Six Things the New iPad Needs to Have

Technology

I have a 4th generation iPad and I have to be honest, I hardly use it. The iPhone has become my device of choice for web browsing, e-mailing and reading. My iPad is just too heavy and inconvenient to use. I’m tempted to try out an iPad Mini if this product line gets a refresh as expected in mid-October. However, I think it needs some big improvements before I’m tempted to spend over £600 on another new device.

  1. Touch ID
    This one is almost certainly going to happen. It works so great on the iPhone it seems a perfectly logical addition to the next generation of Apple tablets.
  2. Improved Camera Sensor and Functions
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those iPad photographers, but I do use it to record video in my line of work. The problem is, the sensor on the camera sucks. No matter how well lit the room is, the resulting footage is always grainy. Give the iPad a similar sensor to the iPhone and it will be much more appealing. I’d also like to see the addition of the Time-lapse and Slo-mo functions  in the native app too.
  3. Improved Graphics
    The iPad Mini graphics are not good. There is noticeable colour desaturation on the mini when compared to the iPad Air. Also, it would be good to see improve graphics capabilities across both iPads for gaming. Some games I have struggle on my current iPad.
  4. Faster Wifi
    This is another feature this is very likely to be seen on the new tablets. The iPhone 6 has seen support for the new 802.11ac standard, so it should arrive for the iPad too.
  5. Improved Design
    There’s a possibility I could be in the minority here, but I think the design of the iPhone 6 is great. The display looks much nicer and the rounded edges give it a fresher look. I would happily see the new iPads take design cues from the design of the latest iPhone. Also, moving the power button to the side would be useful.
  6. Lighter Weight
    There’s not much scope for making the iPads much lighter, but any difference in size and weight to make it easier to handle would be welcome. As I said earlier, my current iPad is just not comfortable to hold.

There’s been talk of Apple needing a killer feature for the new iPads. iPad sales have declined and simply adding Touch ID does not make it worth upgrading from previous models. It would also seem like Apple didn’t include Touch ID on the original iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display just so they could sell more iPads later on. Let’s hope Apple do something special to revitalise this product line.

iCloud Keychain Isn’t Very Good… Yet.

Blog, Technology

I’ve been playing around with OS X Mavericks for nearly a week now and it’s a nice, but small update to the operating system. Finder tabs and better sharing options are what I was looking forward to, but most of all I was interesting in the new iCloud Keychain.

I currently use eWallet as a way of storing passwords for my online accounts, but it’s not particularly convenient as it doesn’t run inside the web browser, which means opening the eWallet app before I can access my accounts. iCloud keychain sounded appealing because it integrates with OS X and iOS and syncs between them every time you add or change an account. 

The iPad Has Made Me Love Photography Again

Blog, Personal, Technology

I’ve been taking photos on a fairly regular basis since I got a half decent camera in about 2006. Since then, I upgraded to my first DSLR in late 2011 – a Canon 600D.

Whilst I’ve always been keen to take photos when I’m out and about, being bothered to go out and explore has always been an issue. I therefore ended up only using the camera about once a month or so, when an opportunity came to go somewhere interesting.

I live in the countryside and there are endless walks and interesting places to visit and photograph, but I’ve never taken the time to explore them properly. I think part of the issue is what I do with the photographs after I took them.

20130812-132724.jpg

Recently however, I can’t stop taking photos. I can’t wait to go to the next place on my list and take some more shots and share them on my online gallery. There are two reasons for this sudden desire to take more photos again.

The first is the excellent redesign of Flickr. I love the way the photos are now displayed with and an endless scrolling gallery and thumbnails that support retina display devices. On these devices the galleries look stunning.

The second and most important factor however, is incorporating my iPad into my workflow. Since buying a lightning to SD card connection kit, I’ve used the iPad as my sole tool for editing and sharing my photos online. I find it so much easier and quicker than firing up the computer and having to sit at a desk. With the iPad, I can edit and upload wherever, whenever, even having the photos being uploaded within minutes of them being taken. Certain apps make things a lot more fun and easier too, such as Snapseed for editing the photos and using the iPhone/iPad app GeoTagr to geotag my photo’s exact location. Flickrstackr also allows me to upload my photos to Flickr, adding them to different galleries and organising them efficiently.

I’ll be off on a short holiday soon, knowing that the days of waiting to get home to edit and share my photos are long gone.

I think I’ll start blogging about some of the places I go to as well as some posts about my kit and the apps I use in my workflow. Taking photos has never been so much fun.

Baldur’s Gate for iPad Review

Blog, Reviews, Technology

Baldur's Gate iPadThis is a game I’ve been wanting to play again for many, many years. The original Baldur’s Gate released 14 years ago was yesterday re-released on the iPad. I remember playing the original game on a Pentium 166Mhz machine with 16MB RAM. The 10 inch iPad I have in my hands is more powerful than this machine. A few years ago I tried to run it on a more modern machine, but running a game originally at 800×600 pixels on a HD monitor made it look frankly awful.

Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your iPad for £4

Blog, Technology

20121128-205626.jpgI have to admit, I seldom use my iPad for any kind of music recording or production. Connectivity whilst maintaining portability is problem, twinned with the limited apps available that enable a musician to do anything other than the bare minimum.

Whilst I can’t really do anything about the latter (I’d love to see a version of Logic Pro in iOS), there are certainly things that can be done about the former. I was looking at ways of connecting a MIDI keyboard to the iPad with minimum fuss. I was also looking for something that was pretty cheap.

Pimping Up my MacBook Pro

Blog, Personal, Technology

MacBook Pro InsideI’ve had my Macbook Pro a couple of years now. It’s the 15-inch, Mid 2010 model and it’s working great. Recently, I completed a big pimping up session to improve the speed and capability of my laptop.

The first thing I did was to upgrade it from 4GB RAM to 8GB. Unfortunately, 8 gig is the maximum amount it can take, but it’s still a decent amount. Because the laptop is a couple of years old, this is a fairly cheap upgrade with the parts bought from Crucial.

Welcome to the Cloud

Blog, Digital Music, Internet, Technology

Amazon today announced a new service that will soon be available called the ‘Cloud Player’. The idea is that users can upload their music tracks to their own space on the internet and access it from any computer or Android phone. This beats Apple and Google who are apparently developing similar systems themselves. The idea of a large amount of online storage space for general public use isn’t exactly a new idea (i.e. Dropbox), but the fact that the major players see this as the way forward means the demise of the CD and the hard drive.

Plex: A Great Alternative to Front Row

Blog, Digital Music, Technology, Videos/Film

The latest part of my saga in converting to a digital-only lifestyle is being able to have a decent browser with which to browse my film collection. If you have a mac with the Leopard or Snow Leopard operating system you’ll have ‘Front Row’ – an interface that allows you to browse your film, TV and music collection with your keyboard or Apple remote. It’s well presented and it’s almost like browsing an interface on a TV with screenshots from each of your videos given as a preview.