Tag Archives: iPad Pro

Ihnatko Almanac #00163: “Shaking a Stick at the Monolith”

Oh, boy! The latest Almanac is up!

(I’m not implying that this is a real “Oh, boy!” piece of news. But I’m posting this from my iPad Pro using the WordPress app. For some reason, the app thinks “add a blank line under the stock photo” is such a piffling change that it’s not even worth lighting up the “Update” button. So I had to add an “Oh, boy!” or something.)

(Come to think of it, those three extra sentences of explanation would have done the job, too. I guess now, I can delete the “Oh, boy!” entirely.)

(Wait…no I can’t. Because then there’d be three sentences of laborious explanation of something that no longer exists.)

(We seem to be stuck in a desperate circle here, fellow sensation-seekers.) 

This week, Dan and I talked about our respective Thanksgivings, and we mused on the fact that many of the stresses of the holidays are in fact self-inflicted. I cooked the best Thanksgiving dinner ever, and I explained how. And then he and I talked about new computers in our lives: an iPad Pro for him, and a Raspberry Pi Zero and a Nexus 5X for me.

This episode of The Ihnatko Almanac is presented commercial-free. Because I told American Cyanomid that they can keep their damn blood money and I don’t care how many times they keep doubling their offer.

Fixing my Apple Pencil

As part of my testing of the iPad Pro, I mailed my Apple Pencil to a professional comic book artist to see what he thought of it. I love the thing. But yeah, obviously I’m thrilled just to be able to make realistic red marks on a screen without an open wound being part of the process.

He sent it back promptly (along with some AMAZING sketches that will be part of the review). But it wasn’t working. I cussed and wondered if the thing wasn’t built all that well. He’d packed it super-securely. How did it get broken?

I made an appointment with the Genius Bar and mentioned all of this on MacBreak. But! A listener made a suggestion on Twitter a few minutes later that got it working again. I unscrewed the tip completely, removed it, and then reinstalled it.

Presto! I have my Pencil back.

And now I don’t have to make awkward small talk with a total stranger at the Apple store! Nor will I need to use any of the lines I had written and rehearsed, to be deployed when I was told “No, we can’t fix it and we don’t have any replacements here in the store so we can’t swap it out.”

I’m recording this here for the benefit of people who search for “fixing Apple Pencil” or “dead Apple Pencil” or “my Apple Pencil stopped working” or “why doesn’t my Apple Pencil work” or…look, I can’t keep coming up with these. I hope one of those phrases helped you to find this page.

It’s still a little odd that the thing stopped working. It’s not as though the tip was wobbly or loose. In fact, the reader’s advice was to tighten it up. That didn’t work, but going all the way did the trick.

Review is finished and it’ll be online soon. I’ll release the link as soon as it’s live. 

Dear Adobe, Your iPad Apps are a Mess. — Medium

Dear Adobe, Your iPad Apps are a Mess. — Medium:

It’s now 2015. It’s time to take iOS seriously as a pro tool and do what you do best. Don’t give us 30 apps that each do one thing. Give us one app that does 30 things. We don’t need you to be Instagram. We need you to be Adobe.

(Via Medium.)

Brad Colbow addresses something that’s been bothering me, as well: why does Adobe have a jillion different iPad and iPhone apps, and almost none of them is a clear analogue to one of their desktop apps?

Microsoft’s been supporting iPads like gangbusters. Microsoft Word isn’t a feature-for-feature port of Word for Windows or Mac, but it’s definitely Word in both function and spirit. And! When a Microsoft Office user searches the app store for “Microsoft Word,” by golly, they find a Microsoft Word.

(Plus, their Office apps have been enthusiastically upgraded for iOS 9 and the iPad Pro. Writing in Word is a real joy. If I’d been on the fence about my Office365 sub, I’m not any more.)

Adobe Lightroom is the only Creative Cloud app that works that way. The iPad version is great. It’s almost fun to go through the hundreds of photos I took at a comic-con and pick out the dozens that are worthy of editing and posting later on. It’s kind of like Tinder, for photos.

It’s harder to figure out the answer to “I want an app so I can do what I do with Photoshop, on my iPad.” So far, the answer seems to be “Get Procreate, and use its .PSD import/export feature.”

Maybe Photoshop is an unsolvable problem. I use Photoshop as a high-level photo editor. What about people who use it as a painting tool? Or a text compositing app? Photoshop is such a powerful desktop app that each user can define what it does on his or her own terms. On that basis, it might make more sense for Adobe to have a constellation of focused apps instead of putting the Photoshop label on something that can’t deliver on expectations.

Still, I’d love to have some clarity about Adobe’s constellation of iOS apps.

(Update: Adobe responds.)

Why I wanted nothing to do with the 32 gig iPad Pro

The iPad Pro is only available in two storage capacities: 128 gigs and 32. I have to imagine that the lesser is there for enterprise (ie, “bulk”) purchasers because even after 48 hours with this thing, it’s clear that the $150 it costs to max it out is the cheapest $150 I’ve ever spent.

Here’s what I have on it:

  • 5 feature films, in 1080 HD;
  • 6 hours of TV, also in 1080 HD;
  • 4 episodes of TV in SD;
  • A 2’40” feature movie, in SD;
  • 65 comic books, in CBZ/CBR format;
  • 35 Comixology HD comics (some graphic novel-length);
  • 2 Kindle books;
  • About 1000 photos;
  • 2874 tracks of music;

…And I still have about 19 gigbytes free, for future apps and documents.

I don’t need all of this stuff. I could get by with 32 gigs of storage if I carefully picked and chose what content I loaded up, after thoughtful consideration of how I’d be using this device over the coming few days, and then, once or twice a week, adding or removing content as needed.

But what fun is is that? For $150, I can just put everything on it, and always have something right at hand.

First Flight with Apple Pencil

Doodle One

My box of Apple review hardware arrived today. I’m probably the only one who left an iPad Pro sealed in its shipping carton and leaped upon the Pencil as if it were the fingerbone of the Apostle Paul.

I took it for a quick spin. Visually, the results…um…well, they aren’t ”keynote-worthy.” But man, did I have fun with this thing and the Procreate app. I enjoy doodling but I don’t enjoy the muck and fuss of maintaining (and learning how to use) traditional drawing tools.

And, as you can guess by this image, I’m the sort of artist whose confidence is desperately bolstered by a pencil with an “Undo” feature. I’ve had those all my life, but this is the first one that doesn’t reduce a sheet of bristol plate into something as thin as toilet paper from the 99 cent store.

Howzit Ferbloggin

Yesterday I took the iPad Pro out on its first Away Mission. It was typical of how I use my iPads: I had dinner plans in the city, and decided to head in several hours early and do some work inside the Boston Public Library before relocating to a Panera a couple of blocks from the restaurant. It’s enough hours that I’d like to get some work done, but not a “real” work session that compels me to haul around my MacBook.

I missed MarsEdit. This morning, I set about looking for good iOS blogging apps. The last time I did so, I didn’t find anything I liked. The WordPress webapp is much more credible on the iPad Pro than it is on even an iPad Air, thanks to the larger screen. I might wind up sticking with that.

Still, fair is fair. I’m giving the official WordPress iOS app another try. It seems okay so far. But historically, the failure points of iOS blogging apps reveal themselves after I tap “Post.” Let’s see if it formats correctly, or somehow corrupts my whole WordPress database, or otherwise causes me to doubt my faith in a kind God and a just universe.

Incidentally, apps that haven’t been updated for the new OS in general and/or the iPad Pro specifically call attention to themselves. This WordPress app merely scales the standard iPad interface way the hell up. It’s what the iPad experience is probably like to a six-year-old kid.

Push the button, Frank…

The Name of the Beast

I’m cautious and patient about the names I give to the computers and storage volumes that are part of my daily workflow. They’re inanimate objects and they don’t come when called. I know it’s silly. Does this level of self-awareness make the process seem somehow less undignified?

And yet…? Our pets don’t care what they’re named, do they? All they care about is that a certain consistent short sequence of sounds is associated with cookies and/or belly scratchies. Naming a new puppy “Begtap” will serve just as well as calling her “Della.” But she somehow seems like a Della, doesn’t she? And once that name pops into your head, it’s hard to think of her as anything but. Names have a certain magic that binds a soul to our reality.

This is why the MacBook I’m using to write this is called “Lilith Eleven.” I didn’t choose to name my first portable Mac (a PowerBook 100, which I could only afford because Apple had sold a truckful of them to Costco at clearance prices). One day it occurred to me that the name of this object was “Lilith.” It was an act of discovery, not creativity. I shrugged, and ever since, the primary machine I write with has always been a portable Mac named “Lilith.” 

It’s not as though picking a name for my iPad Pro was a project or anything. I knew I wanted something that connoted its size without being negative. “Mr. Creosote,” for example, wouldn’t do. 

Movie spaceships? Nothing reminded me of an iPad Pro. I took a quick tour through Wikipedia’s list of minor Hitchhiker’s Guide characters, but nothing leaped out at me and the whole thing seemed forced, anyway.

I was okay with keeping iOS’ default name in place until something good hit me.

Then tonight, I was moving some files (okay, my digital comics) from my iPad Mini to a hard drive so I could move them to the Pro. It was the first time in ages that I had a device docked to iTunes and the name of the Mini in the upper corner caught my eye: “Cyd.” I’d named it after the glorious Cyd Charisse, of course.

I’d chosen that name because it was short — small, like the iPad Mini. Also, Cyd Charisse’s character in “The Band Wagon” is described as having a “gamine” quality. Compared to my previous 9.7” iPads, this one certainly seemed to have “a mischievous charm,” so all in all, I knew I had a winner.

And so, I discovered the name of this iPad Pro. “Charisse.” If “Cyd” is small, “Charisse” is almost three times bigger.

As with any good name, it’s not the logic that sells it. It’s the realization that yes, that’s definitely the name of this thing.

iPad Pro – Unboxing & First Flight video

I’ve been busy, busy, busy putting my new iPad Pro through its paces since I picked it up this morning. Too busy to even blog about it, in fact!

But I did shoot some video of the unboxing, setup, and my first flight with it, through a bunch of apps that make perfect sense. Sit back for all 45 minutes.

I did all of this in front of a live Periscope audience, who got to see a bunch of stuff I played with after my Mac Mini’s camera stopped (for God knows what reason). To sum up:

  • The Kindle app works OK, with two-page spreads. But the layout looks a little bit “off” due to the app not being optimized for the larger screen. iBooks looks much better.
  • The sound from the speakers is amazing. Sure, because it’s big enough to produce actual stereo separation (and unlike other iPads, actually has stereo speakers). That said, the sound is surprisingly rich.
  • When I paired with a Logitech bluetooth keyboard and set it up on a stand? Oh, baby! iOS on a big screen and in a desktop context feels so very right.

IMG 3188

Substantive opinions will have to wait until I’ve got a lot more stick time in with the Pro. But the iPad Pro made a great first impression and I had a fine first day with it, which included using it to edit (and partially shoot) the unboxing video.

I’ve got my ears and eyes open for data on Apple’s expectations for iPad Pro. I was a little surprised by what a staffer at the Apple Store told me when I came to pick it up, first thing in the morning. I asked if they were going to be busy with iPad Pro buyers. “Probably not,” he said. The store (in a big mall in a big New England city) only got a few of them. It was therefore a good thing that I’d stayed up and ordered one almost as soon as the purchasing window opened. Sometimes the problem is “too many earlybirds” and sometimes the problem is more accurately “not a whole lot of hardware shipped.”

They didn’t have any Apple Pencils or Smart Cases, except for display. That wasn’t surprising. The night before, I’d expanded the search in the Apple Store app to all of New England and even New York, and didn’t find a single store that had the Apple Pencil available for in-store pickup today.

iPad Pro – Bought!

Twitter  Ordering Image Web

Okay! It’s done. Ordering went live for me at about 3:30 AM. The 32 gig model was available for Friday delivery. The one I wanted is either in short supply or high demand…I won’t get it until next week.

I hesitated when I saw the delivery date. In-store pickup wasn’t available when I ordered, but it’s certainly possible that they’ll be in stores before it’s on my doorstep. My Apple review unit arrives for sure on Friday, so my editorial needs are certainly covered either way.

In the end, I decided that I wanted to make the (educated) leap of faith and buy one of my own. So why not have it hand-delivered? Plus, if I’m gonna wait, I might as well have it engraved to make it easy for honest people to find me if it gets lost or stolen.

No, of course that screenshot doesn’t show the actual engraving (my name and contact info). But if Apple allowed a whole paragraph, I don’t think you could do better than to lie and claim that this $1000 device is in fact a Golden Ticket to a personal meeting with a fabulous and unambiguously-beloved Hollywood celebrity.

Update: Wow, I don’t know what happened. Maybe I ordered it too soon after everything went live? In-store pickup options weren’t available when I started the ordering process. After I posted on Twitter about my order and folks told me they’d been able to get theirs today, I went back and re-checked. Voilá!

So I canceled the first order. I expect to have this thing in my hands in just five or six hours. Yay!

(It’s worth the trouble. It means I can have almost two whole days with it and then post a good “first look” piece on Friday, with a “real” review to follow in a week or two.)

It looks as if the Pencil won’t be ready for anybody for another week. Not available for in-store pickup, and even in my rattlesnake-fast online order, it was going to ship a week after my iPad. I’ll have a Pencil on Friday (along with the keyboard case and other accessories) with my Apple review unit.

I even extended my search and the Pencil can’t be had in-store anywhere in New England! Wowzers.

Snappy Answers to (Sensible) iPad Pro Ordering Questions

I’ve answered a bunch of the same questions a bunch of times today already. So let’s save me some typing:

1) I’ve no idea when the iPad Pro pre-ordering opens up.

Best guess? Midnight, California time. But I’ll also be checking at midnight on the East Coast. Failing that, 6 AM East Coast time. If it still isn’t available, I’m just going to buy a Surface Pro 4 and send a screengrab of the receipt to Tim Cook and just watch him melt into a sad puddle of regret.

(Well, no. I’ll just go to bed and order one later. If I don’t get one the first week, that’s okay.)

2) I’ve no idea when the iPad will ship, or when it will be available in stores.

Only “sometime by the end of the week.”

3) I don’t even know which way will get an iPad Pro into your hands sooner.

It’s possible that someone who orders one tonight and pays for next-day shipping will receive it on Friday, and someone who orders one early in the AM on Thursday and selects in-store pickup will have it on Thursday.

4) If you aren’t one of the first to get one, don’t worry about it.

Apple is making plenty.

5) Which one are you buying?

Wifi, 128 gig, space gray. Pencil, but no keyboard case.

Tim Cook on the iPad Pro: | The Independent

Tim Cook: Apple CEO on the company’s latest venture – the iPad Pro:

The iPad Pro is the most expensive tablet yet, £679 and up. At a time when iPad sales are flat, was he tempted to do as some competitors have done and released, say, a £50 tablet?

“No, there are no good £50 tablets. We’ve never been about making the most, we’ve been about making the best. This was a way of making a product that people can do a lot of things with. I think it will attract a lot of PC users and people who are not currently using Apple products. And I think it will be a reason for people to upgrade who love iPad and who have been waiting for something very different and now here it is.”

(Via The Independent.)

Oh, and high school trombone players have a new role model:

“When I was younger I played the trombone and I just remember turning the pages. The score always got dog-eared and was perched on a music stand which was invariably terrible. It would fall over or pages would go flying.”

There are (who knew?) wireless foot pedals which can automatically turn the onscreen pages for you, it turns out. So would this new app be enough to rekindle the Apple CEO’s passion for playing a musical instrument? “Well, I think I’m the only person who could listen to me do that.”

Actually, if Tim decided to release a trombone album with all the proceeds going to a worthy charity (something that promotes STEM education, say) I’d buy a couple of copies. Wouldn’t you?

iPad Pro goes on sale Wednesday!

Apple – Press Info – Epic 12.9-inch iPad Pro Available to Order Online Wednesday & Arrives in Stores Later This Week:

CUPERTINO, California — November 9, 2015 — Apple® today announced iPad Pro™ is available to order online on Wednesday, November 11, from Apple.com and will arrive at Apple’s retail stores, select carriers and Apple Authorized Resellers starting later this week. Apple Pencil™ and Apple’s new Smart Keyboard, also available to order on Wednesday, bring breakthrough levels of precision and utility to iPad Pro.

(Via Apple.)

It looks like I can finally take that envelope full of money I’ve had taped to the underside of my desk since about December of last year and put ‘er to good use. I’m so glad I followed my heart and didn’t blow it on something stupid, like having water service restored to the house.

Yup, I’m planning on buying one as soon as they’re available. The full reasons are good fodder for a column, but the short version is that I’ve spent the past five years waiting for exactly this kind of device. I feel like I’m buying an early-generation Tesla. It’s both something that I have a real use for, and an investment I’d like to make in the future of a platform.

Between one thing and another, I don’t think I’ve ever bought as much personal Apple hardware in any previous year as I have in this one.

I dunno what time the ordering window opens but I’ll be keeping a close eye and a twitchy finger on the Apple Store app on my iPad Mini until it does.