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.

The iPad Air arrived just in time for Father’s Day!

I was initially worried that it wouldn’t arrive in time for Father’s Day. The decision to make the purchase on Amazon was made quite late and after factoring shipping and handling times from the US all the way to Singapore, I was cutting pretty close.

In the end, they gave me an arrival date of between 14 June to 18 June with the weekends in between. 14 June arrived and I received no word from them. By then it was pretty hopeless as the next day was a Saturday and I wasn’t expect much when it comes to delivering mails and parcels on the weekend.

But lo’ and behold! The parcel did got delivered on Saturday and when I woke up, I received a text saying that the parcel was ready for collection! Just in time.

My dad was pretty happy with the iPad. He wanted the basic iPad but I got him the iPad Air instead, better than the basic model. I got him a third-party case (which is surprisingly good) and the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard just for tablets. Both are great accessories. The keyboard takes some time to get used to, but otherwise its a really portable keyboard that you can take anywhere with you in addition to the iPad.

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.

Should I get the iPad for my dad on Father’s Day?

Recently, my dad is keen in getting himself an iPad. The very basic iPad. I gleamed from our conversations that he wants the iPad to take notes at meetings, and to write down his thoughts and ideas on a note taking app (there are lots of choices in the App Store) He wants a computer device that is portable, more portable, than the current MacBook Air that he has, but with a level of input comparable to a notebook, meaning with a keyboard and possibly a pencil to write on.

The iPad 2018. The cheapest iPad you can buy as a gift.

That would mean he needs to get accessories, like the Logitech Slim Folio keyboard and possibly the Apple Pencils, accessories that are not exactly cheap and will clearly add considerable costs to the basic iPad.

With that in mind, since he is expressing such keen interest in getting one, I am considering very carefully whether I should get the iPad for Father’s Day, which is coming on the 16th of June.

Let’s break down the costs:

The basic iPad with 128GB of space is $648.

I could haven gotten him the 32GB version, but I feel that he can get more value from the iPad by having more storage space in the long run.

The Logitech Slim Folio Keyboard is about $139.

I might as well get him the keyboard if there is any use in him using the iPad for work related stuff. I personally use the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio and it has already added tremendous value and usability for my iPad Pro. So I know for a fact that with the keyboard, the iPad will immediately be a lot more useful and practical.

Apple Pencil is something I will not be getting for him. If he thinks he needs it and it will add value to the use of the iPad that he can get it himself.

So if I were to get the iPad and the keyboard, it will set me back $787. That is certainly not cheap for a basic iPad. But what if I pay by installments? I certainly did that for my iPad Pro. I paid my iPad Pro over six months interest free. It is only recently in May that I managed to pay off the debt owed for the purchase of the iPad Pro. If I choose 12 month repayment plan interest free, then I will have to pay about $65 a month, which is not too shabby all things considered.

I must say, after considering several factors, I am compelled to get the iPad for my dad with the keyboard and pay it off over 12 months.

Let’s wait till after WWDC is over. There might be surprises along the way, especially on the iOS front. If iOS for iPad gets a tremendous boost in the usability of native apps or just general multitasking improvements, and if the iPad supports some of those improvements, that I might just consider getting it. I don’t have to make a decision right now. I still have time. Father’s day is on June the 16. I just have to make sure that I make my purchase a week before so that it arrives on time. And I also need to make sure that the iPad gets delivered to my workplace and not at home so as not to ruin the surprise.

New iPad mini is out!

So my mum’s iPad mini 4 is old. Like, battery-has-bloated-out-of-its-chassis old. Today, Apple announced a new iPad Mini, featuring the Bionic A12 chip that was once featured on the iPhone XS. The timing is perfect, given that we are heading to New York for our holiday and we can buy the new one over there, which is a little bit cheaper than buying locally. She loves the iPad Mini for its size and I was worried that Apple might kill off the entire iPad Mini line since the last hardware update was more than three years ago.

Apart from that, a new iPad Air is out and also features that Bionic A12 chip. Both devices will be blazingly fast, with the same 10 hour battery life. In addition to all these improvements, Apple Pencil support is now available on both the iPad Air and iPad Mini, great news for those looking to do creative work on the device.

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.