CastKit V: All Of My Hands Aren’t Enough

Thursday some very good friends and I talked a lot about the new iPads, why we did or didn’t buy them, and what we hope for the future of this computing platform. As an experiment, which I’m sure I’ll be repeating, this Pod was completely edited and published from my new iPad Pro using Ferrite and Transmit. I’ll write up some more about the editing experience later, but for now suffice it to say it was so much more fun than working on my Mac in GarageBand and the ability to get a few minutes done on the train with the Apple Pencil was incredible.

Sorry for some weird audio moments, I’m still learning audio stuff and we had a bad QuickTime export force us to use backup audio, which had a few minutes of odd echo.

Overcast Link

Apple Podcasts


#ipad #drawing #iOS #podcast

iPad Pro 12.9” First Thoughts

Yesterday I got myself a new computer, and it runs iOS. I am writing this on the 12.9" iPad Pro 3rd Gen with a Smart Keyboard Folio. I'll have much more to say about this device, my reasons for buying it, and my expectations and disappointments in the coming weeks, but for now I just wanted to start with some first impressions.

As John Siracusa likes to say, nothing is so perfect that it can't be criticized, so keep that in mind while I start with my gripes. Theres a lot that I like about this computer, obvious and otherwise, that I'll get to later, but complaining is more fun.

Many of my issues are regarding the size of this device. I've used the 12.9" iPad sparingly before yesterday. I have tested apps for work on it, and when I went to WWDC in 2016 I brought work's iPad Pro with me, ostensibly to take notes on (although I just loaded it up with movies and left it in the hotel), but for my primary iPad it always seemed far too big, particularly the bezels. Now that the bezels are dramatically reduced, I figured it was time to give the larger screen size a shot and upgrade form a 10.5".

My initial complaint came up before I even finished setting up the device. I had the soft keyboard open for password entry, and while I knew about and expected the extra row of number keys, and the extra space on the sides for the tab, caps lock, and right shift keys, I didn't expect that I'd be losing access to lots of characters. On the smaller iPads, each letter key has an associated 'alt' key, that you can get to by dragging down on the key (which is a really slick animation). This still exists on some keys, like punctuation, brackets, and the number keys, and in many ways is more like a traditional physical keyboard layout, where the letter keys are only really used for letter entry, but I had grown so accustomed to the layout of the alt keys that it was surprising, and not being able to drag down on a letter key at all made the keyboard feel broken. Chalk this up to one of the many things I'll try to get used to, and we'll see how it goes.

Along with this, the 12.9 iPad software keyboard doesn't support undocking and split keyboard. These keyboard features were incredible when they first came to the iPad, and I didn't realize just how much I used them. Being able to hold the iPad with two hands at a more comfortable position, from anywhere in the middle of the device, and still be able to reach all the keys was great, and if I really needed to bang out some text I'd switch to the split keyboard, so my thumbs barely needed to move and got to use the iPhone sized keyboard I have gotten so accustomed to in the last decade. So when I took my iPad out of the keyboard and tried typing on it, only to realize that the features that allowed me to comfortably hold it in my hands didn't transfer to the 12.9. I had lots of difficulty hitting the keys in the middle of the keyboard with my thumbs in portrait, and it was impossible to type in landscape, and while I could lay the device down in my lap and use all my digits to type that's not how I like to use iPads. The official statements seem to be that the device is so big it's not expected to be used in your hands, which seems so strange for me, because a bigger screen is exactly why you would want a split keyboard. This one will be harder to get used to, because it fundamentally changes how I use my iPad.

So yeah, the 12.9" iPad Pro is certainly smaller and lighter than it's predecessor, but it still doesn't seem that this is a device meant for handheld use at all, which is a tough pill to swallow. I'll give it another week or two to try to adjust, but as of right now I'm really feeling like I might be switching to a 11".

The things I do like about the larger screen? It's great to be able to run apps side by side in regular width, it's cool having the third pane in Mail and Notes. Webpages look great in portrait mode, and more and more it feels like the original promise of the iPad where you could directly interact with the web.

As for the accessories? Pencil is great, I've tried my hand at a few sketches and I'll certainly be trying more, but I'm not an artist and don't expect to become one. I will be running a Dungeons and Dragons session soon, and will probably use this to draw out some maps, so I'm looking forward to that experience.

The keyboard is really nice as well. I really enjoyed the 10.5" Smart Keyboard, so having more or less the same thing but with a full size tilde and tab key is great. The angles are cool, I used it in 'lap mode' while on the train this morning and am using it in 'desk mode' now at work. I'm very happy with both of them, and am incredibly pleased with how solid the device felt in my lap on the train. One thing I will miss however is the ability to prop the iPad upright without having the keyboard extended. I frequently used this for FaceTime session or to have my iPad as a reference display while I worked at my desk. In general I love the iPad more than a macOS laptop precisely because it doesn't have a keyboard taking up space when I don't need it. This keyboard no longer allows for that, at least not while also allowing the iPad to be displayed upright. I could spent another $99 on a Smart Folio case, and swap back and forth depending on if I need a keyboard or not, but there is no way I'm gonna be doing that.

So I guess here we are. In general I really do like this device, and I'm excited about exploring the ways it can change my workflow (more on that later), but I didn't expect that the larger size would so dramatically change the way I think about and use my iPad. I suppose we'll see how long it takes me to adjust, or if I give up and switch to the 11". I really hope I can made the switch though, because this screen is really freaking cool.

#iPad #iOS #keyboard


Vote Save America

Please. It matters so much. Today is a day a lot of us have been waiting for since November ‘16. The best thing we can do is show up, be loud, and demand to be heard. We can do that today by casting votes for people who will work to fix the damage done in the last two years. Let’s show these bastards what we can do.


Seven Years

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement

I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on this day seven years ago. The news wasn’t unexpected, but still shocked me. It really felt like a ripple through the world.

The first thing I did was rewatch this video. It was powerful then, and it’s powerful now.


In Praise Of Questionable Content

Questionable Content: 3837

I’ve loved Questionable Content for over a decade,and it’s fascinating to watch it change and develop as the creator grows as a person. It goes through distinct phases, all of which are very enjoyable. But the last 5-6 arcs have be absolute 🔥🔥🔥. This is amazing.

#comics #police

Shazam Deal Is Done

Apple acquires Shazam, offering more ways to discover and enjoy music

I feel like I kept forgetting about this deal. Shazam already felt pretty integrated into the OS by being built into Siri, but now we get to really see what Apple does with this impressive company. Shazam has always been one of my favorite iOS apps, and during the celebration of a decade of the App Store this summer it looked like a lot of people were very quick to try it out.

Good on the EU for doing it’s due diligence here and eventually approving this deal. This is how these things should work.

And my favorite thing, no more ads in the general Shazam app. Great first move from Apple here.

#appleMusic #Shazam

MacStories iOS 12 Review

iOS 12: The MacStories Review

Man, I’ve been on iOS 12 since WWDC and been pretty deep into the APIs, but ‘Ticci is still showing me plenty of things I had no idea about. Make sure to check out his extensive review asap!

#ios12 #iPad #shortcuts

25% Uptime

CastKit 4: 25% Uptime

A while ago I realized that for three months of every year, I voluntarily make my phone work worse. I brought some friends on to help me figure out why, and to discuss what Apple products we still want to see before 2019.

#swift #iPhoneX🅂 #WatchS4 #AirPower #beta

IPhone XS Event

Well that was sort of a bummer.

Don’t get me wrong, the XS looks like a great iteration over the X, but all in all what was missing from this event certainly loomed large over it.

Starting from the beginning, I enjoyed the silly intro video, and it was awesome to get to see more of Apple Park. I did pick up on what I assumed to be hints at the new AirPods. Hey Siri and waterproofing seemed to be specifically highlighted to get people excited. And since I was keeping up with Twitter I enjoyed the tie in to Tim’s fake missent DM. At least Tim quickly dashed my hopes soon into the video with the callout that we were only going to be hearing about two products today, which I assumed to be the iPhone and the Watch, but because of the intro video I figured they just weren’t counting the many accessories they were surely going to launch! Nope.

As I knew would happen, I was more tempted by the Series 4 than I thought I would be. My intention when I got the S3 was to skip this years model, and when I saw the leaks a few weeks ago, as nice as the larger display looked, I was still feeling good about that decision. But as always, the leaked product images didn’t show everything. The ECG functionality is really impressive, and the fall detection is something I’ve been waiting for since the launch of HealthKit in iOS 8 (I never liked that there weren’t apps to write the Time Fallen data type, and even tried to make my own a few times to varying degrees of success). But once I saw that prices were lifted across the board, and that the cheapest cellular Stainless Steel model I would want would be $750, I’m back to feeling like I’m waiting for the S5.

iPhone XS and XS Max (sigh), while certainly seeming like a solid iteration over the X, also don’t really call out to me. I have the Focos to adjust my portrait mode photos, and the rest of the improvements fall into the typical ‘S year’ category, impressive but not necessary for me. What I am very, very happy about is that there doesn’t seem to be any compromises between the two sizes. Unless I missed anything there weren’t any features of the XS Max that weren’t also present on the smaller phone. I’m very happy about this development, and hope this remains true in the future. I’m still gonna be passing on this phone though. I love my iPhone X, and because of the iPhone Upgrade Program if I did opt to upgrade I would have to trade it in. I would much prefer to just skip this S year and hold onto my iPhone X as a seconday phone for the forseeable future.

Then came the XR. It’s beautiful, the colors are great, and it’s also a great update to the X with reasonable compromises to hit that lower price point. I don’t like that they are now doing software Portrait mode like Android phones, but what can you do, it’s a popular feature and the single camera phones were starting to look bad against Android phone cameras. What I’m dissapointed in is that they never acgknowledged the weirdness of this model. It’s a cheaper phone than the XSs, but with the same screen size (in points) as the Max. So now the story seems to be that small size is a luxury, but then getting the bigger XS is also a luxury? Are they just understanding that most people will want the smaller XS so they’ll price gouge on that desire? It seems very odd that the cheapest 2018 iPhone model has more screen real estate than this year’s flagship. We obviously knew this based on leaks for months now, but I was expecting Apple to tell a compelling story to rationalize this strangeness. They choose not to.

So then what was missing? AirPower and new AirPods (at least a case) were my safe bets. It is starting to look like something went very wrong with AirPower. Perhaps they’re having trouble covering an adequate amount of the surface area with chargable space, or there were distinct spots that were more reliable to charge on that they didn’t want to ship with? I really wish there were some public, or even off the record talk about what’s going on with this really exciting product that now hasn’t been mentioned in a year. Still have a few months before it’s officially ‘late’, but it’s looking elss and less likely now.

And then iPads. They were looking like a long shot, but it would have been really exciting to see the entire iOS line come into the future today. That appears to be being reserved for an October event, so I guess we’ll just hope that we come out of that event more excited than this one.

#iPhoneXS #iPhoneXR #AppleWatchS4 #AirPower

iPhone Tennis Event Predictions

Just a handful of hours to go until the event kicks off. Looking forward to watching it with my team at work today and snacking on some Shake Shack, but first I wanted to jot down some predictions. That’s a big part of the fun of these events, and this time I wanted to put them here so I can be held accountable for how wrong I turned out this evening.

Leaks have pretty much confirmed the big things. iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, Series 4 in 40mm and 44mm are pretty much locked in. As for what’s different with the XS, I’m gonna say in addition to the regular improvements on speed and such we’re gonna see a faster, wider viewing angle for FaceID, and a much improved microphone (using what they learned from HomePod) for better Hey Siri. Maybe even 120hz refresh rate on the display!

I’m expecting some updates on AirPower, ship date for the same day as the iPhones (presumably next week) and price info ($199 minimum), but no major differences between this and what was announced last year. Hopefully the Series 3 will still work with it, but that could always be something they had to adjust during the delay, which I am concerned about, but 🤞.

It’s been odd that iPad info hasn’t leaked, but I am predicting an update to the Pro line to bring it in line with the iPhone features, being FaceID, edge to edge screen, gesture based navigation (which already happened with iOS 12.) Last minute leaks are suggesting this won’t happen, but I think there’s still a better chance.

As for AirPods I don’t really expect a significant update, but we will get more info after the event about the inductive charging case. My guess is $59-79 for the case itself, no price drop on AirPods themselves.

HomePod may be mentioned and there may be a price adjustment, but we won’t get a significant update to it.

And that’s pretty much what I’m expecting. I’d love to be wrong about some of the stuff we won’t see, in particular I’d love an update to the MacBook, Mac mini, and maybe a lower cost addition to the HomePod line, but I guess we’ll see this afternoon!

#iphoneXS #ipad #event #apple #airpods #appleWatch

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