I bought a HomePod. Is it any good? Well, I made a short video about it with some of my thoughts, including if it’s any good for iOS musicians. If you like the video, please head over to YouTube and like/comment/subscribe.
I’m super proud to have one of my photos featured by Apple as part of their ‘A Color of Celebration’ collection. It’s a photo I took during a fireworks display back in November.
I was 8 years old, in the early nineties standing outside iconic British retailer Argos with pocket money I had saved, and I was ready to make a purchase. I was about to buy a watch. This watch was no ordinary digital watch. It had a built in headphone jack and FM radio.
This is flippin’ cool. The 512Pixels.net website has published 5K versions of every default macOS wallpaper from Cheetah all the way to the upcoming High Sierra. This look awesome as lock screens on the iPad. Go on, take a look.
For me personally, the iPad has provided me with so many essential tools whilst working in the classroom and around the music department. In this post I’ll be sharing my 30 must-have apps ranging from recording and performance, to productivity and file-management.
There’s been a bit of a gap between these iPad Pro posts as I’ve really been wanting to see how much I use it instead of my MacBook Pro. The answer, is a lot more.
In the last week or so, there have been some great updates to a number of apps bringing new features and iPad Pro support, my favourite being Korg Gadget and iMaschine. These are my two favourite music apps for the iPad, giving me a completely new way of writing music.
Some apps are still lacking however and a lot of this is down to Google. YouTube still doesn’t support the iPad Pro’s resolution, nor does their app for creators ‘YouTube Capture’. I much prefer uploading videos through Safari or Chrome, which surprised me by giving me the option to upload from a number of different cloud services. Google Sheets is another disappointing app. Again, it doesn’t support the correct resolution nor any of the great add-ons found in the browser version of Google Docs. When working with a larger spreadsheet, Google Docs in the browser is painfully slow to the point where it’s barely usable.
I’ve been here before. A couple of years ago I tried to use an iPad instead of a laptop to see if it would work. It didn’t. Everything simply took longer to do and it was a frustrating experience. Since then with the release of the iPad Pro, iPads got bigger, got more powerful and most importantly, got multitasking. So I decided to try this experiment again. This time, my expectations will be far more reasonable. I’m not ruling out using a laptop completely, there are still some things that I need to do (printing – I don’t have an AirPrint printer) with a ‘proper’ computer. This ‘diary’ isn’t going to be daily, but I’ll come back from time to time whenever I have some interesting observations to make.
It’s less than two weeks since Apple announced the iPad Pro which will be available later this year. This is something I’ve been very excited about and I’m tempted to take the plunge and buy one when it comes out. However, some people have been describing it as a potential laptop replacement. I would love for that to be the case but despite the introduction of the dedicated keyboard and the apple pencil, there are still some features missing that I think could really make a difference. So here are five ways the iPad Pro could be a brilliant tablet…
There is a very good reason why Apple have never made a touchscreen laptop. When you use one, you’ll get arm ache. The same applies to the iPad Pro, which when mounted on their Smart Keyboard, will present the same problems. This will obviously be quite a controversial suggestion, but using a mouse or trackpad is very intuitive and very easy. When needing to make fine adjustments to an image, an audio clip or graphic, my fat fingers just don’t cut it.
I have no idea if this is something that Apple would ever consider, but it would be a very useful option to have.
iPad Pro Level Apps
A pro-level iPad should have pro-level apps. Watered down versions of apps with heavily reduced functionality will struggle to make a difference to many professional’s workflow. Now, I’m not suggesting that desktop apps should be directly ported over the iOS, iOS apps are very efficient and that should continue. Rather, app developers should make use of the larger screen and better processing power of the new iPad. I’d love to be able to make minor mixing edits on an iPad Pro version of Logic Pro X or Adobe Audition, splice some video and put together some clips in an iPad Pro version of Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, edit sheet music in Sibelius for iPad and make some edits in a more fully featured version of Photoshop for the iPad Pro. Then when I get home resume working on my main computer.
I’m sure that something like that is what Apple would like to achieve and now they have put the hardware in place, let’s hope the developers get more adventurous.
iOS Redeveloped for the iPad
When the original iPad was launched many people said it’s just a big iPhone but without the phone. A little harsh at the time, but the hardware for the iPad has become so much more sophisticated that we really do need a different version of iOS for iPhone and iPad. The video below is from The Verge with their hands-on video with the iPad Pro shortly after the Keynote. Look at the home screen on the iPad Pro. It looks ridiculous. The space between each of the icons… all that wasted space. We’re now at the point where iOS needs to be a little different for this new iPad. The home screen could easily have the space for a way to access recent documents without having to look for a specific app. How about a way to see recent downloads too like you can on a Mac? It would also be quite handy to have the option of having shortcuts to specific iCloud Drive folders on the home screen. The space is there, now the iOS engineers need to make use of it.
It probably took a gargantuan effort to bring 3D touch to the iPhone and clearly, it’s a technology not yet ready to appear on the iPad. Having 3D touch on the iPad would be a wonderful thing though. The iPad equivalent of a ‘right-click’ would help speed up a wide range of tasks and in conjunction with some pro-level apps, would provide professionals with a powerful tool.
Maybe this is something we will see in an iPad Pro 2 or 3.
4K Video Recording
Okay, this is more of a luxury request and won’t appeal to a lot of people and yes, taking photos on an iPad is incredibly uncool. I do however, use the iPad to film things quite often. It’s great for making quick videos without having to get other equipment out. Filming 4K video on a 12.9″ viewfinder? Yes please!
Native Memory Stick Compatibility
As great as using e-mail and cloud services as a means to transfer files is, sometimes just being able to connect a USB memory stick to the iPad would far quicker and easier. I’m not calling for the inclusion of a USB port on the iPad, I’m more than happy to use a lightning adapter. Plugging in a memory stick and seeing it appear on the home screen, viewing more than just photos and being able to open documents in apps on the iPad or copy them to iCloud Drive would be amazing. And while I’m on the subject of USB, how about connecting it to a USB printer instead of relying on AirPrint which quite frankly, seems non-existent in the workplace.
So here are my six suggestions that would make the iPad Pro an irresistible product. Some of this I’m sure could be brought to the iPad through software development and hopefully iOS 10 or above will see some of these things arrive. However this post is not really a criticism of what Apple have done with the iPad Pro. It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try one out.
What would you like to see on an iPad Pro? What would convince you to give up the laptop? Let me know in the comments below.
On Saturday at 8:01am BST, I sat at home refreshing the Apple app on my iPhone 5S. As has been the case in the past, Apple’s website is usually quite unreliable when it comes to preordering. The preorder process for the iPhone 6s had been delayed by a few minutes, but luckily I still managed to get my preorder completed whilst many others took to Twitter venting their frustrations that the Apple store website was still not live.
It’s no secret that I’m a bit of an Apple fanboy but I like to think I give credit where it’s due to other tech manufacturers. I have a Retina MacBook Pro and recently I’ve been getting into gaming a bit more. Instead of buying a new PS4 or Xbox One, which quite frankly, already have outdated hardware, I thought I’d attempt to use my high-end Mac laptop to play some of the latest games.