Happy 2015! Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season and looking forward to a healthy and happy new year.
Above is a fun Happy New Year iPad wallpaper, courtesy of the always excellent Pimp Your Screen app. I think it looks suitably festive on my iPad Air 2’s lock screen.
I’ve now got all of my home videos across all of my devices, accessible via iCloud Photo Library. I’ve done a little bit of testing over the last few weeks and can now report on how iCloud Photo Library performs for on-demand video viewing.
First off, videos don’t ever appear to download as optimized versions. iCloud Photo Library has two storage options: downloading everything to your device, or downloading only “optimized” versions of your media. I chose the latter in order to save space. As such, in order to play anything that isn’t already downloaded, I’ve got to tap on a video thumbnail, tap on the Play button, and then wait a good 5–10s until the video begins to play. Even over Wi-Fi, playback at this point can still be a little spotty, and there have been multiple occasions where my videos have stopped in order to buffer more.
In practice, this delay in playback has actually killed a few opportunities to show a cool video I had on my iPad. I wanted to show a few workmates a choreographed dance I had filmed a year ago, but the buffering took embarrassingly long to happen, and we just ended up spending a good 30 seconds staring at a static screenshot of the video. Tagging a video as a “Favourite” doesn’t help pre-load it either. For iCloud Photo Library to be useful for video, an option to queue a video for download is needed (badly).
Photos also really needs to show which files have actually be downloaded — and to what extent. I want to see a simple icon or colour indicator over videos that have been downloaded to my device, instead of having to tap on thumbnails and just guess.
I like iCloud Photo Library well enough for photos, but it’s not really performing as expected for video. Given that I have it set to “optimize” my photos and videos, I would want my iPad to automatically download lower-res versions of all of my videos for quick playback, and then an option to download the full-res version for high quality playback. I understand that videos — especially at their current 1080p resolution — take up a lot of space and are tricky to stream, but this current system of tapping and guessing is not the right solution. iCloud Photo Library’s current setup doesn’t feel like the magic solution it’s marketed to be — and it’s ruining the illusion of the cloud as a reliable and immediate file system.
For any of you who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving. For those who don’t Happy late November Thursday.
Today I’m hugely thankful just to be here and healthy, and for family who are here today, friends, the beautiful day and the beautiful city I live in.
I also want to say thanks to all of you who visit iPad Insight – for reading our articles, for adding your comments, for sharing our posts on social networks, and just for visiting. Hope you’re all having a great day.
Image: via the excellent Pimp Your Screen iPad app
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 feature on Apple’s website and in iOS 8 reviews, but I hadn’t had any hands-on time with it, so I accepted the invite. A few minutes later my dad, my sister, and I were officially a digital Apple family. This gave us the ability to easily see each other’s app and media purchases, and it automatically set up Find My Friends and shared task lists and calendars for us.
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Dropbox announced a few pretty major changes to their Dropbox Pro accounts today, but the change I found most interesting was the simplification of the pricing and storage options. There’s now just one $10/month Dropbox Pro account that offers 1TB of storage, which is 10x more storage than was previously offered at that price point.
This is great for iOS users who want an alternative to Photo Stream for photo backups, since Dropbox can handle uploads of the photos and videos on your iPad’s Camera Roll (and do so in the background!). The new 1TB of storage for Dropbox Pro also pairs very nicely with Dropbox’s Carousel service for viewing and sharing your Dropbox photos…although we still need a dedicated iPad app to take full advantage of that on tablets.
I think this is great news, since I prefer Dropbox to competing services like Google Drive. However, I will likely be saving my money for iCloud Drive when it rolls out later this year, since that will natively back up my photos and videos from all of my devices at full resolution.