iPad Pro 10.5” Review

Well, it’s been a day and I’ve had some more time to play around with the iPad Pro 10.5″. I typed up yesterday and today’s blogs on the Smart Keyboard. So how do I like it?

Screen

The screen is simply amazing. 120 hz refresh rate is something you have to experience to really understand. Scrolling in Safari is so smooth, and the words don’t judder anymore when you scroll, allowing you to continue reading a little bit while scrolling rather than having to wait for the screen to stop.

It reminds me of the move from regular to Retina screens. Once you see it, you never want to go back. It’s not nearly as pronounced an improvement as Retina screens were, but it’s noticeable and the more you use it, the less you want to look at another screen. Here is hoping that all screens move to this soon.

Smart Keyboard

It’s fine. Not great, but fine. I prefer the larger 12.9″ though. Apple claims this iPad keyboard is “full size” but it’s not really. If you hold up the 12.9 and 10.5 keyboards on top of each other, you’ll see that there is maybe a 1/4″ difference in size from the left edge of the A key to the right edge of the L key, so we’re talking maybe a mm of difference per key, but it’s enough that my large hands have to slow down ever so slightly in order to type.

I refuse to type on glass so I couldn’t really tell you about that experience.

The Smart Keyboard is fine for blogging and on-the-go typing, but I would not want to type up a whole novel on this thing. It’s functional, but not optimal.

I’m also starting to see RSI issues crop up the last couple years, and I’ve had to manage the amount of time on keyboards and mice the last year especially. Too many years of gaming and spending time on computers with poor ergonomics are catching up to me.

I’m already starting to do research on better quality keyboards like the Kenesis Advantage 2, so I may be making the jump to something of that caliber at some point to combat the RSI issues anyway. If that’s the case, the mobile keyboards and even the laptop keyboards will only ever get used when I’m away from the house.

Battery Life

It’s great! What’s more to say? Apple’s worked hard to make sure all devices they sell hit that magical 10 hours of battery life, and they seem content to stay there. Personally I’d love to see more improvements, but it’s fine.

Performance

Again, it’s stellar. No problems with any of the applications I run. Everything is snappy, and opens right up.

Size

This one is a toughy for me. All four of my previous iPads were a different size. I went from the Air, to the Mini, to the Air 2, to the Pro 12.9″ to this 10.5″. Each time I moved I justified my reasons for doing so by citing the irritations I had with previous versions.

The Mini is the perfect size for reading, hands down. Plus it’s super amazing pixel density makes it the best screen I’ve seen till this 120Hz one. But at the time of the mini, I was starting to do more work on my iPad and wanted the screen real estate to work better, so I upgraded.

Then the Pro came out and I was sold. Apple supplied keyboard, large screen, multiple apps at once? It was a dream come true, and it actually came at a decent time when my daughter was heading off to college and I wasn’t going to have a laptop because she was taking mine.

For that reason, the iPad 12.9″ became my only mobile workstation for about six months, until I bought the MacBook Pro 15″. Far superior keyboard, and as a writer, I need that good keyboard.

Now I downgraded again. Why? Well, for one, I have a laptop again, so I don’t rely on my iPad for writing as much as I did in the past, and secondly, and my main gripe about the 12″ one, was reading. It’s simply too big, bulky, and heavy to comfortably read on. I always had to prob it on my tummy while reading and the thin edge actually hurt after a while digging into me like that if you can believe it!

So yeah, after two evenings of reading before bedtime, I love this size and weight much better.

Overall

I love it! There’s not much to say about it. It’s a fantastic size for portability, the screen is beautiful, it’s the fastest iPad ever made, and it just works.

And, it’ll get better in the future when iOS 11 comes out.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Busy Work and Writing

Busy Work and Writing

I received my new iPad 10.5″ iPad this afternoon, and I spent most of the day getting all my apps installed, data synced, and watching it drain the battery while it chugs through my Photos library for facial recognition.

I’ll have a better review tomorrow once I’ve had a chance to play with it for a full day, but for now, I’m typing on the new Smart Keyboard and I have to say, it’s pretty good. The screen is amazing, and yeah. I’m happy, but it does feel very small compared to my 12.9″

So have had family staying with me since I got back from the reunion this weekend. It’s been nice having them here as we don’t see them very often, but they left today. After being gone from work for a week, the last two days have been pretty busy with work, hanging out with family, and trying to get my YouTube stuff back on-track after my RAID crash (still waiting on Drobo support to get back to me, it’s been a week and I’m getting pretty upset by how slow they are).

But all through it, I’ve managed to get my writing done each day, and a little bit of editing for stuff that is coming down the pipe *cough, Korrigan, cough*.

It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it when you put your priorities first and ensure that the most critical task of the day gets done no matter what. For me, as a writer, that’s writing new, first draft content. You can’t edit what you haven’t written, and I find that I can always get lost in editing like I can’t with writing, so writing is the most important and usually most difficult thing for me to get done each day.

But that’s all for me today. I’ll post something up tomorrow about my experiences with the iPad once I’ve used it more.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Apple WWDC Thoughts: HomePod

How stupid is the name?

Pretty stupid, but honestly, we’re going to get over it pretty fast. Remember all the jokes when iPad came out? That died out pretty fast after we got our hands on them. Now, specially as a guy, I’ve said the word “Pad” more times than my wife.

Specs: 7 Tweeters. 4″ Woofer. 6 microphones. A8 Chip for Siri. $349. Ships in December. Comes in White/Black.

It’s hard to judge how this will sound based on specs, but I have no doubt that for the price, it will sound amazing. Apple will be destroyed in the media if it doesn’t at least edge out Sonos speakers for the price point, and based on a select few people who were allowed to hear it @ WWDC, it already sounds better.

As someone who has always appreciated good quality sound (5.1 then 7.1 surround Klipsch system, THX certification, and high-end monitors for my computer desk speakers) I’m looking forward to this.

I do hope that I can easily take phone calls and listen to audio books with ease on this speaker, and that if I have multiples around the house, it’ll be able to sense where I am in the house via my watch or iPhone and move the audio around for me. I can see my wife using this feature a ton as she listens to audio books almost the entire day.

Thoughts

I will definitely pick one up as long as the initial reviews come back positive, as I was one of the first Echo purchasers when it was still in beta. My family uses the timer and music features all the time in the kitchen.

The speaker covered in mesh fabric concerns me for it being in the kitchen. We aren’t a “buy it and bake it” kinda family, nor do we cook mostly in the microwave or have delivery. We’re pretty traditional here in that my wife is a stay at home mom, and I work to support the family. She shops and cooks nearly all our meals from scratch, meaning she’s in the kitchen 3-4 hours per day. Because of that, flour, oil, and spices get thrown into the air a lot, so I do worry about the residue that will end up on the speaker if we put one in the kitchen.

The kitchen would actually be the best spot if we bought just one, as that is where Alexa sits. My wife listens to audiobooks and podcasts all day, and my kids crank up the tunes when doing chores at night. Alexa gets used for timers and I’m sure everyone in my household will appreciate the better quality music when we have a sudden Hansen Family Dance Party.

Daddy’s gotta show off those fresh early 90’s moves, yo.

As for me, I’d love one in my office for podcasts, audiobooks (I really don’t listen to much music anymore unless I’m writing, and then it’s with sound-cancelling headphones to focus on the story.) Even more it’s mostly focus-based alpha wave concentration sounds for writing.

I would also use it a lot for conference calls for work, but honestly, that’s about it. I have three computers, an iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch all within arms reach of me when I’m in my office. I really don’t need Siri to tell me how the weather is outside.

But we’ll see.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Apple WWDC Thoughts: iPad iOS11

Largest iOS for iPad ever done.

I have to say, I was very impressed with what they offered. The initial iOS update was pretty small, covering just little tweaks to things that they showed on the iPhone, but when they came back onstage to bring up the iPad stuff, #mindblown.

The Dock

It’s pretty much the dock from the macOS. You can put a ton more apps on there, which will be super nice. You can grab it from anywhere, and you can do all your app switching from it.

Dragging an app icon from the dock to the side of the screen will allow it to become a slide-over app, then pulling down on it will turn it into a 1/3 app in split-view.

You can put split-view apps on the left or right, which will be nice, I’m glad we have that option.

I am a bit disappointed that we don’t have full apps on the 10.5″ iPad, they are basically blown-up iPhone versions. I’ll have to see how they feel for me when I get mine this week, but some people are complaining about that. It’s interesting that I didn’t notice the complaint with the 9.7″ though. Maybe it was something that wasn’t really discussed, because if we’re taking a step back, that would be disappointing/.

Drag and Drop

That’s right! We finally have drag and drop! It slices, it dices, it sautées!

Images, text, links. You name it, app developers can code their apps to allow it to be dragged around. I’m so looking forward to this change and will definitely discuss it once I have the iPad in my hot little hands.

Files

Finder for iPad. That’s pretty much what it is. You can connect Dropbox/Box/etc. all the different cloud providers. I’m interested if you can do ones for personal server clouds? I’ll have to look into that one, but having a single view to get all my files will be super handy.

I have to keep my Scrivener files in Dropbox, because of the way it syncs using Dropbox for iPad, but I do keep some things in iCloud Drive, and things like Word documents from editors I keep in Live Drive because Word docs only support sharing when on a MS cloud solution. Having them all in one view will be awesome!

Apple Pencil/Notes

I do use markup from time to time. It’s really handy for certain things, and new features have been added, but the big star this year was Apple Notes.

Inline drawings, tables, tap to take notes from lock screen. It’s all fantastic. Pinned notes will be SO handy. Since apple improved Notes a couple years ago, I haven’t looked at things like Evernote anymore. Notes is good enough for what I need, though it would be nice to have the markdown features and nested tagging system that Bear has.

Still, Notes is a fantastic app that is only getting better with iOS 11.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Apple WWDC Thoughts: iPad

10.5” iPad

Full-size keyboard – “Testing out the new keyboard for the super tiny iPad Pro 10.5″. I of course ordered the new iPad 10.5”, but it’s not going to be here till Tuesday. Meanwhile the keyboard cover showed up and I’m writing this on my 12.9” iPad Pro with the 10.5” keyboard. It’s not bad, but it’s also not “quite” full-size.

Better display – I’m looking forward to the tru-tone brighter display on the new iPad. I have a friend with the 9.7” and the colors are awesome. I’ll more to say once I get it into my grubby hands.

Ultralow reflectivity – while I was at the family reunion, my wife and I drove into town each day to get access to WiFi at the public library. While there one morning before they opened, we sat on the bench with the 8 AM sun behind us. While she wasn’t able to see her screen (MacBook Air) I was able to see it just fine on both my MacBook Pro, as well as my iPad. whatever they’re doing for anti-glare is working.

120Hz refresh rate + Apple Pencil latency – yes yes yes. Early reviews are that it’s buttery-smooth. Can’t wait to see for myself.

A10x 3X3 cores

12 core GPU

Not much to talk about here. It’s faster, just like previous iPads, they’re always faster. Woo?

10-hour battery – pretty standard for Apple. Honestly, I can’t wait till they start pushing this to 12 hours, then 16, then 20, and finally we get literal all-day battery life, or 2-3 days between charges. Come on Apple, let’s get ‘er done.

Don’t like the camera bump. Honestly, I could do without the better camera so I don’t get the bump, but whatever. I’ll deal with it I guess.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Apple WWDC Thoughts: iOS11

Messages

Syncing between all devices. Yes! We largely have this already, because my devices are almost always connected to the internet, but being able to setup a new device and pull in all the old history will be BALLER!

Person to Person Apple Pay

This will be a handy feature, but not game-breaking. It will put some pressure on Paypal, but only for people in the Apple world who can afford to be in the top-end of their technology tree. Still, for paying a friend/family member back, it’ll be nice and quick.

Apple Cash Card: I don’t think too many people noticed this. When you get paid, I think it goes into a Paypal-like cash card. A little holding zone. I’m not sure if you can then move it off to your bank account, but it sure seems like you will need to use the cash card to pay for things via Apple Pay, then when that’s drained, you pull from an existing bank account.

Siri

New voice – eh, I was fine with the old voice. I mostly just want Siri to understand me. I sometimes take a second to think things through when I’m talking to Siri, and she’ll just end the command and start processing. I really wish Siri was better and more useful.

I think the biggest thing we need to see are default apps. Apple’s apps are good, and sufficient for many, but they’re not perfect. Reminders is semi-okay, but I want to use Things, and when I say “remind me” I want Siri to put that into Things, not Reminders by default.

Siri suggestions are okay, but I’m not incredibly impressed by it. Predictive text is somewhat handy, but I don’t have the feature enabled because a: it’s usually wrong, b: it takes up valuable screen real estate, and c: I’d rather just type my words and pay attention to my content

I don’t really care that much about photos. I genuinely believe that most people have no idea how to use all the features photos has and most of the new features they give us are just gimmicks and to make us think we’re enjoying our children more than we really are. Forgive the rant here, but when I go see my kid play in a concert, I’m there to watch, listen and applaud, not video tape the whole performance, because honestly, who actually watches them all back? /rantoff

DnD While Driving

Excellent feature. Glad they’re finally putting something like this in.

Airplay 2

Yes, as we’ll see from the HomePod announcement. Yes. My body is ready.

Augmented Reality

I’m still a bit skeptical about AR. I think it won’t really be much use to most of us until we get glasses that display stuff real-time, because honestly, I’m not going to go through the hassle of holding up my iPad everytime I want to interact with something. That’s almost as ridiculous as taking photos with your iPad.

Hint: Don’t Do It!

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Apple WWDC Thoughts: MacOS

I’m still out of town, so here are my thoughts on the announcement of macOS from Apple’s WWDC announcement.

High Sierra

Tick-tock iteration of the OS, similar to the way Intel used to do their updates. This isn’t a major feature release, it’s mostly about improvement, refinements, speed and stability updates.

APFS will be nice. I am so looking forward to a better file system, especially for Time Machine backups that keep needing to be rebuilt. Please Apple, fix the constant need to delete your Time Machine backups and start from scratch!

Auto-playing video blocking. Hell yeah! I love this feature

We do need better window management features. Full-screen is great for laptops, but why can’t I have a 2×2 window for my massive 27” screen?

VR/Metal

Ehh. I don’t really care that much, it’s nice to see that they are willing to put in enough power in their Macs to handle things like these. Getting support from Steam is huge though.

Kaby Lake CPU Updates

Another welcome change. We need more power, and I’m really irritated that Intel seems to be struggling so much with speed improvements on their CPUs.

iMac Pro

What can I say about this? I’ve been using my old Mac Pro trashcan for over three years now. I really REALLY need an upgrade, and I’m willing to pay for the premium price Apple! Why they waited this long to give us an upgrade is beyond me. Take care of your high end geeks who are willing to purchase bleeding edge technology and we’ll sing your praises to the nay-sayers all day long.

But ignore us, and you lose out on your most ardent fans. The fact that I’ve been asking myself if I should move to Windows or build a gaming PC for my YouTube channel tells me that Apples years behind the ball here. They messed up bad in this arena, and they have a lot of lost goodwill from their core geek fans. Bravo Apple for finally giving us a Pro desktop upgrade in 4 years.

Please make it silent. The iMac as-is is horrible in the sound department when running games. I record YouTube videos, I need silence.

Till tomorrow,

Tom