About Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

LINE Is Finally Here On iPad!

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It wasn’t that long ago that I was lamenting the absence of LINE Messenger on the iPad. It’s the one app that my family uses for group chatting, and it was one of the few things that tethered me to my iPhone at home or at coffee shops, when I would rather have just replied from the iPad.

However, unbeknownst to me, LINE for iPad was released almost a week ago. It’s not as full-fledged as the iPhone LINE app, but that’s really okay by me. That app has far too much going on inside of it anyway. I don’t need timelines or games or extra editing suites built into my messaging app. I just want to talk to my family and send stupid stickers (but not through the Facebook Messenger app, because my dad isn’t on Facebook at all).

LINE for iPad doesn’t do anything terribly original. It’s got an extra-wide sidebar that can look a little strange when you’ve only got one chat going (as I do), but that doesn’t matter much. I just turn the window to full-screen and revel in the glory of stickers and stupidity that is my family chat.

There is one other way in which LINE for iPad is optimized for the tablet, though: the option to have the Enter key become the “Send” button. This is a godsend if you use an external keyboard often, and it’s something I’m surprised that iMessage still has absolutely no option for.

But, in truth, the only thing I’m really trying to say is that my main complaint is gone. LINE is now truly cross-platform support as far as I’m concerned. It was out for the Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, and now, at long last, the iPad.

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The iPad Air 2 Has A Confirmed 2 GB of RAM

Gruber Says iPad Air 2 has 2GB RAM

 

iPad Air 2 reviews (TechCrunch | The Verge) are just hitting the Internet now, but I got all the news I needed earlier at 9pm EST when John Gruber tweeted the information above. It’s now confirmed that the iPad Air 2 has 2GB of RAM, which is double what the iPad Air had. I’d seen the rumours abound before Gruber’s tweet, of course, but I wanted to share that info only after it was vetted by someone who’d really check their sources.

I’m excited to test my Air 2 later this week and see what kind of difference this extra memory makes. I’m really hoping the memory can help Safari out.

 

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What I’m Looking Forward To In The iPad Air 2

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I’ve got a 64GB LTE iPad Air 2 on the way to me this Thursday or Friday, according to my Apple Order Status page. I still don’t know for sure if the iPad Air 2 will have 2GB of RAM, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go through with the upgrade anyway. After re-reviewing all of the spec sheets and early look articles from people at Apple’s event, there are a couple of things I’m really curious about:

  • Does the thinness really matter? I’m quite happy with the profile of the iPad Air as-is, but Apple has this strange obsession with making everything as thin as possible. I’d like to see if the 18% thinner body actually makes a difference for one-handed usage, as I doubt it will affect two-handed usage much. It’s also curious that this new Air 2 is about 7–8% lighter than the previous Air, but Apple didn’t feel like that was worth pointing out.

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Writer Pro 1.4 for iPad

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Writer Pro was updated once again this past week, and it now makes a lot more sense to use. Folder support was added in the last patch, but it was confusing because I couldn’t actually create any folders from the iPad (only take advantage of folders I’d created on the Mac). However, as of Writer Pro 1.4, I can now swipe on individual files to move them into folders, or even create new folders. The Recents tab — which should probably just be called “Documents” now — shows all of my files and folders in one place.

There are also two other cool tweaks I’ve noticed. The arrow keys on the extended keyboard can now be used to expand a text selection, which makes it much easier to quickly cut text out of a paragraph.

The final change was mentioned very subtly in the update notes, but it’s probably my favourite new feature in Writer Pro thus far. The “Sentence” syntax view will now subtly blur all other on-screen text, leaving the current sentence looking razor sharp. It’s a really delightful little change and a good reminder of why I like iA’s software in the first place.

Writer Pro did get off to a rocky start. It was missing Dropbox search and iCloud folders when it launched, and I think it still needs to differentiate the Note mode from the other modes, but as of v1.4, I’m having a lot of fun using this app again.

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Drafts 4 for iPad

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Drafts 4 is a paid upgrade to the excellent Drafts app (which was on version 3.x before iOS 8). Drafts has long been famous for its lightning fast load times and excellent set of built-in actions for sharing text with other apps and services. For text nerds frustrated with the siloed nature of iOS apps, Drafts has always been a breath of fresh air.

Version 4 was rebuilt from the ground up, and even though the interface is still quite familiar, there are all sorts of little signs of polish that make the upgrade feel worth it:

  • The clean, sleek icon with a flash of blue is a definite improvement. The precious icon for iOS 7 just felt flat and dry, whereas the current icon has a bit more personality and looks more unique.
  • Animations within the app are now consistent across the iPhone and iPad versions, but they can feel a little too slippery. Deleting drafts and actions is actually a little difficult because you need to wait for the animation to finish before you can act.
  • Markdown now shows with live previews as you type
  • Drafts 4 uses iCloud for syncing files across the iPad and iPhone. I find this a welcome change because, as fast as Simperium (the previous sync engine) was, there were significant glitches with the system. It’s too early to tell how iCloud will fare in its place, but I’m optimistic.

I don’t regret my impulsive $5 purchase of Drafts 4 one bit. Drafts is a wonderfully powerful app for iPad power users; it can get quick notes into Evernote so much faster than the official app, and that alone is worth the price of purchase in my book.

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iOS 8: Voice Messages

Voice Messaging has been one of the surprise hit features of iOS 8 for me. My family — especially my dad — have really taken to sending quick little voice bytes in lieu of text messages. The iMessage app in iOS 8 makes it easy to send a quick voice message to a contact. All […]

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iPad App Of The Week: Next for iPad

Who doesn’t like great iPad apps? At iPad Insight we definitely do. With that in mind, we offer up a quick review of an excellent iPad app, or a few great iPad apps, here each week. Our weekly picks for Best iPad App of the Week are published here every Saturday. Check out all out […]

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Giving Up On Evernote For Task Management

I just finished my major trial run of Evernote as a task manager. The service is really great, but I learned that there are downsides to having all of your notes and tasks in the same place. Evernote doesn’t make it easy to filter tasks by date, and I found it cumbersome to re-schedule tasks […]

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Writer Pro For iPad Gets An iOS 8 Update

Writer Pro was updated for iOS 8 this week, adding support for Dropbox, Handoff, Document Picker, basic folder support, and a significant change to the way the app handles its four different views. The Dropbox integration is straightforward and very useful. You can link your Dropbox to the app and open any files from any […]

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iOS 8: A Very Specific Kind of Family Sharing

My family upgraded to iOS 8 pretty quickly. My sister updated her iPhone 5, my dad updated his 4S and iPad mini, and my 5S and iPad Air were already ready. During her setup phase, my sister decided to try out a new iOS 8 feature called Family Sharing. I’d read a little about the […]

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