Getting Things Done on the iPad

Whilst writing my iPad Pro review I had intended in going a little more in-depth about how I actually get things done on my iPad. I took umbrage to many of the main stream iPad reviews that were written by people that are clearly not regular iPad users, and haven’t really taken the time to learn iOS.

Matt Gemmell, in writing his iPad Pro review sums up this feeling perfectly:

Also, be extremely skeptical of anyone who makes a judgement about switching to an iPad when they haven’t actually done it themselves (this goes for most judgements about most things throughout life). This group includes the apparent majority of tech journalists, most of whom seem to have an annual ritual of spending one week with the newest iPad, and then saying it’s not a laptop replacement yet in some general sense. How would you even know? I certainly didn’t until six months or so in.

As my review progressed, going into too much detail about my own personal uses didn’t seem to fit at the time and started to feel that it would be more suitable as a separate post. So, here we are.

Before I dig into a few of my own use cases for an iPad Pro, I should clarify that I have replaced my personal computer with an iPad, since about 2014. I do, however, still use a Windows PC everyday at work. While the iPad doesn’t fully replace all computing in my life, it does touch on many facets, even in the work place.

Why an iPad?

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been using an iPad as my primary computer since 2014. At the time, I believe this would have been the (still) fantastic iPad Air 2. I still have this Air 2 (though it had a screen issue which led to Apple giving me a fresh refurbished model about a year ago), though it’s now used by my daughter for some YouTube or kids games etc. The Air 2 enjoys its retirement I’m sure …

In 2014 my wife and I lived in a small house, with a spare room that was used as my home office / study. Within lived my 27” iMac. This was, at this time, my main computing device. Also at this time, I found out I was going to be a dad. This was, of course, amazing news, but my iMac didn’t agree. The iMac knew it’s time lording it up in my spare room was numbered. The room was quickly converted into a nursery and, after a short stint in the corner of the living room, was quickly retired.

I loved that iMac because it looked so pretty, but functionally I didn’t miss a thing, even then. I did very little (read nothing) on the device to warrant its existence. I didn’t admit that, however, until I had no choice but to let it go.

Since then, the functionality and utility of the iPad has grown as has my usage of it. As mentioned earlier, many iPad Pro reviews focused on what an iPad can’t do, many of which it can do, yet clearly on time has been exploring just how. To this end, I wanted to share a few instances of how I use an iPad to, in some small way, counteract the message that you can’t get things done on an iPad.

Blogging

One of the easiest things to get done on the iPad, even prior to the Pro, was blogging. Since the Pro, however, this has become even easier. The Dent is currently hosted on WordPress.com, and posting there via the web is, surprisingly, quite robust.

After trying out many, many writing apps over the years, with apps like Drafts and Ulysses being particular highlights, I’m currently using a bit of a classic, namely iAWriter. I’ve been using it again for a few weeks now and I’m really in love with the app. It does exactly what I was looking for in a writing app. The UI itself minimalist, and the Focus mode really helps you … well, focus! This mode dims the text you’ve already written, and keeps only the current word, line or paragraph (whichever you choose) brighter. You get the choice of a light and dark mode which is really important for a writing app in my book. One of the big selling points for Ulysses, according to many people, was the fact it can also post directly to WordPress. Well, it turns out, so can iAWriter. Once you provide your credentials any post you write (including images) will be uploaded to your WordPress site and saved as a Draft, ready for you to publish at your convenience. iAWriter is one of my favourite types of apps, in that on the face of it it’s very simple, yet once you dig in a little you find some really powerful features.

Podcasting

I currently host a short-form, podcast called The Dent and am also the co-host of a long running show called Pocket Sized Podcast. When it comes to The Dent’s companion show I record, edit and post entirely from the iPad alone. For Pocket Sized Podcast I record via the iPad, but the main host, Scott, does all of the great edit work.

For both shows I use the fantastic Ferrite to record my side of the conversation. I also use it to edit (what little editing I do) for The Dent. Ferrite is both a powerful audio recorder and multi-track editing tool which is just a powerhouse on the iPad Pro. The app features Pencil support as well, which is really invaluable when it comes to precise editing and manipulation for complex recordings. While his post is now a little dated, Jason Snell wrote an interesting piece about using Ferrite for podcasting on his blog, which is well worth checking out.

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Recording and editing The Dent is easy because I am, essentially, talking to myself. For Pocket Sized Podcast, or other shows I’ve been a guest on the iPad alone isn’t enough, unfortunately. For this, I will need to use Skype or FaceTime Audio to complete the call to the other hosts. This, however, is still simple, though it is an extra step. On these occasions, I will simply hold the call on my iPhone, whilst recording into Ferrite as usual. This is a little bit of a cheat, I appreciate, but needs must, and I am still iOS focused at least …

Photography

Don’t worry, I don’t take photos with my iPad Pro. I do, however, really enjoy editing photos on my iPad Pro. Since my daughter came along I have, admittedly, taken less photos that actually need editing. I now take far more photos than ever, for obvious reasons (dogs and kids are cute it turns out) but I wouldn’t generally edit fun family snaps. When I do take photos that need editing, the iPad is my go-to, however. My favourite photo editing app is actually only available on the iPhone, unfortunately, and that is Darkroom. The good news, however, is that an iPad version is currently in beta and will hopefully be released soon.

One of the real highlights of editing photos on the iPad Pro comes from using apps like Pixelmator, in conjunction with the Pencil. The precision and power you get from combining these really is incredible. I certainly don’t push this particular workflow anywhere near it’s limits currently, but I’m looking forward to exploring it more over the coming months / years.

Video Production

Okay, so classifying anything I currently do, or have done, with video as video production is most certainly pushing it. So far, I’ve uploaded just two videos to The Dent YouTube channel but both videos were recorded and editing using an iPad Pro and the fantastic LumaFusion. These videos are, essentially, experiments. Experiments designed to learn the ropes of a very powerful, professional grade bit of software. This blog, the podcast and now the YouTube channel are all experiments, to some extent. This is never going to be a profession for me, but it’s all good fun, and something I find relaxing to do (not to mention it lets me spend more time with my beloved iPad). If you want to see what some real professionals can do with the iPad Pro with LumaFusion, I can highly recommend the fantastic Chris Lawley’s entire YouTube channel which is completely produced from an iPad Pro. YouTuber Jonathan Morrison also released a fascinating video about his process behind producing another video entirely on the iPad Pro with LumaFusion. Jonathan is most certainly a professional, and he came away very impressed with what the iPad Pro could do.

Jobby job

While I included a caveat at the start of this article saying that my day job requires that I use a PC due to necessary software, that isn’t to say that the iPad Pro isn’t infiltrating my life even there.

I currently bring the iPad to work with me every day, and it sits by my side while I work. The iPad comes to meetings with me for note taking, or for marking up some ideas with the Pencil should they come up. I’m currently using the stock Notes app, after a foray into many other third party apps such as (the admittedly great) Bear. As with many stock Apple apps, I find the integration hard to ignore, especially when my requirements are fairly light at this point in time.

I also use the iPad to manage my time and tasks / projects as well. I’ve long held a misguided belief that I should be using the same apps across both iPhone and iPad. I really like Things 3 for work related tasks, but it was just too much for every day / personal use. To this end, I would often switch between Things 3 and GoodTask 3. I’ve now settled on a happy medium. I use Things 3 for work, mainly on the iPad (where it looks truly lovely) and GoodTask whilst at home. Happy times all around!

All Work and no Play …

While everyone is ranting and raving about not being able to do real work on an iPad Pro, or if it can replace your laptop, they seem to be forgetting that you don’t actually need to have work tasks that you do on your personal laptop in order for an iPad Pro to replace your laptop. I’m firmly in the camp that you can do work on the iPad, but I also appreciate that most people don’t ever do work on their personal computers, be they iPads, iMac, PCs or Chromebooks.

The vast majority of people use their personal computers in exactly that way, as personal devices to use when you don’t need to get work done. As some people like to point out, the iPad really is a fantastic consumption device. It’s great to read on, watch some Netflix on, chat with friends on, and even game on. Paired with an MFi controller and you’ve got yourself a, in my opinion, near perfect entertainment centre.

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I’m going to close this article out not with my own words, but from those of Federico Viticci. I think the Tweet from him below sums up my feelings on this whole subject perfectly.

The 2018 iPad Pro

You’ve probably read a fair few iPad Pro Reviews, most of which have walked the well trodden ground of previous iPad Pro reviews and asked the question:

“Can an iPad replace your laptop?”

Pretty much all reviews from the big named sites, such as The Verge seemed to come away with the same answer, NO. They didn’t, however, to me at least, give very valid reasons for this case. I do appreciate that reviews from an individual writer are, intrinsically, personal views. I have nothing against the fact that Nilay Patel, in his review for The Verge, could not replace his laptop with an iPad Pro. I do, however, begrudge the idea that most of these reviews put across that no one can replace their laptop for the things they want to do. I, for one, have done just that and I know many others that have also.

This review will not be a deep dive into all of the things you can’t do on an iPad. This is a review from a dedicated iPad user, for iPad users.

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Hardware

Prior to picking up the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9″, my main device was last years 10.5″ model. I had the 1st generation iPad Pro 12.9″ prior to that. I switched to the smaller model, originally, because while I loved the screen real estate on the larger brother, the device itself was unwieldy, heavy and just generally a bit ugly. Now that I’m fully on board with using an iPad for my personal needs (I have to use a PC at work) I was, however, on the market for the larger size again.

As soon as I removed the new 2018 iPad Pro from it’s packaging I knew I had made the right decision. The device is now unbelievably thin, and light, and the new design is truly something to behold. It feels fantastic both in the hand, and on a desk and, as always, it’s simply a joy to use.

Apple boasted an edge to edge screen and, whilst it is undoubtedly more edge to edge than previous models, it’s far from fully edge to edge like you’d see in an iPhone X or XS. The screen does, however, look amazing it it’s new form. To be able to comfortably hold this device, when not using it as more of a desktop, I don’t think the bezels really could be reduced much more than they are already, however. The design of the case itself is very reminiscent of the iPhone 5 style, which is retro and modern at the same time. Looks wise, it’s the best looking iPad Apple has ever produced. The screen technology is still LCD, and not OLED like the iPhone’s though Apple (or their screen supplier at least) have either done some amazing work on making this screen, or my eyes are just so bad I can’t really tell the difference. I think it’s a little of column A and a little of column B to be honest.

The new iPad ditches the Lightning connector and replaces it with a USB-C connection. This has been praised as opening up a greater potential for the iPad Pro to connect to a greater variety of devices, though I’m as yet to truly understand what this really opens up. I’ve connected the 2018 model, and last years 10.5″ to an external and saw the same letterboxed mirrored display presented on both. I know USB-C allows for the iPad to now drive a 5k monitor, which Lightning apparently couldn’t, but right now that doesn’t equate to much. I learnt recently that iPad’s have been capable of showing something different on an external monitor to that which is displayed on the iPad, but I know of very few apps that have taken advantage of it. Whether the introduction of USB-C will change this is yet to be seen. I hold out hope it will, however.

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One hardware feature that I love, which i didn’t think I would, is the inclusion of FaceID. I’ve been using FaceID for some time now, in the iPhone X and now the iPhone XS Max and I’m not truly convinced that, in that case, it’s better than TouchID. It’s a fantastic system, in general, but for the way I use my phone it can be a bit of a pain. The phone is usually sitting on my desk at work and I always have to pick it up and stare at it, whereas before I could just top my finger on it to unlock and glance down. This, and other points, has been a bit iffy for me to date. FaceID on this iPad, however, seems to be a whole other story. Given the angle and way you use an iPad, the FaceID camera array seems to pick me up far better, and quicker, than ever. The viewing angle seems very good also. I can be trying on my computer at work and glance over my iPad sitting next to me and it unlocks instantly. I’m definitely now sold on FaceID, at least on the iPad. The fact you can also unlock the device by a quick double tap on the space bar is, also, very compelling. It’s one less interaction you need to do by touching the iPad at all. I appreciate it’s a touchscreen device, so touching it is of course to be expected, but it’s also very nice to navigate using keyboard shortcuts. It’s surprising just how much you can do on an iPad via shortcuts, so this is just another nice addition.

I’ve not been concerned, as yet, that I made a mistake in moving from a 10.5″ to the 12.9″. This size is better for a desktop / lap situation, which I do quite a lot. It is also, however, surprisingly comfortable for use without the keyboard in a more traditional iPad setting such as on the sofa or even propped up in bed.

Apple Pencil 2.0

I had the original Apple Pencil, just because it was an interesting new accessory, but my use case for it was very limited. I’m not an artist, by even the loosest of definitions, and the fact the Pencil was always dead whenever I did have a rare use for it, and that I usually had no idea where it was, put me off even more. My use case (or lack thereof) aside for a moment the 2nd generation Apple Pencil seems to be a huge leap forward in basically every way.

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The Pencil itself now has a matte finish which, along with the one flat side, make it so much nicer to hold. It’s also slightly short which makes it feel a little more balanced in the hand. It now magnetically attaches to the top / side of the device, depending on your orientation and actually charges at the same time. This is a huge improvement in my book. You can both store the device somewhere so it’s close at hand, but you can also ensure it’s always fully charged. I’ve no idea what this kind of storage method would do to such a small battery, but I would assume Apple would have thought about that and being constantly charged has to be better than being fully discharged most of the time, right?

While I am not an artist, as I’ve already said, I do find a few uses for the Apple Pencil, which this new version should make even better. One such use is, for example, when editing a podcast with Ferrite. Trying to trim and edit can be a little fiddly with your finger, but the Pencil is great at tapping around and getting really hands on with the content. The ability to, essentially, right click via the new tapping interaction on the new Pencil could be really helpful here, by providing quicker access to some useful functionality. I’m hoping that some non-drawing app developers will take advantage of this to add easy access to app features via this new input. Time will tell on this front I would imagine.

All in all, I am certainly not using this new accessory to it’s full potential, but I will be using it more and more I’m sure of it. The new design, new charging and storage method, and lack of tiny moving parts I’m likely to lose all add up to a great version 2.

The Smart Keyboard Folio

I’ve mentioned in the past, both on the blog and the podcast, that I am a big fan of the original Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro. Having tried the Brydge keyboard, and various Logitech offerings, I always came back to the original. With this in mind, any revision would have to be pretty special to improve upon it. While the change is minor, the new version does improve things in a few areas.

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Firstly, the Smart Keyboard is, as the name implies, now a Folio, so this also now covers the back. It’s securely held in place at the back via magnets, yet it’s still very easy to pop off if you want to use the iPad without a keyboard. Because of the new design, when you fold the case over, to hold the iPad like a tablet, you touch the (now inactive) keyboard buttons at the back, which doesn’t feel great to be honest.

Along with the new style, the only other real difference is the two viewing angles that are offered. You can get a very upright ‘desktop mode‘ and the original angle. The desktop mode is nice, but doesn’t offer a huge difference. More options are, however, always welcome. To me, at least, this is still the de facto iPad Pro keyboard experience.

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Roundup

The iPad Pro’s are not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. They are also, potentially, almost too powerful for what you can do with them right now. These two points, however, go hand in hand. The hardware is only half of the equation. Yes, they are quite expensive for a tablet, but they are also priced quite well when you consider it as a laptop. Some people like to keep telling us that you simply can’t replace a laptop with an iPad. As a blanket statement this is completely false. They are more than capable of doing this for me, and so many other people. This new, more expensive, hardware will be a hugely powerful and capable device for years to come. With this half of the equation covered, what remains? Well, the software of course. The apps available on iOS are, again for me, already way better for my use cases than anything found in competing systems. I don’t come across the same limitations others seem to find are insurmountable. With that being said, there is still a massive amount of long hanging fruit when it comes to what iOS can do for the iPad. Things such as touchpad support for taking advantage of hooking up the device to an external monitor, to better desktop / homescreen management and external storage support. A lot of the criticism thrown at the iPad as a laptop replacement seem to lead me to question if this person should be using an iPad at all. If the fundamentals of the OS don’t fit your needs, don’t use it. For the rest of us, however, I can see iOS on the iPad going from strength to strength. And while I am already not held back by the software, this amazing new hardware is opening the door to some very exciting future possibilities.

The iPad is yet to fulfill it’s full potential. It’s still in its infancy. I, for one, am loving watching it grow up and I will be there with it, every step of the way.

Heavy Airs, Big Minis, and Pro iPad Pros

On the 30th October 2018, an almost unending troop of Apple (and guests) presenters took to the stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music within the Howard Gilman Opera House, New York City, to show us there was ‘… more in the making‘. They were not wrong!

Night of the Living Dead (Mac’s)

Apple opened the show with a rundown of some new Mac hardware. This signalled the resurection of some long abandoned hardware, namely the Mac Mini and MacBook Air.

The Mac (not so) Mini

As I’ve alluded to before, Mac’s are not an area of focus, or interest, to me personally. That being said, however, it’s good to see these much loved hardware devices receive a well deserved refresh. It’s surprising to me that the Mac Mini is still so … not mini, given modern devices such as Intel’s NUC’s and others. As is often the arguement when it comes to Apple hardware these days, the fact you can get something smaller, cheaper, and possibly more powerful from another company is a moot point. None of these devices run macOS, so they are not going to appeal to the majority of Mac entusiasts, no matter the hardware.

With that said, the Mac Mini looks fantastic, and there are some options available to really push up it’s performance (and price) if you so wish. It’s amusing that, when discussing the new Mac Mini, the presenter mentioned, and I paraphrase:

‘It’s Pro because it’s Space Grey’

I understood what he was getting at, in that Apple’s Pro devices, such as the iMac Pro, do now come in these colours, but I found it quite amusing at the time. All in all, if this is the form factor you’re looking for, I’m sure you’d be very happy with the new models.

An Air by any other name

Alongside the Mac Mini, Apple also revealed the long rumoured MacBook Air refresh. As with the Mac Mini, there are plenty of other options available for a lower end, super portable laptop, but if this is the ecosystem you’re interested in there is again an interesting, viable option. Strangely, given the Air moniker, this device is actually heavier than the current basic MacBook model. The current MacBook line up is a bit of a confusing mess, to me, with very unclear distinctions between each device and what the logical progression is between moving from the cheapest / lower end device up the chain. This is, quite possibly, a symptom of me just not keeping up with the Mac hardware, however.

The Pièce de résistance

After a (rather random) update about some more in-store initiatives coming to an Apple Store near you, Apple moved onto the real star of the show. New iPad Pro’s (I’m sorry, I refuse to write ‘iPads Pro’). These beauties are really something to behold …

I wont bore you here by simply listing out the tech specs and the sales pitch on these devices, you can read all of that from Apple themselves. Done? Good. Now, onto some of my thoughts.

To get things started, I will tell you that I currently have an iPad Pro 12.9″, Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil Gen 2 on order. I’ll be getting the keyboard and Pencil on release date of the 7th November, though after a bit of a mess up my end, the iPad will be coming a week later.

The iPad

Prior to the event starting it felt like we knew very little about the iPads we would be seeing at the event, but as soon as they were revealed it struck me that we did actually have a very good idea what we were going to see. This didn’t, however, stop my jaw from hitting the floor when I actually saw the things. Good Lord, they are nice.

The design is very reminiscent of the iPhone 5 era design with a more squared off, angular design. You’d imagine that, given this similarity to such old iPhone hardware, the device would look dated, but that’s far from the truth. It looks extremely sleek and interesting. The pitch video sold it as an edge to edge screen, now that the homebutton has finally been removed. This, to me, is pushing it somewhat. If you watch the product video, that was strangely narrated by Phil Schiller instead of Jony Ive, the remaining bezel does seem considerably smaller, but there is still a fair bit that remains.

As is now par for the course with Apple and their own chipsets, the A12X chip that ships inside the new iPad Pros seems to be incredibly powerful once again. For many years now, the iPad Pro hardware has outstripped the development speed of the software side of things, but this feels like a real turning point year. The new hardware, along with the new USB-C connector, seems to line the device up for some powerful new features in iOS 13, or beyond.

On the software front, I’d love to see some more flexability on app management, in terms of how many apps you can run, how these can be windowed, and what can be shared and interacted with on an external monitor. Right now, options are limited, but Apple has all they need to now start addressing this come iOS 13 in June (for those of us brave / stupid enough to jump on the betas).

All in all, the device itself looks amazing. The 12.9″ model I’ve ordered has a greatly reduced footprint (almost 25% I believe) than the last 12.9″ iPad and is thinner and lighter than ever. This size, to me, seems like the logical one to go for and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Sharpen my Pencil

Alongside the new iPads, Apple also unvealed a new, redesigned Apple Pencil. This, again, looks like a lovely new design. Even more exciting than a new design is the great new storage and charging method. The device finally now connects to the iPad magnetically to not only store, but charge, it.This looks, and acts, far more like the Surface Pro Pen now, which isn’t a bad thing in my book at all. I ordered one of these, despite the fact my current Apple Pencil is very rarely used. I can see this being the same, to be completely honest, though the new ‘button’ functionality you can access by tapping the device could open up some very interesting interaction methods. Once again, this is very reliant on software enhancements. The flat side will also prevent the bloody thing from rolling everywhere, which is a big bonus!

Keyed In

Now that the Smart Connector has, randomly, moved to the back of the device, Apple had yet another accessory to tempt me to spend more of my, and our, hard earned money.

The new keyboard, called the Smart Keyboard Folio, now covers the entirety of the back of the device, which actually looks pretty nice. The keyboard part, it seems, looks to be essentially the same as the previous generation, though it does have a new viewing angle (one for watching media, one for typing) which is pretty interesting.

I’ve worked my way through, at one time or another, pretty much all of the main iPad Pro keyboards (Brydge, Logitech’s various offerings etc.) and while many are great, I’ve always come back to the Apple Smart Keyboard. It’s simple, connects (and disconnects) extremely quickly and it’s just nice to type on. I’ve always hated ‘clacky’ keyboards, so it suits me just fine. At £199 it’s absolutely ridiculous, but in for a penny in for a pound I guess.

Wrapping up

As mentioned, I’m extremely excited to physically get this device. It looks amazing, and I can now bump up from a 10.5″ model back to a 12.9″ version without gaining quite as much size and weight. That, to me, sounds pretty exciting in of itself. I do, however, feel we’re only seeing half of the story that is this generation of iPad Pros. The hardware is, once again, a massive leap forward, but I think we’ll see the next chapter come the release of iOS 13. Like it or not, the Mac has clearly had it’s hayday. The iPad’s, however, has yet to come. I, for one, am very excited to see what comes next for my favourite bit of kit.

When I do finally get hold of my new iPad Pro I’ll be sure to share some thoughts both here, in writing, and on the podcast for those that are more aurally inclined.

🎙️ The Outpost Show 30 – iPad Special Event

I mentioned on Twitter, a few days ago, that everyone will get bored of my voice this week and now you know why! I posted a few minutes ago about this weeks Pocket Sized Podcast and, following hot on the heels of this release another show that I’ve featured on, The Outpost Show episode 30, has just been released as well!

Daryl was kind enough to invite me on this show with Dave Nott, Chris Lawley and Daryl himself to discuss the iPad Pro event that Apple held yesterday in New York City.

It was a pleasure to be part of Daryl’s Special Event episode, and I hope you enjoy the episode.

 

 

Apple In The Big Apple

Last week we received the news I, and many other iPad fans, had been waiting for. The expetected iPad Pro (and maybe Mac) event was a go! On Tuesday, 30th October, at 2pm (U.K. time) the team at Apple will take to the stage of the (very glamourous looking) Howard Gilman Opera House in New York City (specifically Brooklyn) to showcase some of their latest products. The iPad was noticably absent from the iPhone event in September, so it’s pretty much a given we’ll be seeing this refresh at this event. The event invites were sent with the tagline:
‘There’s more in the making’
Alongside this, the team at Apple created some amazing looking custom Apple logo designs which, presumably, were created on iPads. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this on the day, but here are some of my personal favourites: 7e2cbd5f-ba18-4e99-af81-f8e36013d12f   If you wanted to check out all 371 custom icons Apple created, someone has created a Git repository to house them all. This is well worth checking out. Prior to seeing that the October event had been confirmed, I started to have some doubts it was actually coming. I felt that very little had been leaked, so far, for this to be an imminent event. Sincet then, however, I’ve realised that there is actually quite a lot out there that seems to have propogated quite widely, and I assume will come to be true. So, what do we think we know so far? What are the obvious things we’re likely to see:

iPad Pro refresh

Firstly, updated iPad Pro’s not only seem to be a given, they are likely the reason this event isn’t just a press release. Rumours of an 11″ version of the iPad Pro has been doing the rounds for some time now, so my guess would be that we’ll see the 10.5″ replaced with a device with the same footprint, but with a larger screen, but also another device that does the opposite, namely keeps the 12.9″ screen size, but reduces the body / footprint down to make the device a bit more managable. To allow for this to happen, Apple are clearly going to need to ‘do an iPhone X’ and remove the home button, add Face ID and then also reduce the bezels as much as possible. The 10.5″ iPad Pro already reduced the side bezels quite considerably, but the ‘forehead’ and ‘chin’ still have a lot of shaving potential. As you can see from the renders below, courtesy of 9to5Mac these devices could potentially look pretty fantastic. 9to5mac Renders Along with this fantastic new look, you can be sure there will be the usual bumps to the spec sheet, such as the use of a new A12X chip, to the already high powered beauties.

A new port?

Another rumour that has been floating around for a while now is that the iPad Pro line will drop the Lightning connector, for USB-C, to move the iPad Pro away from the iPhone line, and in line with recent Mac models. This gained quite a bit of attention, with many praising this as a huge step for the iPad Pro to move into ‘real computer’ territory (though it’s there for me already, but that’s a story for another day). I have to be honest and say that I don’t really understand how this makes that much difference. I already connect my iPad Pro 10.5″ to a 4K display, and it’s not the fact that the device isn’t pushing 4K content to the monitor that’s the issue. It’s the fact that, unless I’m playing a film, the iPad display is still letterboxed in the middle of the screen (due to the unusual 4:3 aspect ratio), and it’s also still just a mirror of what the iPad screen is showing. Driving the 4K monitor is a small step in the right direction, I guess, but there will need to be fundamental iOS changes before this adds any tangible benefits. It sounds like Springboard updates will be coming in iOS 13, after being pushed back from iOS 12 earlier in the year, so this might be far too many things to add in a single release. The way things have been going, however, after limited iPad focused updates in iOS 12, it would seem logical that iOS 13 would include the next big leap for the iPad. To me, I expect the iPad Pro updates to be 99% on the hardware side, with any real software developments happening with iOS 13. Apple will often lay the hardware foundations first, ready for new software developments to catch up and I don’t expect this to vary from this trend.

Throw away all of your accessories

If the rumour is true about a switch to USB-C, along with whispers of the Smart Connector also going (or at least moving) it’s likely we’re all going to have to get all new accessories to go along with our new devices. An Apple Pencil v2, that connects the same way the Logitech Crayon currently works is likely, as is a new Smart Keyboard, though as far as I’ve seen not a single thing has leaked on that particular front. I’ve worked my way through many keyboards for my iPad Pro, but I always come back to the Smart Keyboard. I really love it, so I’m intrigued by what a revision to this may look like. It’s possible that Apple will just refresh this to add compatability with the new connector type / location, and I’m not sure what I’d change beyond this really, but I’m interested in seeing what happens on this front.

Location, Location, Location

The last time Apple went outside of their campus for an event was back in March, for their Education focused event. This was held in Lane Tech College Prep High School, in Chicago. In this case, the venue tied in perfectly with the reason for the event. Will the October event, in an Opera House, follow suit? I assume we wont see Eddie Cue belting out Nessun Dorma as Scott and I theorised in the latest episode of Pocket Sized Podcast (shameless pun intended), so what may this mean? Apple has been positioning the iPad Pro line, as the name suggests, as Pro hardware. Apple already has some professional grade software that has, to date, be the domain of the Mac. Logic Pro X is a professionally focused music recording and editing tool which may well be the first candidate to be transitioned to the iPad Pro line. As Scott put it, again in the latest episode of PSP, it’s perhaps time for Apple to put it’s money (and it’s apps) where it’s mouth is and bring some truly ‘Pro’ apps to the iPad Pro.

Something, Something Mac

I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about what may be coming on the Mac front. Having moved to iOS as my main OS back in 2011 / 2012 I’ve not followed Mac developments at all. It’s now so far out of my area of knowledge I wont even patronise any readers with a rehash of what has been written elsewhere. I can’t add my own thoughts or commentary to it, so I’d rather just refrain from commenting. What I will say, however, is that while not for me, the Mac line is still a very important area for many people, and my beloved iPad Pro would be devoid of any apps without it, so I hope the Mac people get whatever it is they need to help keep this area fresh, exciting and more importantly, usable for them. All in all, I’m beyond excited for what we’ll see come 30th October. My wallet, on the other hand, is dreading what expense it will have to endure, a month before Christmas, but it’ll be fine! I’ll be watching the event live, along with millions of others, and will be sure to share my thoughts on what I see via the TheDent.net, the companion podcast and, also, via another podcast that will, for now, remain nameless.