Tag Archives: iPad

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.

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 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.

The Heroic Kindle Of The People

I agree with all of the points Jason makes in this TechHive piece about the Kindle’s limitations.

(I would add one item: international access. The Kindle is fab, if you live in those parts of the planet where the device and its library are available.)

I also agree with the tone of the piece, which is spot-on. These are things about the Kindle that annoy us. They aren’t reasons why the Kindle is a bad product.

The Kindle is exactly as important and exciting a product as the iPad. When Amazon introduced this e-ink device, it cost $399. Today, the most expensive e-ink Kindle is $119…and the cheapest is only $69. Amazon has continued to add features and build the product up, year after year. But they’ve also worked just as hard to drive the price of the basic model down, down, down.

Every year, Apple updates the iPad and magically delivers a device that’s twice as good as the previous edition, at exactly the same price. Good. But they’ve done next to nothing to put iPads within reach of a broader economic range of consumers.

As with Jason’s complaints about the Kindle, this is meant only as a criticism, and not as an argument that Apple’s a bad company. Apple’s whole business is based on high markups. And at the same time, their whole brand is based on high-quality products. A+B equals a company that isn’t in any position to make things for people who are on a tight budget. Apple is set up to build the slimmest, slickest, and most elegant $999 notebook on the market. They can’t build a chunky, $399 plastic notebook that’s reasonably well-made and will competently suit the needs of most users.

Those $399 notebooks are important to a lot of people. The device that they can afford is way more useful than the device they can only dream about owning.

Amazon keeps finding ways to get the price down. Another five bucks here, another ten bucks here. Ads? On the lock screen?! How gauche! But there are many people for whom that $20 discount is the difference between between “affordable” and “impossible.”

The e-ink Kindles have plenty of faults. Almost none of them get in the way of their core function: book reading. And when we gripe about the build quality of a $69 Kindle compared with our iPads, let’s also try to think about a kid out there who has access to every great work of classic literature, free, for life, for one eighth the cost of the Apple product.

Auguste Bartholdi, of Paris, France. DESIGN FOR A STATUE

This is the year that Apple’s intellectual-property litigation became just as flashy and innovative as some of its products. And today’s the day we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of America.

So there’s nothing more geeky or appropriate than to read the text of the patent filing for the Statue of Liberty:


Specification forming part of Design No. 11,028, dated February 18, 1879; application filed January 2, 1879.

[Term of patent 14 years.]


To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, AUGUSTE BARTHOLDI, of Paris, in the Republic of France, have originated and produced a Design of a Monumental Statue, representing “Liberty enlightening the world,” being intended as a commemorative monument of the independence of the United States; and I hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exacrt description of the same, reference being had to the accompanying illustration, which I submit as part of this specification.

The statue is that of a female figure standing erect upon a pedestal or block, the body being thrown slightly over to the left, so as to gravitate upon the left leg, the whole figure being thus in equilibrium, and symmetrically arranged with respect to a perpendicular line or axis passing through the head and left foot. The right leg, with its lower limb thrown back, is bent, resting upon the bent toe, thus giving grace to the general attitude of the figure. The body is clothed in the classical drapery, being a stola, or mantle gathered in upon the left shoulder and thrown over the skirt or tunic or under-garment, which drops in voluminous folds upon the feet. The right arm is thrown up and stretched out, with a flamboyant torch grasped in the hand. The flame of the torch is thus held high up above the figure. The arm is nude; the drapery of the sleeve is dropping down upon the shoulder in voluminous folds. In the left arm, which is falling against the body, is held a tablet, upon which is inscribed “4th July, 1776.” This tablet is made to rest against the side of the body, above the hip, and so as to occupy an inclined position with relation thereto, exhibiting the inscription. The left hand clasps the tablet so as to bring the four fingers onto the face thereof. The head, with its classical, yet severe and calm, features, is surmounted by a crown or diadem, from which radiate divergingly seven rays, tapering from the crown, and representing a halo. The feet are bare and sandal-strapped.

This design may be carried out in any manner known to the glyphic art in the form of a statue or statuette, or in alto-relievo or bass-relief, in metal, stone, terra-cotta, plaster-of-paris, or other plastic composition. It may also be carried out pictorially in print from engravings on metal, wood, or stone, or by photographing or otherwise.

What I claim my invention is —

The herein-described design of a statue representing Liberty enlightening the world, the same consisting, essentially, of the draped female figure, with one arm upraised, bearing a torch, while the other holds an inscribed tablet, and having upon the head a diadem, substantially as set forth.

In testimony whereof I have signed this specification in the presence of two subscribing witnesses.

A. BARTHOLDI.


Witnesses:

C. Terinier
Cottin.


The bad news for Apple: the iPad is unpatentable. See? There’s prior art on this whole “device, tablet-style, surface of which used for the communication or presenentation of data of an informational, reference, or artistic nature.”

The good news: the patent expired over a hundred years ago. So they don’t need to worry about Bartholdi’s heirs seeking an injunction against the iPad’s sale.

One More Thing…remember “Back To The Mac”?

Oh, and one more thing:

(This wouldn’t be a column about a Steve Jobs keynote if there weren’t One More Thing, yes?)

Let’s not forget that Apple’s whole message during their last (and first) Mac OS X 10.7 demo was “Back To The Mac.” A stated goal for the future of the Mac is to take some of the technologies they developed for the iPad and some of what they’ve learned from a year’s worth of apps and users and bring them into Mac OS.

Many worry that this means that Apple will do away with MacOS entirely. Naw, it means that they think “my computer wakes from sleep in less than a second” and “multitouch gestures enhance the vocabulary of a GUI” are good things to keep in mind when figuring out the Mac’s next step.

Another lesson Apple could have learned from iOS is that “syncing data” is less powerful and handy a concept than “your data is just there.” After more than a year with my iPad I can state that I rarely put data on the thing via iTunes. It’s always a process where I decide “I want to use that file I was working on this morning with my Mac” and after a brief detour through Dropbox, bango, I’ve got that file I was working on this morning with my Mac.

So when I say that I suspect that Apple’s overall plan for iCloud is to make the device irrelevant, I’m not saying “It doesn’t matter if you have a phone or a tablet: all of your desktop files will be available to you.” I mean that your desktop and your notebook will be no different from anything else. It’ll just be another device that can access and articulate your data in a manner that makes sense for that specific kind of device.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple minimizes MacOS’ whole file system in some near release. Not 10.7, of course. But it’s becoming more and more clear that most of the accepted rules for desktop operating systems are now…well, off the desktop. Even such quaint 1980’s concepts as “windows where you drill through directories filled with files.”

Keynote Day

I have a little travel ritual. The night before a trip, when I’m pulling clothes out of the dryer and rounding up cables and chargers and finishing up the writing I need to do before I go and pulling together the files I need so I can continue to write once I’m there and trying to decide which camera to bring and nervously eyeing the clock and wondering if I have time to clean the kitchen and also losing my optimism that this will finally be the trip in which I actually get a reasonable night’s of sleep before I have to haul ass for the airport, I repeat the following phrase:

“My life would be sooooo much simpler right now if I weren’t leaving tomorrow.”

I spend a few moments fantasizing about that parallel world in which I’m spending this same evening getting a little work done, watching a little TV, doing the dishes, and then sleeping for six to eight hours.

Then I’m snapped back to reality.

You can tell that I’m not in San Francisco right now. One, I didn’t start this post with “Greetings from San Francisco, where I’m holed up for a few days to attend the keynote that kicks off Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Secondly, I seem to be clear-headed and rational and I actually have time to blog this morning.

Mind you, I’m resenting my clear-headed, rational thinking. That’s what led to my staying home. If I can line up someone to cover my travel expenses, or if I get a vibe about the event early enough that I can book an affordable flight, or if I think that I’ll miss out on a lot of the story by staying home and following the liveblogs, then whoosh! Off I go. That’s why I’m a regular at these events.

But this time:

  1. No such luck;
  2. Apple didn’t even announce any kind of WWDC keynote until less than a week ahead of time…and while I could be pretty sure that they’d do a keynote, I could only be “pretty sure” that it’d be open to the media, which added up to “book a flight and book enough nights in a hotel to cover any likely keynote day, based on your hope that there’ll be something you can attend”;
  3. I’m 95% sure there won’t be a hardware announcement today (so: no chance to get early hands-on impressions of some new thing) and Apple can give me a briefing over the phone.

In the end, I flipped ahead to the end of the book and saw myself shuffling out of the keynote hall at Moscone West and thinking “I could have stayed home, read three liveblogs simultaneously, phoned some sources in San Francisco, and written the exact same column I’m about to write in the next two hours.

“Only I’d be writing it on the brand-new 11″ MacBook Air that I paid for with the money I otherwise would have spent on airfare and two nights of meals, hotel, and transportation.”

No, I didn’t buy an Air. But that’s the principle. The other thing is that I’m up to my neck in work on the new book and the water’s rising. Plus, it’s E3 week and Microsoft will be delivering their own Interesting Keynote, which I’ll need to write about. It’s a terrible week for me to take off and close my office.

Just because I’ve decided not to fly out for WWDC doesn’t mean I don’t think Apple will show off anything important, o’course. This will clearly be Apple’s biggest announcement since they showed off the original iPad.

Though from what I know and what I suppose, I’d probably rank it closer to Apple’s original iPhone keynote. Today, Apple’s showing off MacOS 10.7, iOS 5, and iCloud, a new service that glues everything together. Overall it feels less like “we’re coming out with the next version of an existing thing” and more like “Here’s how we’re defining the direction of the company for the next five years.”

I’ve dabbled with and abandoned a couple of different columns about what iCloud will be. I think the only smart call is to wait and see. The more I hear about iCloud the more certain I am that any comparisons to Dropbox, or to Amazon or Google’s cloud music services, will seem laughably clumsy when Apple turns over all of its cards. “The glue that holds everything together” will sum it all up, methinks.

Cloud music will be its most visible and most easily demonstrated feature but in reality, I think iCloud means that a new Apple service will manage all of the information you deal with on a regular basis and make sure that anything you need can be projected into any device you’re using.

The strongest clue in this direction came last Tuesday, I think. Apple released new iPhone and iPod Touch editions of Pages and Keynote. Previously, they were only available for the Mac and the iPad, where (frankly) they make clear sense. Are you terribly likely to want to write a 1000 words on your iPhone? Or build or even edit a presentation on that tiny screen?

(Though, yes, the idea of flying somewhere to give a presentation and boarding the plane with just your iPhone and a VGA adapter in your pocket has a definite Bell Labs “The Miraculous World Of 2000” filmstrip quality about it.)

Beyond that? I’m hoping that iOS 5 incorporates better systems for app switching and alerts. I want to see better voice control.

Last week, I ended a column on Windows 8 with a warning directed at Google’s Android team. “When a new version of Microsoft Windows hands you your ass in the category of user-interface clarity and simplicity,” I said, “It’s time to sit down and seriously think about the choices you’ve made in life.”

I now say the same things to Apple. Android’s voice commands are insanely good. You want to go to the nearest Outback Steak House? You hold down the Search button and say “Navigate to the Outback Steak House.” It finds the nearest one and off you go. Speech-to-text dictation is also quite solid. You wouldn’t want to dictate a whole email with it, but it’s perfectly serviceable for text messages.

Notifications aren’t perfect in Android, but they’re better than what we’ve got in iOS. Tap the menubar and a list slides down. There it is: everything that any piece of code has recently wanted to tell you. Did that podcast finish downloading? Yup: your podcaster left you a note. Cool. I had a hunch that there was a way to improve upon iOS’ “I’ll block the screen with a dialog box that has to be dismissed by the user” approach.

I also think it’s time for iOS to have some sort of high-level mechanism for interapp communication. There are ways for one app to pass information to another, but usually it requires a lot of coordination between the developers of those two apps. TextExpander, for example, isn’t terribly useful as-is. It expands keyboard shortcuts into large blocks of text, which is lovely, but you then have to cut the text from the TE app’s pasteboard and then switch to the destination app and then paste it in.

TextExpander works natively inside many third-party apps without any need for cutting and pasting…but only because the TE code is baked right in. I’d love for Apple to come up with some kind of a mechanism where an app can “receive” the functions or information of another app without having to incorporate its code directly. I’d love it if my car GPS app could pass the text “Next turn: right onto Exit 29 in 23.8 miles” to a big, friendly music player app, which could then discreetly display it in a tile.

Well, we’ll know soon enough. The keynote kicks off at 10 AM Pacific. I’ll be sitting here, twitchily eyeing three liveblog windows at the same time, and then I’ll be joining a special edition of MacBreak.

But yes, I’m well-rested and I’ll be in a comfortable chair with a cold beverage nearby. I can’t get that at the Moscone Center. And you know what I did last night? I baked goddamn blueberry muffins, that’s what I did.

So far, I’m certain that I made the right choice. I’m on my sofa and I’ve breakfasted on a fresh muffin. We’ll see if this good feeling lasts through the afternoon. Suffice to say that if Steve Jobs pulls an Oprah and leaps around the stage shouting “YOU get a MacOS tablet! And YOU get a MacOS tablet! And YOU get a MacOS tablet!!!!” while Apple Store workers file out from backstage and into the aisles bearing heaping trays of devices…I shall be disappointed.

I will probably have another couple of muffins. It won’t make me feel much better, but hey, they’re really good muffins.

Amazon to Apple: Oh, it is sooo ON!!!

Screenshot of Amazon.com browser window, showing the Cloud Player; foreground window is the Amazon MP3 Uploader, copying iTunes playlists into Amazon Cloud Drive.

Screenshot of Amazon.com browser window, showing the CloudPlayer; foreground window is the Amazon MP3 Uploader, copying iTunes playlists into Amazon CloudDrive.

This is why I love my job. Today, Amazon enabled two new features to their site: Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Cloud Drive.

Cloud Drive is iDisk via Amazon storage, pretty much. You get 5 gigs of storage for free and can buy more as you need it. Your Cloud Drive can store anything…documents, photos, movies, music.

Cloud Player…lets you stream all of the music you’ve stored on your Cloud Drive. Annnnd everything you purchase via Amazon MP3 (from now on, anyway) is automatically added to your Cloud Drive and doesn’t count towards your storage limit. If you buy 100 gigs of Amazon MP3, you can play all of it for free without paying a dime. In fact, if you buy MP3s from Amazon, they’ll up your “regular” storage to 20 gigs anyway.

And there’s a helper app that’ll scan your existing iTunes library for music files that are compatible with the service. Click a button and all of it — or selected playlists — get uploaded to your Cloud Drive…even files you didn’t purchase through Amazon MP3.

The Cloud Player works through any web browser that supports Adobe Air. So: your Mac is in the club…but your iOS devices are out. But good news if you have an Android phone: the Amazon MP3 app will stream alllllll of your content just great.

Photo of the Amazon MP3 app for Android phones.

The Amazon MP3 app for Android devices...all of the music I've put into my CloudDrive is streamable. Even the stuff I didn't buy from Amazon!

I’ve already transferred four gigs of music to the cloud and yup, it works great. Any computer, anywhere there’s Internet, I get an iPod Nano’s worth of music. I’ve also downloaded the new Amazon MP3 app to my Android phone and…yup…there’s my music.

I tried opening the webplayer on my iPad and it warned me that I’ve got the wrong kind of browser. The player loads up, I can see my music, I can tap a Play button, it selects the track…but nothing happens.

iPad browser with the Amazon CloudPlayer.

You can visit your Cloud Player on the iPad, and it looks like it could be playing your music...but nothing will play. It seems to require Adobe Air/Flash.

Well, isn’t this very interesting!

I wrote a column last week about the new Amazon AppStore and how this signaled a start to some more direct and aggressive competition between Amazon and Apple as the elite seller of digital content and as the Great and Powerful Oz of your mobile experience. This is the second shoe to drop in that battle and there’s a centipede’s worth yet to come.

I’ve used this service for just a half an hour but yes, I already like it a lot. It’s a much simpler and more robust way to cloud-stream your online music purchases than anything else going at the moment. It’s a reason why I’ll continue to buy music from Amazon instead of iTunes.

And — God help me — it makes all Android phones that much more cool.

[Added: and to anyone who wonders where the money is for Amazon in this…you should think bigger. Think of the next Kindle as an entirely cloud-oriented media player. It always has ample local storage for books and a playlist or two, but it has an intimate connection with all of your Amazon purchases and can retrieve — or stream — any of them at any time. Someone deciding between an iPod Touch or a 7″ Kindle Color could be swayed by that kind of feature, couldn’t they?]

I’ve sent an email off to Amazon about any plans for an iOS player. I reckon they’ll make one if Apple will let them release it. Amazon’s always been about selling content, not operating systems and hardware and it’s always benefitted them to get the Kindle reader on as many devices as they can.

I actually first heard about this when I hit Amazon.com to buy a couple of things an hour ago. As soon as I saw it, and I set to work downloading things and uploading things and playing with it, I had to stop and think “Damn…I love my job. Apple versus Amazon is like Ali versus Frasier. This is two evenly-matched fighters and the outcome of their battle can only benefit consumers.

This is what I’ve been hoping for: a company with the skill, vision, clarity, and competence to truly compete with Apple. It wasn’t going to be Google. It was never going to be Google. I’m grinning at the thought of how high these two companies can push each other. What a great time to be a geek and to be alive.

iPad 2 Event: The Liveblog

11:03 — gb will be $4.99 on march 11.

Welcome back steve.

Recaps, and introduces a new video.

(Healthwatchers: Steve still looks fine, his voice is solid at the end if thie event.)

Video.

“technolog isn’t enough (that’s in Apple’s DNA) we are the intersection of technology and liberal arts.”

“these are post-pc devices that need to be even easier to use than a pc, even more intitive. The hardware and applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way than on e pc. We think were on the right track.”

“we stand a pretty good chance of being competitive in this market.”

Tradition: he asks everyone who worked on iPad to stand p for a round of applause. They get it.

Also thanks everyone’s families. “because they support us and let us do what we do.”

Thanks and try the hands on area,

10:55 — keyboard has multiple very good modes, including a Hammond b3. Console turns into the controls you’d see on a real b3.

Drum kit is also veloci sensitive. And ig knows where you’re hitting the cymbal and drumhead…makes different sounds depending on where you hit and how hard,

Guitar amp. You can plug a guitar straight in. But also includes a “smart instrument” for guitars, keyboards, bass, drums…let’s people play who can’t play,

(let’s call it American idol mode)

Guitar: just tap on a chord and strum. Or you can tap individual strings, or even dampen strings,

Many smart instruments have an auto play dial. Tao a c chord and it’ll fingerpick that chord. “its like musical training wheels.”

You can record from these intruments to GarageBand, just ap on the record button and youre adding a new track,

Looks like lots of fun. Again i say: this is a big “screw you” to every Google tablet. Nothing made by anybody else can provide this kind of demo, or look THIS cool to consumers.

Track editing looks very much like it does in the desktop. Can edit up to 8 tracks, control the mix levels, cut in and out.

“back when the Beatles recorded sergeant pepper, they only had 4 tracks on a machine the size of a washing machine.”

It’s all swiping and pinching and tapping. It’s also a great demo of how a great iPad app should function.

can export an AAC file right from the app. Can put it ib the iPad itunes library where it’ll be imported like any other new music, or export it as a gb file the usual way.

10:49 — can share directly to YouTube, me, facebook, even CNN and others,

New front facing camera is dead-center in frame, by the way.

Steve returns to the stage.

“it’s awesome. It blows my mind!”

iMovie is $4.99 on the app store, march 11.

Garage Band for iOS. Tuch instruments (piano, organ, guitars, drums, bass)

Amos and effects, 8-track recording, AAC export, can also work with e desktop GarageBand,

Xander Soren (director of music marketing) gives demo.

(IMovie and garage band are a big middle finger to every others tablet on the market. Message “Your so-called ‘tablet’ can’t do anything even marginally as powerful, dynamic, and difficult and cool as this. Screw y’all!!!”)

Keyboard is even velocity sensitive: ioad can tell how much it’s rattling thanks to the accelerometer. Hit it hard, and the keys sound like. Oure. Hitting them hard.

10:45 — precision editing (can cut down to the right frame, it looks like). You can use themes and transitions.

Audio: you see audio waveforms for all of your cli OS (great for precise editing of video) yu can change volume level, add sound effects (over 50 effects included).

Audio clips can overlap…just drag to where you want audio to overlay on other 3 audio tracks. Can also add a voice over right on thhe ipad,

3 new themes for a total of 8.

Does face detection on stills. Ken burns effect keeps faces in frame,

10:42 — two new apps (“we feel that by doing our own apps, we set the bar for independent developers”)

iMovie for iPad. Precision editor, multitrack audio recording, new themes, airplay to AppleTV, share videos in HD.

Universal app…will also work on iPhone 4.

Randy ubillos shows off a demo (chief architect, video apps)

Opens with a view of an old timey theater showing your projects.

It really does look like the desktop iMovie. Makes me want to identify last year’s iMovie as the first example of Apple desktop being influenced by iOS ideas. The demo really does make video editing look like it’s fun.

10:39 — FaceTime, of course. Can video chat between anything and anything (iPad iPhone desktop)

Points out how cool it is to do chat on such a big device. I can definitely see that.

(aside: I am sitting one row away from someone with unfortunate lower-gi disorders. The things i do for you people)

iOS is a free download on March 11.

10:34 — Airplay can now use photo transitions if viewing photos. And intent videos can now also airplay video as well as video.

Now there’s a preference for the ipad switch: use it for mute or for orientation lock. (damn right, this should have been the way it worked from day one)

Personal hotspot feature has been enabled for the iPhone 4 (not for the iPad).

New software for the new cameras:

Photobooth on the iPad, live demo.

Nice demo: shows 9 live video views each one with a live preview of a different video effect. Not a single frame drops…man, thats fast graphics.

10:27 —
Video makes this look very slick, commercial just puts the cover off and on, “it reminds me of a pixar short.” says steve.

Magnets in the iPad itself and the cover, available in 10 different colors. $39 for poly, $69 for leather.

New release of iOS: iOS 3. Scott Forestal takes us through.

Improvements:

Safari performance. Runs javascript twice as fast thanks to nitro javasrivt engine.

iTunes home sharing. Can wirelessly stream library right from computer to iPad.

Airplay improvements.

10:26 — ships March 11 in the US.

Two new accessories:

HDMI out…he called out that this is for teachers. Includes mirrored video out! Yay. Up to 1080p. Works with all apps. Supports rotation. No setup or configuration, can rven charge while using (has HDMi anqd dock connector. Just $39.

“something that’s even going to be more popular” — “Smart covers.”

“we made his beautiful iPad design, andq covered it with a case, adds thickness, blocks stuff.

We designed the case alongside e produce. It isnt a case, it’s a cover. It bends around like the covef of s book,

Automatically wakeqs the iPad when you open it, automatically sleeps when you close it. Can fold into an easel Or typingq easel.

Has magnets that grab ipad and auto aligns itself. Microtones linings.

Polyurethane or leather.

(looks very nice…like it’s hard-mounted.)

10:22 — also lighter by .2 ounces.

Available in black and white… “white eill be available from DAY ONE,” he said, to laughter and applause.

Available on both AT&T and Verizon from day one.

“something’s got to give” after all of these improvements. But no: engineers say it gets the same 10 hour battery life, despite hotter processor, new hardware, thinner and lighter.

Steve pointedly compares this new iPad to all of the new Google tabs: thicker, heavier, less battery.

We also presented he price: “same prices across the board,” also note in table: max storage is still 64 gig.

“we have only one model thats more expensive than $799” (the price of the Xoom).

“we think 2011 will be the year of iPad 2”

10:20 — “2011: the year of the copycats.” most of these aren’t even catching up with the firs iPad.

What can we improve?

A completely need design. It’s dramatically faster. A5 CPu. Dial core processors, up to twice as fast ad the a4.

Geine all out on graphics performance: up to 9x faster.

Same low power, don’t want to give up battery life.

“first dual core tablet to ship. In volume.” (what about Xoom?)

Video cameras: bac and front,

Gyroscope.

One of the most startling things about thhe iPad 2 is that it’s dramatically thinner.” 33% thinner: 8.8 mm instead of 13.4.

“actually thinner than the iPhone 4”

“it feels totally different.”

10:11 — Video of “the year of the iPad.” steve stands just offstage.

10:09. — 65,000 apps optimized or made for iPad.

User interface, large canvas, more resources, he cites as reasons for ipad’s success.

“Android has at most…100 tablet apps.”

10:05 — “I didnt want to miss this.”

users have download 100m books in less than a year. And Random house is joining the catalogue.

Just crossed 200 million accounts on the iTunes stores. “Likely the most accounts with credit cards on the Internet.”

“We recently paid out over 2 billion dollars to developers.” yes, let’s flex muscles and explain why publishers and developers aren’t going to leave Apple iTunes marketplace, like, ever.

Just shipped 100m th iPhone.

IPad: “our third post-pc blockbuster product” after iPod, iPhone.

“most of our revenue comes from thee post-pc products.”

Sold 15 million in 2010, more than every tablet pc ever sold, generated 9.5 billion in revenue in just 9 months.

“Competitors were flummoxed!”

10:03 — Steve himself takes the stage, to standing ovation. Looks pretty good!

9:59 — Any second now. “Last call” announcement, please turn all devices to Silent.

Typing on ipad held in my hands, with virtual keyboard. just can’t find a comfortable angle on the Bluetooth keyboard in my lap. Have a snazzy seat with plenty of room and a power strip, though.

9:55 — Now seated, and ready to roll. 6tasteful Beatles music is now ping in, soothing us all. lending credence to the rumors that the Beatles catalogue arrived on the iTunes store late last year.

9:36 — Hooray! My (loaner) T-Mobile 4G works here. Hope to fight against…

Line moving! Doors open!

9:23 — I have eaten a free scone. Now in a big group in the lobby waiting to get in. Trying hard to at best, retain some personal space and at worst, at least get a marriage proposal.

7:03 AM
Ideally, this post will be my iPad 2 event liveblog.

Ideally.

See, I don’t have any fancy-schmancy live coverage app here on my iPad. Instead, I simply paste in the correct CSS code form and then fill it in as necessary.

It’s possible that this might not go well.

I also need to write and post as I listen to what’s going on.

This, too, might not go well.

But it’s worthwhile for me to set everything up here in the hotel room before I hit the mean streets of Slightly South of Market.

Push the button, Frank…

Greetings from A Reasonably-Priced But Still Very, Very Nice Hotel Room in San Francisco.

(No, it’s not a name-brand place. But I have free WiFi and a room overlooking a garden. Keep your fancy Red Roof Inn.)

It’s a barnstorming trip; one night only. I’m here for the iPad 2 Event. I’ll be covering it for the Sun-Times and the TWiT Network. Then I’ll buy this week’s new comics, I’ll sneak in dinner with a friend, and then I’m off on the redeye tonight.

“What wonderful news, Andy,” you say. “Thanks so much for bothering to blog this.” 

Look, there’s another reason for this post: I’m testing out my new jerry-rigged “Laptop iPad” setup. If it weren’t for the need to liveblog, this is the sort of trip that my iPad excels at. I’ll just be gone for a night or three and there’s a well-defined set of objectives. The iPad, plus my Bluetooth keyboard, is all the computer I need; my MacBook is thousands of miles away.

Ah, but over the past year I’ve discovered that there’s only one laptop-ey thing that an iPad simply cannot do:

You can’t use it in your lap.

This is a big problem at an event like the one I’ll be attending. I’ll be in a folding chair, trying to either liveblog or take notes as I go. I can lay the iPad flat in my lap and type on the virtual keyboard and it’s sort of okay, but I can’t type fast or accurately and my brain quickly gets disconnected from either the task of listening to what’s going on or the task of writing it down as I go.

This time, I’m trying the Scosche FoldIO case (my iPad’s usual home) on top of Griffin’s iRizer. Yes: I’ve got the iPad in one easel and it’s sitting in another easel.

My Laptop iPad Typing Setup.

It just goes to prove that while I lack the bravery and sense of duty of the journalists in the Middle East, who are choosing to stay behind in a zone that was dangerous enough before waves of rebellion and desperate, violent government backlash swept through the streets…at least I’m willing to suffer a little.

Covering the event for TWiT adds a new wrinkle: I need to be able to send video. That’s much less of a pain in the butt than it might have been. What might have been a no-negotiation, Must Bring MacBook trip is instead a “Bring the iPad, plus three phones” one. Viz:

  • My Usual iPhone, for doing iPhone-ey things.
  • My loaner iPhone 4, for actually sending video (so I’ll have a 100% fresh battery on both iPhones for their intended purposes.
  • T-Mobile’s new 4G Samsung phone, for use as a WiFi hotspot, so that I stand a chance of getting through without being clobbered by all of the thrashing of AT&T and Verizon that’ll be happening all around me.

There’s also the hope that the 4G network will actually be available downtown. These hopes aren’t high, but without hope, we would live in a world in which Humankind plans for neither human exploration of the Moon and other celestial objects, nor the 2011-2012 season of “Two And A Half Men.”

Speaking of hope, I’m writing this with the iPad version of the WordPress app. Previous versions of this app hold the current course record of Screwing Up In Stroke-Inducing Ways. The last edition I tried had evolved from “losing posts as I was writing them” to “destroying posts that had already been published to my blog by other apps” and here, I set something on fire and then moved on with my life.

But that was ages ago. I’d rather use a good app than the web client when I liveblog (starting at about 9:30 AM Pacific time).

Let’s see what happens this time.

Push the button, Frank…

[Edited to add: No, of course it didn’t work. I know that the WordPress app is free software, and it’s the result of the generous contributions of the WordPress and iPad communities…but I’m just dying for a version of this app that functions as it should. A for Effort, but otherwise…oof.

New MacBooks, new interface, new OS

Whoof…this is working out to be a hell of a week for Apple news. I was expecting them to release the 2011 MacBooks yesterday, and I was certainly expecting them to include a new combination data/display port that they developed with Intel.

I wasn’t expecting the first developer preview of the next edition of MacOS. It’s terrific news in and of itself: it means that the OS is well on track, and the new elements I’ve seen are pretty exciting.

But my curiosity about next week’s iPad event has been kicked up a few notches. Wednesday would have been the perfect opportunity to quickly walk the media and analysts through some more of Mac OS X 10.7’s new features. As soon as they made the preview available to developers, everybody was going to start writing about it. Apple didn’t have to release the developer preview yesterday. They could easily have done it on the same day as the iPad event.

So it’s…interesting…that Apple passed on this opportunity to walk the press and analysts through their first exposure to 10.7. It would have been a piece of cake to slip a 15-minute Lion highlight reel into Wednesday’s presentation.

One possible explanation: this iPad news is going to be a lot bigger than we’ve supposed.

Another possible explanation: Apple just wants to make sure that the focus is 100% on the iPad news, whatever it is.

(Shrug.)

The new MacBook arrived in my office this morning and I’ve just had a briefing with a few Apple folks. Here are some bullets from my notes, incorporating both Apple’s pitch and their answers to my questions.

MacBooks

  • The new Sandy Bridge CPUs have integrated GPUs. Part of the whole point of this architecture is to put as much as possible on the chip. Yes, reducing the physical distance between sections of the system results in increased speeds; I remind you that the speed of light remains a constant. The machine also has a conventional outboard Radeon graphics accelerator. Whenever a GPU-intensive app (like Aperture, Photoshop, games) is launched, the MacBook switches to the Radeon, system-wide.
  • Why bother with two GPUs? So that the MacBook can choose between “optimal power consumption” and “optimum graphics performance” on the fly.
  • The new iSight HD chat camera shoots 720p video in widescreen format.
  • The cited battery life of the new MacBooks is lower than their predecessors (7 hours). This is actually due to a new testing protocol that Apple feels is more accurate. The automated test mimics real user behavior by visiting websites, playing Flash content, etc. Apple claims that 2010 MacBooks benchmark a little below the 2011 models using the new battery test.

Thunderbolt

  • Thunderbolt isn’t controlled by proprietary licensing, as the iPod/iPad dock connector is. Any manufacturer can make any kind of Thunderbolt cable or device they wish. They just need to buy Intel’s controller chip. So if (for example) someone wanted to take advantage of the 10 watts on that port and manufacture a Thunderbolt to USB cable that could fast-charge an iPad or iPhone, they could go right ahead and do that.
  • Is it suitable for mobile devices? Like…I dunno…phones and tablets? No comment. But vis a vis its implementation in the MacBooks, Apple is pleased with Thunderbolt’s power management features.
  • These MacBooks can’t boot off a drive attached to the Thunderbolt port. Not today. Target Disk Mode will work, however.
  • Thunderbolt incorporates two independent and bidirectional channels. The theoretical max speed is 10 Gbps, but if Apple wanted to get cute with the numbers they could claim that its absolute theoretical max throughput is 40 (as in: a 10 gig transaction up and a 10 gig transaction down on each of the two channels).
  • Data and display interfaces are on separate channels. A big data transaction shouldn’t interfere with the performance of your display.
  • The data interface is essentially PCI. So engineering a FireWire to Thunderbolt connector would be more similar to “wiring up a cable” than “designing a bridge controller.”

Mac OS Lion Developer Preview

  • iOS-style multitouch is all over the place. In Preview, for instance, you can turn pages by dragging, just like in iBooks. The familiar “double-tap to zoom” behavior in the iOS version of Safari is in the desktop edition. Etc.
  • Autosave and Versions are now integrated at the OS level. If an app want to support a “Time Machine”-style rewind of a document to the state it was in a week ago, Lion provides all of the machinery for that.
  • “Resume” lets you suspend apps the way you do in iOS. Rather than an app relaunching and re-opening the windows you had open the last time you ran it, Lion simply freezes the app in its current state and then restores it.
  • An existing app that has a fullscreen mode can support Lion’s new Fullscreen feature by hooking into the new infrastructure. They won’t necessarily need to write a new Lion-ey fullscreen mode.
  • The Lion version of FileVault allows for a (yes, iOS-style) “remote wipe” of user data: Lion just burns the only copy of the key that it needs to decrypt the user’s directory.

The Lion discussion had a consistent theme: there are a lot of iPad concepts that translate nicely to the desktop. Silly people have mused on that idea and imagined that Mac OS X would inevitably turn into a tablet-style, multitouch OS, if it even continued to exist at all. But when Apple talks about bringing iOS features to the desktop, they’re just referring to features that make the iPad slightly more awesome, like remote-nuking a stolen computer, and being able to close an app without having to spend five minutes closing all of its windows and saving its data.

Many of these features have nothing to do with multitouch…though yes, absolutely, you can expect to grope your Lion a lot more than you pawed your Leopard.

I remind you that all of the above are just notes copied down from what Apple said. I haven’t researched my review yet…and it’ll be a number of months before we can understand the full scope of these statements. Overall, I’m pretty excited about Lion. It appears that the Mac OS is about to receive a sorely-needed shot in the arm. It’s always a good thing when I get a briefing and think “Man, I know exactly how I’d use that feature…” at several different points.

New BlackBerry PlayBook video

RIM posted a new video of their PlayBook tablet to YouTube today:

They’re clearly going off in their own direction, away from the iPad and most of the Android tablet makers. The PlayBook appears to have been designed specifically as an physical extension of the BlackBerry smartphone.

Only it’s not really an extension of its apps and data: it’s an extension of its data connection and its set of trusted associations. If your BlackBerry is within range of the tablet, then this tablet will have secure and trusted relationships with all of your mail, contacts, and schedule data. And your corporate network will trust it just as much as your phone. The video shows the PlayBook connecting to a corporate server’s mobile apps, using a popular client system.

An interesting line from the video suggests that all of your PlayBook’s confidential data is removed from the device when the connection to the BlackBerry is broken.

(WHAT?!? You mean I have to have my BlackBerry handy? I need to drain two batteries?!?)

(puff-puff-pant-pant)

No, no. That’s only a dumb scheme if you think of the PlayBook as a consumer device, like the iPad. If they’re trying to sell them to IT managers instead of consumers, it’s an interesting play. To those folks, this invisible umbilical means that their lives won’t be complicated by a dumbass user (likely the kind who’s paid enough to own an estate with a living chessboard in which each of the game pieces is a painted giraffe) who loses a tablet somewhere.

It reinforces my impression of BlackBerry as the kind of OS device that people are issued as employees, as opposed to products that they purchase as free-willed consumers.

In any event, it looks as though RIM is employing the Joshua Tactic for entering an intensely-competitive marketplace. That’s the scheme where you tell yourself that “the only way to win is not to play.” If someone complains “the PlayBook is no iPad,” their immediate and correct response is “Yeah. Neither is a waffle iron. What’s your point?” We forget that it’s actually desirable for companies to make products that make sense for them and their customers.

I should point out that I know nothing about the PlayBook above what I’ve seen in videos. But conceptually…this is interesting.

Now iOS 4.2 is here and installed.

Partial screenshot of an iPad running iOS 4.2, showing the dock toolbar. Screen lock button, iPod playback controls, and sliders for volume and brightness are visible, plus an AirPlay button.

I’ve now updated my iPad and my Apple TV to today’s new editions of iOS.

I’m already loving AirPlay. It’s such a natural way to integrate all of your devices that contain media. The desktop edition of iTunes, plus any app on the iPad or iPhone that deals with media, has an AirPlay button. Tap it and you’re presented with a popup list of all of the devices on the network that can stream AirPlay audio and video. It’s the same basic mechanism as when you decide to plug something into a set of amplified speakers. It’s spontaneous and it works.

Mostly. I did get one stall-out when I tried to stream HD video from my iPad to an Apple TV. But for the record, the initial frame from “Up” was, er, stunning.

As it happens, I’ve been working from the sofa all morning, and streaming tunes from my MacBook’s iTunes library to the ATV. An hour ago, I’d choose my music by picking up the ATV remote and peering across the room. Now, the TV is just the output device. When I wanted to pause the music, I tabbed to iTunes and clicked. It’s a subtle distinction but a powerful one.

The good news is that my Apple TV seems to manage multiple inputs with grace. Obviously I can’t select it from my iPad if my MacBook is actively using it. But if the playlist ends, or I hit Pause, the Apple TV immediately becomes available to other devices.

A clear Win. When I reviewed the Apple TV I said that it was a tough choice between this and the new Roku boxes (which are cheaper and also support older analog TVs). The OS updates reinforce my conclusion. If you’re mostly looking for a way to watch Netflix movies, you might as well save a few bucks and get a Roku. But if you’re already putting most of your media in iTunes libraries, you definitely want the Apple TV.

I already miss the “rotation lock” function of my iPad’s new “Mute” switch. Honestly, I can’t imagine a single circumstance under which I’d be grateful that Apple made this change. It’s not like it’s a colossal pain in the butt to have to access the screen lock via the Home button, but it’s annoying enough.

On the plus side, the Home widget deck also includes a screen brightness control. That setting always felt like it was a bit buried.

As expected, AirPrint doesn’t care that my HP printer is connected to the network via an Apple Airport Extreme base station. The HP doesn’t support AirPrint so no dice. Oh, well.

Also as expected: fast app switching is a huge win. Particularly when you’re reading books. It’s as though I always have my current book at my elbow, opened to the current page. I can check my email and then return to Suzanne Somers’ latest book right away. AirPlay works just fine in the background, incidentally. You can be reading a book in iBooks while your iPad streams our music in the background.

(Though there were a couple of quick cuts in the audio early on, likely while the playlist was still buffering to the Apple TV. Playback has been perfectly smooth every since.)

The second semi-transformative enhancement of multitasking: pre-4.2, newsreader apps would hold my iPad hostage while it spent ten minutes downloading hundreds of new blog pieces. Now? I can still look at email or read while it grinds away in the background.

Or at least the app will once I update it to iOS 4.2. As with the iPhone, many of the goodies of the OS require new (but usually free) updates to old apps.

I’m starting to think that the true competition in tablet space just got pushed back another six months. HP certainly has some interesting things planned for WebOS, but that’s all still speculative. Android slates are hopelessly stalled; they can’t even pull out of the garage and head for the starting line until Google releases the first tablet-oriented edition of Android. Even then, there’ll be the delays and caveats associated with all Android releases.

In January of 2010, I believed that by December the iPad would be the front-runner but there’d be some interesting competition to be found. Now, despite the Samsung Galaxy Tab (which I like a lot) I’m wondering if there’ll be any credible and mature competition before summer.

iOS 4.2 is here! Kind of.

This is one of those things that quite rightly annoys Apple’s critics. They can make valid and productive complaints about the limitations of their hardware — particularly their iOS devices — and Apple really has no way to respond.

…Except to update the OS, which is what they’d planned all along.

Here’s the anticipated 4.2 update to the iPad’s OS. Now it multitasks and can print directly from the device. I’m certain that we can all expect a flurry of new reviews and blog posts that humbly say “I know I dismissed the iPad as a silly, trendy toy back in April. But now, obviously, I have to admit that the iPad is absolutely wonderful. After all, I only listed two real shortcomings, and now Apple’s addressed both of them.”

Which isn’t to say that the iPad only had two problems. But Lord, to hear these commentators talk you’d think that they believe we should allow the white rhino to go extinct. “They’re completely useless,” one reviewer says. “Look at the size of those horns. Don’t tell me there wasn’t any room for an SD card reader. If these animals had been created by Google, you could just customize it yourself, but nooooo. God just doesn’t get it. And still, billions of people worship Him like He’s some sort of…”

(I’m checking iTunes again. Nope, iTunes tells me there’s still an hour left to go on my download. Damn and blast.)

Multitasking on the iPad is a clear Win, though as with the iPhone most of the Win comes specifically from the speed with which you can now switch between apps, and the ability to stream music from third-party apps. “Multitasking” clearly has a different meaning in a one-screen interface.

Printing is another nice new feature, though it won’t be quite as fab as we’d hoped, nor as fab as it’ll be in a future release. The original idea was that the iPad would just find and use any available file server. Nope, that’s been delayed. iOS 4.2’s printing feature only works with devices that support the iPad’s network printing scheme. Still, as someone who recently found himself in a hotel room thinking “If I could print directly from my iPad, I wouldn’t be here trying to think of Something Clever” I’m happy to see that problem go from a No to a Maybe.

(Yes, I know there are third-party apps that promise direct printing. But they’re unreliable, and frustrating as hell. I’d much rather have a feature like AirPrint that will definitely work if you have the right printer, than a third-party app that’s supposed to be compatible with all printers but may or may not actually function when the time comes, depending on whether or not the app approves of the color of the drapes in the room.)

(39 minutes to go. Hey, cool…it jumped at least ten minutes!)

AirPlay is the response to everyone who sees a range of Apple devices in someone’s house and assumes that the owner is a brainwashed cultist. There’s a downside to investing your faith and consumer bucks in the Apple infrastructure, but it’s overwhelmed by the positive: this stuff all works together. And the new thing that comes out a year from now will also work well with all of this stuff you’ve already got. In…

…35 minutes, plus or minus, I’ll be able to stream any media I want from any notebook, desktop, iPhone, or iPad to my AppleTV. Unlike other solutions for other devices, it’ll just plain work. Why? Because the same company designed all of the hardware and controls the OS that powers ’em all, and this company is clearly on our side.

Amid iOS 4.2’s other bibs and bobs is one real drawback for iPad users. Unfathomably, the Rotation Lock switch is now a Mute switch. You need a dedicated switch like that one on a phone. You might be in the middle of a funeral and suddenly regret that you chose “Butt Shaker” as your ringtone, to name but one example.

But when you’re using an iPad, the desire to prevent the screen from rotating (again) (goddammit) is just as urgent and spontaneous. Right now, with iOS 3.x, if I’m holding it at a slightly awkward angle and the iPad keeps autorotating on me, I reach up and flip a single switch. In…

…23 minutes, I’ll have to double-tap the Home button to reveal the taskbar, swipe left to reveal the widgets, tap the Rotation Lock button, and then tap the Home button again to get back to what I was doing.

It’s utter nonsense. I predict that soon there’ll be a new System Pref that allows you to choose the function of the lock button.

But all of this is academic because I still have…

…20 minutes before the download is complete and the installation begins.

I read the announcement this morning. iOS 4.2 became available to my copy of iTunes a few hours later. For a solid thirty minutes, I kept the iPad plugged in and clicked the “Check For Updates” button every 30 seconds, waiting for a download slot to open up.

Honestly, I was like one of those pathetic losers at a casino, chain-smoking and numbly tapping the buttons on a video poker machine. The only difference was that Jay Leno wasn’t over in the next room doing his standup.