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Thoughts on the Apple iPhone Events for September 2013

Thoughts on the Apple iPhone Events for September 2013

Just before going to bed last night, I checked my RSS feeds to see posts about Apple hosting a second announcement event next week, this time in China:

The invite is the same as the one for the main U.S. event, which leads us to believe whatever is announced in Cupertino the day before will be headed China’s way.

When I awoke this morning, the interest in the Chinese event had continued:

Apple has sent out custom invitations to Chinese media outlets for an event being held in China on September 11th, one full day after Apple’s normal press event on the 10th

Some may notice that these two posts were separted by sleep. Overnight. Yet both posts were issued during the same business day. But that was in America, and I am in Australia, and Australia is in a different timezone.

I make this comment, because the China event is not “one full day after Apple’s normal press event…”. It (the Chinese, presumably abnormal event) is, in fact, only about 9 hours after the Cupertino one. So the question of what will be announced, and which executive(s) will front each event is in itself interesting. I don’t think it will be just teleconference – Apple will have an individual executive at each location.

Subsequently, additional information has come to light about satellite Apple press events to be held in Tokyo and Berlin, as well as Cupertino and Beijing. Clearly things are getting interesting – Apple has not held satellite events in recent years.

So it’s time to look into the crystal ball and think about what might be announced.

Cupertino Core Event

iPhone

Last January I posted my thoughts on the rumoured low-cost iPhone. In that post I gave a 75% probability on the likelihood of such a low cost phone, with two major reasons:

  1. Migration of all on-sale iPhone devices to the Lightning connector.
  2. Migration of all on-sale iPhones to the iPhone 5 screen dimensions.

I predicted that we would end up with three iPhone models in late 2013:

  • The iPhone 5S (in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB[1] models)
  • The iPhone 5 (in 16GB) as a mid-range model[2]
  • The low-cost iPhone (probably in 16GB)

My thoughts are that this roadmap remains the likely outcome from next week’s event(s). We now have a probable name for for the “low-cost” iPhone – the iPhone 5C.

iPhone 5C

C probably stands for “colour” and possibly “China”. But not cheap. It might be low-cost, and will certainly be “cheaper”, but as Rene Ritchie says, there’s likely to be nothing cheap about the lower-cost iPhone:

Apple may not know how to (i.e. be willing to) make cheap products, but over the last decade they’ve proven they can continuously introduce lower cost ones when and as they choose.

The iPhone 5C will have all the key hardware features of the current iPhone 5, but will have a plastic case that has various colour options. I agree with John Gruber’s thoughts that the iPhone 5C will also have all the software features announced for the iPhone 5S:

Apple can withhold cutting edge software features from old devices; they can’t do that for brand-new ones.

I don’t expect any other hardware innovations (aside from the lower cost casing) over the iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S

We will possibly see a champagne coloured iPhone 5S, in addition to black and white versions.

There will quite possibly be a fingerprint sensor on the 5S, and if this launches as rumoured, I think it will herald a potential major shift in security and usability of smartphones, and presumably later tablets when the next generation of iPad is launched.

I am almost certain we will see a bump in memory, with 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models on offer.

In terms of wireless communications, near field communications (NFC) remains a possibility[3], as does improved WiFi with support for 802.11ac and improved Bluetooth support.

Battery life will likely further improve.

Apple TV

Something is happening in this area, with rumours of multiple deliveries of “set top box with communications feature” from China. I have no idea if this a new version of Apple TV if we know it, a new device or simply rumours leaked to keep Gene Munster and other pundits occupied.

An Apple TV that supports an AppStore and apps will come. I’m just not sure when.

iPad, iPod and Macs

Not at this event. It will be focused on iPhone and iOS7.

iOS7

It’s no secret that iOS 7 is to be released along with the new iPhone, and given the normal iOS beta release history, we may expect to see a Gold Master release immediately following the announcement, and the release to users a week or so later, prior to the release of the new iPhone models.

iOS 7 beta 6 was released on 15 August 2013. I would have thought that we were due for a new release by now, so maybe the current release is stable enough to be ready to go gold. At least for iPhone.

Some rumours suggest that the release of iOS 7 for iPad may be delayed as it may not be as stable on that platform, and so that developers can focus their efforts on a great release for iPhone.

iOS 7 sports many great new features, as well as a flatter design and new app icons[4]. iOS 7 is the biggest change in iOS since the release of the first iPhone, and I am sure that there will be a learning curve as well as strong reactions from many users – both positive and critical.

I am of the opinion that from time-to-time a fundamental, in-your-face change to the look and feel of a system is important to combat the perception of stagnation. The trick is to migrate that change whilst maintaining the core of the user experience and all the good stuff.

I am looking forward to seeing if there are any Siri-esque surprise features to come in iOS 7. I suspect there might be.

Satellite Events

I think that each satellite event will have a senior Apple executive (not a country manger) hosting it. Tim Cook will chair run the show in Cupertino, and do a satellite intro elsewhere. Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller and Jeff Williams are likely to play a role at the core event, or host at the remote location.

Each event will recap the products and offerings launched at the Cupertino Core Event, and then will provide something unique to that country/region.

One more thing – simultanous release of the iPhone to even more markets is highly likely.

Beijing

More emphasis here will be placed on the launch of the iPhone 5C, but there will likely be an announcement of a partnership with China Mobile.

Tokyo

Wondering out loud, but given that NTT DoCoMo has lost 3.2 million customers due to the launch of iPhone, perhaps it is time for NTT DoCOMo to relax it’s walled garden approach to a user experience.

Berlin

I have no idea what will happen here. It could be just a play to have live events in each major timezone, especially given that the IFA conference is in town, and there will be a lot of tech media in town already. And Apple may want to steal some media thunder from, say, Samsung[5].

Conclusion

A new iPhone 5S and a lower-cost iPhone 5C, supported by a legacy iPhone 5 in 32GB are likely to be launched, with simultaneous availability in major global markets.

iOS 7 will release quickly, at least for iPhone. I think we’ll see a surprise or two.


  1. My predictions about the memory bumps was wishful thinking, but I think them more than likely…  ↩

  2. I suspect now that the iPhone 5, mid-range model, will probably now be a 32GB model. But that’s just a guess.  ↩

  3. I wish I could call it a probability rather than a possibility.  ↩

  4. Some of which are more popular than others.  ↩

  5. Samsung will launch the Galaxy Note 3 at the IFA event, and have just announced the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch immediately before the start  ↩

A New Dawn for RSS

A New Dawn for RSS

It’s morning here in Sydney, Australia on the 1st of July 2013. In a few hours time, Google Reader will be no longer.

As an RSS power user for many years, Google’s evolution from embracing to dominating then ignoring and finally abandoning the RSS market has been astonishing. I first started using RSS well before the advent of Google Reader, initially with web based tools then Google Reader through the browser and most recently to Google Reader as a backend to tools like Mr Reader (for iPad), Reeder (for iPhone, iPad and OSX) and others.

Like most people, I was disappointed but not entirely surprised when Google abandoned Googe Reader, but I have cometo the opinion that this move might well be a good thing for the future of web feeds, and might have interesting and positive benefits for personal privacy issues.

For web feeds, once Google dominated the RSS market, in many ways it stopped innovating and there was little effort to build further on top of the nascent capabilies in RSS. The barriers to entry for others to get in were high – Google held near 100% market share, and provided a free offering. For its own part, Google had few options to monetise a free offering, especially when many users (myself included) simply used it as a backend to smart phone, tablet and computer based apps.

So advertising revenue (Google’s primary income source) was limited. I can only assume that Google could not find a way to extract value from knowing what information sources its users were subscribing to, reading and clicking through on.

On the personal privacy side, I am a great believer that we, individual users, need to be more responsible when it comes to how we share our information. I think it’s responsible to not put all our eggs in one basket (be it Google, Facebook, Apple or any organisation), especially when dealing with free products. With such free products, we are not the customer, but the information we provide and generate is the product the company sells to its actual customer – the advertiser.

So I now spread out my digital footprint across multiple services, and I favour those that charge a realistic and fair price, and who have a good privacy policy. This may cost a little more in subscription fees, but it means no one company has a complete picture.

So what do I use now?

I have two back ends that now work with an identical set of front end apps.

For the back end providers, I user the cloud based service Feedbin and a self-hosted Fever installation. Overall, I like the idea of the self-hosted service, and the developer has done much to create something unique. But, Fever is low on his list of priorities, and I am not confident there will be regular, continued development of new functionality. Already, the app API does not support subscription management, something I consider important.

So Feedbin is my primary RSS management system, and for $2 per month ($24 per year) it meets my needs nicely. It works well (especially since an infrastructure upgrade last week), and has a nice web interface supported by an API that has a good legion of apps.

At this point, my primary tools for accessing my Feedbin feeds are Mr Reader on the iPad and Readkit on OSX, supported by Reeder on iPhone when I am out and about. These apps all support both Fever and Feedbin, giving me a consistent user experience (in so far as this is supported by the API).

I really like fact that there is serious competition in the RSS marketplace now. I am keeping an eye on services like those offered by (or soon to be offered by) companies like Feed Wrangler, Digg, News Blur and others. Whilst my platform of Feedbin/Fever and Mr Reader/Reeder/ReadKit support my needs well now, I will be keeping a close eye on further developments and evolutions, and am excited by the future of RSS.

Evernote Introduces 2 Factor Support (and more)

Evernote Introduces 2 Factor Support (and more)

I’m a big fan of 2 factor security for critical information stored online (in the “cloud”). After the attempted hacking on Evernote back in March, I made the following resolutions regarding the security of my online data:

Clearly this issue has made me re-consider aspects of my own approach to information security, and has reinforced others. I recommend that everyone do the same, and take at least the following actions:

  1. Use only reputable services that provide 2-factor authentication for cloud storage of personal, sensitive or confidential data;

  2. Have a personal password management policy that includes never re-using passwords, and never using dictionary passwords. Use of an app like 1Password, LastPass or similar may help.

At the time I wrote that post, Google and Dropbox were the main services to have implemented 2 factor security, and it’s been pleasing to see that other services have commenced implementation of 2 factor security, including App.net, Apple [1], Facebook, Fastmail (my email host of choice) and Twitter [2], and most recently, Evernote.

I was initially disappointed with what I first read about Evernote’s 2 factor security implementation because the first blog post I read indicated the implementation was SMS based. However, on reading Evernote’s blog post I saw they indicated a choice of SMS or authentication with Google Authenticator.

Evernote implements 2 factor security, and more

I’ve set Evernote 2 factor up using Google Authenticator [3], and am delighted that my major online services have at least begun implementation of 2 factor support. Fastmail, Evernote and Dropbox are the most important for me, and they each have good 2 factor support. The main piece still missing (for me) is iCloud, although the data stored there is less security critical.

Evernote’s implementation works well, but is only for Evernote Premium users at this time. A couple of important things should be borne in mind when implementing it (or for that matter, any 2 factor security system).

  1. Ensure that you have updated the corresponding app (or apps) on every device before implementation; and,
  2. Save the backup codes provided in a secure repository (print the out or save them in a secure location like 1Password).

Evernote’s latest security updates also includes a couple of additional things (available for all users) – Authorised Applications (and the ability to revoke access remotely) and Access History.

Hop to it. With this implementation, Evernote (the best online repository of stuff) is now even better.


  1. So far, Apple’s implementation seems to be a bit of a lame duck, because it doesn’t seem to do very much. I’ve not actually seen it request a code since the initial setup, and it doesn’t seem to be connected (at this time) to iCloud or the iTunes/App Stores.  ↩

  2. Twitter’s implementation has been quite critically received, primarily because authentication is by SMS and doesn’t allow multiuser capability (like Facebook).  ↩

  3. I have moved away from many of Google’s app and services. At the time I originally wrote this post, I was using Google Authenticator, but now use Authy instead. It’s a nice little app for the job (update 29/8/13).  ↩

Put your Mac to sleep from afar…

Put your Mac to sleep from afar…

As a trainer and presenter, I often set my Macbook Air up in classrooms and conference venues. When I go to lunch or another break, I often wonder whether I remembered to lock my Macbook Air.

This post today from MacSparky (@MacSparky on App.net and Twitter) provides a wonderful little automation that uses Drafts on iOS, Dropbox and Hazel on the Macbook Air.

So I can now be sitting at lunch, and type a command into Drafts, and as long as my Macbook is online, it will go to sleep a few seconds later.

A great automation tip from MacSparky!

Apps for Fever Update

Apps for Fever Update


Last week I published a post on the State of Play for Fever RSS and Apps, providing an overview of the iOS and OSX apps available to support Shaun Inman’s brilliant, self-hosted, RSS system Fever.

After a long period of little development on the app front, this last week has seen some exciting developments. I hope these new developments are a sign of things to come. I plan to review each of these separately over the next week or so, but thought a quick update would be worthwhile.

Fever Apps for Mac OSX

ReadKit – OSX (US$4.99)


ReadKit is a wonderful tool for Mac OSX, providing support for browser based reading and sharing services like Instapaper, Pocket, Pinboard and more, in a native app. It has already been an important part of my workflow for sometime, and the addition of support Fever in the beta of version 2 is an exciting development.

Whether you’re a Fever user or not, ReadKit should be a part of your reading workflow.

Fever Apps for iOS

Sunstroke – iOS Universal (US$4.99)


Sunstroke has displaced Reeder as my go-to Fever RSS app on iPhone, and since the release of version 1.4 last week, on iPad. Sunstroke has support for a wide range of social sharing and read later services (almost as wide as Reeder), and it has a gorgeous UI and a UX (user experience) that works best with my workflow.

At US$4.99 (A$5.49), Sunstroke is well priced as a universal app [1] and I suggest that this is the one iOS app for Fever, at this time. The developer is extremely responsive on App.net and Twitter.

Ashes – iOS Universal (US$5.99)


The Ashes app has been (re-) released as a universal app for iOS devices at an introductory price of US$5.99 (A$6.49). According to the website, it will increase to US$8.99 from 9 May. Ashes fully supports all native features of Fever, and has an elegant design. It is visually pleasing to use, and seems very stable.

At US$5.99 Ashes is appropriately priced for a niche product that supports both iPhone and iPad, and makes a good choice for someone wanting an all round app for Fever. The developer is actively talking to users on Twitter and App.net.

Reeder – iPhone (US$2.99)


Version 3.1 of Reeder for iPhone was released during the last week. This added support to the iPhone version of the app (which already supports Fever) for Feedbin.

Clearly the developer is focused on iPhone and Feedbin at this time, and so we will have to wait a while longer for iPad and OSX support for Fever. With apps like ReadKit and Sunstroke, this is no longer the problem it was only a week or so back.


  1. In the State of Play article, I mentioned that I thought Sunstroke was overpriced. Compared to Reeder as an iPhone only app, that stood. But for a universal app for iOS, the price is just fine!  ↩

Apple’s Two-Step Verification has a good security backup

Apple’s Two-Step Verification has a good security backup

I was quite excited when I awoke this morning to find news that Apple has released 2 Factor authentication for Apple ID. Apple seems to have done a good thing and built this into a “trusted device” upon which you use a feature in the Find My iPhone app, or receive an SMS each time you try to log-in. Sounds like a great approach, and it doesn’t surprise me that Apple chose not to use the Google Authenticator.

Apple 2 Factor

Following the attempted hack on Evernote, I made a determination that online service I use for personal/private/confidential “stuff” should support 2 factor authentication. Heck, if Facebook could do it, what was stopping Evernote and Apple. Very quickly App.net rolled out 2 factor support, and today was Apple’s turn. This was all part of my (perhaps peremptory decision to return to return to Google, something that following this and the GReadier debacle I am quickly reconsidering.

I went to the Apple ID site to set up two-step verification, and immediately was asked to answer security questions. It’s been a while, and for some reason I didn’t record these in 1Password. Having had more than 1 best pal at school, I went for the backup plan, and had a password reset sent out to my alternate email address.

Of course, I setup new security questions, and then went in and changed my alternate email address to one that is not linked or forwarding to any other email address I have. I took the opportunity to really tighten the hatches.

Next I went back to complete the setup of the two-step verification process, and almost immediately received a block telling me to wait three days. They also mass emailed every linked email address I had.

I guess that I had just changed a lot of security settings, and this raised an alarm at Apple that perhaps I might be hacking, and potentially locking someone else out from their account, a la the Mat Honan saga. So I think that Apple has paid a good bit of attention to the process to ensure that unintended consequences are minimised. Three days gives plenty of time for a real owner to get an email and intervene if necessary.

So at this stage I can’t provide a full review, but one thing that I noted from Katie Floyd’s post is that the two-step verification doesn’t (yet) support iCloud services, such as Documents, Calendar, email, etc. I assume (hope) these will come shortly, but will require a lot of apps to be updated. Today’s initial release was a good test for Apple, as the only app that needed to be updated was Find My iPhone.

Don’t forget to check out my list of web services that support 2 factor authentication.

Wishful thinking with the Dropbox-Mailbox merger

Wishful thinking with the Dropbox-Mailbox merger

Perhaps its wishful thinking, but I wonder if I am alone in hoping that following the acquisition of Mailbox by Dropbox, perhaps Dropbox will launch email hosting as part of its suite of offerings[^1] .

I love Dropbox – it’s a vital tool in my personal file management, and I am proud to have been a paid customer for several years. I have implemented many features – shared folders (I have many of them), 2 factor authentication (one of my must-have features in an online service) and integration to a variety of iOS and OSX apps.

I must admit, one of the things I like about Dropbox is the fact that I am customer. Being a paid service, Dropbox benefits out of maintaining my business, which means providing me with a stable product that best meets my needs, and not using me and data they glean about me, to sell advertising (or sell to advertisers).

I’ve been enjoying using Mailbox on my iPhone, and it provides me with some features that are great – easy ability to clear my inbox down to what’s important, then make it zero by clearing those things out. It also has a way of making things come back later, perhaps when I am in a better place to deal with them.

But there are one or two things that bugs me – Mailbox is effectively an extra point of failure between me and my mail. If their servers are down, I can’t get my mail through the app – although at least I can get the mail through normal Gmail means. It also relies on Gmail, and like many people I am nervous about relying on gmail following the GReadier debacle. It’s also a free app, so I’m nervous about trusting it – but at least I have workarounds.

If Dropbox were to build a new email system from ground up, and use the front end features of Mailbox as a guide to the “UX” (user experience), this could make for interesting days. I’d love to see it as a paid service, part of the Dropbox Pro offering. Obviously the ability to map your own domain would be a necessity, but could be for a further premium.

This may be speculative and wishful, but it makes more and more sense as I think about it. I would move off Google Apps in a heartbeat if there was another offering that was similarly feature rich, but without the creepiness factor.

Google announces closure of Reader service

Google announces closure of Reader service

In the week that I discussed moving back to Google for some of my usage, including RSS feeds, Google has announced that it is killing Google Reader.

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

I like the way Google snuck this announcement in as the fifth bullet point on a post about spring cleaning aimed primarily at developers.

As Brett Terpstra said in a post on App.net:

“Usage of Google Reader has declined” = tons of people using it for sync, but we can’t put ads in that

Google Reader was free to we users, meaning we were the product, not the customer. Brett is spot on – if the majority of users access through apps where Google can’t control advertising, then the service isn’t viable.

It’s one reason why I initially moved to Shaun Inman’s Fever – having a self hosted, paid platform meant that I was the customer, and that the provider would not be in a position to simply shut up shop and go away.

I moved back to Google Reader solely because apps like Reeder and Mr Reader don’t support other RSS reader platforms, like Fever 1. I wanted more than a browser interface, particularly on iPad.

So, we’ve got a bit over 3 months for the developers of Reeder and Mr Reader to support other RSS platforms. I hope that Fever is first among them. I will move back as soon as there is a good iPad app – which I fully expect will happen in that time.

I also wonder whether the App.net social media platform will have a foundation upon which developers can build an alternative RSS service.


  1. I realise that Reeder 3.0 for iPhone does support Fever. I moved back to Google Reader because I need iPad and OSX support for it as well. Browser based access was ok, but not powerful enough for my usage. 

Brooks Duncan reviews doo

Brooks Duncan reviews doo

A week or two back, a new productivity app called doo popped up in the Mac App Store. Tagged as a way of accessing "every document of your life" wherever they are, in seconds, doo is a document organisation system that appeals to me as part of my quest for a paperless lifestyle.

I’ve been using Evernote as my primary document repository, but I have been growing increasingly wary about storing everything online in a third party system that stores documents in a proprietary format. Following the attempted hack on Evernote user data, I’ve made the decision to move any personal or business data that would be sensitive or confidential in nature back to a local database. I would prefer to be able to access key data on-the-go, so have been looking at systems like Yojimbo, DEVONthink and now doo.

I had installed doo last week with the intent of playing around with it a little, but since Sunday I’ve been gradually moving all the sensitiive Evernote data back to it. So far, it looks like a very powerful system that makes going paperless quite straightforward.

Today, Brooks Duncan of DocumentSnap has posted his initial review of the doo Mac OSX app. He gives what I think is the best description yet of doo:

You can think of it as a combination of Evernote and Dropbox, but unlike Evernote you can completely use the software without ever having to touch the web service, and unlike Evernote your documents do not get moved inside the application, and unlike Dropbox there is a nice local application to help you organize and find your documents

Right now doo has an OSX app and a Windows 8 app (interestingly, the Windows 8 version was launched several months ago, well before any other versions). In development are iOS and Android versions, as well as versions for other systems, including "legacy Windows".

doo is free for local storage, and has a range of plans for their optional doo Cloud backup and sync services. There is a 30 day free trial of their 25GB sync plan.

It’s fair to say that doo is in its early stages. Although not a beta release, I think that as the mobile apps come online, and as additional features are added, doo has the potential to become a very powerful organisation system, and could well be my flagship app for my paperless document management system.

Day One for iOS gets a huge update with PDF export and more

Day One for iOS gets a huge update with PDF export and more

Day One appOne of my absolute most used apps is the journalling app Day One, available for iOS and OSX. The iOS version this week received a major update, going to version 1.10, where the ability to export entries (single or a range) to a PDF file was introduced.

This is a terrific enhancement that allows the user to extract key data, perhaps sorted by tag (introduced last year to the iOS version) to a standalone PDF document, or perhaps to a PDF document that might then be stored in a system such as Evernote or DEVONthink.

Other updates include:

  • Custom date range- Tag filtering
  • Send PDF to iBooks, Dropbox and other apps
  • Export will run in background
  • Quick single entry export via Send menu
  • Historical weather increased from 3 days to 30 days
  • New reminder sound
  • Added Sanchez font option
  • Improved header and HTML styling

I love the direct Day One is taking, and look forward to these updates (and previous ones like tagging and geo-location) being introduced to the OSX version, soon (please)!

My iPad On The Go Setup

My iPad On The Go Setup

Anyone who has ever seen a scuba diver knows that diving is an activity that is intensely reliant on equipment. As a scuba instructor-trainer, I know that there is an important rule of thumb in how much gear to carry on any given dive – as much as you need and as little as you can get away with! I generally don’t need twin large tanks for a shallow reef dive, but these are a necessity when doing a “tec dive” to 50m.
When using a minimalist productivity solution – like iPad – this rule of thumb is equally important. It’s easy to forego a laptop computer, and then find yourself carrying around so much stuff that you lose most of the benefits of minimalism but you also need to make sure you’ve got what you need.

As part of my iPads of March challenge to test whether an iPad is a sufficient device for conducting my on-the-go activities, I thought it would be good for me to share my on-the-go setup.

Starting with the core, I use a iPad (3rd generation) with WiFi+Cellular and 64GB. I always max out the memory, as I store a lot of video content, and increasingly use my iPad for presentations. Although I could get away with a WiFi only model, and use Personal Hotspot on my iPhone or other available WiFi, I find that when traveling internationally not all carriers support personal hotspot, and WiFi in hotels and conference venues is often “spotty”.

When going with just the iPad, I use a Coocoon Gramercy messenger sling. This bag has room for my iPad, number of accessories organised with the included “GRID-IT” organisation system (pictured) and a small notepad (I generally carry a Moleskine for note taking). The size of this sling case prompts me to not carry unnecessary items around.

In the GRID-IT, I carry a number of accessories that I might need, including:

  • Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. I used to carry around an Apple Bluetooth keyboard in a Origami case, but the Logitech gives me a smaller profile option with overall less to carry around.
  • Mophie juice pack power station: although iPad generally gives me enough battery for a pretty intensive day of on-the-go work, you should always carry backup power. To be honest, I use this more often for my iPhone
  • Apple display connectors to connect to a screen or projector using HDMI or VGA
  • Apple camera connection kit (USB and SD)
  • Apple earPods
  • XtremeMac 2n1 stylus pen. Although I am not a big user of stylii, I love pens, and it’s occasionally handy to have a stylus at hand.
  • A small microfibre cloth

That’s pretty much it. I’ll be heading out shortly for a day of meetings and this is precisely the kit I’ll be carrying. Probably won’t use the display adapters or camera connection bits today, but they’re always handy to have on hand.

Now you know what I carry as an on-the-go setup for iPad for meetings, and general work out and about. I have additional items when traveling away from home, or when presenting or conducting training, and will cover these later in a separate post – remembering that we carry as much as we need, and as little as we can get away with.

iPads of March 2013

iPads of March 2013

My iPad main screenIn March 2012 I decided to go for a month using my iPad as my primary on-the-go device – a month I called iPads of March. My iMac in my home/office continued to be my “heavy-lifting” device for processing images/videos, building presentations, text formatting for some manuscripts I was working on and for accounting activities for my business. But I used the iPad for pretty much everything else – including researching, writing, email, task management, presentations, etc.

I wanted to test the idea that iPad is approaching the point when it could be a primary on-the-go device for a power-user like me. For content production as well as consumption.

Of course, where iPad leads others follow, so I know that when iPad reaches that point, we consumers will have a range of iOS, Android, Windows and other devices to help us do our work and live our lives.

I chose March last year for a couple of reasons – it was the month that the 3rd generation iPad was to be launched, but it was also a month in which I had no scuba instructor courses scheduled, as these courses are intensive on my workflows and technology (multimedia rich presentations and lots and lots of paperwork).

My findings were interesting. I found that my iPad could easily handle 90% of my on-the-go work that my MacBook Air would normally perform. In fact, there were three main things that were missing that would be a show-stopper for using the iPad as my primary device.

  1. Multimedia presentations using Keynote were (and continue to be) awkward and crappy. Many of my Keynote presentations have embedded media, and getting these into Keynote for iOS is cumbersome and results in significant quality reduction of the videos.
  2. Document scanning to PDF is pretty awful. I don’t mean low volume stuff using the iPad camera, but piles of multipage documents. I need to keep records of lots of paperwork, and to date I have not found a workable solution that approaches my NeatReceipts scanner for scanning out and about. When I am in town, I can do my scanning at home on my trusty Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500M.
  3. Business accounting software. My accountant wants me to use MYOB. I have the FirstEdge software for OSX, and there is no iOS application support.

In 2013, things are changing. While Keynote has not improved media handling as yet, there are other web/app based solutions that I am exploring. For scanning, the introduction of the iOS capabilities into the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 suggests that future versions of their mobile scanners will do the same. For financial accounting, I might upgrade to a package that would allow mobile integration. Or just live with the fact that I do my finances only from the home office.

March 2013 presents itself as another month with no scheduled courses that require rich multimedia, though I have some other courses/presentations that will allow me to test some concepts. My MacBook Air is in with the Genius Bar folks for repair, so it seems to me that I have once again the opportunity to use the iPad as my main on-the-go device. I am going to focus on making presentations work on the iPad, as scanning is on the horizon.

I’ll make two quick predictions and see how they turn out.

  1. The iPad will have made giant strides, and will be close the gap on becoming my primary on-the-go device
  2. There will be no new iPad launched in March

Keep an eye on djp.me/ides/ to see my posts tagged about my iPads of March 2013 experiences.