When the 12.9″ iPad Pro was released in November of 2015, it definitely caused a bit of a stir. A device with a larger screen than many laptops, new multitasking features, and advanced stylus support demanded that we rethink what the iPad was and what it could be. Considering that the momentum had last swung in the opposite direction with the release of the iPad Mini and its successors, the iPad Pro was a definite departure from the norm. I’m pretty sure that is exactly what Apple wanted at the time.
The tech blogosphere was awash in a new rumor that gained steam over a week and seemed to peak yesterday- Apple would abandon the Lightning Connector for the next iPhone, which will have a USB-C charging port. I was skeptical as soon as I heard this because it would frankly be so out of character for Apple. They have always preferred to stick with proprietary connectors on their mobile devices, and have never shown any signs of changing this philosophy. However, there were some heavy hitters, such as the Wall Street Journal, reporting this yesterday, so it gained a lot of steam….until today.
Apple was doomed. Then they set stock records and became the most valuable company in the world. Then the price fell and they were doomed again. We were assured that they couldn’t innovate anymore. Then Phil Schiller told us Apple “can’t innovate my ass” (ironically while announcing a computer that would go three years without an update).
As we close in on the month of March, which seems almost certain to hold the promise of an Apple Event, the rumors of new iPads continue to abound. However, in the last week or so, they seem to have taken a turn. While there is growing certainty that there will be an event in March, whether we will actually get iPad hardware that soon is now being called into question.
It seems like the rumors of an iPhone 8 with an edge-to-edge screen, no Home Button and TouchID integrated into the display are getting to the point where that are looking less like rumors, and more like legitimate leaks. Apple has now been awarded a patent for technology covering a fingerprint sensor integrated into a screen for authentication.
I’ll preface this review by saying that I’ve never been a big fan of side-flip cases, and I’ve never actually used a wallet case with any iPhone that I have owned. With that said, it may seem a little odd that I would be taking a look at a side-flip wallet case, right? However, that doesn’t mean that I ever wrote off trying to find one that I like. In fact, lately I’ve been giving wallet cases a second look.
A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the iOS Notes app and all of the improvements made to it over the last few years that brought me back to it. Now its time to turn our attention to the iOS Mail app, which has also gotten some recent love from Apple over the last two years. Looking back, Mail was one of the lynchpin apps in the early iPhone OS, and once it received Exchange email support in year 2, it really was the standard for email on a smartphone. This would continue for a couple of years, until Google finally got its act together and started shipping a good version of Gmail with Android.
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.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever broken your iPhone’s screen? If you don’t have your hand raised, you are probably either new to smartphones, or lying. I’m as careful a mobile device user as you will ever find, and I managed to make it 15 long years, using PDAs, early smartphones, and then all the way up to the iPhone 5S before I finally joined the club. All it took was leaving the bottom part of my case off for a few minutes to do me in. I dropped my 5S on the concrete floor of a mechanical room, and the next thing I knew, I was out $150. Ouch.
I also didn’t have a screen protector on at the time, so as you can likely imagine, I haven’t been without one on any iPhone I’ve owned since. As such, I’m always on the lookout for the latest new designs, especially in glass and hybrid protectors that add additional protection. When I saw that ZAGG was offering a Screen Guarantee Plan with their latest top of the line screen protector, I took notice. ZAGG is the biggest and most respected name in mobile screen protection, so if they are willing to put a money-backed guarantee on your screen, then it’s a big deal, and worth taking a look at.
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.
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.