two or some accompanying accessories) of the new iPad Pro. The iPad Pro was selling like hotcakes!