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.
As we get closer to impending iPad announcements, the rumors are slowly giving us a more accurate picture of coming attractions. The reports of a 10.5″ Pro device have been loud, clear, and consistent, and are still pointing to a new SKU in the iPad line. This is as close to a full-on device leak as we can get, so the 10.5″ model looks all but certain now.
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.
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″.
Over the last few days, Apple has released four new iPad Pro ads that take the messaging for the line in a little bit of a different direction. Where the last ad from six months ago compared the iPad Pro to a computer by showing off ways that it could perform similar tasks, but in a more portable and easier to use package, the new commercials are all about contrasts between the two.
I got a few comments on my original article from Flipboard and Twitter that touched on details I thought were interesting and worth bringing back to the site. Before diving in, thank you to all reached out, and I hope to hear from you again.
First off, the consensus among users I interacted with was that OneNote has a really strong feature set, especially considering that it’s free to use on iOS. However, the responses were mixed on sync performance. Most reported that it worked great for them, but a few others had similar experiences to me. Any app, especially one as flexible and widely used as OneNote can work great for most users, while the bugs and pitfalls hit the rest of us. Considering the widely positive reviews of the app, my experience is more likely an outlier. However, after problems strike a couple of times, the old saying applies- “Once bitten, twice shy.” However it is good to bear in mind that BOTH can simultaneously be true.
Second, I had several commenters mention the relatively new note taking app Bear. I have to admit that one slipped by me on its way to the App Store.
However, it has garnered a fair amount of acclaim since its release early last November, including an App Store Editor’s Note from Apple on its App Store page. After reading the comments and a few reviews, I am going to give it a go myself. I’m not thrilled about paying for the ability to sync, but at only $1.45 monthly, I’m not going to complain too much. Evernote Premium was more expensive and I paid for it for over a year. I will post my own review of how Bear stacks up against iOS Notes and Notability in the near future.
One of the last comments I got came to my Twitter account (jhrogersii), and was the most interesting of all of them. The commenter also mentioned the Bear app, and that he had switched due to recent sync issues with iOS Notes. I have never been affected by any sync issues with Notes, and frankly hadn’t heard anything about this, so I was intrigued. When I asked him what he was referring to, the gentleman sent me a link to a forum thread at macrumors that detailed iCloud sync issues that evidently plagued a LOT of people for a long period of time. It was pretty eye-opening.
It looks like these problems have been cleared up for most users in recent iOS updates, but such an issue calls into question one of my primary points about going back to iOS Notes. I made a big deal about how dependable it was. My exact quote was, “It NEVER fails.” Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. At least not for all iOS users.
If you are a user of Bear and have some good tips as I get started with it, or if you were also affected by Apple’s recent Notes sync issues, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to give me a shout in the comments section below, on our Flipboard page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog or @jhrogersii.
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.
As we close the book on January, the rumors of a March Apple event centered on the iPad are coming fast and furious now. There are multiple reports of a new iPad Pro in a different size, an Apple Pencil refresh, and potentially some other Apple device updates, as well. With the iPad line progressively trending away from the Air and Mini and toward the Pro line over the last year, this next event should give us some clarification as Apple’s intentions for the tablet category going forward. This will be especially interesting given the continuing declines in year over year sales and profits for the iPad line that we recently learned about during Apple’s quarterly sales call.
I understand that not all apps make it a priority to update for the iPad Pro; it’s not necessarily profitable for them to do so, and pumping an update out within a few months of the device’s announcement is tough. However, it’s now been nearly ten months since the release of the iPad Pro, and some of my most-used apps still aren’t on the ball.
TD and Facebook still aren’t updated to display properly on the iPad’s larger screen. Facebook Messenger works beautifully on the iPad Pro, but the main Facebook app does not. It’s ridiculous when you think about how large their budget must be.
iOS is arguably the most sophisticated, seasoned mobile operating system available today. Love it or hate it, we are currently running the ninth version iOS–and there are no signs of slowing down any time soon. Apple has approached updates to iOS with the “slow and steady” mindset. There has never been a silver bullet update to end all updates, and I’m ok with that–mostly. It’s hard to be patient, especially when there are whispers each year of purported upgrades, and new features planned for iOS. One thing we can count on, though–Apple won’t release/introduce a new feature unless it’s ready for primetime. This can be frustrating at times, especially when we crave the next big thing. However, in the end, the user experience is king regardless of any features added to the latest version of iOS.
Over the years, one of the biggest enigmas with iOS has been the stale, unchanging home screen layout. The first screen we see when we power on our iPad’s and iPhone’s, is in need of major upgrade. The current layout has become boring and outdated. It’s true that many new iOS users may find comfort in knowing that a quick press of the home button will always bring them to the same screen _every_ time. But does this mean that this screen has to remain a boring grid of icons–even after 9 iterations of the OS? I say no, and it has never been more clear than after the introduction of the iPad Pro.