The next iPad Mini Wish List

If you’ve been following along with my setup you’ll know that I’ve dropped the iPad Pro and switched to using my 12″ MacBook and an iPad Mini. I’m still getting to grips with it all but enjoying the more streamlined setup. Now I’m using the Mini as my iPad I do have some wants though as I move forward with using it.

FaceID or a new TouchID

I do like having the home button back but I can’t get over how much space those bezels take up on the Mini form factor. I imagine a full screen iPad Mini with a TouchID on the side button, like what Apple has implemented on the iPad Air. I have to think that if the Mini is currently an acceptable seller then this has to be in the works and I would totally be up for that one.

Squared off sides

I do miss the squared off sides of the 2020 iPad Pro. It looks fantastic and I prefer the grip is gives me over the rounded on the iPad Mini. First off it would look amazing but could also make for a thinner or maybe narrower iPad Mini, what a product that would be.

Colours

Getting more colours across the Apple range of products is something of a bugbear anyway but let’s see an iPad Mini with the same colour range of the iPhone 12 (red, blue, green especially).

USB-C

I have to think that it’s on the cards if we get an update. Nowadays only my iPad Mini and iPhone use Lightning, everything else I plug in daily is using USB-C.

Magic Keyboard

Who knows if it would work but it would be cool, I’d even be ok with it extending out a little to allow more room to type on. I can’t see this happening AT ALL, this is an out there suggestion but nothing wrong with me wanting it.

New Camera setup

Just copied from the iPad Air, no need to take it from the Pro. Just something better in lower light conditions so that scanning documents looks a little better. I use it for the occasional photo but it’s not recommended.

So, here’s my little wish list – any other Mini fans out there with wants?

The 2019 iPad Mini is still great

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, learning and job hunting and I’ve rediscovered how great the latest iPad Mini is. I’m on the phone or making notes on my CV and I’m finding that moving back to the Mini has been a great experience. For quickly looking at a job specification or making some notes whilst on a call to a recruiter it’s small form factor combined with the Logitech Crayon really does turn it into a little notebook.

I’m in the process of creating a journaling system using Notability and the iPad Mini actually, I’ll share once I’m done. I’m thinking it’s time to walk away from actual pen and paper and use the Mini as my replacement.

2020 iPad Pro, four months later

I picked up the 2020 iPad Pro (11″, 256GB) back in June and thought I’d write up an update with how I’m getting on with it.

As my main computer it’s been great, I’ve got both the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard and I now have the ultimate setup in terms of flexibility. If I want to use it as a traditional laptop I just use the keyboard and trackpad. If I need to take some notes or want to doodle, I just undock and use the pencil. If I want to lie back I just use it as a tablet.

I also invested in a good matte screen protector this time around and that’s been really nice to use. I went for the Moshi iVisor.

In terms of day to day use

  • Watching video
  • Making notes with Apple Pencil
  • Job hunting using browser and apps
  • General web use
  • Listening to music
  • My writing here on the blog via the WordPress app

I’m not really pushing it in terms of CPU as I’m not doing any creative projects right now as I’m focusing on getting a new job. But, when I have done some it’s been easy to do.

I’m planning on some music recording via my guitar interface and on testing it’s been good. USB-C straight from the interface into the iPad and use of GarageBand. (I really want Logic Pro on iPad).

I’ve also used a dock and plugged it into a big monitor via USB-C. This works ok but the borders on either side of the content just stops me from using it.

Overall I’m really pleased with the 2020 iPad Pro. My gripe of FaceID on iPhone has become a love of it on the iPad and it seems seem suited to the tablet then the iPhone at this point. The iPad Air might be a better fit depending on your use case, for me I don’t regret having a pro at all the high refresh screen is worth it alone in my opinion.

The magic keyboard material is bad, that’s my only negative on this setup. It picks up everything and is already looking frayed in places. I’m not sure of the long term life of that product, I’ll write up a separate post on this one.

What’s up with iPadOS 14?

I’m continuing to have issues with iPadOS 14, two of which I wanted to go through here and has me asking – does Apple test their own software on every device they ship?

I’ve restored my devices multiple times and for me these two keep coming back, it seems specific to the 11″ iPad Pro.

This is a bizarre issue that I have been experiencing on my iPad Pro (11″ 2020) for the last couple of beta’s and even now on the public release – see the image above. There are two issues here related to the same issue – inconsistency of element sizing.

You can see that the two widgets on the left are two different sizes and then looking at the apps you can see that they are also taking on different sizes. I’ve never seen this in a public release before and can’t believe I’m the only experiencing this issue.

The second issue relates to the use of the Apple Magic Keyboard, here I get keys and the trackpad being unresponsive. Like I’m using a remote app over an internet connection, I type keys and it can take up to 10 seconds for anything to appear on the screen. I’ve now completely stopped using the keyboard and just using my iPad undocked, I’ll give it iPadOS 14.2 but if that doesn’t work I’ll be looking at a warranty replacement.

Am I alone in my iPadOS UI issues?

Is the iPad getting smaller app icons?

Is this an iPadOS 14 bug or a sign of things to come?

Check out the Formula 1 icon, it’s a nice size and more importantly smaller than the usual app icon size on iPadOS. I’m thinking one of two things

  1. This is a beta bug (most likely) and it’ll be corrected in the next version

  2. This could be a preview of what we have to come with the iPad in smaller icons and widgets on the Home Screen. If you scale down the icons you’ll have more space to play with and I have to think that internally Apple are playing with widgets on the Home Screen of an iPad. Personally I want them to trust us to use them and bring widgets to the Home Screen on the iPad like we do on iPhone and can position them anywhere rather than in their little prison on the left hand side.

What do you think?

My iPad writing workflow (2020)

I’ve been blogging on and off since 2008 and over the years now I think back on it my workflow hasn’t really changed that much. I’ve tried lots of different workflows and apps but like back in the day where I would write using Safari and WordPress today I am doing the same but via the app.

I did try using IA Writer to publish to the blog but I find that any of the third party apps I use on iOS always result in me being dissatisfied with the way that the post looks in WordPress.

What I’ve found on both my iPad and iPhone is that I just keep it basic and write using the official WordPress app. I can start to write out an idea or a whole post then save as draft to edit later or post now.

The window to type in looks fine, I can see the text clearly and it fits with how my brain works. The only issue with using WordPress is that they seem to want you to use the block editor so you may find with an app update it’s suddenly the default again.

So that’s it, writing/blogging from iOS for me is simply having the WordPress app installed.

Moshi iVisor for iPad Pro review

I’ve not been a fan of screen protectors but after seeing a few people with matte finishes on their iPads I wanted to jump in with my 11″.

I picked up the iVisor and I have to say after a week in I’m impressed.

As you can see it’s a matte finish and installed bubble free as promised. You can take kit off to wash under the tap but I’m not ready to try that out yet.

The quality looks high and once I started to use it I can see why it’s more expensive.

With us being in summer now and even though we aren’t out and about I’m using it outside in the garden and the finish helps to keep off reflections. It does have an impact on clarity but not too bad to want to take it off. I now personally prefer a matte finish on my iPad screen.

Using the pencil also feels better to me than using the naked screen. There is a little more friction and the texture feels good, not like paper but again better than the glass.

I didn’t have a concern about scratches but that’s obviously a nice side effect of switching to a protector.

At over £20 for one it is on the pricier side but I recommend spending a little more to get the Moshi.

Magic Keyboard for the 11” iPad Pro – First impressions

I like to quickly write down my thoughts as I use a product rather than write up a big review so here are my first impressions of the Apple Magic Keyboard for the 11″ iPad Pro. I’ve had the 2020 iPad for a couple of weeks and enjoying it but it didn’t feel complete as I was waiting for the keyboard to arrive and today it did.

Even on the smaller iPad Pro it’s got some weight to it but for me at least it’s fine to carry around with the iPad like I did my Smart Keyboard cover on my 10.5″ iPad Pro.

Before even plugging it in the build quality feels amazing (as you’d expect for almost £300). The keys are good, more travel than my 12″ MacBook so I’ll need to adjust but enjoying the typing experience. The hinge to hold up the iPad is stiff and that’s a good thing, the trackpad is also a little stiff to click – but it’s only day 1.

Here’s a summary of things I’ve spotted from my first hour with this new setup

  • It really highlights the apps that embrace the setup, if your app doesn’t have secondary click support I cant use it – I’m currently working out which of the apps I use are good or bad in this respect (would you be interested in a post about this?)
  • My writing style means my hands are quite high so my nails are hitting the bottom of the docked iPad, I just need to adjust to this – no big problem
  • I like the flexibility of using whichever method I feel like – keyboard, trackpad, undocked or pencil, it’s one of the main reasons I love the iPad so much
  • The trackpad is actually bigger than I was expecting on this smaller iPad and I’m enjoying using it
  • The keys feel cramped to begin with but I’m getting used to it
  • I miss the function row that I had with my MacBook
  • It feels a little top heavy on the lap but totally doable for me I don’t think it needs to be a desk only accessory on the 11″
  • I wish the hinge had some more angle to it but understand why not – it would topple over…

Using this setup really makes me appreciate my choice to stick with the iPad and means that I have so much flexibility. I’m looking forward to seeing what iPadOS 14 brings up in terms of iPad support even more now.

Tips for using an iPad Pro with a mouse and keyboard

First off here’s my setup so you know what I’m relating this post to

  • 2020 11″ iPad Pro
  • Bluetooth vertical mouse (with scroll wheel, left and right mouse buttons)
  • Apple keyboard (taken from an iMac)

Since getting my new iPad with USB-C I’ve been plugged into a USB hub with attached mouse and keyboard way more than I did when I had a lightning equipped iPad and finding new ways to work with it everyday. These might seem like a small list (I’ll be adding as I discover more) and if you’re used to using it this way may seem basic but I’m hoping others like me using it properly for the first time will find it useful.

MOUSE

  • Left click the little white bar at the bottom of the screen to go HOME
  • Make use of the right click in apps as you would the right click to access options on an element on the MAC, you’l be surprised at the number of apps that have this feature enabled
  • Don’t forget to use the scroll wheel in Safari and apps, it even works in the iPadOS settings app

KEYBOARD

  • CMD+H to go home
  • If you’re using a MAC keyboard then the function keys work (brightness and media controls)
  • Hold down the CMD key within apps to get shortcut help
  • CMD+TAB to bring up multitasker (then use CMD+Q to quit any apps you want to close)

If you have more please let me know and I’ll test and add them to this page.