One day I’m going to have to upgrade from my current iPad Mini 4 to some variant of an iPad Pro and I’m going to face the dilemma of how badly I want/need to turn my iPad into an iPad Borg:
The BoltHub essentially “bolts” – really, it sort of clamps – onto the top right of your iPad Pro in landscape orientation, with an ominous-looking, short-run USB-C cable connecting it to the USB-C input. Once attached the device gives you a 4K HDMI slot, one slot each for Micro SD and SD cards, a plain old USB 3.1 port running at 5GB/second (suitable for thumb drives), a USB-C passthrough port to make up for the one you gave up to attach the BoltHub, and even a 3.5mm audio jack to replace the one that Apple so bravely omitted.
Have to confess the iPad Borg designation fits the BoltHub so well and I’d completely missed it. The iPad design just doesn’t look like it needs anything added to it, and yet it so plainly does. The BoltHub looks so wrong, and yet they’ve clearly tried so hard to make it look as unobtrusive as it can given the hardware limitations.
I reckon that barring accidental damage I’m probably going to get at least another year’s use out of my iPad Mini 4 before either the feature set of iPadOS 14 or fading battery life on my current device forces my hand on a replacement machine. Who knows, perhaps by the time I have to face this Apple will have Sherlocked the makers of the BoltHub by offering a similar device of their own? Different vendor, same issue.
Rui Carmo is, rightly, a little less optimistic than most of the Apple-focused commentariat about the notion that Apple forking iOS to create an iPad-specific variant marks a new era for the iPad:
I have a profoundly different take on what “work” means than Federico-like one of my friends said the other day, there is a lot more to the “work” that we do than, say, wrangling Markdown documents.
The crunch will come when Apple find themselves needing to make a change to the fundamentals of how iPadOS works – like, say, removing or hugely relaxing the 10-minute limit on how long apps are allowed to run in the background (except for media players and suchlike) before iOS kills them in order to let an iPad work more like a real computer would. I’m sure they’ll start with a bunch of easy wins like that, but at some point they’ll find themselves having to make harder choices and we shall see what happens then.
I’m not saying they can’t do it – they certainly can – just that when the first iPadOS is still in beta it’s a bit early to assume that Apple will do the right thing, especially if that right thing also has an impact on the user experience on Apple’s most important product.
So, do we file a high-profile article like this one under “Affectionate mockery” or “Fukng Hll pple, neveer mindd getting Oprh n stge, SN’T IITT TIIMEE YOU SORTD TTHIS KYBOAAARD OUTT!”
Keeyboarrd 101: Mostt lapttops havee keeys tthatt usee a scissorr-swittch meechanism tto prreess down. Sincee tthee ttwo intteerrlocking pieecees arree rreelattiveely ttall, tthee keeys havee morree “ttrraveel.”
[Via The Tao of Mac]
From a story about the idea that while Apple are moving into producing content directly they are keen to differentiate Apple’s own content from the sort of grittier, adult fare that seems to be a hallmark of the ongoing Golden Era of Television Drama. In particular:
Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly killed a semi-autobiographical drama about Dr. Dre’s life. Named Vital Signs, the drama had scenes that included drug use, sex, and guns. Those scenes were apparently too scandalous for Apple to feature. Which prompted this observation, from commenter ignite ice:
macduff wrote: Why did Apple commission a Dre series in the first place? Apple bought out his company for $3 billion, did they not bother to do a background check on Dre? His gangsta rap is hardcore.
It would seem, at least on the surface, that although they bought his company, they forgot about Dre.
Sad to say, the Apple Store and Greg Knauss have a little problem:
[Including…] the phrase “iPhone XR” or alluding to some announced, advertised, demoed but technically theoretical new phone will result in another rejection, up until October 26, 2018, when something will be released. Maybe it will be a flamethrower, or humane treatment for Foxconn workers, a phone for less than I paid for my first car! Who can say?
I know this is a ridiculous fight. I know that I agreed to this particular barrel of foolishness when I signed up to be an Apple developer. I know this is small potatoes, and that the country is on fire. I know that millions of people are battling every day for their dignity and their families and their lives. But, goddammit, this is a bridge too stupid, and I can’t cross it.
I’d somehow failed to notice that a documentary about the Apple Newton had been released: Love Notes to Newton is a mix of historical footage about the machine’s development and tributes to the dwindling band of Newton aficionados who have tried hard to keep their Newtons in daily use in the modern world where the smartphone in your Pocket utterly outclasses its ancestor.
It’s fair to say that the Newton was an inspiring failure: Palm were the most visibly successful company that tried to follow in the Newton’s footsteps, but they didn’t ever get beyond the geek market. While few users refer to their smartphones as a PDA that’s just what it is. The biggest difference between a smartphone/PDA and a Newton is that the Newton’s operating system took great pains to revolve around collections of object-oriented data that it made available to any other program on the device, where modern smartphones run standalone Apps and tend to have tighter constraints on what data is visible to different apps. To a large extent, if you can trust Newton fans to be objective for a minute, is that smartphones substitute sheer processor horsepower for smart software.
It’s tantalising to wonder what could have happened if the Newton had survived a bit longer after the return of Steve Jobs to Apple: might the improvements in Newton OS 2 (and whatever might have come to pass in Newton OS 3 if they’d got that far) have allowed the platform to flourish, or was it unfortunate enough to be a revolutionary product from a company that couldn’t afford to wait for it to outgrow the bad reputation it was saddled with because they over-promised what it was one day going to be capable of, and doubly cursed because it was a highly visible effort by a recently ousted CEO to be a visionary in the mould of his predecessor/successor?
The thing is, right now Apple’s iOS team would look at this documentary and think it couldn’t happen to them. It not only can, but one day it almost certainly will.
Anyway, Love Notes to Newton is definitely worth a watch if you have any sense of how things were when John Sculley was running the show and it wasn’t at all clear where Apple’s next hit product was coming from.
[Via 512 Pixels]
A few months ago I bookmarked Serenity Caldwell’s iPad video and somehow never got round to posting about it here.
It’s a very nice piece of work, but somehow I’m not persuaded that I need to rush out and upgrade to an iPad capable of working with an Apple Pen. In principle I understand that all sorts of people with actual artistic ability can do amazing things with an Apple Pen and an iPad/iPad Pro, but that’s not me. Tragically, one of the best features of my iPad Mini 4 is that it’s small enough to be genuinely portable in a way that a 10.5″ or 12.9″ iPad never can. I’ll take portability over an Apple Pen any day.
[Via Memex 1.1]
Michael Lopp’s Two Keyboards at a Bar is just delicious:
INT. EVENING. CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA. BJ’S RESTAURANT AND BREWHOUSE. A RECENT FRIDAY NIGHT
The bar is full. Two keyboards sit at the bar: APPLE EXTENDED II and MACBOOK PRO. The front door opens, TOUCHBAR looks around, sees the two keyboards at the bar, grins, and heads their direction. Skipping.
APPLE EXTENDED II sits at the bar nursing a Macallan 18. Next to him is MACBOOK PRO who has not taken a sip of his glass of water.
There are times when the only proper response is to stand back, recognise that you’re in the presence of genius, and applaud. Go on, follow that link. You won’t regret it.