It Shouldn’t Take The ‘Crazy Ones’. It Should Be Everyone

This whole iPad isn’t thing.

I wish I saved the blog post I wrote back on my Wordpress account in 2012 about my previous computer purchase. I spent some time praising the joy of owning a retina MacBookPro and I remember typing, “this might be the last laptop I will own”.

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This thinking came from all the power and versatility of the device I typed the review on at the time, it was spec’ed with the highest custom options available (about $28,000 HKD at the time). I felt I wouldn’t need another Apple laptop ever again. It felt that powerful in use.

Since that time however, Apple have tried to prove my now half decade old assertion correct. My 2012 purchase still feels greatly justified against the newest iterations of the rMBP. Everything after 2015 feels like a bigger than normal compromise one would want to make with an Apple product. Normally the balance in new features against the removal of the old ones works itself out. These newest devices haven’t had their “balancing” work itself out still and Apple won’t save face by adding back some legacy just to make it easier

Clearly Apple think they’re on the right path with their laptops. Who am I to argue? Seriously though, the MacBook Pro’s are a no-go for me

What else then could I upgrade to instead? I figured the iMac, (I know not a portable) actually was the next most appropriate because the price to performance ratio was much better and I’d only need one bloody dongle to move forward judging by the peripherals I own and the legacy ports still available to the iMac.

The October Event

The 2018 iMac update didn’t come as many presumed it would, Apple updated other we were crowing about and consequently the prices on those devices rose, just like with the MacBook Pro’s. This gave me reason to be concerned; that Apple is going to do this with the iMac line. Time will tell on that front.

The iPad was also updated and judging the product from the event’s marketing, it was supposed to be faster than any current laptop (around 92% to be exact) on the market and be a replacement for a laptop.

My laptop has been off the market since 2015 so I did some mental calculations that made an iPad Pro purchase seem like the logical choice in terms of its low price (relative to what’s available and what I paid six years ago for my main machine).

Ironically those “relatives” allowed me to sidestep the conversation people were having about the increased price of the new iPads because my personal circumstances gave me different criteria to compare against. The cost of computing for me, actually got cheaper, by a third.

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A 2012 MacBook Pro at $28,000 divided by 6 years of ownership equals to $4,666 per year. Using that as my baseline a $18,000 purchase (the 1TB iPad Pro* including pencil, stand, keyboard, 4TB WiFi hard drive) over 6 years would come out at $3,000 per year.

I think it’s reasonable, not just for me, but for anyone, it’s prudent to think longer term for computing purchase and it’s not out of the question to realise an iPad can be still be useful after 4 years. Heck the current iPad mini still sold by Apple hasn’t seen an update since September 2015. Apple seem to think so to. Again who am I to argue? :-)

I think I need to make another assertion :-p – “I can keep this iPad as my main machine for the next four years at least”.

The big conversation online however is whether an iPad can replace a laptop. This conversation was held previously for laptops replacing desktops and look what happened, nobody cares now.

At the moment people care again about going from laptop to tablet, while others clearly see the power of the alternative in an iPad.

What do I do on a laptop that CAN be done on an iPad?

Two things slowed my 6 year old laptop down, editing video with Final Cut Pro and browsing Reddit.

Those two things CAN and are being replaced as Jonathan Morrison recently illustrated to his large audience and Henny Tha Bizness has been showing how he works on an iPad since before this year’s conversation about whether creative work is possible on the iPad really kicked into gear.

Apart from some asides (Xcode), there really is no excuse or argument against not seeing a large subset of non-traditional (pilots, medical staff and sports tacticians) and traditional professionals (photographers, video and drawing artists) alike, using the iPad Pro in some sophisticated ways. People are proving it today, not later when iOS 13 supposedly will fix everything wrong with the iPad.

I’ve already edited my next YouTube video with an iPad and it was faster than I thought. Of course because the hardware is enabling me more than my laptop can but in addition, the capability of Luma Fusion in this case for manipulating said video is also making possible.

The desktop to laptop transition was an easy one because the UI paradigms and desktop metaphors kinda stayed the same across all the platforms during that time.

This next transition from laptop to tablet requires not only newer UI workflows, but pioneering, creative minds that say ‘yes’ in the face of a chorus of ‘no’ or ‘not yet’.

I’m saying yes, and my bank account agrees with me.

*As a general purchasing rule I believe buying the very most is the wisest thing to do when making an Apple purchase. It grants you longevity while using the computer and removes any performance doubts if you had skimped on an upgrade.

Apple WWDC Keynote 2018 Wishlist

I can’t ask for much in the way of hardware, if I do, Apple is only going to disappoint and Apple won’t even release hardware on a regular schedule anymore.

One thing they are on a regular timetable for however, are software updates. Every year WWDC rolls along and I hope and pray they add some things to the core of iOS to make my life and hopefully all our lives easier. Here is my eclectic list of 11 items I want included this year.

Thanks Apple, thanks 3rd party dev!

Thanks Apple, thanks 3rd party dev!

  1. Change the way the volume is represented on screen, some apps are taking to doing it themselves and some don’t, so it’s really jarring when you have an app that doesn’t want the volume to stay off the screen with a giant square obstructing your view. Apple needs a new default representation, it hasn’t been changed since the first iPhone. I’ve been waiting for far too many years now for Apple to fix one of the most obvious visual lemmings on iOS.
  2. Stop having the phone app take over the entire screen when you get a call. Especially when you’re doing something critical. This gets progressively worse as the phone becomes less of a phone and instead a utility power house from shooting videos, broadcasting a live stream, to editing media clips, writing and much more. So many times I’m screen recording or viewing something and it just jumps into view like a charity mugger when you’re walking down the street. Fuck off!

  3. Duh, darkmode.

  4. My emails are supposed to be in the cloud, but many emails for me are still on a particular device. Let’s say I replied to an email on my Mac, I won’t be able to find it on my phone, I have to look it up on the original device. I thought everything was synced?

  5. Say I’m listening to music on my bluetooth Beats headphones and at the exact same time I get a call that I actually want to answer, the call goes to the phone, not the headphones. So every single time I take a call, I can either take the headphones out of my ears and put the phone to my ear or I have to tap on the screen to select the headphone for audio output. Why?

  6. Put the fucking camera settings in the camera app.

  7. Dvorak keyboard please as an option, why not already if you have had Cherokee since the iPhone launched?

  8. Pull to refresh on Safari.

  9. Quoting in iMessages, just like Whatsapp. It would be nice if iMessages was updated outside of the regular iOS releases, a once a year update isn’t fast enough.

  10. (Not really iOS) For some reason, pulling images out of Photos (on the Mac) destroys the metadata for ‘date created’. While the image is inside the Photos App, the original date is still present, but pull the photo out and into a folder, and the system creates a new date inside the photo file while preserving all other metadata. Why?

  11. Let me have a toggle so I can hide ALL notifications quickly at once rather than on a per app basis.

Let’s check back after the keynote and see how Apple did, none of these are huge requests, just the little details their famous for.

"Look Wendy I Can Fly"!

It was the iPhone's 10th birthday this month. It's astonishing it's been ten years since it was originally unveiled! Time has flown by. Ten years seems like a good way to think back to the state of my 'personal computing' from 2007.

I had a Mac laptop, as I do now, the tiny for its time 12" PowerBook connected to some monitor, a Nintendo DS Lite and some Nokia phone I don't care fondly enough for (it had WAP). I also had home wifi.

In 2007 wherever I went, the PowerBook went with me, and I travelled to where there was WiFi. It seems brutal for a workflow and unbelievable that that was how I operated casually in the computing world only ten years.

I want to sing a little praise in this blog post for the iPhone's most useful feature as I put my new website design through its paces. That is the always on connection to an LTE network and the Personal Hotspot function.

We use to 'dial into' the Internet, today it's ever present. Always on Internet is something we generally take for granted now. Anybody born into the world today won't even think about the Internet, just like children in the 80s readily accepted television. I do remember being astonished when my parents mentioned their lives before microwaves and televisions. 

I was astonished with the introduction of the first iPhone (the way Steve Jobs presented the iPhone helped). That January keynote was one to remember if you were able to watch it live, I saw myself being able to use the future that I had seen on 'Star Trek' ten years prior. I could see it, but certainly not feel it like I do today! Wait for the kids who wonder what we did prior to the ubiquity of the Internet and the smartphone.

In 2007 I really couldn't envision a 2017 Jonathan.

I'm reminded at work almost every time I can access anything I want, specifically 'YouTube' when my 4-5 year old students get annoyed with the load times as they don't understand the nuance between the screen of a TV and a smartphone. I'm fine with the load times. SIDE NOTE: I'm beginning to see what a 'generational divide' is.

I'm reminded at home when I realise how easy it is to tether my laptop to my iPhone, along with an iPad, and a second backup iPhone. It's the utility of both the mobile connection and the phone combined. I have all four devices running and operating on my own wifi network generated by a device smaller than a video cassette! For others with the iPhone SE, a cassette tape! The wifi is also faster than the wifi I had ten years ago!*

My favourite reminder is to have fired up something like Periscope, Twitter, download some updates all simultaneously on my various devices. It's a little thing personal to me I know. I am just still able to marvel at this ability. Credit goes to the countless developers and engineers on both the network side and the device to make it happen. Everything complex and computer related is interwoven into the radio frequencies surrounding us. It's easy to forget the progress we've made and along with all the hidden difficulty.

We've all heard that story about the computing power of a smartphone today is more powerful than what we had when we went to the moon. It's true, but it isn't a metric we can personally measure the progress of and compare against. I'm sure you have your own story about how your life has changed in the last ten years since the iPhone was shown off. Share it in the comments if you want.

I think back ten years to scoff at what I could do then compared to today. Now I look forward to see what we will have over the next ten years.

*My apartment in HK is old, cable or some wired internet service with a wireless router is pointless so that is why everything is run off the mobile.