iPad Insight http://m.jzrht.com iPad app reviews, news and insight Thu, 21 May 2020 01:02:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.14 29638977 Living with the Magic Keyboard and the iPad Pro: Not Quite Magic, But Good Enough http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-the-ipad-pro-not-quite-magic-but-good-enough/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-the-ipad-pro-not-quite-magic-but-good-enough/#respond Wed, 20 May 2020 04:36:00 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38041 Magic Keyboard

I’ve been writing about the Magic Keyboard for a full three weeks, covering the good, the bad and the battery life. After spending a few days with my second one (see here for my reason for getting a replacement), now it’s time to put a bow on things and wrap up my final thoughts on the device.

High expectations

I had a somewhat bumpy start with the Magic Keyboard, but that ended up being mostly related to two things. First was my already well-covered problems with battery life. Those issues has been resolved, as far as I can tell, so I won’t bother rehashing any of that discussion here.

The second problem was the weight of my expectations of the product. I predicted a device like the Magic Keyboard would arrive this year back in January, but I had a different perspective on it. Then, when I heard the rumors that this new keyboard was real, I immediately thought it would be the ultimate accessory for all things iPad Pro. It would be exactly what I envisioned back earlier in the year and before.

Reality often has a way of not matching up to what we want. When the scope of the Magic Keyboard ended up being more limited than I hoped, I was naturally disappointed. However, a good product has a way of moving you past hangups with unrealistic expectations. The Magic Keyboard has succeeded at this in my case…sort of.

Of two minds

My experience with the Magic Keyboard varies, sometimes significantly, depending on where I use it. That’s because the way I use my iPad Pro changes quite a bit between home and work. Because of the Magic Keyboard design’s limitations, it suits one of my use cases a lot better than the other.

Along with my over-inflated expectations of what the Magic Keyboard would be, this had a negative impact on my early impressions of the device. However, things balanced out a bit once I got past the initial impressions and spent more time using it both at home and at work.

Home is where the heart is

Magic Keyboard Side

Despite any reservations I may have about using the Magic Keyboard for aspects of my job, it is pretty much perfect for the way I use my iPad Pro at home. Most of my general home use is pretty typical- personal web surfing, media consumption and basic organization tasks. I use my Pro for most of the things people would associate with a home computer. My iPad Pro use at home also includes all of my writing for this site.

The Magic Keyboard’s limitations aren’t really an issue for me at home. The narrow range of angle adjustment isn’t a problem here, as I am either using my Pro in my lap or on a desk. The other big limitation of the Magic Keyboard is the fact that it’s pretty much useless when you are using the iPad Pro as a tablet. Most other reviewers counter this by talking about how easy it is to just pull the iPad Pro off the magnetic back of the case and leave the Magic Keyboard behind.

I’ll get to my issues with this at work in a moment, but this isn’t a problem at home. I don’t carry my Pro around a lot, and if I do, it will be enclosed in the Magic Keyboard or another case. If I’m sitting in one spot, pulling the iPad Pro off and leaving the Magic Keyboard behind for a bit isn’t a big problem. There just isn’t that much risk of a busted screen or a bent Pro using it in my house.

The strengths of the Magic Keyboard really shine when I am at home. The trackpad is perfect for helping me get around an article for editing without taking my hands away from the keyboard. It also makes text selection easier than using touch and is faster than using keyboard shortcuts. While the trackpad looks small, I haven’t had any issues with that so far. I’m still able to get around the entire screen without issue, scrolling pages or documents is smooth, and the system navigation gestures aren’t a problem.

While I’ve complained about angle adjustment limitations, the effect of the iPad Pro floating over the keyboard that the hinge design gives you has proven to be beneficial in my use at home. I am often typing while sitting or reclining in bed with the iPad Pro on my lap. Having the screen a little closer and up higher off the keyboard has made it easier to see and reach when needed. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so I appreciate this after a long day of staring at a multiple screens at work.

As for the keyboard, it really is quite good. I do prefer the Brydge Pro+’s keyboard by a nose because of the longer key travel and slightly better response, but that’s really just a personal preference thing and isn’t a knock on the Magic Keyboard at all. Even though it has a little less travel than I usually prefer, it still feels really good to type on and I haven’t had any issues with it.

I also like that the backlight is strong enough to be seen in low light without being too distracting. When paired with the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad, it’s a pretty tough combo to beat. The only real drawback with the keyboard is the lack of function keys, but hopefully Apple will offset that with custom keyboard shortcut capability in iPadOS 14. It would be nice if I could manage the backlight with a shortcut, rather than having to dig through Settings. Turning it of when it isn’t needed is a great way to save a little battery life.

The Magic Keyboard is simple, solid and versatile enough that it’s pretty much the perfect accessory for me at home. I keep my iPad Pro in a keyboard case almost all the time here, so it’s design limitations don’t hold me back. I haven’t had to change or adjust the way I use my iPad Pro while testing the Magic Keyboard over the last three weeks. This has been a perfectly natural transition and it quickly become my keyboard accessory of choice when writing.

Not working out

Magic Keyboard Closed

While the Magic Keyboard has been smooth as silk at home, work is another story. I use my Pad Pro very differently there and I end up bumping into the limitations of the Magic Keyboard much more often because of that.

When I’m sitting at a desk and the iPad Pro is docked, the Magic Keyboard is fine. I usually leave it in a case there because I often use my Pro as a second or third screen. I usually keep my laptop focused on engineering and programming tasks and handle email, browsing or some project management with my iPad. The keyboard is useful for a lot of these tasks, and even if I don’t use it, the case makes for a good dock/stand. If this was all I did with the Pro at work, I wouldn’t have any complaints.

Unfortunately, that’s only part of how I use my iPad Pro at work. I do bump into the angle adjustment limitations when I am working while standing. I will often have my laptop and/or Pro on a cart in these cases, which puts it much lower than you would typically have it at a desk. When you are looking down on the iPad Pro, the adjustment range of the Magic Keyboard comes up a bit short. The shallow angle makes it harder to see, especially in harsh lighting. It’s more of an inconvenience than a major issue, but this isn’t a problem for any laptop, or some competing products such as Brydge’s keyboards.

The bigger issue for me is the fact that I really can’t use the Magic Keyboard at all with the iPad Pro as a tablet. Again, many reviewers dismiss this, but I can’t at work. I work for a contracting firm and carrying an iPad Pro around a job site without a case is not a good idea. It’s the perfect computing device for many things that I do, but it isn’t built for demanding environments. With the Brydge Pro, I felt like I had just enough protection. Logitech’s Slim Combo case for the previous gen Pro design was even more ideal, as you could remove the keyboard and still have the rest of the case attached to the iPad Pro. Unfortunately, the Magic Keyboard gives me nothing here.

To counter this while testing the Magic Keyboard at work, I’ve been bringing an extra case along. Whenever I remove my iPad Pro from the Magic Keyboard to carry it around, I get the other case out and use that. If I am just sitting at a desk, I don’t bother, but if I am walking around the building taking job notes, taking pictures and notes for a quote, or marking up blueprints, I insist on having some kind of case. There are too just many hard floors, sharp edges, pipes, water leaks, slippery spots, etc to walk around without nothing on my tablet.

There’s another issue with the Magic Keyboard’s modular design that many who always work off of a desk don’t take account of. For those of us who work in jobs that have us on our feet, working in different facilities and environments, you often don’t have the luxury of leaving things behind. For example, one of my best customers is a major healthcare manufacturing plant. Their facility is well over 1 million square feet. There is an office on one end of the plant that I can set up and leave things in, but my work takes me all over the plant. I cannot leave a $350 case sitting around out in the open in the facility while I undock my iPad Pro to go look at something else.

Another example is when I quote work for new customers. The iPad Pro is by far and away the best tool I’ve ever used for quoting a job. The iPhone is good, but the addition of the Pencil and the bigger screen put the Pro in a different weight class. I can take pictures of equipment, equipment labels and job documents and draw and annotate directly on them. Using Notability, I can also merge this with audio recordings of conversations about a facility or particular area. It’s the perfect tool for the job.

Unfortunately, the Magic Keyboard is an expensive anchor in this scenario. In my first example, a site where I have a long history, I have a “home base” of sorts where I can leave tools and accessories in a safe and secure place. When I walk into a new building, I have to keep whatever I’m taking in with me at all times. If I’m using my iPad Pro, then the Magic Keyboard has to stay in the truck, because it isn’t useful at all for this task. At best it gets in the way. At worst, I leave it sitting somewhere in an unfamiliar building and it gets lost or stolen. No thanks.

The thing about my job is that it can be unpredictable from day-to-day, and sometimes hour-to-hour. The flexibility of the iPad Pro really suits my work, but the Magic Keyboard doesn’t match that. It isn’t designed for use while moving and it really isn’t versatile, at all. I’ve accepted that fact, but I can’t deny that it’s harder to stomach such a high price tag when I can’t use it for several tasks that I perform on a regular basis.

If anyone who isn’t a regular reader feels like chiming in at this point and recommending the Smart Keyboard Folio for my needs at work, please save both of us some time and don’t do that. I do not like the Smart Keyboard Folio at all and the limitations of the Magic Keyboard haven’t changed that. I feel like an Apple Exec would probably make the same recommendation based on how I use the iPad Pro, but it wouldn’t make any difference. If Apple updated the Folio to include the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad and backlit keyboard, then we can talk. Until that terrible, cloth covered butterfly keyboard is abandoned- no thanks.

Apple’s prerogative

I understand that Apple made the Magic Keyboard for a very particular use case. I am not a fan of the fact that they made it as limited as they did, but I do understand it. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t designed for me, or at least the me that works for 8-12 hours a day before going home.

As for my recommendations for others, if you are at a desk or in a controlled environment with your iPad Pro, much of what I’m saying won’t apply to you. Also, if you keep your iPad in a keyboard case all the time, then you won’t have any issues. However, if like me, you are also mobile worker who needs a keyboard case that is a bit more flexible and you prefer to keep your Pro protected in a case at all times, then the Magic Keyboard probably isn’t for you. Even if you love it when you can use it, the value proposition is a sticking point when you can’t use it all the time.

That has been my biggest issue with the Magic Keyboard. It works so well for the things it was designed to do. However, if the way you use your iPad Pro doesn’t line up pretty exactly with that use case, then you may find yourself disappointed. The $350 price tag is a lot tougher to swallow if you have to leave the Magic Keyboard behind as often as I do at work.

Like, not Love

All that said, I don’t dislike the Magic Keyboard. Not at all. It is good enough at what it does that I can’t help but like it. As I said earlier, it’s the perfect keyboard case for me at home. I really enjoy using it to type up my articles and I rarely have a reason to remove my iPad Pro from it when I’m not writing. Now that I’m not having any battery life problems, I use it anytime I’m not testing something else while at home.

However, there is enough that I can’t do with the Magic Keyboard at work to keep me from loving it. As much as I enjoy using it at home, it frustrates me enough having to leave it behind or work around it at work that some of that luster is lost. The strange thing to me is how segmented my experience is. I wasn’t kidding when I said I am of two minds about the Magic Keyboard, because that really is the case. There is virtually no overlap. My experience at home is overwhelmingly positive, while my use at work is sometimes good, but often irritating.

So here’s the real question. If I weren’t a writer who covers Apple, would I keep the Magic Keyboard based on my mixed experience? Honestly, I probably wouldn’t. I am enough of a gadget nerd that I wouldn’t want to return it, but I likely would because of how much it costs. I know I keep harping on value, but $350 for an accessory sets a very high bar.

But that is all hypothetical. Apple’s Magic Keyboard is enough of a value to me as a writer here to keep it, even if I just use it at home. However, that could change in the future if some real competition emerges. Unfortunately, with Logitech seemingly unwilling to compete with Apple on iPad Pro accessories and with the Brydge Pro+’s trackpad limitations and issues, there isn’t any yet. Hopefully one of the above will get their act together, or maybe Apple will update the Smart Keyboard Folio with a trackpad and real keyboard. Until then, I’ll stick with the Magic Keyboard, even if only for half of my day.

 


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The New iPad Air Concept Making the Rounds Certainly Grabs the Eye http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-air/the-new-ipad-air-concept-making-the-rounds-certainly-grabs-the-eye/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-air/the-new-ipad-air-concept-making-the-rounds-certainly-grabs-the-eye/#respond Tue, 19 May 2020 03:39:59 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38039 iPad Air

Photo Source: svetapple.sk

So I don’t usually pay attention to concept renderings and videos. They often don’t have enough basis in reality to interest me and often end up being just wishful thinking. Maybe I’m cynical, but they often seem like a waste of time. However, the new iPad Air rendering I got a look at over the weekend felt different and got my attention because of it.

This rendering from svetapple.sk is interesting because it isn’t just the typical make believe fantasyland act. If you read the associated article, it is very closely based on the current rumors of a new iPad Air coming later this year. The new 11″ screen size, thinner bezels with no Home Button, in-screen TouchID, and more iPad Pro-like design are all there.

The artist also adds in some very reasonable conjecture to round the device out. Most of this is based on the fact that the new Air design is rumored to be based closer to the iPad Pro. One such feature is the inclusion of Apple Pencil 2 compatibility and the accompanying magnetic charging port on the Air. The artist also included a USB-C port, which may be a bridge too far. But we can hope, right?

If the shape and size is this close to the iPad Pro, I have to wonder if the new Air will work with the Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard. It isn’t just the shape that matters, though. It will also have to include the required magnets. We shall see.

There’s only one problem I can think of with this design. If Apple releases this device, iPad Pros sales will likely decline. A less expensive device with premium features and a design this good will definitely sell. Will Apple mind canabalizing some iPad Pro sales to push a less profitable device forward? I hope so, because this is exactly the iPad Air I want to see this Fall.


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Apple’s Coming AirPods Studio Sound Like a Home Run http://m.jzrht.com/airpods/apples-coming-airpods-studio-sound-like-a-home-run/ http://m.jzrht.com/airpods/apples-coming-airpods-studio-sound-like-a-home-run/#respond Sun, 17 May 2020 18:16:24 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38036 Beats Solo Pro

I’ll be honest. I was not expecting Apple’s long-rumored over the ear headphones to be packed with as many features as are now being predicted. I assumed we would basically be getting an over the ear version of the Beats Solo Pro on ear headphones that came out last year. They featured the same Apple H1 chip with Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode features that came with the AirPods Pro. They sound even better, at least in my opinion.

Matching the Solo Pros with an over the ear product seemed like a perfectly reasonable goal. However, it looks like Apple is really going all out to create something different with these new headphones. According to Mark Gurman, they will have a “retro look,” with swiveling over the ear cups and a thin metal band. I can remember my Dad’s old over the ear phones from 30+ years ago with that style, so I think that will be a nice touch that premium audio fans will appreciate. He also says that Apple may offer a premium version with a leather band cover and earpads and a fitness-oriented version with more breathable material.

Gurman also calls the most Apple of all Apple moves with these headphones- interchangeable magnetic bands and ear pads. They wouldn’t be the first manufacturer to do this, but the competition doesn’t have a thriving ecosystem of Watch accessories and a fanbase that has proven it will spend money on such things. Apple has the branding and experience to turn this into a compelling feature that third party accessory manufacturers add to.

The more interesting features to me are the new sensor and equalizer functionality that 9to5Mac predicts. First of all, the new phones will have sensors that detect orientation. No more looking for the R and L labels on the sides before you put them on. These phones will know. They will also have a sensor that detects when the cups are on/over the ears. Like the AirPods and AirPods Pro, they will automatically pause your content when the phones are removed from your ears. As good as the Beats Solo Pros are, they do not have these more advanced features.

The last bit that I find more interesting than any other feature mentioned is the inclusion of an equalizer. That’s a bit of a new bridge for Apple to cross. Other than the extremely limited and dated EQ Presets feature buried in Settings-Music that has been held over from the iPod days, Apple has always preferred to decide how music should sound for us. There are some iOS apps that allow you to do some custom equalization, but they only work for music that you own. They are not compatible with streaming music, which is what most of us are using today.

I am more excited about this proposed feature than anything else with these phones. Finally getting some flexibility to customize how we want our music sounds, especially very different styles of music, is a step in the right direction. It’s unfortunate that it may take buying the most premium audio product they make to get such flexibility, but this Apple we’re talking about.

We don’t have any indication of how Apple will handle implementing EQ with these headphones yet. Will it be through iOS Settings, the Music app, or a separate application? Will it work with non-Apple devices? That’s hard to say at this point. However it works, any customization is a good thing and it should help this new product appeal to the high-end audio market.

The last prediction that has made the rounds is the price tag. $349 is a doozy, but it’s also pretty much in line with the best of the competition. These will truly be premium headphones and they will come with the price to match. That said, it’s good to see that Apple isn’t just mailing this one in. It seems that they are going all-out to justify the higher price and add features over and above their already very successful earbuds and headphones.

That only leaves the name to talk about. Yeah, it doesn’t really fit this new class of product, but Apple is all about branding. The AirPods name is everywhere, so if these cans have Apple branding rather than Beats, then a variant of AirPods seems inevitable, even if a little goofy. They will also share the same chips and features, so it makes sense on that level, at least. What will be interesting now is whether Apple upgrades the higher-end Beats Studio over the ear headphones, and if so, whether they put them under the AirPods Studio in features and price. Or will the Studios eventually fade away?

Whatever happens, I’m ready for these new headphones to get here. They’ve been rumored long enough. Hopefully they will make an appearance at WWDC in the near future and roll out soon after, but we haven’t gotten a solid rumor on that yet.

What do you think? Are you considering purchasing the AirPods Studio? If so, which feature appeals to you the most? Let me know in the comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Rumor Has It New iPads Are Still Coming in 2020 http://m.jzrht.com/ipad/rumor-has-it-new-ipads-are-still-coming-in-2020/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad/rumor-has-it-new-ipads-are-still-coming-in-2020/#respond Sat, 16 May 2020 20:44:58 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38034 IPad Rumors 2020

Even though it looks like the enhanced iPad Pro with a Mini-LED screen has been bumped to next year due to the impact of COVID-19, we have fresh rumors of another new Apple tablet coming in 2021. There have already been rumblings about a new iPad Air coming in late Summer or Fall, but according to Ming-Chi Quo, we should also expect a new iPad in the second half of this year. Well, maybe.

In his latest investor’s note, Kuo says this new device will have an increased screen size of 10.8″. It seems a little odd that the iPad’s screen size would grow two years in a row, but if this can be done simply by slimming the bezels down more, then it makes perfect sense. The gradual upward trend in iPad sizes is a thing for a reason.

But that brings up a different question- which iPad is Kuo referring to here? Is it the iPad or the iPad Air? 10.8″ would represent an increase in size for either device, but there aren’t enough other details here to pin down which it is. The report also doesn’t mention any of the other points in the previous Air rumors. The iPad was just upgraded last year and the Air has already been mentioned, but who knows.

If this does turn out to be the iPad, then it will mean that Apple has changed one bit of strategy that they’ve held to since it was re-introduced in 2017. That is when they took their base model tablet in more of a value direction. Since then, Apple has stuck to using older A-Series processors in the iPad as a cost reduction concession.

According to AppleInsider, Kuo mentioned the product strategy of the iPhone SE in this investor’s note, which could indicate that this rumor refers to the iPad. The SE uses the Apple’s latest chip, the A13, even though it has a value price and lesser build and external specs. Maybe this means Apple will be taking the base-model iPad in this direction, as well. If they do and keep the base price at $329 or similar, it would be a spectacular value. It would also give the iPad a longer runway of iPadOS support.

Needless to say, I’m all for this iPad rumor. However, I’m not as sure about the iPad Mini details included in the same report. Kuo says a new Mini with a 8.5 to 9″ screen will be coming in the first half of next year. It good news to hear about another upgrade to Apple’s smallest tablet, but the larger size has me a little worried.

If there is one thing I know about fans of the iPad Mini, it’s that they like the current hardware size exactly as it is. I used to hear from them often a couple of years ago when I was predicting that the Mini was all but dead and would likely be phased out by Apple. The tablet’s 7.9″ size has a dedicated fan base that let me know in no uncertain terms that they wanted an updated device in that same compact size. That size is exactly what they love about it, even as most smartphones have intruded on it. I ended up happy to be wrong and even happier that these fans got exactly what they asked for last year.

If Apple can keep the same device footprint by narrowing the bezels, then that’s perfect. It would be a solid improvement to what is a dated, if not lovably familiar design. However, if they have to make the device larger to get to a 9″ screen, then I’m not in agreement. Again, the people who love this device love that compact size and I just don’t see a reason to mess up a good thing here. Let the other iPads get a little bigger, but leave this one where it is, at least as far as the overall footprint goes.

There are several months to go before we reportedly see this iPad Mini. However, if things work out like I expect, we will have a new iPad and iPad Air that both have significant upgrades coming later this year. Between the iPad Pros, full trackpad support and Magic Keyboard that we’ve already gotten and whatever is coming in iPadOS 14 and these new iPads, that’s a really big year for Apple’s tablets with lots to still look forward to.


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Deals: EVRI Magnetic Tip USB Cable for MacBook & USB-C Devices http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-evri-magnetic-tip-usb-cable-for-macbook-usb-c-devices/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-evri-magnetic-tip-usb-cable-for-macbook-usb-c-devices/#respond Sat, 16 May 2020 02:51:55 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38031

Do you miss the good old days of MagSafe? You aren’t alone. But if you own a newer MacBook Air or Pro, you can get this adapter to bring a little safety magnet action to your USB-C charger.

Our Deals site is offering the EVRI Magnetic Tip USB Cable for MacBook & USB-C Devices for$26.95.

Description

We spend almost all day browsing through our phones and laptops…and these devices don’t last that long unless you charge ’em. This EVRI Magnetic Tip USB Cable changes the charging game. It supports up to 100W charging power for USB-C powered MacBooks, notebooks, Nintendo Switch, smartphones, and tablets. It also allows fast data transfer with up to 480mbps rate. With its breakaway magnetic tip, it prevents your MacBook and other devices from tumbling when tripped over. It’s also fully reversible so you won’t find the right side to connect. Truly convenient!

  • Supports up to 100W charging power for both USB-C PD or standard 5V USB-C
  • Allows up to 480mbps data transfer
  • Breakaway magnetic feature prevents device from tumbling when tripped over
  • Fully reversible & supports both power and data transfer when connected either side
  • Broad compatibility on USB-C powered MacBook, notebooks, Nintendo Switch, smartphones & tablets

Specs

  • Color: black
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  • Input: USB C
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  • Magnetic tip
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  • Manufacturer’s 1-year limited warranty

Compatibility

  • USB-C powered MacBook/MacBook Pro, notebooks, smartphones, tabletss, & devices

Includes

  • EVRI Magnetic Tip USB Cable for MacBook & USB-C Devices


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Brydge Updates the Pro+ Firmware Again: It’s Getting Better Slowly http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/brydge-updates-the-pro-firmware-again-its-getting-better-slowly/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/brydge-updates-the-pro-firmware-again-its-getting-better-slowly/#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 00:37:42 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38026 Brydge Pro+

So I’ll give Brydge credit for one thing. They are working really fast to try to get the Pro+’s trackpad working better. They shipped their second firmware update for the device today, courtesy of their free Brydge Connect app. If you have a Pro+, just update the app in the App Store, run it with your Pro+ plugged into a power supply and run the update.

I updated the app and loaded the firmware as soon as I got home from work this evening. Brydge’s email notification said that this was a major update, so I was very interested to see how far it goes toward fixing the issues with two-finger scrolling with the trackpad. While this update doesn’t quite live up to the hype, it did improve things.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Brydge Pro+, it’s had an interesting but bumpy start in the shadow of Apple’s Magic Keyboard. The keyboard is great, and at least in my case, single-finger navigation with the trackpad is solid. The problem has been that the trackpad was designed for Apple’s Assistive Touch mouse support from last year, not the new fully-fledged support that came with iPadOS 13.2.

Unfortunately, because Brydge designed this product to work with a more limited feature set, it doesn’t work with all aspects of Apple’s new iPad mouse support. Based on comments from Brydge, I don’t think we will ever get three-finger gesture support. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the touchpad hardware isn’t capable of supporting them. Two-finger support was added, but it was extremely rough at first. It got a little better with the first firmware upgrade a couple of weeks ago, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

So that brings us to today. I can say that the Pro+’s trackpad is a little better now. Two-finger scrolling isn’t quite as bouncy and jerky as before. That said, it still isn’t smooth and consistent, ether. Every once in a while, the page will skip forward when continuously scrolling. If you sweep your fingers across the pad, you will scroll varying distances down the page. It just isn’t natural or consistent and still just doesn’t measure up to the Magic Keyboard.

That said, the touchpad is working better. Two-finger scrolling is actually usable now, where it really wasn’t before. Things are headed in the right direction, if a little too slow. I just hope Brydge can pick up the pace, because the Pro+ is a really, really good product in all other respects. They just need to finish tightening things up some more for the Pro+ to live up to its original expectations, the price tag and most importantly, its potential as a less expensive alternative to the Magic Keyboard.


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Deals: 3-in-1 UV Sterilizer with Wireless Charger http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-3-in-1-uv-sterilizer-with-wireless-charger/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-3-in-1-uv-sterilizer-with-wireless-charger/#respond Thu, 14 May 2020 04:26:01 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38021 UV Sanitizer and Wireless Charger

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, unfortunately. While things may start looking like some semblance of normal soon, we all still need to keep our distance and we need to keep ourselves and our gadgets clean. Keep washing those hands, and if you aren’t already, keep sanitizing those devices.

With that being the case, a wireless charger that can pull double duty as a sanitizer sounds pretty convenient.

Our Deals site is offering the 3-in-1 UV Sterilizer with Wireless Charger from 3P Tech for $49.99.

Description

Bringing a pack of sanitary wipes and charger along with your smartphone can be so much work. This 3-in-1 UV Sterilizer combines all that needs into one cleaning gadget. Using UV-C light, it kills germs and bacteria up to 99.99% without all the harmful heat, liquid, or chemicals. This sterilizer not only sanitizes your phone, but it also makes your devices smell good thanks to a built-in aromatherapy function. Just one more addition to this versatile device is that it can also power up your phone thanks to its Qi inductive charging technology. These are all packed in a compact design so you can take it wherever you go.

  • UV-C light eliminates germs & bacteria up to 99.99% without harmful heat, liquid, or chemical
  • Makes your device fragrant w/ its built-in aromatherapy function
  • Utilizes Qi inductive charging technology for wireless charging
  • Fits phones up to 6.2″ & works also w/ watches, glasses, keys, earphones, and more

Specs

  • Color: white
  • Product dimensions: 4″H x 4″L x 8″W
  • Germicidal UV-C light
  • Aromatherapy function
  • Qi wireless charging
  • Fully enclosed design
  • USB-powered
  • Compact design
  • Light indicator

Includes

  • 3-in-1 UV Sterilizer with Wireless Charger

  • USB cord

 


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Living with the Magic Keyboard and the iPad Pro: Looking for Battery Life Answers http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-the-ipad-pro-looking-for-battery-life-answers/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-the-ipad-pro-looking-for-battery-life-answers/#comments Tue, 12 May 2020 15:45:22 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38004 Magic Keyboard in Box

While I’ve had some issues with the Magic Keyboard’s limitations when using it at work, it’s just about perfect for the way I use my iPad Pro at home. My primary complaint with the Magic Keyboard so far has been with battery life. I wrote about this last week and got enough responses from others with similarly poor performance that I believe there is something to it.

I don’t think the problem I am having is affecting all, or frankly even a large number of Magic Keyboards. However, based on my testing, I do believe the issue I’m experiencing is related to the hardware.

The problem isn’t limited to a specific build of iPadOS, or running a beta version based on feedback from others. I am running the latest developer beta version of iPadOS and have tested this issue with it and the previous version. This is one of the first things I wanted to rule out. Beta builds can always have strange interactions with different hardware and software as things are worked out. However, it doesn’t seem to be the source of my problem, as everyone who reached out to me was running a release version of iPadOS 13. So the battery drain isn’t specific to any version of the OS, or running beta versions.

The second is pretty obvious- backlight vs no backlight. I expected better battery life with the backlight of the Magic Keyboard off, but it still wasn’t nearly as much of a reduction as I anticipating. During my last test, I still dropped over 25% during two hours of writing. For comparison, using the iPad Pro by itself this weekend, I burned 45% during 5 straight hours of watching streaming video with audio playing though the iPad’s speakers. I expect that sort of usage with a bigger demand on power, but it’s still reasonable. This battery drain lines right up with the overall 10 hour rated battery life of the Pro. In comparison, losing a quarter of my battery capacity simply by typing with no backlight for two hours is NOT reasonable.

Lately, I have been using the Brydge Pro+ more since I received it after the Magic Keyboard and have been trying to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the two. Then Brydge released a firmware update for it late last week, so I kept at it a while longer to test out the changes. There was obviously a significant difference between its battery demand and the Magic Keyboard’s. However, due to the fact that it is a Bluetooth device, as opposed to a Smart Connector keyboard that draws power directly from the iPad Pro, it really isn’t a valid head-to-head comparison in this regard.

That said, this testing did help me in one respect. It partially confirmed that my iPad Pro’s battery isn’t the cause of the issue. I found more confirmation of this, as well. After a little digging following my last post on Magic Keyboard battery life, I found out that there is an alternative method to test the battery capacity of an iPad, since iPadOS doesn’t include the same Battery Health feature that iOS has. The popular free Apple device management software iMazing includes feedback on remaining battery capacity, which in my case was still 94%. That’s not too bad for a 19 month old device that sees heavy usage.

A much better head-to-head battery drain comparison was to check the Magic Keyboard against Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio. Even though I don’t like the Folio very much, I can’t deny how much better it performed in terms of battery drain over a couple of hours of use yesterday. I only dropped 9% writing over the course of two hours, which is less than half the usage I saw over the same amount of time using my first Magic Keyboard. That tells me that my problem isn’t a Smart Connector issue. It’s also more confirmation that my iPad’s battery isn’t at fault.

Did you catch that bit about my “first” Magic Keyboard? The only way to finish testing my theory was to get another one and see if it yielded better results. I did that late last week and I have been testing it while finishing up this article and doing some other work over the last two days. I started off by typing with the key backlight off and using the trackpad as I go through and edit this and another article. It appears that my battery life with this Magic Keyboard is far better than my first. I only dropped only 6% in an hour of solid use. While this isn’t the same performance as the Smart Keyboard Folio, it still fits in the 10 hour battery window we expect from the iPad Pro.

So then I took the next step. I went back to the Keyboard settings and turned the backlight slider up to about 25%. I then typed around 1,300 words over the next hour and fifteen minutes drafting this and another article. My battery usage during that time was only 14%. That was 11% better than my previous Magic Keyboard’s battery performance WITHOUT the backlight on, which is telling. There is a massive difference in iPad Pro battery usage with these two different Magic Keyboards.

So this was the final nail in the coffin for me. My first Magic Keyboard was the problem and my iPad Pro’s really poor battery life was specific to it.?I think my experience is solid enough confirmation that battery life can vary significantly from keyboard to keyboard and that there may be some early production issues that need to be worked out.

Based on the small number of responses I’ve gotten back expressing similar issues with excessive battery drain in comparison to positive reports on the Magic Keyboard, I don’t think this issue is widespread. I also don’t fault Apple too much, either. This is the first run of a brand new product and this kind of thing is exactly why we have manufacturer’s warranties and return policies. A small number of early devices will have issues and those issues will be weeded out and fixed after they are spotted. Apple is good at this so I think whatever is causing it will be found and addressed soon.

I don’t have any idea what is causing the variation in battery life from one keyboard to another and that isn’t in my field of expertise, so I will leave that to someone else. However, the drastically different numbers I’ve seen tell me it is quite real. My best advice to anyone else experiencing this is to exchange your Magic Keyboard for another one if you are still within the return period. Based on the ratio of complaints about battery life to good reports, your replacement is far more likely to work better. In my case, iPad Pro battery life while using it is far better.

If you got your Magic Keyboard from Apple at launch and you are already outside their 14 day return window, then just contact them about getting a warranty replacement. Even if you are covered by AppleCare+, you shouldn’t need to use it and have to pay a deductible here. If you are experiencing an excessive iPad Pro battery drain problem like mine while using a Magic Keyboard, then it’s most likely due to a hardware issue. That’s covered under the standard warranty.

I would recommend taking some screenshots from Settings-Battery showing a significant decline in battery life that is outside normal patterns for documentation. Apple should take care of you and likely won’t even ask for that. They are better than most when it comes to repairs and replacements, but it’s always best to be safe.

So it was probably just dumb luck that I got a battery hungry Magic Keyboard at launch. It happens. I won’t let it affect my overall opinion of the device, though. As long as my experience with my current Magic Keyboard continues to be as it is, I will consider my first device to be an aberration and not the norm.

Now that these battery life posts are settled, I have a couple more posts to go with some final thoughts on the Magic Keyboard.

Anyone else having battery life issue with the iPad Pro while using the Magic Keyboard? Has anyone else done similar comparisons and gotten similar battery drain results? Have any of you already exchanged your Magic Keyboards and seen improvement in your Pro’s battery life? I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Thanks to COVID-19, I Fully Appreciate the Health Tracking Capabilities of the Apple Watch http://m.jzrht.com/apple-watch/thanks-to-covid-19-i-fully-appreciate-the-health-tracking-capabilities-of-the-apple-watch/ http://m.jzrht.com/apple-watch/thanks-to-covid-19-i-fully-appreciate-the-health-tracking-capabilities-of-the-apple-watch/#comments Mon, 11 May 2020 18:02:22 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38013 Apple Watch Series 5

I’ve always appreciated the overall capabilities and features of the Apple Watch. It’s easily my second-favorite Apple device of all time and I love using it. I’ve always been impressed by all of the information that it tracks for you in the Health app and I know it can be invaluable. I’ve linked to several stories here about lives that were saved by the Watch over the last three years. I’ve even used this data, myself.

At at the same time, it’s so easy to take what this device can do for you for granted.?I appreciate what it brings to the table a lot more after this weekend.

So I got sick Friday night. I was already tired from a long week, so the fatigue after dinner didn’t really get my attention. It was also much colder than normal here Friday night, so I didn’t even notice the chills at first. But when the nausea came on and the chills got worse, I knew something was up.

In the past, I would have written this off as a garden variety stomach virus from one of several known bugs that are highly contagious, but run their course quickly. They certainly aren’t any fun, but they aren’t anything to worry about for most of us. However, in the midst of a pandemic, things change. These same symptoms can also mark the onset of COVID-19, which is an entirely different matter.

My head was still clear enough on Friday to start reading up on what symptoms could look like. I had plenty of time since I was up past 3 AM fighting off symptoms. Thankfully, I didn’t get violently ill. I just felt terrible until I was finally able to settle enough to get to sleep. The biggest thing I found in the reading is what comes after the gastrointestinal symptoms with COVID-19- high fever, coughing, and in some cases, much, much worse. Do you get better rapidly or start feeling worse, but in different ways? That seems to be the dividing line.

A low fever started In the early AM Saturday and would last all day before finally breaking late that evening. I was good all day yesterday and feel 100% like myself again today. It was just a stomach virus, and based on the symptoms, probably Norovirus. Here one day and completely gone in a day or two. So what does the Apple Watch have to do with any of this?

While I was reading online about COVID-19 starting with gastro symptoms and what comes after, I was reminded about something else I had come across recently. One way to catch mild symptoms that could be COVID-related leading up to something worse is by watching your resting heart rate. As your body works harder to fight off the infection, it can drive this number much higher than normal.

By the time I was reading this, my heart was already racing and by breathing was heavier in response fighting on the virus I was hit with. The high numbers weren’t making me feel better about the situation, but the great thing about your Health data from the Watch is that it isn’t just instantaneous. It is tracked and trended over time, which is what allows you to establish baselines for your current health and then see the impact of different things on it.

In my case, this stomach bug came on very fast, as they often do. Most of what I read about COVID-19 detailed a somewhat slower, steadier progression of symptoms once they came on. Going back to what I had read about resting heart rate, knowing that my heart was then beating at a much-elevated 90-110 BPM while laying in bed, I checked my history in the Health app.

Without giving too many specifics, my numbers right up to the hour I started feeling bad were solid. Good, in fact. After some elevated blood pressure and less than ideal heart rate, resting heart rate and HVR numbers two years ago, I made some diet changes. I also started taking some supplements to help and my job naturally got more active as I started spending more time on my feet in the field, rather than in the office Behind a desk. None of those numbers were at the point of me being put on prescription meds, but I was headed in that direction.

Even before my fever broke on Sunday, I pretty much knew that I wasn’t facing the onset of COVID-19. My fever was low-grade and never registered above 99.7. However, it was the Apple Watch’s heart data, before, during and after, that really helped track what was happening. I was able to see that my heart numbers were solidly down the middle for a man my age right up until the hour symptoms came on. I saw them at their worst when I felt my worst Friday night and over the early AM Saturday. The Watch was then able to track them as they gradually came back to normal over the next day and a half. My resting heart rate began to head back to normal by midday Saturday, which was a good indication that things were clearing up, rather than about to get worse with another wave of different symptoms on the horizon.

This is far from the limit of how you can track COVID-19 markers with Apple’s Heath app, either. I have a good home blood pressure monitoring cuff that I bought two years ago when I was getting some disturbingly high readings during doctor visits. The more that happens, the more it can get in your head, bringing on what Doctors and nurses call “White Coat Syndrome.” I wanted to start tracking my BP consistently and see what it really was, not just when I got nervous sitting in an exam room.

It was definitely lower than what the nurses were reading, but it was also higher than I wanted it to be. The ability to track it over time motivated me to make changes and get the numbers down to a healthier level. I’m happy to say I’ve been able to do that over the last two years.

Tracked BP is also valuable information at this time because of the negative impact COVID-19 on those with high blood pressure. This is considered one of the more at-risk groups, so if you have blood pressure issues and you don’t have a Bluetooth blood pressure monitor, think about getting one now. If you start feeling off, the tracking capabilities in Apple’s Health app will give you the before and during picture you need to be aware of.

Another purchase I am also considering myself now is a blood oxygen level sensor. Those are a little less common in stores, and they are in very high demand right now. However, they can be a lifesaver if you come down with seemingly mild COVID-like symptoms. It has become common knowledge that patients with this disease can start to see their oxygen levels drop before they feel how low they’ve become. That is part of the reason for heavier breathing and a higher resting heart rate. It is the body compensating for getting less oxygen. In many cases, people end up crashing quickly and dying at home or barely making it to the hospital because they aren’t aware of how serious the situation is.

If you have a blood oxygen level sensor that connects to your iPhone and Apple Health BEFORE you get sick, you can start to see any deterioration in you numbers. You can know with more certainty whether it is safe to stay at home or whether it’s time to get to a hospital for more aggressive treatment.

My situation with this stomach virus ended up being a simple one. That said, anytime a device you already own and is with you every day can help you rule out being infected by a disease causing a worldwide pandemic, that is a very good thing. I don’t think I will take that for granted anymore.


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Deals: NTONPOWER Portable Power Station http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-ntonpower-portable-power-station/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-ntonpower-portable-power-station/#respond Sun, 10 May 2020 23:00:55 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=38001 Portable Power Station

If you need serious power on the go, then you need a serious battery. If you are a heavy mobile user then you may already have a battery back or three, but this is something different.

How about a battery pack with a 120 VAC outlet? Check. Solar recharging compatible? Check. USB A and C ports? Done and done. This baby even has a DC outlet so you can use your existing car accessories.

Our Deals site is offering the NTONPOWER Portable Power Station for $109.99.

 

Description

Are you looking for the perfect energy component for camping trips and outdoor excursions? With the advent of compact generators, NTONPOWER brings us a Portable Power Generator that isn’t only reliable but safe with Voltage control. It’s small, light, and quiet – ideally suited for outdoor life or those unexpected power outages. With 155Wh 42,000mAh power, standard 3-prong wall plug outlet, built-in USB ports, solar panel power compatibility, and emergency light, this generator is the perfect mobile power solution.

4.5/5 stars on Amazon: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • 155Wh (42,000mAh) portable generator charges smartphones up to 15 times, laptops up to 3 times & GoPro up to 30 times
  • Built-in AC outlet for charging laptops, TV, fan, lights, & more
  • DC port for holiday lights, charging air pump, car air fan, car charger, CPAP machine, car refrigerator, monitors, RC drones & more
  • USB ports for charging phones, Reader tablets, MP3 player, headphones & other Type-C USB devices
  • Built-in LED lamp to be used as emergency light
  • Battery Management System (BMS) enables voltage control, temperature control & more advanced safety operations to ensure complete protection

Specs

  • Color: black, orange
  • Materials: PC, ABS
  • Product dimensions: 4.2″H x 7.1″L x 7.3″W
  • Weight: 3.53 lbs
  • Capacity: 42,000mAh, 3.7V/ 155Wh
  • Rated power: 100W
  • Surge power: 150W
  • AC 110 outlet: 1x
  • DC 12V ports: 1x
  • USB-A output port: 2x; 1x QC 3.0
  • USB-C output port: 1x QC 3.0
  • LED flashlight
  • LCD display
  • Solar power rechargeable
  • Manufacturer’s 12-month warranty

Includes

  • NTONPOWER Portable Power Station (155Wh, 42kmAh)

  • 15V/2A Power Adapter

  • Cigarette Lighter Adapter

  • Bilingual User Manual


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Thank You to the iPad Pros Podcast for Having Me as a Guest! http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-pro/thank-you-to-the-ipad-pros-podcast-for-having-me-as-a-guest/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-pro/thank-you-to-the-ipad-pros-podcast-for-having-me-as-a-guest/#respond Sun, 10 May 2020 19:52:14 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37998 iPad Pros Podcast

Tim Chaten from the iPad Pros podcast recently reached out and invited me to be interviewed in an upcoming episode. We met on Twitter recently discussing Apple’s new Magic Keyboard and from there started talking about how we both use the iPad Pro, especially for work. I definitely appreciate his point of view and his podcast’s focus on how much you accomplish with Apple’s tablets.

I just want to say a big thank you to him for the invitation. Mr Chaten is a very good host and interviewer and it was a lot of fun being on the show.

If you are a fan of the iPad and haven’t heard of the iPad Pros podcast before, I highly recommend checking it out. There are 80 episodes available featuring some really strong names in iOS and iPad productivity, such as Ken Case of the OmniGroup, Terri Morgan of LumaTouch, Canis of Ferrite, Matt Birchler of Birchtree and many others. If you use your iPad for any kind work or content production or are interested in what it takes to do so, then this is the podcast for you.

You can check out the iPad Pros podcast at ipadpros.net. The podcast is free and is available on all of the major podcast apps and services. The site has links to several, as well as a Patreon that Mr Chaten set up for supporters of the podcast. If you like what you hear, maybe show that by sending a few dollars his way. Good content takes time and effort and independent creators deserve our support.

The episode I appeared on covered my use of the iPad Pro and how it differs between home, which includes my writing for this site, and my job. The Pro is the most versatile computing device I’ve ever owned and the way I use it reflects that. We also covered our opinions on Apple’s Magic Keyboard and how it fits the way we use the iPad.

Again, it was a lot of fun and I really appreciate the opportunity to be on the show. This episode should be out in the coming weeks and I will post again when it goes live.


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Brydge Released a New Firmware for the Pro+ Today But Still Has Work To Do http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/brydge-released-a-new-firmware-for-the-pro-today-but-still-has-work-to-do/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/brydge-released-a-new-firmware-for-the-pro-today-but-still-has-work-to-do/#comments Fri, 08 May 2020 03:06:13 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37992 Brydge Pro+

I got an email from Brydge this afternoon letting me know that they had just released a new firmware update for their new Pro+ Keyboard and Trackpad. The update came in the form of an iPad app that connects to the Pro+ via Bluetooth and is very easy to use. I did have to plug my keyboard in to run the update, but that was the only minor hassle.

I got my Brydge Pro+ a few days ago and wrote about some of my initial impressions here. So far I really like the keyboard and the overall design, but I already liked the earlier Brydge Pro, so that wasn’t a big surprise. However, the Pro+ will ultimately be judged on the merits of its primary new feature- the trackpad. Unfortunately, it doesn’t measure up to the rest of the product’s quality and performance quite yet.

The reason for this early firmware update is the inconsistent performance of said trackpad. While I have had no issues with single-finger cursor tracking so far, others who have reviewed the Pro+ have. As for two-finger scrolling, the performance I saw was much the same as everyone else. It was very jumpy and erratic and didn’t feel natural at all. According to Brydge, this new firmware primarily addresses cursor operation and adds a two-finger tap gesture.

So I got the new firmware installed right after lunch and immediately tested two-finger scrolling. Well, it’s a little better. I can say that much. Scrolling is a bit smoother and less jumpy, but it is still too jerky and inconsistent to be considered acceptable. Unfortunately for Brydge, the Pro+ will always be compared to Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 and right now it just doesn’t measure up.

The good news is that Brydge is being proactive and, based on some of their comments today, they do own the issues. Even though this product was designed to work with Assistive Touch, rather than the upgraded trackpad support that came in iPadOS 13.4, they are working to make the Pro+’s trackpad operate the best that it can with the improved features.

Brydge absolutely has more work to do to make the trackpad as good as it needs to be. However, based on their responses on Twitter today, it seems that they get it and are going to keep working the problems. I give them credit for that and I sincerely hope they can make the trackpad experience good enough for the Pro+ to become a viable alternative to the Magic Keyboard. More competition in the iPad Pro accessory space is a good thing, so here’s hoping. This update came fairly quickly. If they can keep up this pace and make the necessary changes quickly, then the Pro+ has a chance.

As of today, I wouldn’t recommend the Brydge Pro+ unless you must have its form factor, rather than the Magic Keyboard’s design. That said, I will be keeping an eye out for future firmware updates and will continue to test them as soon as they are released. Hopefully my position on this accessory will change soon.


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Microsoft Takes Another Direct Shot at the iPad with the Surface Go 2 http://m.jzrht.com/cool-things/microsoft-takes-another-direct-shot-at-the-ipad-with-the-surface-go-2/ http://m.jzrht.com/cool-things/microsoft-takes-another-direct-shot-at-the-ipad-with-the-surface-go-2/#respond Thu, 07 May 2020 04:22:54 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/cool-things/microsoft-takes-another-direct-shot-at-the-ipad-with-the-surface-go-2/ Surface Go 2

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Microsoft is taking the old saying to heart as they make another go with the Surface Go. The least expensive member of the Surface family was originally released two years ago and was clearly positioned against Apple’s entry-level iPad. While it certainly wasn’t a disaster, when measured against the sales of Apple’s tablets, there’s no way it could be considered a major success, either.

So now comes the Surface Go 2. This refreshed version of the smaller Surface was announced today, along with the Surface Book 3, Surface Headphones 2, and Surface Buds and is slated for release next week. So what makes the new version better than the old?

First off, Microsoft increased the screen size from 10″ to 10.5″, mostly by slimming the bezels down. That’s a win-win for anyone interested in the Go 2. It also brings it back to parity with the iPad and iPad Air, which are its primary competition. A 10″ devices with a Windows desktop feels very small, so any upgrade there is a welcome one.

Microsoft also beefed up the processor options, which was a much-needed change. I had the higher-end version of the first gen Go and it was passable, but the under-powered Penguin processor was still pretty ordinary when it came to performance. By most reviewer accounts, the lower end version with less memory and cheaper, slower internal storage was downright dismal.

While the bottom tier version of the Go 2 isn’t going to be much better than its original Go counterpart, there are now more options above it. Specifically, the new top end model sports an 8th gen Intel Core m3 processor, which is definitely a step up in class. It remains to be seen how much performance this new processor will deliver, but it should be a solid improvement.

The only problem with this step up in processor is that it also comes with a noticable step up in price, as well. The base model retails for a reasonable $399, but the Core m3 model is a tougher to swallow $629.99. While that does get you 128 GB of of storage, it also prices the Surface Go 2 well above its competition. Will it deliver enough performance to be worth that price? Time will tell.

So why I am writing about the Surface Go 2 here at an iPad site? What better way to gauge the competition than to cover it yourself and compare it directly? I bought the Surface Go and reviewed it against the iPad family last year and I plan to do the same with the Go 2 now.

I liked the Go initially, especially the hardware and the keyboard. I never thought it was in the same league as Apple’s tablets, but I liked it on some of its own merits. However, the lack of performance, the lack of great apps that take advantage of the touch and Pen capabilities, and the lack of a great touch experience without the Type Cover were too much for me to ignore in the end. I still have it, but it has mostly become the default Windows machine for the house when my wife and kids need one.

Will the Surface Go 2 fair better? I’m still intrigued enough to give it another shot. I hope to pick one up at launch next week and see how it measures up to both its predecessor and its competition. I will definitely let you know how it goes.


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Deals: The Barnacle PRO 100% Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-the-barnacle-pro-100-waterproof-bluetooth-speaker/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-the-barnacle-pro-100-waterproof-bluetooth-speaker/#respond Thu, 07 May 2020 02:00:34 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37980 The Barnacle PRO 100% Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

In these days of pandemic and quarantines, some still have the ability to make the water a refuge as the weather grows warmer. If you have a pool, what better way to spend some of these hours trapped at home? If you have a boat and live near a lake, what better way to social distance?

If you plan to find yourself in or near some water in the coming months, then a waterproof speaker is a perfect companion. One that can store 8 GB of music internally, as well as play from any connected device via Bluetooth, is even better.

Our Deals site is offering the??Barnacle PRO 100% Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker for $41.99.

Description

Introducing, the world’s most dynamic portable speaker: The Barnacle PRO redefines the purpose and possibilities of experiencing music out loud. It is the first and only portable speaker able to function in water, independent of a smart device, with audible underwater play. Combining both full-spectrum waterproofing capacity and 8GBs of downloadable music (2,000 songs), the PRO offers an 8-hour uninterrupted and unstoppable music experience no matter where you are. You can now take your tunes on any aquatic adventure while leaving your phone behind and saving its battery life. With 4-in-1 universal mounting, you can clip, stick, hang or mount the PRO…built to seamlessly accompany your discovery anywhere.

Business Insider: “Land, sea, or even shower, the Speaqua Barnacle has proven itself a quality Bluetooth speaker for less than $50.”

  • IP68 waterproof rating makes the speaker submersible up to 6ft deep for 1 hour
  • Dual speaker pairing allows you to link up to two speakers
  • Up to 8 hours of uninterrupted music or calls
  • Works as an independent smart device w/ 8GB of downloadable music from iTunes (2,000 songs)
  • Bluetooth connectivity allows you to play music from your smartphone
  • 4-in-1 universal mounting system: clip, stick, hang, or mount

Specs

  • Color: manta ray black
  • Materials: plastic, silicone
  • Product dimensions: 3.3″H x 2.8″L x 2.8″W
  • Memory: 8GB built-in
  • 2,000 songs (iTunes compatible storage)
  • IP68 waterproof
  • Bluetooth connectivity: 33ft (10m)
  • Speaker output: 5W
  • Caller ID function/mic
  • Rechargeable battery: up to 8 hours playtime
  • Fully dust/sand proof
  • Dual speaker pairing
  • 4-in-1 mounting system
  • Maximum durability
  • Portable surround sound
  • Charging: microUSB, data cable
  • Floatable
  • Travel-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Manufacturer’s 90-day warranty

Includes

  • The Barnacle PRO 100% Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker (Manta Ray Black)

  • Charging cable

 


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The Brydge Pro+ Bluetooth Keyboard with Trackpad Arrives http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/the-brydge-pro-bluetooth-keyboard-with-trackpad-arrives/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/the-brydge-pro-bluetooth-keyboard-with-trackpad-arrives/#comments Tue, 05 May 2020 04:39:00 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37974 Brydge Pro+ in boxWhile all eyes, including my own, have been focused on Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Brydge has been starting to ship their new Pro+ Bluetooth Keyboard and Trackpad. While it was announced and preorders opened before iPadOS 13.4 and the Magic Keyboard were unveiled, Apple still beat them to market, putting them at a bit of a disadvantage. That’s the game, I guess.

That said, as popular as the new trackpad compatibility for the iPad has proven to be, there is still going to be a market for quality accessories that take advantage of it. That is especially true if said accessories can offer a contrasting experience or feature set to Apple’s. So does Brydge’s Pro+ make the grade? Well, I’ve only spent a couple of hours with it, but that’s been enough to form some initial opinions.

No worries with the keyboard

I wouldn’t expect any from a Brydge product, but there are no surprises here. The keys are a raised a little higher than the Magic Keyboard, which gives them a bit more feedback in my opinion. While I do like the Magic Keyboard, I prefer the feel of the Brydge by a nose. They are both really solid keyboards, though. I really have no complaints with either.

Brydge Pro+ Keyboard

One advantage that the Brydge has is the row of function keys up top. Unlike the Magic Keyboard, I can easily adjust the keyboard’s backlight and my iPad’s screen brightness, as well as the on-screen keyboard and media controls. I can also use the Home key to get back to the Home screen, Dock or App Switcher. More on the importance of this key in a moment.

Speaking of the keyboard backlight, it has three brightness levels, with the brightest clearly visible in a well-lit room. It definitely gets the job done. The single key adjustment is a big help, mostly because it makes it very easy to turn the backlight off when you don’t need it to save battery life.

Some iPad users swear by the Smart Connector because it allows you to instantly start using a keyboard with no delay or potential lag. While I do appreciate this, it isn’t a must-have feature for me. The Brydge keyboard never takes more than a single keystroke to “wake up” and reconnect after a long period without use.

The flip side of this is that a Bluetooth keyboard has its own battery and as such, has very little impact on the iPad Pro’s battery life. I’ve been having issues with extreme battery drain while using the Magic Keyboard with the backlight on so far, so I appreciate this side of the trade off between the two products

A familiar design

Anyone who is familiar with recent Brydge designs will recognize the Pro+ right off the bat. Besides the obvious with the trackpad, the only major difference I see between this and the Brydge Pro That I’ve had for a few months is that the clips that hold the iPad Pro are larger in the back.

Brydge Pro Cover

I am finding that the longer backside of the clips gives you more leverage and makes it easier to re-position the iPad Pro with a minimum of effort. The hinge on the Pro was fine, but this one is smoother and more stable. It’s a small, but solid improvement.

The Brydge Pro+‘s design is different than the Magic Keyboard‘s, in that it more closely approximates the experience of a laptop. You lose the pleasing effect of the IPad Pro floating above the screen, but in return, you get almost a full 180 degrees of iPad Pro angle adjustment and some other media and tablet-friendly positions and orientations. Which is better for you is all in how you use your iPad Pro.

While the Brydge Pro+ doesn’t offer the same level of enclosure protection as the Magic Keyboard, the metal keyboard does protect the screen when folded up. I also like the included magnetic cover for the back of the iPad Pro, which looks profession, feels good in the hand and is easy to remove. However, it only provides basic coverage and protection.

I guess it’s a bit of a pick your poison situation here. The Magic Keyboard gives you more protection and coverage while carrying the iPad around, but it gives you none when you use the iPad Pro as a tablet. The Brydge Pro+ doesn’t protect the back of the iPad as well, but it does give you some protection no matter how you use the Pro. Again, which is better comes down to your usage.

And now for the payoff

All over these features are what you expect from a Brydge product, which is really good, in my opinion. So how about the trackpad? Well, it’s a mixed bag and there are legitimate reasons for that. The Pro+ was originally meant to work with the iPad’s Assistive Touch mouse support features that were released last year. It was designed and built before iPadOS 13.4 was out in the open and we knew that full trackpad support was coming. As such, the Pro+ May never be capable of delivering the full experience that you get with a Magic Trackpad or a Magic Keyboard.

As for the specifics, basic mouse operation works great with this trackpad. I adjusted the pointer speed a bit higher after pairing the Pro+ with my iPad Pro. After that, I found the trackpad to be very responsive and to track accurately. I can move the cursor, navigate the OS and select text with ease. No problems here.

Things get a bit dicier when it comes to scrolling using the trackpad with a two-finger gesture. Even after dialing the speed down to the lowest setting, I am still having issues with it getting pretty jumpy at times. That said, Brydge has already committed to delivering a firmware update for this hardware to smooth some of these wrinkles out. According to an email I got a few days before my Pro+ shipped, the update should be out this month and will be delivered via an app.

The big missing piece with this trackpad is the lack of three-finger gesture support. You can work around most of this using the cursor and function keys, so it isn’t a dealbreaker necessarily. However, if you have used a Magic Keyboard or Magic Trackpad, then you will likely miss these handy gestures. You can also use Assistive Touch to set up some navigation shortcuts, but I’m not really interested in such workarounds. I’ve been able to get by, but this is an unfortunate consequence of Brydge trying hard to get there first with a keyboard accessory with a trackpad.

Unfortunately, in the little bit of correspondence I’ve had with Brydge, it sounds like the lack of three-finger support is NOT something that can be addressed with a firmware update. It sounds like that will have to wait for newer products. However, what we have today is still quite usable. The keyboard is very good, the design is solid, the battery life is great and the trackpad is at least ok. If Brydge can improve the smoothness of the trackpad scrolling experience in their coming firmware update, then the Pro+ will be a rock solid alternative to the Magic Keyboard for those who don’t fall into its more narrow use-case.

For now, I’m going to reserve final judgement on this accessory until the coming firmware is released. I also want to spend some more time using the Pro+ to get a better feels for it. I love the keyboard and the device as a whole fits the way I use the iPad Pro at work, so that won’t be an issue for me. I will continue to post some thoughts on the Pro+ as time goes on and give a final review after that firmware upgrade.

Until then, let me know if you have any questions about the Brydge Pro+ below in the Comments or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog. I would love to hear from you.

 


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Deals: 10.1” Touch Screen for Raspberry Pi/ LattePanda/ Beagle Bone http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-10-1-touch-screen-for-raspberry-pi-lattepanda-beagle-bone/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-10-1-touch-screen-for-raspberry-pi-lattepanda-beagle-bone/#respond Sun, 03 May 2020 01:30:35 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37966 Raspberry Pi Display

Are you a fan of the Raspberry Pi? If so and you also love a tablet interface, then we have a great way to combine those interests without breaking the bank.

SunFounder’s 10.1” Touch Screen for Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive solution for those who want to make the Pi more portable and compatible with a touch interface. Just attach the Pi to the back of the display, connect it with an HDMI cable and you’re good to go, no matter what OS you’re running on your Pi.

Our Deals site is offering the SunFounder 10.1” Touch Screen for Raspberry Pi for $134.99.

Description

This SunFounder Touch Screen is a 10-point IPS touch screen in a 10.1” big size bringing you perfect visual experience. An IPS display, this touch screen comes with a high resolution of up to 1280×800 with wide-angle and true-color images. This screen is a simple Plug ‘N Play. Just connect the control board and the screen by an HDMI cable and it can work immediately, needless of the driver. It works with various operating systems including Raspbian, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, Windows, Android, and Chrome OS. If you need to place the touch screen more conveniently, you can use a 3D printer to print support.

  • 10.1″ touchscreen LCD monitor w/ high resolution of 1280×800 pixels
  • Plug ‘N Play; just connect the control board & the screen by an HDMI cable and it can work immediately
  • Supports Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, 3 Model B+/B, 2 Model B, Model B+, LattePanda, & other HDMI devices
  • Compatible w/ multiple OS including Raspbian, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, Windows, Android, Chrome OS
  • Keeps itself flat w/ 4 copper standoffs of the same height at the back case, also for fastening

Note: Customers must be 18 years old+ to purchase

Specs

  • Color: black
  • Product dimensions: 1.4″H x 10.1″L x 6.6″W
  • 10-finger multi-touch
  • High-resolution: 1280×800
  • Wide angle
  • IPS display
  • True-color images
  • Multiple applicable OS
  • Universal fastening position
  • Plug ‘N Play
  • Manufacturer’s 1-year warranty

Includes

  • 10.1” Touch Screen for Raspberry Pi/ LattePanda/ Beagle Bone


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Living with the Magic Keyboard and the iPad Pro: Battery Life is a Real Problem http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-the-ipad-pro-battery-life-is-a-real-problem/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-the-ipad-pro-battery-life-is-a-real-problem/#comments Sat, 02 May 2020 20:03:02 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37963

At least with mine…

I’ll say right up front that I think my case may be the exception, rather than the rule with the Magic Keyboard. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is taking a major toll on my iPad Pro’s battery life right now. You can see a good example highlighted in the chart above, which shows me dropping a massive 50% of battery life with only 2.5 hours of screen time on Thursday. That time was split between working on an article and marking up some PDFs for work. That is downright terrible performance that I don’t even see during gaming or watching movies.

I mentioned noticing diminished battery life in my previous installment in this series, but the more data I get, the worse things look. For instance, the night that I posted that article, I dropped 50% of battery life during the course of my writing. I was careful not to overstate the role of the Magic Keyboard in that post, but the data I have since clearly points to it being the primary culprit. The question now is why.

So what is the problem? Right now I assume that the Magic Keyboard’s backlight is playing a leading role, but I am getting into testing that out in more detail now. Backlit keys have an impact on any battery, laptop or tablet. However, what I am seeing isn’t normal in comparison with any iPad Pro keyboard case that I’ve ever used. That includes the Logitech Create and the Logitech Slim Combo, both of which have backlit keys and use the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector.

I have manually turned the backlight on the Magic Keyboard all the down today to see if performance improves. Hopefully it will, because backlighting isn’t something I need all the time. I use my work laptop without the keyboard backlight on unless I need it. I have no issue using the MK without it on in good light if it will improve my battery performance.

I am going to start mixing in using the Smart Keyboard Folio and the Brydge Pro to see how iPad Pro battery life compares directly while them. My new Brydge Pro+ will also be arriving either today or Monday and I will be using it for review as soon as I get it. Hopefully they will help me definitively establish that the MK is the cause of these problems.

If you are reading this as a review of the Magic Keyboard, I would caution against that. This is just me documenting my personal experiences with this new accessory. While people have complained about battery usage, I am not seeing anyone reporting on the Magic Keyboard who is having the same level of issues that I am. That makes me suspicious that something else is contributing to these extreme periods of battery drain. Maybe my Magic Keyboard is defective. That seems strange since it works in all other respects, but it is a brand new product. Stranger things have happened. It could also be battery wear affecting my iPad Pro, but I think I would see that show up more in use without the MK.

So I will be making an effort to do more testing without the Magic Keyboard over the course of the next week to confirm what’s going on. If there is a problem with the MK, I need to figure that out now, as I would prefer to send it back to Apple during the 14 day return period than deal with warranty replacement. If it’s my Pro, then I’m not so sure what I will do about that. I had decided there was no reason to upgrade to the 2020 12.9″ iPad Pro, but maybe that will change if my 2018 model is starting to struggle.

Is anyone else out there having battery drain issues while using the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro? If so, have you found any solutions or workarounds other than turning the backlight off? If so, let me know in the Comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Digitimes Research Predicts a Big Q2 for the iPad http://m.jzrht.com/apple-news/digitimes-research-predicts-a-big-q2-for-the-ipad/ http://m.jzrht.com/apple-news/digitimes-research-predicts-a-big-q2-for-the-ipad/#respond Thu, 30 Apr 2020 20:25:36 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37957 IPad Air

While shipments of all tablets, including Apple’s iPads, were down over the first quarter of 2020, Digitimes Research is predicting a big rebound coming up. We should know more about the last three months after Apple announces its earnings later today, but what’s coming up sounds pretty exciting for iPad users and fans.

The effects of COVID on 2020

Frankly, it looks like iPad sales were hit pretty hard over the first quarter, but not as hard as some of the competition. Digitimes projects that the tablet market as a whole is down 33.6% year over year, with name-brand tablets like the iPad down a little less at 29.1%. That translates to 24.7 million tablets sold, but it is still a significant hit. Despite the drop in sales across the market, Apple still maintains its comfortable lead as number one seller of tablets worldwide.

The drop in sales across the tablet market was steep, but there are a few obvious reasons for it. First off, the market for iPads might have been a little off even in ideal conditions. It was long been suspected that Apple would be releasing iPad Pros in March of 2020. A well-known release window often limits sales leading up to the arrival of new hardware.

All that said, we all know what the biggest reason is. First off, when COVID-19 hit China, it disrupted the supply chain for the entire world and caused shortages of some devices, including tablets like the iPad. After that, it was natural for all kinds of discretionary item sales to fall as fears of a worldwide pandemic grew based on the news from China. Then the bottom pretty obviously fell out worldwide, first in China and Southeast Asia, and then progressively in the west as the disease spread and shutdowns came with it.

There were reports of increased sales of iPads in China after quarantines grew across larger areas there. This was due to increased demand for less expensive models like the 10.2″ iPad as education was suddenly moved online due to quarantines. Similar demand for education use has likely spread along with the disease, but this was obviously not enough to offset all of the lost sales related to COVID-19.

A big rebound after a big drop

Digitimes Research believes that Apple’s iPad is ready for a big rebound. They project a 45% increase for the tablet market as a whole in the 2nd Quarter of 2020. This would also be an increase of 9.9% year over year, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Based on supply chain sources, Digitimes reports that Apple is significantly increasing orders for iPads for Q2, expecting to make a large portion of these sales. The projection is that they will continue to hold more than 50% of this share on their own.

This makes sense, as the demand for iPads for use in online education has likely only increased here in the US and in the EU over the the course of April. School is still in session throughout the west and has moved exclusively online. Add to that the addition of trackpad support in iPadOS 13.4, the release of two new iPad Pros and now the release of the new Magic Keyboard, there is certainly much more interest in Apple tablets at the moment. That should translate into increased sales, as well.

Again, we will know more about the last quarter later today, but I can’t help but agree with Digitimes Research’s optimism for Q2. That should lead us right up to WWDC, which will hopefully bring us new features in iPadOS 14 and add to that momentum.


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Deals: Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard with Touch-Pad http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-foldable-bluetooth-keyboard-with-touch-pad/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-foldable-bluetooth-keyboard-with-touch-pad/#respond Thu, 30 Apr 2020 04:06:28 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37952 Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard with Touch-Pad

If Apple’s new Magic Keyboard isn’t portable enough for your tastes, or if you would like an ultra-portable Bluetooth keyboard to use with your iPhone, then we have a great option for you. It’s a foldable Bluetooth keyboard complete with trackpad. Interesting.

Our Deals site is offering the?Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard with Touch-Pad from Rego Tech for $62.95.

Description

This extremely thin portable keyboard can be a perfect gift for anyone who often travels. The foldable design makes the keyboard stylish and practical while the QWERTY layout with hotkeys makes working on the go easy: why bring a heavy laptop if you can type your emails or reports with the use of this keyboard and smartphone or tablet? The automatic sleep function allows you to fully utilize the power – 48 hours of working time or up to 560 hours of standby time. It pairs fast and easy: open to turn on, close to turn off.

Specs

  • Color: black, gray
  • Finish: matte
  • Materials: ABS, aluminum alloy
  • Product dimensions: 0.47″H x 5.9″L x 3.82″W (folded); 0.23″H x 11.89″L x 3.82″W (open)
  • Weight: 6.9 oz
  • QWERTY keyboard w/ hotkeys (63 keys)
  • Foldable design
  • Automatic sleep function
  • 48 hours working time
  • 560 hours standby time
  • Auto-pairing via Bluetooth
  • Battery capacity: 140mAh
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Manufacturer’s 1-year limited warranty

Compatibility

  • iOS/ Windows/ Android

Includes

  • Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard with Touch-Pad
  • Charging cable
  • Manual

 


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Living with the Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro: Nothing is Perfect http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessory-reviews/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-ipad-pro-nothing-is-perfect/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessory-reviews/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-ipad-pro-nothing-is-perfect/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2020 02:59:49 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37946

If you a regular reader, you may have already picked up on this, but I am not quite as enthusiastic about the Magic Keyboard as most of the Apple blogosphere. I’m not saying that I don’t like it, because I actually do in a lot of respects. It is very good at the things that Apple designed it for. But it is that narrowness of scope, along with a few other drawbacks, that I can’t completely shake off.

While there are still plenty of good things I have to say about the Magic Keyboard in the future, here is all of the bad news I’ve come across so far.

Testing the limits

If you’ve read about the Magic Keyboard elsewhere, then you are probably already aware of its unique design and how its hinges work. I will say that I do appreciate the sturdiness of the products and I understand that this design is going to be a great fit for a lot of people. If you want your iPad Pro to work more like a laptop most of the time, then it’s probably perfect for you.

However, it won’t be as good for everyone. Like the Smart Keyboard before it, the Magic Keyboard has a somewhat narrow scope. It is made for the iPad Pro to be used with a keyboard and trackpad and that’s really it. It isn’t designed to be particularly good at anything else. It’s perfectly fine for watching media and a few other things, but it not going to be an effective drawing surface for those who use an Apple Pencil often.

Magic Keyboard Drawing Mode

Yes, before you @ me, I have seen the iJustine review video and other posts that suggest using the Magic Keyboard basically upside down for drawing. All I can say is that I do not recommend that AT ALL. I tried it and the hinge gave out and collapsed flat all but one time. That last time the iPad Pro came completely loose from the magnets and slid forward halfway into my lap before I caught it. No thanks. The Magic Keyboard just wasn’t designed with using the Apple Pencil in mind.

Work vs Home

Then there is also the limitation with the range of adjustment. I have not come up against this issue using the Magic Keyboard at home, because most of my iPad Pro use there is with a keyboard either in my lap or on a lap desk. Maybe on a table some nights. The MK’s range of adjustment is just fine in these contexts. Another point for home use is that, if I need to use my iPad separately there, I don’t mind popping it off the MK and using it “naked” as long as I’m not moving around the house with it.

I cannot say the same for my usage at work, though. I have already come up against the lack of adjustment range in how I use it there and, unlike at home, there is no way I’m using an iPad Pro without a case on any job site.

While I agree with most Apple fans that the videos showing iPad Pros being bent in half are dramatized for clicks, this device still isn’t particularly strong or durable. As much as I love the Pro, this is just a fact. I have a 12.9″ 2016 iPad Pro that once looked like a parenthesis after one day in my son’s backpack to prove it.

2016 12.9” iPad Pro Bent

This model is regarded as being more stable and less prone to bending than the current design and it even had a lightweight case on it at the time. All it took was the wrong shift in the bag and a couple of hours and it looked a lot worse than the photo above. I was able to manhandle it back to what you see here with no help from any tools. Remember that the 2018 and 2020 models aren’t as stable as this model was either, so that’s a big no thanks on ever going without a case in a work environment. When anyone asks me about how to protect a Pro, I always strongly recommend using a case or cover that provides stability.

It’s not just the iPad Pro that is susceptible to bending or breaking, either. Any device this large that is also this thin and light will be prone to bending without a very heavy frame. The Pro just happens to be thinner and lighter than most of the competition. For now, this means carrying another case with me to work for times I use my Pro without the MK for Pencil drawing and notes or to refer to blueprints.

None of these issues are deal-killers, but they are legitimate limitations for how some of us iPad Pro owners use our devices.

Don’t forget the charger

I will be honest and say right up front that I haven’t done any formal battery life testing yet. I will eventually, but my job hasn’t stopped during the pandemic, not even the travel part. In fact, I am leaving town again tomorrow morning. That and I lost a chunk of last weekend to oral surgery and a few pain pills. Unfortunately, my work rarely seems to cooperate with Apple’s release schedule.

Up to now, my perception of battery usage has been purely anecdotal. However, I use my iPad Pro every day at both home and work, so I have a very good feel for how often I need to charge it based on how I am using it. So far, I can see a noticeable difference in how the battery drains with the Magic Keyboard attached as opposed to before it arrived.

That said, my battery life is not suddenly terrible, but it has definitely been impacted. I am currently charging a lot more often than is typical for me. I know some of that is due to additional usage as I have been testing the MK. Also bear in mind that I have gone from a Brydge Pro, which only maintains an active Bluetooth connection when you are typing, to the Magic Keyboard that is fed from the iPad’s battery and has a backlight. I expected to see a difference, but not this much based on what I read from others before mine arrived.

Personally, I think the backlight is the primary culprit so far, but I haven’t confirmed it yet. I plan on switching up between the Smart Keyboard Folio, which I have admittedly avoided like the plague for months, and the Brydge Pro, which I still very much enjoy using, and getting a feel for the differences. Stepping back, I am interested to see how the Brydge and Folio stack up head-to-head and then what the separation in battery usage is between them and the Magic Keyboard. That should shed some light on how much the backlight impacts a Smart Connector keyboard.

Another thing to consider here is that I am using a 2018 iPad Pro, not the latest version. My battery does have two years of wear on it and I do use my Pro a lot. However, plenty of reviewers with two year old iPads have had less to say about battery life, so I’m not sure if age or wear are the culprits. They haven’t felt like issues leading up to getting the Magic Keyboard, so I’m skeptical of giving the accessory a pass here. Unfortunately, the iPad Pro does not have the same Battery Health check that was added to the iOS and the iPhone in the wake of Batterygate, so have no way to verify if battery wear is impacting my experience.

I guess the best I can say right now is that, if you use your iPad Pro extensively with a Magic Keyboard, you will see a difference in battery life. How much seems to vary, but mine has been on the high side. That difference will likely be greater if you’ve been using no keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard leading up to getting a Magic Keyboard. Just be aware that you will need to charge more often.

The issue here, in my opinion, is that Apple hasn’t given us an easy way to turn off the backlight when it isn’t needed to preserve battery yet. I’m betting it will come in iOS 14, if not sooner, but it was a miss on Apple’s part not having a keyboard shortcut or Control Center widget ready day one.

Better wash those hands

Honestly, while the most minor, this is probably the worst issue with the Magic Keyboard because it was so easily preventable. Unfortunately, Apple stuck with the same exterior material as the Smart Keyboard Folio and that was a mistake in my opinion. I’m not the only one saying it, either. I don’t dislike the feel of it, as it’s actually very easy to grip. However, it looks terrible after even light use and it doesn’t hold up all that well over time.

In other words, this premium priced product has a fairly premium feel, but not a premium look. Despite my comments above, there is a case that can be made for most of Apple’s other design decisions. There is nothing that can justify this one. As much as the Magic Keyboard sells for, they could have done better than a material that shows every speck of dirt and grime that ever comes in contact with it. This is a small thing, but small things matter, especially when the price is so high.

At the end of the day….

Again, none of these issues is a deal-breaker. Alone, each item I listed above is a minor annoyance for all but a few people and some won’t care at all. I’m not convinced the Magic Keyboard will be a good fit for me at work, at least not without being supplemented in one way or another, but it’s great for what I do at home and that’s enough for me to hang onto it. So this post isn’t a hit-piece or meant to be click-bait, but simply putting all of the things I find to be limitations or flaws with the MK in one place. Despite them, I do genuinely like the Magic Keyboard and enjoy using it.

That said, I’m not just playing devil’s advocate here, either. I think it is perfectly fair to call the price of this accessory into question based on its limitations. The Magic Keyboard set me back $373.43 and in my opinion as someone who has tested most of the best keyboard cases for Apple tablets since the iPad 2, I do not feel like I am getting that amount of value out of this accessory. I know that many disagree with me on this, but frankly, I think far too many Apple fans give the company a pass for overcharging on accessories just because they can. I guess maybe we’re used to it, but that doesn’t excuse it. It just enables Apple to keep doing it.

I have never thought the Smart Keyboard Folio was worth what Apple charges for it, either, so this is nothing new for me. However, I honestly believe the Magic Keyboard is priced a full $50 to $100 over what it should cost. As much as I like using it, if I didn’t write about Apple products and was spending 100% of my own money on it, my opinion on keeping it might be different, at least until its possible to get one for a lower price.

So that’s it for the bad news. I figured I would get it all out of my system at once and get back to what I like about the Magic Keyboard and how I’m using it. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog. I would love to hear from you.


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Five Years of the Apple Watch: All Hail the Undisputed King of Wearables http://m.jzrht.com/apple-watch/five-years-of-the-apple-watch-all-hail-the-undisputed-king-of-wearables/ http://m.jzrht.com/apple-watch/five-years-of-the-apple-watch-all-hail-the-undisputed-king-of-wearables/#respond Sun, 26 Apr 2020 18:19:21 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37940 Apple Watch

I got my first Apple Watch on launch day in April of 2015 and there has only been one month since that I haven’t owned and worn one. That first one was a Sport model in silver with a blue Sport Band. I remember how excited I was on launch day to hold what felt like a piece of the future. I remember wearing out the battery trying out every app and feature that first week. However, like the new shine on many gadgets, that faded over time. In fact, my time and experience with the Series 0 was much the same as many others- mixed.

Humble beginnings

That original Apple Watch was different for Apple. While they were far from the first company to release a smartwatch, they were further out on the bleeding edge than is typical for them when releasing a new product. Because of that, the first generation Watch wasn’t as polished a product as many of us expect from them. The hardware was sturdy enough, but it was underpowered for their ambitions and the software was muddled and confusing.

However, many of us could see beyond those early flaws and rough edges to what could be. I found this out myself when I briefly got rid of my first Watch. I was very disappointed in the performance of the early Watch apps which were much hyped by Apple, as well as the overall performance of the device. The connection speed and reliability to the iPhone just wasn’t there at the time and many developers quickly left or lost interest in the platform because there wasn’t a way to deliver a quality experience.

While some got rid of their Apple Watches quickly, it took months before I got to the point of selling, but I figured it wouldn’t miss it by that point. I was wrong. What I didn’t realize was just how valuable having notifications and the ability to triage messages and emails on my wrist was. I even tried a Pebble briefly, but that was just a reminder of how feeble the competition was. I ended up getting another Sport Watch, this time in the classic gold finish that was released in the Fall. I MUCH preferred the look of the gold version anyway, so it ended up being a very good trade, in the end. I’ve owned an Apple Watch and upgraded every year since.

A fast move forward

One of the remarkable things about the Apple Watch is how fast Apple moved to change things for the better. The iPhone and iPad have been on a much slower path, but more like Apple News and Apple Music, both of which were completely overhauled a year after release, the company has iterated and much more quickly than we are used to. watchOS 2 was released only a few months after the Watch hit the market and watchOS 3 ended up completely overhauling the user interface and definitely for the better.

Ever since the releases of the Series 1 and 2 Watches and watchOS 3, the Apple Watch has been on a steep upward trajectory. Each successive watchOS release brings new features, especially in areas of health and wellness, and more refinement. And then you have the hardware. Nowhere is Apple’s prowess in homegrown silicone more evident than than the Apple Watch, where their miniaturized S-Series system on a chip design is the standard for smartwatches. They are the only ones pouring significant R&D time and money into processors for wearables and it shows.

State of the art

The Series 4 and Series 5 Apple Watches are unmatched among current smartwatches. The S5 processor is the best available Wearable device system on a chip and the current hardware is polished, thin, and provides a great user experience. watchOS runs fast, apps work as they should and the available cellular option and newly independent App Store give the device some measure of independence.

I will be the first to admit that Apple isn’t always first to new features for any form factor, much less the smartwatch. Others added GPS, always-on displays and cellular connections ahead of them. However, in most cases, Apple has delivered the same features with better quality and with better battery performance. This is in large part thanks to the efficiency of their S-Series chips, which again are are huge advantage for them in wearables. That gap should only widen over time since most of their competition seems to have lost interest in anything more than treading water or delivering niche products. Apple’s lead in processors is the foundation for everything they are doing today.

What is ahead?

After 5 years of constant use, I still love the Apple Watch. I think it displays some of the best engineering and hardware innovation that Apple has to offer. They continue to innovate in system on a chip design and miniaturization and it looks like they will be one of the first to roll out a Watch with a Mini-LED screen. I also believe we will soon see an Apple Watch that is fully independent of the iPhone. Apple has been making moves in this direction for a while now, but they will certainly finish the job over the next year or two.

What I do know is that Apple still sees the Watch as the leading edge of its move into wearables. When other companies backed off after the poor reception of many early smartwatches, Apple doubled down, fixed the problems and took the market. To preserve that lead, they have continued to invest time and money into this advantage and I can’t imagine they will stop now. In fact, I believe the Watch will eventually become a digital hub for many of Apple’s wearable products that are still to come.

The Apple Watch has covered a pretty impressive amount of ground over its 5 year lifespan. I look forward to many more years of seeing it grow. I think we will one day also be able to look back at other successful Apple wearables like the very popular AirPods and their coming AR Glasses and see that they all had their origins in the Series 0 Watch of 2015. That’s quite a legacy for a device that most of the tech press initially dismissed as either a fad or a failure.


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Living with the Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro: Getting Off the Ground http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-pro/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-ipad-pro-getting-off-the-ground/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-pro/living-with-the-magic-keyboard-and-ipad-pro-getting-off-the-ground/#respond Sun, 26 Apr 2020 03:19:14 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37933 Magic Keyboard iPad Pro Open

I covered my reasons for being a little sluggish with my Magic Keyboard overage yesterday. While today was better, I am still running about half speed. However, I have had a lot more time to use Apple’s newest keyboard accessory and start to form some early impressions.

What’s the angle?

One of my biggest concerns with the Magic Keyboard once the early hands-ons and reviews started to roll in was the limited range of angle adjustment. It was made pretty clear in several of them that the iPad Pro cannot be angled back more than 130 degrees. That may seem like a lot, but if you are used to a Brydge keyboard, this range feels much more limited.

While I would prefer to have more range of adjustment, I have found this to be perfectly adequate for my use at home, with the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard sitting on my lap. However, while this is a big part of my iPad Pro usage, the other part that takes place at work is much different. There are things I do there where 130 degrees won’t be enough. That said, I haven’t had a chance to take the Magic Keyboard to work with me yet, so I’m not going to make a call on whether it really won’t be up to the task until I can.

Keys to success

As I said in my first article yesterday, the keyboard part of the Magic Keyboard is pretty great. The feel and response of the keys is really nice and smooth. The backlight projects well and is easy to see. The keys on the 12.9” version are spaced nicely and feel very close to a typical 13” laptop. Other than the lack of an Esc key (which is easily offset by remapping a little used key, such as the Globe key) and the lack of a row of function keys, this keyboard is pretty spot-on.

I did say yesterday that I prefer the Brydge Pro keyboard and your typical Logitech mobile keyboard to the Magic Keyboard. However, I’ll just be clear here that we are talking about splitting hairs when I say that. I like the feel of the Logitech the best and their keyboards always have the function row and keyboard backlight controls built in. I like the raised keys on the Brydge a little better, but the Magic Keyboard is growing on me. They are pretty much in a dead heat, with the Brydge’s main advantage being the function row, at this point.

Besides filling in some missing keys, it would be nice to see Apple add some backlighting controls to the Magic Keyboard. This doesn’t even have to be a product of function keys. It can be some keyboard shortcuts added in iOS 14. The fact is, you don’t need backlighting all the time and, as has been covered by many others, you urgently have to dig into Settings to adjust the intensity or turn it completely off.

So, more control of key backlighting could really help to preserve iPad Pro battery life. It’s pretty obvious- the Magic Keyboard draws its power from the iPad, so the more you keep backlighting on, the more power you will obviously drain as you type. If, like me, you do a lot of typing on an iPad Pro keyboard, this can definitely take a toll. I often use my keyboards in well-lit areas where the backlighting isn’t necessary. As such, I really hope Apple adds keyboard shortcuts to adjust the backlight up, down and off in their next update.

A big change

While I’m still not certain that the Magic Keyboard is going to be the best fit for me, I really do appreciate the shift in Apple’s design philosophy that it represents. I have always disliked the Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio because the lack of real key mechanisms make for a substandard typing experience. I think people tend to gloss over that because it’s very portable. That or, let’s face it, some Apple fans will take up for any product with a fruit logo on it. As for me, I’ll take a little more weight and a better typing experience any day. What is more important in a keyboard case than the keyboard?

I do find it really interesting that, while the Magic Keyboard represents a shift in design philosophy for Apple’s mobile keyboards, it still maintains the same basic exterior look and feel of the Smart Keyboard Folio.

Magic Keyboard IPad pro

If you look at the two products closed side by side, you can hardly tell a difference. However, everything beyond the look and feel has been altered. I guess I understand the desire for Apple to maintain some element of consistency, but I appreciate the big changes that were made under the hood and the recognition by Apple that they were necessary for the iPad Pro to move forward the way they want. Many of us have been wanting the same for years, so we are all on board with this.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back with a few more observations tomorrow and then some from my experiences at work over the course of next week.

 


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Deals: Antibacterial Nanotechnology Liquid Screen Protector http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-antibacterial-nanotechnology-liquid-screen-protector/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-insight-deals/deals-antibacterial-nanotechnology-liquid-screen-protector/#respond Sat, 25 Apr 2020 17:47:48 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37928 Screen protector

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A First Look at the Magic Keyboard…Sort of http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/a-first-look-at-the-magic-keyboard-sort-of/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-accessories/a-first-look-at-the-magic-keyboard-sort-of/#respond Sat, 25 Apr 2020 03:53:58 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37924

So my Magic Keyboard arrived at my house around 11:00 AM today. Normally I would be at work on a Friday even during these days of quarantines and stay at home orders, as my job is considered essential. However, this particular Friday found me at home for a not-so-pleasant reason. I had a date with an oral surgeon at 10:45 this morning. Yuck.

I had a nice laugh in the car on the way to my appointment when I saw my package had been delivered right after we left. I called it when we were pulling out of the driveway. That’s just the way things go sometimes. Add that to the fact that I’m reviewing the Magic Keyboard days after every other website on the planet because I got into the preorder line pretty late. It’s all pretty ironic, but just first world problems and not worth complaining about.

Thankfully the dental procedure didn’t last long and was relatively painless, at least while it was being done. That changed when I got home. I was already starting to feel the pain come on when we arrived. I took a pain pill and had enough time to unbox the Magic Keyboard, take a few pictures of it and test it a bit before the pain ramped up and the pill kicked in. It’s hard to do much testing or writing when your brain is mush.

All things considered, I am not complaining, though. In fact, I am very thankful that I was still able to get treatment for an abscessed tooth last week and get this removal procedure done today. I had been putting it off because the tooth originally broke right as all of the shutdowns started, but it just wouldn’t wait any longer.

After some food and rest and a couple of those pain pills, I feel mostly human again, so I am writing this on the Magic Keyboard to get some early impressions of it. I like the keyboard so far. The keys are quite shallow, much more so than the Brydge Pro that I am used to using. However, they have a really nice feel and response. The lack of a row of function keys is a small shortcoming and one that I can easily live with.

The key backlight is very nice and it makes this Magic Keyboard better than the original and puts it light years ahead of the Smart Keyboard Folio. All that said, I still wouldn’t put this keyboard at the top of my list of favorites. I still think the Brydge Pro is a little better because of the more traditional key travel. That said, I would put Logitech’s iPad keyboards ahead of them all, but that’s a high bar in my book and none of their iPad Pro keyboards have trackpads, which can’t be overlooked.

As for the trackpad, I thought it might be too small when I first saw pictures of the Magic Keyboard. I’ve been using Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 since the release of iPadOS 13.4 and appreciate its size and silky smooth operation. I wasn’t sure if it would be as easy to navigate the entire screen with a single swipe on the MK trackpad’s smaller surface. However, I am happy to be wrong on that point. This trackpad is actually quite good and very easy to use. It’s easy to navigate, click and use gestures. It perfectly suits the Magic Trackpad’s form factor.

I’m going to leave it there for tonight. I’m still a little woozy from the pain meds, so the words aren’t flowing all that smoothly. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and I will cover some of my impressions of the case aspects of the Magic Keyboard. Until then, if you have any questions about the Magic Keyboard, feel free to ask. If I don’t know the answer, I will be happy to do a little testing for you.


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The 2020 iPad Air Rumors Are All Over the Place, But Still Look Good http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-air/the-2020-ipad-air-rumors-are-all-over-the-place-but-still-look-good/ http://m.jzrht.com/ipad-air/the-2020-ipad-air-rumors-are-all-over-the-place-but-still-look-good/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2020 02:45:06 +0000 http://m.jzrht.com/?p=37920 ipad air

When I saw rumors of an iPad Air with Mini-LED after we got the news that the iPad Pro with the same screen tech had slid into 2021, I was very skeptical. It made absolutely no sense to me that Apple would release a new technology like this on what is ultimately a mid-tier device. However, it looks like they were just behind the curve, as the China Times reported yesterday that Mini-LED has been scratched from the coming Air, as well.

Then there is also the odd rumor of Apple going with an under-screen TouchID sensor. However, that one may make more sense than I initially thought. More on that in a moment.

Before talking about the rumored design of the 2020 Air, I want to refer back to my New Year’s predictions post from a few months ago. I nailed the Smart Keyboard before any of the rumors started. It’s starting to look like I got another one, as well. Here’s what I had to say about the iPad Air back in early January:

Something in the Air

I know that the iPad Air was just re-branded and re-released last year, but it is already badly in need of an update. Let’s be honest. It was not a new device. It was a stripped down version of the previous gen 10.5″ iPad Pro built to fill the middle of the iPad lineup.

The Air held this ground well for several months, but it is far less of a value since the release of the latest iPad. With the iPad getting a screen almost the same size and Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, the only thing that differentiates the Air now is a better processor and a nicer laminated screen.

While I’m not sure how much Apple will change the device, I do expect them to release a new version that adds enough features to set it apart from the iPad and iPad Mini again. I think the best route would be to add support for the Apple Pencil 2 and the Smart Keyboard Folio. This would give the Air a more attractive feature set with not only a better processor, but also access to the more premium iPad accessories. Another possible enhancement would be shifting this tablet to USB-C like the iPad Pro. However, Apple might prefer to reserve that feature for its Pros alone.

As it stands today, there isn’t much about the Air that will make buyers pay more for it over an iPad. A few improvements and spec additions can change all of that for buyers who need more power than the lower-end iPad provides.

Looking back, I didn’t spell it out very well, but what I had in mind was the Air shifting to looking like the current 11″ iPad Pro. Then current iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard Folio and the Apple Pencil 2 would naturally fit the new design.It made sense to me that, with the iPad having expanded to 10.2″, that the Air would likewise take a step forward to look closer to the iPad Pro.

Well, if you look at the current rumors, one of them is that Apple will move the 2020 Air to an 11″ screen. If so, I think the implication is that it will take on the design characteristics of the iPad Pro. Just like the current Air, its design will most likely be re-purposed from an existing device.

As for the rest of the features I predicted, I think the Smart Keyboard Folio would be a no-brainer. And if it is compatible, then the new Magic Keyboard will be, as well. That would cost about half as much as a new Air, but it would still be smart to have it as an option for those who want it. It would definitely drive additional sales of Apple’s new keyboard accessory.

Looking back, I’m a little less certain of the Apple Pencil 2. If Apple is looking to cut costs from the Pro’s design, the Pencil’s magnetic charging connector could get the ax. Here’s the dividing line- if the new Air does get a USB-C connector, then the first-gen Apple Pencil is out, as it wouldn’t have a way to re-charge via the iPad. If the Air does have a Lightning port. then Apple could go either way with the Pencil. I’m still thinking that they include Pencil 2 support, but I’m less certain than with the keyboard accessories.

Speaking of cutting costs, the China Times also predicts that Apple will cut Pro Motion from the Air’s display, which makes sense. This is where the under-screen TouchID comes in, as well. Another cut that seems likely is Face ID, which requires an expensive camera array. Under-screen fingerprint tech has been out for a couple of years now, so that should make this new version of TouchID a great value option here while still allowing it to stand out as unique in the iPad lineup.

I think the 2020 iPad Air that we see taking shape in these rumors looks like a winner. Having it share the design language of the iPad Pro will give the device a more premium feel that will give it some separation from the iPad and iPad Mini. That’s a smart move and it should make the Air a device that’s easy to recommend anytime, not just when it’s on sale. The Air also gives us iPad fans a little something to look forward to, with a release window currently predicted for the Fall.


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