Third-Party Keyboards on iOS 9

iOS 9 keyboards

It’s been a while since I’ve written about third-party keyboards for the iPad, and that’s because the experience on iOS 8 really sucked, despite there being some really great ideas out there. I love how Fleksy lets me almost touch-type on the iPad’s screen, or how SwiftKey and Swype let me drastically reduce the number of keystrokes needed for long-form writing. Even Nintype’s really aggressive reimagining of a keyboard was interesting.

Keyboards would crash while switching between multiple iMessage chats, and it made Spotlight searches a lot tougher when no keyboard came up at all.

Apple hasn’t actually talked about third-party keyboards since they were announced at WWDC in 2014, and I think it’s because they’re just not a priority. That’s a crying shame because even though the QuickType keyboard is good, there are a number of other solutions that are better and faster for long-form typing. SwiftKey generates eerily accurate next-word predictions for me because I gave it access to some of my social networking data. I have years and years of my own software keyboard data available to Apple’s QuickType keyboard, but it still creates bizarre, laughable sentences out of its next-word predictions.

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Deals: MFi-Certified Lightning Cables at over 28% off

We have a treat for you today. We are offering two great deals on separate MFi-Certified Lightning Cables at the same time– both shipping for free!Titan-Loop-MFI-Certified-Lightning-CableThe first featured deal is for those times when you need a fast and convenient way to charge your iPad, but don’t want to carry around a long unwieldy cord. The Titan Loop MFi-Certified Lightning Cable is now on sale at 33% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $19.95 – instead of its standard price of $30.  Here’s some info about the Lightning Cable and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

Too long? Too short? Try the perfect charging cord length. This keychain cable is long enough to extend to your power source, but short enough to fold in half and attach to your keychain or belt loop. Wrapped in industrial-strength steel, not only is the Titan Loop virtually indestructible, but essential for your on-the-go charging needs.

  • Loop in half & attach to your keychain, belt loop, bag, etc.
  • Easily extend to your USB port & plug in
  • Enjoy durability of industrial strength steel
  • Avoid dealing w/ easily frayed & damaged cables
  • Keep your devices safe w/ MFi certification
  • Always have a handy iPhone charger within reach

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.


Our second featured deal is for those looking for a charging solution for their iPad that is virtually indestructible . The Titan MFi-Certified Lightning Cable is on sale at 28% off!  It’s an amazing offer of 24.99 – instead of its standard price of $35

Here’s some info about the Titan, and how it just might be the last charging cable you might ever have to purchase!

Toss your frayed, tangled iPhone charger in the garbage; it’s time for an upgrade. The Titan is wrapped twice in industrial-grade, flexible steel and packs permanently-sealed USB and Lightning connectors that won’t be falling apart in this century, or the next. With an Apple-approved certification, the Titan is tough on all types of outside elements from electricity spikes to happy puppies looking for a chew toy.

  • Wrapped in two layers of flexible, high-strength steel
  • Includes sealed one-piece housing fused directly over the cable to keep the connectors in place
  • Certified w/ Apple’s MFi program for safe charging
  • Made to last for life
  • Backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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Quick Look: Tweetbot 4 for iPad

Tweetbot 4_3

Tweetbot 4 is out and it has brought some long awaited changes to Tweetbot on the iPad. The app now matches the visual style of iOS 7–9, which means a flatter overall look with no faux textures in sight. This has definitely removed some of the original charm of the app because the graphics were what gave Tweetbot such a unique “bot” appearance, but there are some remnants of that personality in the sound effects, animation, and of course, the icon.

I’m also happy to see that the profile view is as good as ever, highlighting follow status, follower counts, and recent media (a feature I haven’t seen in any other Twitter app I’ve used). Tweetbot 4 is also a good iOS 9 citizen and supports things like Split View, Slide Over, and quick replies within notifications.

The app is unapologetic about being an entirely new purchase ($5 now, $10 when the launch sale ends), so you’ll have to pay for this upgrade even if you own the previous versions for iPad or iPhone. I’m totally fine with this approach, as I’d like to keep my favourite developers around by paying them with money.

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Deals: Private Internet Access VPN 2-Yr Subscription at 24% off

PIA-VPNToday’s featured deal is especially useful for travelers who need to encrypt their data between their devices and a host network, especially when on a mobile device. The Private Internet Access VPN does just that, keeping all the data sent and received between your device and the host network secure when using the internet. If this sounds like you, we’ve got your solution at a great price. For a limited time you can purchase a Private Internet Access VPN 2-Yr Subscription at 24% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $59.95 – instead of its standard price of $80.  Here’s some info about the PIA VPN and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

Connect through a VPN tunnel of your choice and forget about hackers, digital eavesdroppers, and government spies when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi at the airport or thumbing through your favorite social media site while in line for your morning coffee. High-level encryption ensures you’ll put an end to incessant digital advertising, while IP cloaking lets you stream your favorite movies and shows no matter where you are. With Private Internet Access, the only gateways to the outside Internet are the ones you open.

  • Prevents data mining so you can browse anonymously
  • Connects instantly w/ one-click installers
  • Masks your location w/ IP cloaking
  • Provides access to Private Internet Access’s professional support staff
  • Blocks unwanted connections w/ server-grade filtering software
  • Allows the use of 5 devices simultaneously w/ unlimited bandwidth
  • Protects your identity w/ several layers of privacy
  • Bypasses censorship filters so you are free from geographic restrictions
  • Stops traffic w/ a kill switch if the VPN connection is unexpectedly terminated

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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More Thoughts On OneNote for iPad

onenote and evernote

I take a lot of notes. Some of them are little scribbles with just a title, whereas others are more involved documents with attachments, links, and ordered lists. I like to keep these notes digital because of how easily I can sort them and find them, even years later. This isn’t just a hypothetical advantage either. When called upon to train a new teammate at work I brought up notes from 2013 that fully explained our invoicing process, step by step.

I take the vast majority of my notes within Evernote, but I took a little time in August to try out OneNote. That experiment concluded pretty quickly, but not before I, well, took a few notes on the process.

I tried OneNote out for a spin because of its perceived flexibility: freeform text layout, images, and drawing. It also ticked many of the same boxes as Evernote:

  • multi platform support
  • attachment support
  • rich text formatting
  • seamless syncing

It seemed really promising at the outset.

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Deals: Mpow 4-Port USB Wall Charger at 26% off

Deals-Mpow Charger

Today’s featured deal is for those power hungry multi-tackers out there who need an all-in-one solution for their charging needs. If this sounds like you, we’ve got your solution at a great price. For a limited time you can purchase a Mpow 4-Port USB Wall Charger at 26% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $21.99 – instead of its standard price of $30.  Here’s some info about the Mpow Wall Charger and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

The compact, ultra-resourceful Mpow Charger plugs right into an AC outlet to easily power four USB-compatible devices at once. The Mpow features exclusive X-Smart Technology, intelligently assessing each device to automatically deliver the quickest, safest charge possible to protect your valuable electronics. This pocket-sized powerhouse is a must-have gadget for you, your family, and your family of power-hungry devices.

  • Provides four USB slots (36 watts) for any smartphone, tablet or e-reader to charge simultaneously
  • Offers the fastest possible charging speed (up to 2.4 amps per port; 7.2 amps overall)
  • Supports 110-240 volt input for worry-free charging around the world
  • Features an ergonomic, compact & portable design
  • Sports a Rubber Oil technology finish, effectively preventing charger scratches

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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My (5) favorite new features in iOS 9


Much has been said about the lack of new features in iOS 9. Many refer to Apple’s latest software update as more of an under the hood refinement. iOS can definitely benefit from a tune-up, with a greater concentration made in making the the OS run more efficiently.  Too often with each new iteration, consumers, and especially tech writers, get caught up in the bullet list of new features and capabilities. We tend to forget that none of that really matters if the OS is slow, buggy and uncooperative. Having said that, there is no way that Apple would miss an opportunity to introduce at least a handful of new attributes for iOS. After digging around I made a wanted to share (5) of my favorites.

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Pixelmator 2.1 Enables Great New Photo Editing Workflows

Pixelmator 2.1 3

Pixelmator 2.1 includes a few housekeeping changes: iOS 9 support with bona fide Slide Over and Split View. On the surface, this is already enough to change the way you use Pixelmator on an iPad Air 2. Once the WordPress app is updated to support iOS 9 multitasking, I can see myself running WordPress right alongside Pixelmator as I finish up longer reviews.

However, the larger change to my workflow comes in the form of the “Save to Photos” feature. This is a big one, folks.

Previously, opening one of my photos within Pixelmator would create a copy within the app, and saving that photo to my camera roll would create another copy. I’d then have two such photos in my iCloud Photo Library — the original and the edited version. Pixelmator 2.1 changes things around by letting me save edits to the existing photo in my library. No more duplication. What’s more, these changes are non-destructive and completely reversible from within the Photos app. If I decide tomorrow that I don’t like my changes, I can edit that picture within the Photos app and tap the “Revert” button to go right back to the original.

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Deals: SkyHub Cloud 1TB Backup Lifetime Subscription at 88% off

SkyHub Cloud

Today’s featured deal is for those who want a proven Cloud based back-up solution for a one time subscription price. If this sounds like you, we’ve got a great lined up. For a limited time you can purchase a SkyHub Cloud 1TB Backup at  88% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $49.99 – instead of its standard price of $450.  Here’s some info about SkyHub Cloud  and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

We live our lives online, and owe it to ourselves to back up our data in a secure and reliable manner. This is more important than ever considering 87% of computer users today are defenseless against cyber data loss. Not only does SkyHub safely house your data now and forever, but it grants you access to your information through your own online dashboard. With no hidden red tape, SkyHub is simply the best complete and affordable solution for all your data needs.

“Online file storage excellence.” Wall Street Journal

  • Get 1 TB of automatic backup for 4 computers, add more to your account anytime and backup all your devices, discs & thumb-drives
  • Back up 1 TB of data as needed—there’s no catch!
  • Quickly & easily get set up
  • Rest assured that all your data is secure thanks to the advanced encryption security
  • View all your backed up files on the web, store them long term, or take advantage of the innovative SkyHub hybrid storage system
  • Score the best deal on the web!

Note: This promotion INCLUDES back up for NAS & DAS drives

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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Scalability of Slide Over and Split View in iOS 9

iOS 9 Slide Over interface

Now that we’re seeing more iOS 9 app updates hitting the store, more of you will probably have had the chance to use apps in Slide Over and Split View mode. As a reminder, here are the basics of how these features work:

  • Slide Over loads an app in a compact, iPhone-like view over your current app; they are not loaded simultaneously. Think of Slide Over like dragging a smaller piece of paper over a larger one.
  • Split View is true multitasking, but only on iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro. You can run two apps side by side, with one app taking the majority of the space, or two apps sharing the screen equally.
  • Both modes are activated with a slide-in gesture along the right side of the screen
  • Switching out a Slide Over or Split View app requires a downward swipe in the top-right corner, which reveals a single column of compatible app icons to choose from
  • Apps won’t work in Slide Over or Split View unless they’ve been specifically updated to do so

It took me a little while to remember to use these multitasking features, especially since banners and the ‘back’ button already aid in a lot of my multitasking needs. However, there’s no question that revealing an iMessage conversation with one swipe is a very powerful feature. I tend to use Slide Over more than Split View — but that’s probably because only a handful of my daily apps have received iOS 9 updates. I’m still waiting on Evernote, Paper, 2Do, and others.

However, one thing that I’ve wondered about this interface is how well it will scale. It was easy to use during the iOS 9 beta because only Apple’s own apps would show up in the Slide View bar. In other words, there really weren’t that many to choose from, and there were only so many useful combinations. Notes and Safari, Photos and iMessage, or Reminders and iMessage were really the only apps I would to run side by side. However, expanding that selection to include third-party apps changes a lot, and the UI for selecting Slide Over apps doesn’t scale — it just becomes a longer list.

This isn’t too bad if I’ve just been switching between a few apps for Slide Over, but what about the times I’d like to use Reminders and Safari…but Reminders is a good 10–20 apps up the list? The unfortunate answer is: a lot of scrolling. I have over 33 apps that are compatible with Slide Over, and they aren’t sorted in alphabetical order. I think a one-colum interface is the wrong way to go about tackling this issue.

As such, I think this will be one of the first UI changes that Apple makes to iOS 9. I think the interface should remain very simple: no search function or folders should be necessary. Simply displaying two or three columns instead of icons would do a lot more for users than showing just one. Apple would have to balance this system out to make sure it doesn’t look too visually cluttered, but if the icons were small enough, I think it could work.

Anyone have suggestions for how to improve this situation, or is this just a UI nuance we’ll get used to quickly?

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Deals: Pandora One™ 6-Month Subscription at 20% off

PandoraOne-6 month subscription

Today’s featured deal is for those who love to stream their music but prefer premium quality without all the ads and song skipping restrictions. If this sounds like you, we’ve got a great lined up. For a limited time you can sign-up for a Pandora One™: 6-Month Subscription for the sale price of 20% off! It’s a great deal that will run you only $24 – instead of its standard price of $30.  Here’s some info about Pandora One™ and how you can take advantage of this deal while it lasts…

Sometimes your Pandora® station knows you better than you know yourself, but sometimes you wish you had an extra skip or two. Sign up for six months of upgraded Pandora One™, and get extra skips, ad-free radio, and more. If you’ve never used Pandora® before, you’re about discover new artists and songs based on your specific taste with the team that’s perfected the art of personalized radio.

  • Enjoy your radio free of ads
  • Get more daily “skips”
  • Listen for long periods of time without timeouts
  • Experience premium-quality audio at 192k bits per second (web only)
  • Utilize on any supported device
  • Customize the aesthetics of your Pandora® web player

To see more details, and to place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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