Apple Store in San Francisco, via Harry McCracken.
This is a very nice move by Apple Retail – showcasing laptop style keyboards for the iPad. As Apple Insider reports, tech journalist Harry McCracken spotted this display at a San Francisco Apple store recently, and I think it looks great. And it’s an excellent idea to show off what’s available for the iPad in this area.
Also, it’s particularly good to see this now, while we’re bombarded with TV ads for the Microsoft Surface Pro line of ‘tablets that can replace your laptop’. I’m so, so sick of those ads – and their way overblown claims about the Surface and the bashing of either the iPad or MacBooks in most of them.
Those ads pitch the Surface’s keyboard as some sort of miraculous new innovation for tablets, when the fact is there’s been a huge range of high quality 3rd party keyboard options for the iPad for years now – including some stellar ones that attach as a case. Nearly all of them costs less than the $130 Surface keyboard, which does not come free with the $1,000+ Surface devices.
It’s also good to see this in Apple stores just to raise general user awareness of these keyboard options for the iPad. I need to go take a look at my local Apple store and see which manufacturers’ keyboards are being featured. I hope and expect to see Logitech and ZAGG among them.
After several posts discussing my continued curiousity in the Pencil stylus, I decided to just put my money where my mouth was and buy the darn thing for $50 USD during the Black Friday sale. I bought the Walnut version so that it sticks to my iPad’s Smart Cover, and also because I find it a little smarter looking.
I’ll definitely be testing it out over the next week or two, so stay tuned for a review. I’m a really big fan of the Paper app and I can’t wait to combine it with Pencil for a more natural drawing (and erasing) experience. After my recent disappointing experience with Penultimate and the Jot Script, I’m hoping the Pencil has what it takes to make drawing and sketching on my iPad more fun.
Given that software keyboards are still buggy as hell, I’ve really had the chance to put the Logitech Ultrathin to use full time, and the conclusion in my iPad Ultrathin review still holds true for me.
The battery has never died on me, and I only remember having charged it once in the last eight weeks. The rubber feet are still sticking nicely to the bottom of the case, which is a good sign of overall durability. There’s really no downside to using this particular case with my Air 2, even though it’s technically designed for the original iPad Air. Most of all, the keys are still a delight to use. They’re springy, responsive, and very comfortable in continued use.
The only thing I still want changed at this point would be a sort of auto-wake switch in the form of a pressure sensor or a magnet. Credit really goes to Belkin for inclusion of that feature in many of their keyboard cases, and it has me hooked. Undocking the iPad from the keyboard and having Bluetooth automatically disconnect just feels like magic. It’s a great piece of smart design that makes the keyboard work for me, instead of forcing me to conform to the keyboard. If Logitech could add that feature to the next version of the Ultrathin, I think this would be a real 10/10 design.
Here’s a really cool accessory I read about on Tools and Toys: the Kingston MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader. The iPad lacks any sort of expandable storage, but the MobileLite allows you to work around this by pairing with over Wi-Fi. Once paired, you can use the MobileLite’s USB port or card reader to access files on your SD cards, USB sticks, or external USB hard drives. I like the choice of going with Wi-Fi over Bluetooth, since the connection speeds are much faster over Wi-Fi.
Not only is this a great way to shunt extra movies or pictures from the iPad to an SD card, but it’s also an interesting way to get local files from a USB drive onto the iPad itself (where you can then open them in an app like Word for iPad). I also really like that this is an accessory that works with the storage devices you likely already own, instead of being a locked-in, proprietary storage unit + case.
The MobileLite accessory also features a little battery for extra charging, but that feature is probably really meant for iPhones. If you’re interested, you can find the MobileLite for $40 on Amazon.com (or NCIX.com for Canucks).
I’ve written about the Pencil stylus before, and it still seems really, really cool. Not only is it custom-built for one of my favourite drawing apps, Paper, but it recently expanded its support with a FiftyThree SDK. That means you can now use the Pencil with other awesome apps, like Noteshelf (for notes and diagrams) and Procreate (for sketches and paintings, with layer support),
The only thing keeping me from buying a Walnut Pencil (which will stick to my Smart Cover) are tales of the rubber tips breaking within the first weeks of use. There are enough negative Amazon reviews centered around the rubber tips that it does seem like a real product flaw, as opposed to a few outliers who happened to get bad Pencils. I realize that you can purchase more rubber tips for the stylus, but I’d prefer not to have to do that. I’ve tried to reach FiftyThree to get some answers, but I haven’t heard anything back from them thus far.
If any iPad Insight readers have any feedback to share, please do hit us up in the comments. I’m really eager to see if this is an actual issue, or whether I should take my chances and hope FiftyThree honour their 30-day guarantee.