Tuesday Morning News

#1

Originally published at: https://appletalk.com.au/2019/03/tuesday-morning-news190319/

Apple has updated the iPad Air and iPad mini overnight. The iPad Air gets a new 10.5-inch form factor popularised by the iPad Pro, powered by an A12 Bionic processor paired with Apple’s Neural Engine, just like the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The iPad mini sees a similar upgrade, and while the form factor stays the same at a comfortable 7.9-inches, processor and display upgrades are the name of the game, with Apple Pencil support also making it to the iPad mini for the first time. Both iPads are available to pre-order starting today at $779 for the 64GB Wi-Fi iPad, or $599 for the 64GB Wi-Fi iPad mini, and will be available in-store starting next week.

Along with the new iPads, Apple is now also offering a few new accessories for the new iPads. There’s Smart Covers for the 3rd-generation iPad Air in both polyurethane and leather variants (four colours each), while the iPad mini gets slightly cheaper versions of the polyurethane Smart Covers. If you’re buying the new iPad Air, you also get the choice of a Smart Keyboard for $235, and if you’re still very happy with your iPad Pro, you can now get its Smart Folio cover in pink sand.

AppleInsider says that while the dimensions of the new iPad mini closely match the previous model, using an older case will mostly work if you have a fourth-generation iPad mini, with some minor compromises due to minor design differences. And no cases for any previous generation iPad Air will work with the new one, but if you have any spare 10.5-inch iPad Pro cases, there’s a good chance they will work.

Interestingly enough, the new iPad Air and iPad mini are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil, not the latest that was introduced with the updated iPad Pro. It’s probably not that big a deal for most people, but means Apple Pencil compatibility isn’t quite as simple as one device that works with everything. If you’re after a cheaper Apple Pencil alternative, the good news is that Logitech’s Crayon stylus works with both new iPads.

The sixth developer betas of iOS 12.2, tvOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, and macOS 10.4.4 have been released by Apple. There’s a good chance we’ll see a public release in early April, or even perhaps just after Apple’s event next week, although that opens up even more questions: now that Apple has announced and released new iPads, what else will we be talking about next week? New AirPods hardware?

The debate of whether Apple should release thicker products with a different set of trade-offs is a debate as old as time, and this time around, 9to5Mac wonders if Apple should release a thicker MacBook Pro with a different set of compromises. While there’s no right or wrong answer, the fact that people want thicker laptops (although perhaps not as thick as the image suggests) is very curious.

Everyone’s favourite RSS reader for Mac is alive and in beta. Reeder 4 will be sold as a new app, with a companion iOS version that’s almost done. The Mac version is still missing a lot of features, but between Reeder 4 and NetNewsWire 5, the future of RSS is looking bright.

Macworld says that Apple dominates podcasting right now, but with Spotify investing millions into acquisitions, that’s only going to last so long. Apple seemingly does nothing to keep podcasts on its own terms, unlike the App Store, so it will be interesting to see if we’ll ever see any kind of competition in the podcasting space from big tech companies.

A story from earlier in March says Apple opposes the logo trademarked by a Norwegian political company, and looking at the logo it’s easy to see why. It bears a striking similarity to an earlier Apple logo, so it’s no wonder Apple are opposing the trademark.

Speaking of classic Apple, it’s hard to go past the story of Clarus the dogcow. Clarus was created by famed Apple designer Susan Kare as part of the typefaces included with the original Macintosh, and one of them featured a little black and white dog. The rest, as they say, is history.

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#2

I still don’t understand the iPad range, especially the iPad Pros which don’t appear to provide any significant benefits over the new models.

So once upon a time the iPad become the iPad Air… then that was sort of abandoned and the iPad come back… now the Air is back again? Does that mean the iPad is going away again? Or will they be kept as the older (and cheaper) version in the line up?

I get the Mini. People love the form factor and don’t want to have to give up performance just to get that size. It’s great to see it back and with specs on parity.

The the Pro. Now it’s very close to the same spec but much more expensive. Sure it’s the cutting edge one with Face ID and the new pencil and all the newer bells and whistles so I get that for those that want the best of the best (and are willing to pay for it) it’s the one to buy.

But for who? What does it really do better? What new/different add ons can I plug in and use thanks to USB C? What apps need an iPad Pro? Will there be Pro only apps?

Questions we don’t yet have answers to for sure, but Apple seem to just continue to use a shotgun aproach to their product line.

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#3

I was contemplating a 10.5" to replace my 2017 Pro which I find is actually too big for me. This version will suit me well, and I will sell on my old Air 2.

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#4

I gave up waiting for a new mini and bought a new iPad last year.

I want the new mini but it feels like I’d be wasting money when my existing iPad isn’t very old…

I wonder what a 2nd hand iPad will fetch on eBay?

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#5

I bought the Mini 4 after years of just using the Mini 1… the 4 will do me for the foreseeable as a couch surfer and quick fix games player.

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#6

In the new iPad Pros, every one I’ve sold has been a 12.9-inch, which the Air obviously doesn’t have, so there’s that. (to people replacing laptop use cases usually, so with KB Folio + Pencil). So that’s in their favour (i.e. the larger screen). That said, I’ve been happily using a Gen 2 iPad Pro 12.9-inch still instead of a laptop since January and it’s plenty fast enough for me.

I think the goal is to have the cheap 9.7-inch as entry level (and I’ve heard it largely exists at this price point for education to compete with Chromebooks), then Air/Mini as the everyday user who wants a bit more power and/or keyboards, etc. and then the Pro for the hardcore iPad laptop replacers. I think it’s a good range - as the Pros are very expensive. These mid level iPads look good and having been updated are more attractive now.

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#7

My daughters old iPad Mini 2 has been failing for a while now and we were holding off waiting for the new iPads when it gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. Faced with the prospect of a 2018 iPad when a new one was probably coming imminently didn’t feel very attractive and while I hunted about for a cheap second hand unit (which doesn’t really exist, people still want silly money in my mind for older iPads) I couldn’t find anything suitable.
In the end I rationalised the decision to do an early upgrade on my Wifes iPad Pro 10.5 through Optus and hand that one down to my daughter. The payout was effectively the same price as buying the 2018 iPad and I figured she’d end up with a better machine too. She’s loving the pencil (which was always on the cards anyway) and my wife is now in a 100% FaceID world and she loves it…. at this point I realise I’m saying I just bought the machine I don’t understand… twice.

On reflection, the Pro is actually closer in price to the Air than the basic iPad making the leap up far less of a step up, albeit with only small benefits. In many respects Apple have just quietly raised the price of the iPad by introducing a new higher priced model, which really is just the next iPad anyway. I wonder if they will keep the lower speced iPad as an entry level model or if it will just disappear one day.

So, given the choice again today knowing what has been released would I still make the same choice?
In short, probably. I wouldn’t buy the basic iPad (although I’m sure it would be 100% suitable), because I struggle to spend good money on old technology so would want the newer CPU. So that leaves me with the 256GB WiFi iPad Air at $999 and that’s getting up close to the iPad Pro price. Factor in the cellular connection I’d otherwise be paying for for my Wife and the Optus bundled deals don’t look too bad. It’s all funny maths but I’m happy enough and my daughter is loving her new iPad and Pencil, my Wife is also loving her 100% FaceID world.

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