Tech Talk: iPadOS / iOS 13.1 First Impressions

This is just from playing with iOS 13.1 for about an hour on my iPad 5th Generation and iPhone X. You can find lots of articles online with in-depth details. So these are just my own first impressions. I hope you find them useful.

The best update for me – video editing!

First what I think is the the best new feature in iPadOS and iOS 13, and what makes it worthwhile updating right away for. Photo and video editing has been incredibly improved! Now you can crop and rotate videos directly! And you can edit video brightness, etc., directly from within the Photos app. Finally! This is a huge convenience. Think about it.

Photos Gallery

The Photos view itself is also greatly improved. If you are scrolling through your photos, you can do it by day, months, years, and all photos. The cool thing is that photos are scaled nicely, and you can see the live photos and videos move as you are scrolling through. It brings your photos more “to life” as you are looking through them. 

Some iPadOS Notes

From 13 onward, iOS is for iPhones and iPadOS is for iPads. I only touch on some of the new features here. There are apparently some cool things you can do between your iPad and Mac as well.

Handoff

I’ve always like the fact that you can copy on one device (iPhone, iPad, Mac) and paste to another. I use that all the time, and it’s one thing that keeps me in the Apple ecosystem.

Handoff is quite cool too. For example, after updating my iPad to iPadOS13, I noticed right away that if I have a Chrome window open on my Mac, there’s a little icon at the bottom right on my iPad which lets me open that same page in Safari. Interesting. Similarly, if you are composing an email, or writing a memo on one device, you can just switch to another device and continue.

Widgets on the Home Screen

The iPad now allows widgets on the home screen, which makes better use of the home screen space. So I can, for example, see the weather and upcoming calendar appointments right there on the home screen to the left of app icons. That’s pretty cool.

Multitasking Enhancements

On the iPad, you can now have multiple versions of the same app open at the same time and other multitasking features. For example, you can have Files open twice in split view and drag files around to different folders that way. It works great, but the UI takes some getting used to. I suspect unless you are using your iPad every day for school or actual work you probably won’t be doing this much. Maybe I’ll feel different about that once I get the hang of the UI better. It does work as advertised though.

Desktop-like Safari on the iPad

In iPadOS the Safari browser is more like the desktop browser now, with tabs and other desktop-like experiences. You can even drag browser tabs to the side and have two pages open at once in split view mode (see multitasking, above). That’s pretty cool. Apple are clearly trying to make iPad more useful as a computer substitute for certain people.

Dark Mode

Another thing I noticed right away is that I don’t really care for dark mode. It clashes in ordinary Mail, because the bodies of a mail are not dark and yet the listings themselves are dark, so it looks weird. Instead of being easy on the eyes, it becomes confusing. I’m sticking with regular window colors.

Slide to Type – and the small keyboard on the iPad

The new slide-to-type, where you run your fingers over the keys instead of typing each letter separately, works flawlessly on my iPhone. In a situation where you can’t dictate I can see this being a big time saver.

Meanwhile on the iPad you can shrink the gigantic on-screen keyboard to iPhone size now. Just pinch in on the keyboard (like you’re shrinking a photo) and you have a much less intrusive keyboard which you can use with one hand. When you do this, slide-to-type also works on the iPad.

Some Mail UI improvements

When you touch the reply icon in Mail, you see lots of options at once: reply all, forward, trash, flag, mark as unread, move to a suggested mailbox, or move to another mailbox – all right there. Also archive, junk, mute, notify me and more are right there. Interesting!

Message Searching 

Searching in Messages is greatly improved, and you can instantly find photos and attachments. Also, some attachments that didn’t open previously now do open, like a sound attachment of birdsongs a friend sent me recently.

Memo Improvements

The Memo app, which I use every day (I no longer use Evernote) gets new features too, like a gallery view (easy to find images and sketches. Another big improvement in Memo is shared folders for collaboration (before you could only share individual notes).

Long Screenshots Doesn’t Work

A feature that looks convenient, but doesn’t work for me right now is long screenshots. In Safari, Mail and other Apple Maps you supposedly can now take a long screenshot without doing it in parts and then using an app like Stitch-It to piece it back together again. It’s supposed to save it as a PDF in Files. I tried this, and it saves it as a PDF in Files, but it’s just the selection as before. I’m checking into this.

iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 are also noticeably faster. I recommend updating if your device supports it.

Enjoying new iPad with keyboard case

Since I got my new iPad 5th generation in a trade-in with my carrier (traded in my old iPad Air, which itself was purchased used after selling my iPad 2 at an auction site) I find that I’ve been using it quite a lot. In fact, I’m using it to create this blog post.

Yesterday I brought just my iPad, and a tiny Bluetooth speaker for extra volume when playing songs for the class, to my weekly volunteer teaching at Hibikinokai. It worked great.

The Logicool keyboard case really makes a difference for productivity on the iPad, as opposed to mostly consuming media and checking email and Facebook.

The tablet features are great, and the keyboard just makes it easier to use for things like writing this blog post.

Some nice things about using the keyboard with the iPad include:

  • There is a special row of iOS keys, so you can easily go to the home screen, bring up your current open apps, do a search, switch languages, bring up the keyboard if you want to, control music, control speaker volume, lock the iPad and more.
  • You can use tab on the keyboard to go to the next field when filling out a form instead of tapping on the next field on the screen (which you can still do, of course – either way is fine).
  • Copy/pasting is easier because in addition to the “tap on screen” method you can use CMD+V on the keyboard. Similarly you can use CMD+L in Safari to go to the address field, CMD+A to select all text and CMD+Z to undo.
  • There is a cool Documents 6 app by Readle which essentially adds a Finder-like feature to the iPad. I understand a Finder-like feature will be standard in iOS 11 too. I used that for class by downloading some YouTube videos for class and keeping them local for playback.
  • The keyboard helps save space on the iPad screen, because when typing it’s not on-screen by default taking up screen space.

So it’s a convenient mix of keyboard and on-screen tapping tablet features.

The only problem I noticed is that when I go back to my MacBook Pro I find myself tapping on the screen now to do some things instead of moving the cursor and clicking!

Since this iPad is the wi-if plus cellular model, it’s also convenient outside. I even have a Terminal app running on it so I can connect to servers in case of a customer emergency.

Anyway, it’s quite fun. I think I’ve used my iPad this past week more than I have all my other iPads together over the past 5 years!

 

IMG_8068

Thinking about getting a new iPad because, why not?

My current iPad is the original version iPad Air. Not all the upcoming iOS 11 features (such as split-screen) are supported on this model because it has gotten old.

So I’m thinking of getting the new iPad 9.7″ model. I also looked at the new iPad Pro 10.5″ model, but functionally they are the same. The only differences are:

  1. The Pro’s CPU is A10 and the regular iPad is A9 (my current one is A7).
  2. The Pro’s screen is 10.5″ and the regular iPad is 9.7″ (in almost the same overall size).
  3. The Pro has a so-called “smart connector” which connects to the new “smart keyboard.”

But the cost is substantially different, and I don’t think the extra cost is worth the Pro. They are both functionally the same.

If I get the wi-fi plus cellular model from Apple Japan directly and, say, pay it off with a zero percent 24 month loan it’s 2,800 yen/month. But then you have to go make a separate contract with a cellular company if you want to use cellular data rather than tether to your iPhone.

I talked to SoftBank – my cell phone carrier – and if I get it from them you get a large monthly discount off of the device, so the total with data sharing and device cost and all their other fees is 3,000 yen/month. Just 200 yen/month and it includes the data contract.

So if I do this, I’ll probably get it from SoftBank and data share with my iPhone 7 Plus.

Bits and pieces: Chako, diet, iPads

Sad news to report about Chako

My neighbor, who had continued to feed Chako every day in secret from her husband, behind her house, said that after the huge 45 year record snowstorm last week, Chako has not yet returned. We strongly suspect she was unable to survive the snowstorm.

Sort of a lonely feeling that if she passed away she had to go like that. But if so, she did live the normal lifespan of a feral cat. Even though feral, she seemed sweet and quiet. We tried our best with trap, spay and release. But she could not get used to people, except for me occasionally “nose-bumping” her.

Purple did return after the snowstorm, and my neighbor continues to feed him.

Some old blog posts and pictures of Chako can be found here: https://lerner.net/tag/chako/

Diet update

I might have gone into a panic over nothing regarding my diet. Since yesterday, in one day, my weight dropped 2.2 kg = almost 5 lb. Obviously there must have been some water retention.

Nevertheless, I think all the high-glycemic foods I’ve been eating (white rice, senbei, corn-on-the-cob) has altered my hunger cycles. Plus rice has a large number of calories. So I’m going to stop eating rice every day and make a couple of minor, non-vegan, changes to my diet.

For example, I ate low-fat cottage cheese yesterday for the first time in 2 years. A container has only 224 calories, but a whopping 34 g of protein, and is very low fat, and very filling. Non-fat dairy is actually allowed on the Ornish program, so I don’t feel this is too far off.

I decided not to add chicken, but I did add some small amounts of fish (sashimi) yesterday and today. That is also very low calorie and filling. I don’t think I’ll wreck my heart trying this for a couple of months. My dietician and doctors all recommended it in fact.

In early April I have my next checkup. If my cholesterol goes up I’ll rethink. Otherwise I might continue to allow small amounts of dairy and fish as part of my diet to help control appetite and keep calories low. Everybody is different. We all have to find our best way.

iPads!

I like the iPad 4 I recently received (thanks again, Dave!) so much I’m thinking of selling it.

Sound contradictory? It makes sense to me, and I think it’s not just “gadget cravings” for the iPad Air.

The iPad 4 is such a huge improvement over my old iPad 2 in visual quality, speed and very importantly in the fact it has Siri, that I find myself grabbing for it even more than my Nexus 7 now. I really enjoy using it, even though it is heavier than my iPad 2.

Since I’ll be making a trip to the U.S. next month, it seems to me an iPad Air with cellular might be a perfect thing to take along. I can get a no commitment one-month contract with tethering in the U.S. and stay connected with all my devices from everywhere, and not bother with renting a mobile wi-fi, or separate phone, etc. The iPad Air would become my mobile hot-spot.

It seems it would be a perfect, utilitarian, light-weight carry along. And in Japan I can use a sharing data contract with my iPhone 5, so it will only be an extra 1,300 yen a month in running costs.

So I think I’ll sell my iPad 4 – and older iPad 2 – and even older iPad 1. I don’t know the combined values, but I think together they will go a long way to covering the cost of the iPad Air. So it seems worth doing.

And that’s my update for today.