All posts by jhrogersii

IPad Pro

Apple Releases Four New iPad Pro Ads

IPad Pro

Over the last few days, Apple has released four new iPad Pro ads that take the messaging for the line in a little bit of a different direction. Where the last ad from six months ago compared the iPad Pro to a computer by showing off ways that it could perform similar tasks, but in a more portable and easier to use package, the new commercials are all about contrasts between the two.

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The Challenging State of the Tablet Market


Before Apple’s stock price soared to even greater heights this week thanks to strong iPhone sales, growing services revenues, and rumors of spectacular devices to come, we got the bad news about iPad sales. During Apple’s quarterly sales call two weeks ago, we learned that sales were down 19% percent and revenue down 22% over last Q1, meaning not even the impressive iPad Pros have been able to overcome the forces of market saturation, slow upgrade cycles, and the encroachment of large screen smartphones.

Tim Cook keeps telling us that Apple remains committed to the platform, and to their credit, Apple has kept adding form factors and features to the lineup (and we hear more are on the way). However, the iPad’s glory days seem a distant memory, and it is now clearly a secondary device to the company’s true money maker- the iPhone.

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Going Native- Back to the Notes App Revisited

I got a few comments on my original article from Flipboard and Twitter that touched on details I thought were interesting and worth bringing back to the site. Before diving in, thank you to all reached out, and I hope to hear from you again. 


First off, the consensus among users I interacted with was that OneNote has a really strong feature set, especially considering that it’s free to use on iOS. However, the responses were mixed on sync performance. Most reported that it worked great for them, but a few others had similar experiences to me. Any app, especially one as flexible and widely used as OneNote can work great for most users, while the bugs and pitfalls hit the rest of us. Considering the widely positive reviews of the app, my experience is more likely an outlier. However, after problems strike a couple of times, the old saying applies- “Once bitten, twice shy.” However it is good to bear in mind that BOTH can simultaneously be true. 

Second, I had several commenters mention the relatively new note taking app Bear. I have to admit that one slipped by me on its way to the App Store. 


However, it has garnered a fair amount of acclaim since its release early last November, including an App Store Editor’s Note from Apple on its App Store page. After reading the comments and a few reviews, I am going to give it a go myself. I’m not thrilled about paying for the ability to sync, but at only $1.45 monthly, I’m not going to complain too much. Evernote Premium was more expensive and I paid for it for over a year. I will post my own review of how Bear stacks up against iOS Notes and Notability in the near future. 

One of the last comments I got came to my Twitter account (jhrogersii), and was the most interesting of all of them. The commenter also mentioned the Bear app, and that he had switched due to recent sync issues with iOS Notes. I have never been affected by any sync issues with Notes, and frankly hadn’t heard anything about this, so I was intrigued. When I asked him what he was referring to, the gentleman sent me a link to a forum thread at macrumors that detailed iCloud sync issues that evidently plagued a LOT of people for a long period of time. It was pretty eye-opening. 

It looks like these problems have been cleared up for most users in recent iOS updates, but such an issue calls into question one of my primary points about going back to iOS Notes. I made a big deal about how dependable it was. My exact quote was, “It NEVER fails.” Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. At least not for all iOS users. 

If you are a user of Bear and have some good tips as I get started with it, or if you were also affected by Apple’s recent Notes sync issues, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to give me a shout in the comments section below, on our Flipboard page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog or @jhrogersii

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Going Native- Back to the Notes App

Notes_1

At one time, I had pretty much forsaken the iOS Notes app. Other than taking down to-go orders and a few other random thoughts on the iPhone version, I had pretty much stopped using it a few years ago. I hardly ever used it on any of my iPads. I had Evernote and kept almost all notes that I took there, whether for personal or work use. I even had their paid Premium service for over a year so I could upload more content for work notes. Since it was completely platform-agnostic and easy to get data into and out of, I just assumed at the time that I would stick with them long term.

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Review: iFrogz Impulse Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Impulse

In my opinion, one of the best features of any mobile accessory is versatility. I spend a lot of time on the go during the day, and do a fair amount of travelling for work, so earning a place in my gear bag is a badge of honor, and it usually requires a certain measure of versatility. The more bases a device or accessory can cover, the better the chance that it holds a spot there.

In the past, versatility was a given with headphones and earbuds. You plugged them into a jack and they just worked. With Bluetooth headphones, there came more freedom of movement, but with the conditions of only being compatible with certain devices and limited battery life. Now, iOS users are faced with even more complications with the removal of the iPhone’s headphone jack going forward, with several other smartphone manufacturers now making the same move right behind them. If you own both an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus and an iPad, complications with earbuds or headphones will ensue.

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Review: 360 Gripstand by Lynktec


Like so many smartphone and tablet accessory categories, stands have become exceedingly commoditized. If you don’t know what I mean, I dare you to search for “iPad Stand” on eBay or Amazon and see how long you can stand browsing the never ending list. Half of what you will find there probably comes out of no more than 5 factories in East Asia.

For all the difficulty in finding a good device stand that is versatile and stands out from the crowd, it’s an accessory we all find ourselves in need of at one time or another. I’ve had several over the years, but they all had flaws. They didn’t last. They would only work for certain devices, or in certain use conditions. Frankly, I had never owned one that I was really all that happy with. That changed when I got Lynktec’s 360 Gripstand.

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What’s Coming Up at the Next iPad Event?

IPad Pros

As we close the book on January, the rumors of a March Apple event centered on the iPad are coming fast and furious now. There are multiple reports of a new iPad Pro in a different size, an Apple Pencil refresh, and potentially some other Apple device updates, as well. With the iPad line progressively trending away from the Air and Mini and toward the Pro line over the last year, this next event should give us some clarification as Apple’s intentions for the tablet category going forward. This will be especially interesting given the continuing declines in year over year sales and profits for the iPad line that we recently learned about during Apple’s quarterly sales call.

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EA Aquires iOS Games Developer Firemint

File this under disappointing news of the day. According to TechCrunch, EA has purchased the very popular Australian iOS game developer Firemint. The company boasts a workforce of 60 employees, and is best known for their games Real Racing 1 and 2, and Flight Control.

All of these titles had a high degree of polish, and have been updated several times since their respective releases. In fact, Real Racing 2 HD saw a notable update a couple of weeks ago that added 1080p video output using Apple’s new Digital AV Connector and an HDMI cable. It was the first game in the App Store to include this feature.

That is what bothers me the most about this news. Firemint was a developer known for pushing the envelope of what iOS devices can do. Real Racing 2 was one of the first games in the App Store to really show off the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, and I have already mentioned their latest innovation on the iPad 2. These innovations are what mobile platforms need, but unfortunately, innovation certainly isn’t one of EA’s hallmarks.

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Review: Disney’s Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book

 

Over the last couple of months, I have had the opportunity to check out a few Disney Digital Books. I have always been very impressed with what I have seen. My four year old daughter, Sadie, has absolutely loved them, as well. Of course, none of that is a big surprise, considering Disney’s reputation for high quality content, whether it be film, print, or digital.

As much as Sadie loves the others in the series that we have tried, there are two things that she definitely enjoys even more- princesses and stickers. Well, this week we found the perfect Disney Digital Book for her. In honor of Friday’s Royal Wedding in London, England, Disney has released a 2.0 update to their Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book adding several new features. As soon as I saw this announcement, I knew it was time to call my little assistant into action once more.

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Some Thoughts on a Recent iPad Event I Attended

 

One of the foundational elements of the Apple experience has always been a sense of community. Being from a Windows background, I only have a few years of personal experience with this phenomenon, but I have always been aware of its existence. If you haven’t been a part of the Apple ecosystem for very long, it can be a little difficult to understand, but it is everywhere you look. From enthusiast sites and blogs, to podcasts, to user groups, to the Apple retail stores themselves, there is something at the core of the Apple experience that seems to inspire a higher lever of loyalty and devotion than your typical computer or electronics manufacturer.

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iPad 2 Put to the Test, Passes With Flying Colors

I have often heard it said in the tech press that Apple isn’t competing directly with Android. They are focused on software, experience, and the mass market, while Google has geared Android more toward power users who are looking for a more inclusive and open ecosystem. This would seem to be the case if you looked at the divergent tactics employed by Apple and the bevy of device manufacturers rolling out new Android tablets.

Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG, and many others emphasized how superior their tablets specs were to the iPad 1, and how the new Honeycomb version of Android would give users the ability to do much more than is possible with Apple’s iOS. Apple, on the other hand, choose to give only a cursory nod to the technical side of the iPad 2, focusing more on software, the experience they have gained from a year with the iPad 1, and their leading position in market share and apps. This was the case, even though the specs of the iPad 2 were largely in line with the competition.

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