A thought in reply to: iPad Pro for Photography

I look forward to iPad Pro being a core tool in my photography workflow.

The things that will be the tipping point for me are:

  1. Good DAM (digital asset management) apps for iOS. Lightroom is getting there, a Photos is ok, but we shall see where things go.
  2. MacPhun Luminar or similar apps with really intuitive editing.
  3. Easy import of images from a camera (not every photo is made on an iPhone)…

Completing The iPad Pro – The Smart Keyboard

I ordered my iPad Pro just over two weeks ago – and it arrived here in Darwin just two days later.

At the same time I considered purchasing the Smart Keyboard, but the expected delivery was 4–5 weeks, so I decided to wait and see what other options would come onto the market. I ordered a Smart Cover instead, which shipped the same day, but was sent separately and arrived five days later!

When it arrived the smart cover had been damaged in the mail, so I called Apple who have refunded the cover, and then decided to go and look locally at a couple of retailers[1] who had the cover in stock. Arriving at JB Hi Fi at Berrimah, I was surprised to find that they had a half dozen Smart Keyboards in stock[2]. I decided to purchase one, and am really glad that I did.

Having been a happy user of Logitech keyboards[3] for previous iPads I had grown used to the extra row of iOS specific keys for navigation (home, app switch), search and system contols (volume, brightness, etc), and was concerned that not having these would somehow limit my experience. Similarly I was concerned that the extra bulk and weight might diminish the utility of the Smart Keyboard.

I’ve been using the Smart Keyboard for about a week now, and love it. It makes the iPad Pro experience one that it both versatile and complete. The iPad Pro combined with the Smart Keyboard is a notebook computer alternative that will work for me[4].

It is still only a week, so I am sure my opinion will evolve, but here are my current thoughts on the Smart Keyboard.

  • The convenience of the integrated keyboard with a Smart Cover is outstanding.
  • The experience of the built in pairing is excellent. Plug and go in real life.
  • The integrated charging/powering from the iPad Pro battery is excellent. One less charger to worry about.
  • The lack of the extra row of iOS specific function keys has not turned out to be an issue for me. I like the app-specific smart key approach, and look forward to more app developers[5] building in support for these. That CMD+Space brings up Spotlight (search) and CMD+Tab brings up an app switcher is a great experience as there is consistency with
  • Any additional bulk/weight is negligible when compared with the standard Smart Cover for the iPad Pro[6].
  • Proportionally the addition of the Smart Keyboard adds less bulk/weight to the iPad Pro than a keyboard case like the Logitech Ultrathin does to an iPad Air[7].
  • I’d like backlighting, but not at the expense of extra size/bulk, so I think a happy medium has been reached.

My thoughts are along the same lines as the Initial Thoughts on the Apple iPad Pro Keyboard by MacSparky, who said

…the Apple keyboard has the right amount of balance between minimal profile and working keyboard that I think it is the keeper for me.

All in all, I am really happy with the Smart Keyboard so far. It is an awesome match with the iPad Pro, and I am keeping the Smart Keyboard on 24–7 as a cover with an integrated keyboard[8].

My iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard


  1. There is no Apple Store within 2,500km of Darwin, but the local JB HiFi and Harvey Norman stores have good Apple stocks.  ↩
  2. They also had Pencils in stock. As at 24 Dec 15, the Apple Online store is showing 4–5 weeks wait for the Pencil and 3–4 weeks for the Smart Keyboard. Harvey Norman had 13 Pencils & 12 Smart Keyboards on display that day.  ↩
  3. Both the Ultrathin keyboard/cover and Keys-to-Go keyboards  ↩
  4. For several years the month of March has been my iPads of March experiment where I’ve attempted to use only an iPad (and iPhone of course) as my on-the-go device, coupling these with a desktop at home (iMac) or work (generally a PC). Each year the iPad has gotten closer to the goal, but the iPad Pro realises it for me.  ↩
  5. Looking at you, Byword.  ↩
  6. Especially noting that the iPad Pro is already a larger device.  ↩
  7. I haven’t seen any of the third party keyboards for the iPad Pro in the wild yet, so can’t comment on those.  ↩
  8. I have subsequently been able to take a look at the Logitech Create keyboard for the iPad Pro. While it is a nice piece of kit with the function keys and backlighting, it is bulkier, and I honestly could not imagine using it as a permanent cover.  ↩

Around the Web for 16 Dec 15

I’ve been enjoying working and playing on the iPad Pro. It feels like the start of something new…

Checking in with the iPad Pro — MacSparky

I’m going to keep writing about this jumbo iPad as I use and wrap my head around it more. If you want something portable, this is definitely not the device for you. However for getting work done on an iOS device, the iPad Pro is pretty special.

Review: The iPad Pro is a line in the sand — 512 Pixels

The iPad isn’t going away, and if the iPad Pro has anything to say about it, all of us — even people who prefer the Mac — are going to be using tablets for work more and more.

And OS9.2 brings the power of 1Password to many more apps…

AgileBits Blog | iOS 9.2 adds 1Password to many new apps

Finally I returned home and was able to verify the amazing news: the 1Password App Extension API will simply appear in all Safari View Controllers in any app!

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)!

Shifty Jelly on building for Android first

Russell Ivanovic of Australia’s Shifty Jelly (developer of my favourite weather app for iOS and OSX) talk about why they developed an Android version of their Pocket Casts 4 app before an iOS version.

There’s no reason not to launch on Android first or iOS first in 2013. Both are massively viable platforms full of users who want to pay for great apps.

This is a mature and reasonable decision for an app developer. Focusing limited resources is critical, and it makes a lot of sense.

I think it also makes sense based on competition. As Russell stated, the Android version has been a bigger seller and more profitable product for them, and there is no native app in the class. I also suspect that relatively few developers are developing "Android first" (for now), so there is an opportunity for them.

I am a committed iOS user, and will be for the foreseeable future. But I’ve made platform shifts in the past, and can say that what makes sense for everyone – developers and users – is to choose the platform that provides you with the most value.

From: Shifty Jelly’s blog of mystery

The best weather app for Australians: Pocket Weather AU

There is no shortage of Weather apps available on iPhone, but few do the job in elegant way, particularly for those of us who are outside the US.
Most of the international weather services do a reasonable job of Australian forecasts and data, but few seem to have the consistency and accuracy of the Australian government’s Bureau of Meteorology. Those few apps that use data from BOM too often have a cluttered format.

Apple’s own (pre-loaded) weather app pulls data from Yahoo! weather, and has the main advantage of Siri integration. But the big disadvantage is that the weather data it pulls is descriptive at best, and never detailed enough for me. It also differs from BOM. For example, the forecast for tomorrow in Sydney (6 Feb 2013) from BOM shows a temperature range of 19–26C, whilst Yahoo shows 19–25C.

As the old saying goes:

The man with one watch knows what time it is. The man with two is never sure

As a scuba instructor trainer, I rely on accurate weather forecasts, and the data from BOM has generally been the most reliable for me.

Enter Pocket Weather AU.

Pocket Weather AU
Pocket Weather AU

Pocket Weather AU from Shifty Jelly provides data from BOM in an elegant, intuitive format. With location services enabled, the app provides real time data for your current location, as well as for other locations that you save.

The first screen shows a list of locations (you can have it launch straight to a default location if you prefer). Tapping on a location brings up a summary view for today. Swiping to the left brings a forecast view, while swiping right (from the summary view) brings up the weather radar. Swiping up on each of these screens will bring up more detail.

Aside from the beautiful UI and accurate data, my favourite feature is the free inclusion of tide information. Previously I had to purchase a separate tides app, which I had to repurchase each year. Pocket Weather AU allows the user to download the tide data from within the app, and have direct access to that.

Pocket Weather AU has other important features like access to weather warnings, and push notifications. This last feature allows you to see the current temperature for your default location on the app icon.

Pocket Weather AU is a brilliant app for any Australian who needs accurate weather data in a classy, intuitive app.

The app is available for iOS and Android.

The universal iOS app is $1.99 in the App Store.

The Launch of OmniFocus 2

CEO of Omni Group, Ken Case announced the Debut of OmniFocus 2 (at Macworld/iWorld):

…our goals for version 2 are to bring back to the Mac all of the design and innovation that went into our iPad edition of OmniFocus: dedicated Forecast and Review modes, clearer navigation, and a fresh look and feel.

As a long-time practitioner of what is a personal evolution of David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach, I’ve used a variety of organisational tools on a variety of platforms – OSX, iOS, Windows, PalmOS, etc. These have included native and third party apps. OmniFocus on OSX and iOS remains my pick due to its all around power. I love the fact that the Omni people have uncovered a very clever workaround to get OmniFocus to work with Siri.

A lot of people however find OmniFocus to be a complex app, particularly on the Mac (OSX). As Katie Floyd mentioned in her post about the announcement of OmniFocus 2, there is the perception amoung some users that you need a “degree in OmniFocus”!

OmniFocus for iPadBy contrast, OmniFocus for iPad sports a brilliant UI, and is actually where I do most of my process and review activities. I use the OSX and iPhone versions of the app to capture and also to check off next actions completed. The iPad version has a special “review mode” that takes you through a review of Projects that have had the appropriate attention recently. This powerful function will be a feature of OmniFocus 2.

The other factor that has made OmniFocus less approachable to the average user was its pricing. In his post he also outlines a new pricing approach, which will see a standard version available at US$39.99 – still a high end app, but half the price of the current version. There will be a Pro Version with support for custom workflows. There will also be special pricing for users of the current version of OmniFocus on OSX, available through the Omni Group’s website.

OmniFocus is a high end, quality app. With the new UI in OSX, and with its new pricing model, it will continue to be the first choice for productivity power users, and will be an excellent choice for less full-on productivity enthusiasts. Availability has yet to be announced, and it will go into private testing shortly.

iOS 6.1 Update for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV

iOS 6.1 Update Screenshot from Apple.comNo doubt all serious iPad and iPhone users are busy downloading the iOS 6.1 Software Update, which has a couple of new features, though nothing outstanding unless you’re in the US, or one of the additional 23 markets covered by LTE:

  • LTE support for more carriers
  • Purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri (USA only)
  • iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud
  • New button to reset the Advertising Identifier

I must admit that I am just as excited by the announcement that they have updated Apple TV with Up Next and Bluetooth Keyboard. Update features include:

  • iTunes in the Cloud
  • Bluetooth keyboard: Use your Apple Wireless Keyboard to control your Apple TV.
  • AirPlay audio for videos: Send stereo audio from movies, TV shows, and other videos on Apple TV to AirPlay-enabled speakers and devices
  • Stability and performance

All of these update items are terrific, but the addition of bluetooth has been a long time coming, and will be quite welcome when searching for particular items. I have also found the Apple TV to be a bit temperamental at times, so am looking forward to the stability and performance updates.