Well, my prediction early last month that the iPad Air line would be retired was half right. The name is now gone, but I thought at the time that Apple would shift to an all Pro iPad lineup this Spring. However, thanks in part to the comments of several users of non-Pro iPads, I came to see how short-sighted that opinion was, and how many potential users it would leave behind.
Thankfully, Apple is a lot smarter than I am. As such, a lower-cost tablet still endures, just with a different name and a little different shape. However, this wasn’t all that went down yesterday. Apple made a few interesting, if low key moves, and changing up the Air 2 was just one of them. Here are a few of the highlights and interesting details from yesterday’s news.
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.
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.
iOS 10 was released this past Tuesday, and although it was a rough start for the earliest of downloaders, the update seems to be going very smoothly now. Many other sites are going to have one of these lists on iOS 10, but there are actually so many little features and changes, that I’m finding most articles worth reading. So I figure that sharing a few of my favourite iOS 10 changes my help some readers re-consider or discover features in this latest major update.
Earlier today Apple released iOS 10 as promised. Unfortunately for some of those who were “lucky” enough to download the Over-the-Air (OTA) update in the first hour it was available, their devices became unresponsive (bricked) and immediately went into recovery mode. This then required the user to update/restore their devices via iTunes. This issue was not specific to any one device, as iPad Pro owners and various iPhone models were all experiencing issues.
Unfortunately a restore isn’t very comforting to those who don’t have a recent, or any, backed up version of their device to restore to. In addition, if you don’t have a computer running iTunes, you can’t even restore your device. Lost data and unhappy consumers is definitely not the way Apple wants to kick-off the “biggest release ever” of iOS. It appears as though only consumers attempting OTA updates were affected–iTunes updates were working fine.
Yesterday was the first time I finally felt confident enough in Lightroom to turn off iCloud Photo Library. I had been jumping between the two services for a while, using Lightroom as my main photo library, but still keeping a few backups in iCloud.
I still love how iCloud Photo Library syncs so beautifully in the background. I liked the ability to just open up my iPad and have all the shots from my iPhone already there, as if by magic. But the major caveat to iCloud Photo Library is that it just doesn’t do a very good job of optimizing a photo library for easy, consistent access.
Apple released the first beta version of iOS 10 on 13 June, 2016 and now going to launch the full version probably in September. Now the good news is that iPhone app developers can build more powerful apps.
Now app developers will be able to make the apps available for download directly from the app store to iMessage. In the latest version of iOS, app developers can create sticker packs for purchase.
The last time I wrote about Apple Notes was in early July. I wrote that post to try and balance out all of the very strongly-worded posts about dumping Evernote and jumping to Apple Notes, the newest free note-taking solution that synced across all Apple devices.
I can see why most people don’t want to have to pay for a Notes solution, so moving from Evernote to Apple Notes seems like a very easy switch. However, I was wary of fully committing to Apple’s service because there doesn’t seem to be any easy way of getting your data out of the service in a meaningful way. You can get plain text notes to export from Apple Notes…but that’s about it. All the pictures, rich URLs, media, and any files you’ve attached to your notes…those can’t be exported en masse or imported into any other service at this time.
Despite all of that, I decided to give Apple Notes another solid try for the past month and a half.
At WWDC last month we got our first glimpse of what Apple has planned for iOS 10 on the iPad. There will most likely be additional changes and unannounced features saved for when it’s released to the public. Having said that, the most notable new addition to iOS 10 on the iPad has to be Safari Split View. Just like its name suggests, Safari Split View lets you have two Safari windows open side-by-side.
It’s very similar to the regular Split View that can be used between two different apps. However, Safari split-view only lets your open half of the screen. Both windows have the same ratio that, at the moment, can’t be changed.
Apple released the second version of the their developer beta this afternoon, with a slough of enhancements and improvements to iOS 10 previously announced at WWDC three weeks ago. The public beta of iOS 10 is scheduled to be released later this month. However, those with developer accounts who are already testing iOS 10 can download the (OTA) update when connected to Wi-Fi.
As with all developer betas, users are strongly discouraged from loading beta software on their daily driver devices, as they will most likely become unstable and unresponsive at times. Betas are for developers to test their new apps, and from my past experience, this can sometimes make your device unreliable. However, with each new beta release, Apple continues to iterate additional enhancements and updates to iOS while at the same time making it more stable and reliable.
It’s been over a week since the announcement of iOS 10, and I remember feeling a little disappointed in the lack of iPad-specific features they announced. The only obvious iPad-specific features we know of so far are:
- Three-panel views in Mail and Notes (not bad…)
- Side by side windows in Safari (yes!)
- Music now works in Split View (about darn time)
Given that this is Apple’s major release for the year, that just doesn’t seem like a lot of iPad love when you compare it to last year’s iOS 9 announcement, where “iPad Experience” was one of the highlights of the release. This is especially true if iOS 9 encouraged you to invest in an iPad Pro, in the hopes that the specialized hardware was a sign that Apple would be taking the tablet even more seriously as a computing platform going forward.
When you think and write about this stuff on a weekly basis, it’s easy to set yourself up for disappointment. “If Apple doesn’t release X, I’m going to be disappointed” is an easy trap to fall into…and there are only so many times that you can use “there’s always next year” as a conclusion.
But after spending the last week on the beta and also reading a MacRumors forum posts about iOS 10-specific features, I find myself surprised at how capable the iPad Pro has become as a day-to-day computer. I’m still not totally happy with how it manages and edits photos, but iOS 10 has addressed so many small things that were bugging me about the iPad experience.