Life has been mostly lemons around my house the last two days, but I’m going to make a little lemonade right here and FINALLY turn my attention to the new iPad Pros. I got the 10.5″ model yesterday, and I just got my hands on the new 12.9″, which arrived late this afternoon and is currently restoring with my apps and data. I’ll defer my remarks on the 12.9″ until I’ve actually had some time with it tomorrow, but I’ve had enough with the 10.5 to at least form some early opinions:
A recent Kickstarter campaign caught my eye that I thought might be of interest to several of our readers. The PaperLike screen cover from Jan Sapper is exactly what it sounds like- a simple screen protector-like cover for both models of iPad Pro. It is made of a proprietary film that gives the screen a feel closer to that of paper when using the Apple Pencil. It’s a very good idea that I was surprised to learn hasn’t really been addressed by any mainstream accessory manufacturers to this point.
In the first installment of the iOS 11 Wishlist, I took a look at some ways that Apple can improve its existing Multitasking app selector on the latest iPads. This week, its time to look at a feature that is long overdue, but may finally get the attention it deserves- User Accounts.
Separate User Accounts has been one of the most common unfulfilled requests for the iPad for the last two or three years for a couple of reasons. FIrst off, all of the competition already has some sort of User Account system. In fact, both Android and Amazon’s skinned variation of the same have both had this feature for a while now. Of course, Microsoft’s Windows has had this feature for decades, and since the Surface runs full Windows, it has the advantage of such proven power user features. Whatever the case, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that Apple is very late to the party here.
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.
The rumor mill is churning hard and fast now as we get closer to an inevitable Apple Event. However, with most of the stories just repeating variations on the same models and basic features, this is a good time to step back and see what other new features that users may be looking for in the new crop of iPads. Whether hardware, software, or both, there is no better time than a hardware refresh to consider what we hope Apple is cooking up in Cupertino.
Several years ago, before I ever got my first iPad-specific keyboard case (the Logitech Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard by ZAGG for the iPad 2), I purchased an Apple Wireless Keyboard to see what it would be like not having to type on the screen of my original iPad. Even though it was a little awkward to carry around with what was supposed to be a mobile device, I still absolutely loved this keyboard. The layout and key spacing were perfect. The action felt good and the keys were responsive. The battery life was great, even if it ran off of actual batteries. It worked very well for me at the time.
On Monday, I asked if anyone cared about the 12.9″ iPad Pro, and many of our readers took the time to tell me that they definitely do (and a BIG thank you to all who took the time to join in the discussion). I was actually surprised at how much enthusiasm was expressed for the device. I see now that I’m not alone in preferring the larger size of the original model, and that several fellow users have some really cool and unique use cases for which the larger screen is advantageous. It’s always great to share experiences like that and learn from fellow users. The 12.9″ model may not have as much Apple marketing push behind it these days, but it is obvious to me that it should continue to have a place at the iPad table.
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.
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.
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.
March is just around the corner, and with it comes the wish lists and rumor-mill pre-game shows leading up to a probable Apple Event. The spring time is when we have come to expect new iPad announcements that often include accessories with with some occasional iPhone goodness sprinkled in for good measure. This year appears to be no different. In fact, this year might actually be one of the busiest spring Apple Events in recent memory.
All the usual, mostly reliable suspects are chiming in, and many of them have been predicting very similar announcements. Tops on the list of predictions is the release of a new iPad screen size in the lineup. The size reference to this new iPad size varies somewhat, but it is expected to be in the 10.5″ to 10.9″ range, with the latest supply line leaks suggesting more than likely to be 10.5″.