One month impression of the iPad Pro 11 inch

So it has been more than a month of using the iPad Pro 11 inch and despite the screen issues that I had when I initially bought it, I managed to get it replaced free of charge within the week and everything is fine and dandy. I am pretty sure that the replacement iPad Pro is a brand new one, since it came in a plain cardboard box that is sealed, but I am not complaining if it is refurbished. I practically cannot tell if it is brand new or refurbished. It looks brand new to me and I am not going to complain.

So far, using the iPad Pro is fantastic. The device when used as a media consumption device, is terrific, probably overkill since the iPad Pro has a super powerful processor inside that is meant for cpu intensive tasks like photo editing and video editing, tasks that I have never done on my iPad Pro. But still, the experience of using the iPad Pro for reading and watching videos is second to none.

I read stuff on my iPad Pro a lot, and so texts are crisps, scrolling is buttery smooth and the overall layout in whatever I read is perfectly aligned and easy to navigate, apps like the NYT, Washington Post, National Geographic, The New Yorker and many others makes reading on the iPad Pro a joy because of the apps that are streamline to take the experience of reading articles on the device that much more pleasant. Coupled with the fact that the iPad Pro is pretty lightweight, means that holding the device for a hours on end is not an issues. I experience very little fatigue holding the device for extended durations while consuming content on the iPad Pro.

I have had no regrets getting the 11 inch model over 12.9 inch model. I believe for my use case, the 11 inch model is a better fit. Using my device in public places like while commuting in the train to work is not an issue for me on my 11 inch iPad Pro. It’s light and big enough without looking too pretentious using the bigger version. I believe that If I were to get the bigger version, it would have been too big for my use case. If I were an artist, and have the capability of using the iPad Pro to draw and use it as a creative device, then the 12.9 inch model would have been a better use case. But no, I read a lot on my device and the 11 inch model is not too big for my liking.

Battery life is amazing. It sips battery at simple tasks and is able to perform admirably smooth in more demanding situations. App switching is seamless and have no issues with the amount of RAM that comes with the device.

I find the Smart Keyboard folio that I bought along with the iPad Pro a joy to use. Typing feels amazing and accurate. Despite what some reviewers say about the keys being too mushy, or the feeling isn’t right because it is wrapped in some kind of cloth material, I have zero issues with it whatsoever. I am typing this entry on my iPad Pro, with the Smart Keyboard folio and have no problems typing accuracies. I am pretty sure that I would have typed just as fast on my mechanical keyboard on my main PC rig as compared to the Smart Keyboard folio.

The added peripheral just adds value to the overall functionality of the iPad Pro. With the keyboard, I not only consume content, but I can be more productive in creating content, typing documents, journaling, blogging on the device. The only minor complain or suggestion that I would make in making the keyboard more attractive to use would be to have backlit capabilities. That would have been a useful feature to have in situations where you type in dark lit places.

The mobility of the iPad Pro, coupled with powerful specs and a keyboard makes this device one of the ultimate portable device I have ever used. Apple’s iPad have come a long way since its inception in 2010. I believe that now, only the software is pulling back what the iPad is truly capable of. And I hope that future iOS upgrades will make fundamental changes in how we interact with a device such as the iPad Pro that will take the functionality of the iPad a miles ahead of its competition (assuming there is any competition at all)

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Got my iPad replaced.

It was a painless experience. After I got the call from Apple informing me that they had the replacement unit on hand, I went to the Apple Store the next day. I approached one of the staff and they checked my credentials. Sure enough, they had record of the expected exchange. Within 15 minutes someone came to me with a brand new iPad Pro.

I looked. I hope its new. It came in a sealed brown box containing just the iPad. It was shrieked wrap and I had the privilege of unwrapping the iPad for the second time. I wiped my old iPad and gave it to the staff and just like that, the transaction was done.

Soon after I went about setting up my new iPad in the same process as before. I went to one of the empty table and a chair and took my time setting up the iPad and downloading all the apps again. Thankfully, there weren’t many apps for now and re-downloading all the apps didn’t take too long thanks to the speedy wifi provided free in the store.

I hope that everything is ok with the replaced version.

Jinxed

I have often believed that my house is jinxed. Whenever I express interest in replacing an old device, gadget or home appliance, and start to look for the next available option on the market, somehow, by ways that cannot be explained, the old and current item would start to break down. It is as if, these appliances and gadget around the house somehow have eyes and ears and know when they are getting replaced. Armed with that knowledge, they would revolt and protest, either by refusing to work or not work as optimally as it should.

This was what exactly happened to me last night. I was in the market to sell my current MacBook Pro that I bought in June 2017. Now that I have completed my studies, I have little use of the laptop. So I decided to sell it and use the proceeds to get myself an iPad Pro (which I did today as of writing this. I am even writing this entry on my new iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio. First impressions on the iPad Pro coming up soon).

So I started listing my MBP on Carousell, which is like our local eBay. And sure enough within a couple of hours, I had an interested buyer. So as we finalise on the deal and where to meet and naturally, I would reset and reformat the MBP so that the new owner can set it up using his credentials and making it officially his. For some weird and unexplained reason, the whole process went haywire.

After wiping the SSD of my laptop, I could not reinstall the OS. I tried so hard looking for a solution to the problem that I gave up at 3am despite having to wake up early for work the next day. It was perplexing. What should have been a routine process or wiping the SSD clean and reinstalling the OS to a clean slate became a night of torture! And I was pressed for time because me and the buyer decided to meet the next day!

So I had no choice but to call Apple Support and secure an appointment with one of the authorised Apple Service Center. And because of that, I had to take an emergency half-day leave so that I can make it to the appointment in the afternoon in the hopes of rectifying the problem before meeting the buyer in the evening.

I was there for at the service center for close to three hours. Thankfully though it wasn’t a hardware issue and the staff was kind enough to waive the service fee because the problem was minor (although it did took a while to determine why the problem occured in the first place). I would have been devastated if I were forced to part my MacBook Pro at the service center to get the parts replaced and pay for the parts replaced when I was about to sell it off. My returns on the device would have been diminished severely, making the whole enterprise and money losing scheme (not that I made a profit anyway, the proceeds was just enough to cover the cost of the iPad that I purchased on the same day as the scheduled appointment).

So yeah, harrowing 48 hours of trying to get my MBP a clean slate so that I can sell it off to a buyer without incurring additional charges of parts replacements that would have better gone in funding for the iPad purchase.

In the end, everything turned out well. The problem was software, not hardware, it was fixed within hours and I still had time to head home, set up my new iPad Pro, have dinner before driving down to meet with the buyer.

Trying out the new Gutenberg.

To iPad or not to iPad?~Unknown~

According to WordPress, the Gutenberg aims to create a more feature rich WordPress blog. Right now as I am seeing it, the user interface looks totally different, one that requires a little bit of getting used it. It actually reminded me of WIX web builder.

So back to the topic at hand: Should I get the new iPad Pro?

And if so?

What size should I get?

The 11 inch or the 12.9 inch? 

For the past couple of days, since the announcement of the new iPad, I have been contemplating on whether to sell my current 13 inch MacBook Pro. My studies have reached the end. I will no longer be attending classes or doing any assignments. I am even terminating my Office subscriptions. I am not sure if this is a wise decision, but my main motivating factor of selling my notebook is the possibility of doing interesting things and maybe pick up a skill or two while using the iPad. The versatility of the iPad, coupled with amazing apps, I could possibly pick up drawing skills, language skills or just about anything to improve myself and learn something. Now that I have more time, I’d like to explore that possibility. It’s a bold step, especially when I have grown so used to the Mac ecosystem with the MacBook Pro at its center. Will I use the iPad for years to come, or will it become a white elephant in the room?

The real possibility that iPad could just become a white elephant in the room. Unused, unloved, a waste of money in the end. 

To prevent that, I will need accessories. An Apple Smart Keyboard is important, as it will be my main portable device and it is a form of input that I’m quite familiar with. I am on the fence with the Apple Pencil, since I am not an artist. But then, not getting the Apple Pencil just defeats the purpose of getting the iPad. Didn’t I just tell myself, that the main purpose of the iPad is to improve myself by learning new skills? And isn’t drawing a skill that is legitimately made possible by the iPad?

And then there is the matter of size. 12.9 inch looks awesome and will feel just like home since I am so used to the 13 inch MacBook Pro. But bringing it out in the public will make me feel like an obnoxious person.
“Hey look at me! I got a giant iPad and I am using it to play Candy Crush!”

The 11 inch screen would be perfect to bring it out, but will it be a downgrade in terms of real screen estate and productivity? I still would very much like the extra screen to typing and writing stuff, hence the priority of getting the Smart Keyboard over the Apple Pencil. And all these accessories

cost money!

Giving up my iPad mini 4

Almost a year ago I bought an iPad mini 4. I was excited when it came out. I bought the gold, 128 gb model and I used it primarily to read books and magazines while on my long daily commute. 

It served me well. It’s a great reading companion while in the subway to and from work. I took care of the ipad really well since I last bought it, with not a single scratch on the back of the ipad despite not getting a protector. 

But now that I have the iphone 7 plus, with a bigger screen, I have made my decision to let it go and pass it on to my mum who would utilise it better. Since I only used it for reading and nothing else, it would be far more useful for my mum than me. And now that I have a bigger screen iphone, it seems that the phone could be my main reading companion. I would definitely miss the bigger the screen of the iPad mini, but I feel more satisfied that it’s been to put to far greater use than merely using it only for reading. 

And why complicate my life owning so many gadgets? The new iphone 7 plus is so much more powerful than its predecessor and I personally feel that it could handily replace what the iPad mini could offer when I first bought it. 

Resubscribing to The New Yorker

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Sometime last year, I subscribed to The New Yorker, taking advantage of the 3 month subscription promotion for only $1 an issue for 12 issues. It was a good deal and I had not only access to the latest issue of the magazine, but also it’s archive. I loved The New Yorker. Its long form writing on most topics from science, medicine, and various social issues happening around the world is a great read. And contemporary topics covered around the world on various issues allowed me to keep somewhat up to date with what is happening around the world with a little more depth to the topic in question. While it is a weekly magazine with a few long form articles covering certain topics, it does not have the breadth of topics nor the lightning fast reporting found in other news agencies like CNN, BBC or the International New York Times. What it lacks in breadth, it makes it up for depth.

It is rare (for me) to actually enjoy the kinds of writing found in The New Yorker. Topics and subjects covered in their articles are fairly easy to understand (except for American politics which is usually skip) and quite engaging, mainly because it really delves deep into the subject matter, with excellent writing, top notch fact finding and verification, such that articles within The New Yorker are written as a story to be told, rather than facts to be reported. In almost all articles, there is always a human side to it, rather than reporting just the facts and ‘he said she said’ perspective. Investigative journalism are among my favourite kind of journalistic writing and it is abundantly found in The New Yorker.

I took advantage of the promotion but never continued my subscription ($59.90 for a year). Partly because I didn’t allocated time within the week to actually sit down and read he articles within The New Yorker. And soon, I found that I began to lag behind as more issues are released on a weekly basis. Very soon, I felt that, the more I lag behind, the more reluctant become in catching up and actually setting aside time to read those articles that I missed.

Fast forward to 2 months ago, I actually committed myself to continuing my subscription for an entire year. One of the main reason I decided to do that was because I finally bought an iPad mini 4 two month prior. Now I can read my favourite books, (Kindle), keep up to date on the news (CNN, BBC, The International New York Times) and finally have time and the platform to dedicate myself to reading The New Yorker. By using the iPad app, new issues are downloaded automatically and the magazine is formatted beautifully on the iPad Mini such that it makes reading the magazine a joy (just try the National Geographic Magazine app, it’s wonderfully formatted for tablets and it’s fully interactive). And with the iPad Mini, I can read while commuting, which is a boon, since now I can truly read my favourite books, comics, and magazines. The time spent commuting (45 minutes each way) can now be spent on reading. You have no idea how much that means to me when I finally got the iPad Mini.

So now, I am a happy subscriber to the magazine and will continue to do so, as long as those articles in the magazine continues to captivate me.

iPad mini 4

So yesterday I went to my local Apple store, and casually looked at the new iPad mini 4 that Apple just released. I held the tablet in my hands and noticed that the extra millimetres shaved from the previous iPad mini, as well as the ever so slight weight reduction over the previous iPad mini. The screen is definitely better than the previous one, on par with the current iPad air 2. There was a kid playing some games on the only iPad mini 4 on display in the store. I waited patiently for the kid to go away. Once we left with his dad, I lifted it, held in my palms, turned it around, tried the touch screen, surf a few websites. Within 5 minutes, I left the store with my own 64gb gold version iPad mini 4. It was that quick. I was just sold to just how much an improvement Apple has made to the iPad mini line.

The previous iteration was lacklustre, in terms of technical specs, with almost nothing changed aside with the addition of the Touch ID. It was just not worth paying extra for just the touch ID features. Now, the iPad mini 4 has made improvements across the board, including the new processor, almost to that of the iPad air 2, (A8 vs A8X), new rear camera, better display, lighter and thinner. This is the iPad mini that should have been years ago. And now, I bought it just so that I decide that the improvements were well worth getting it.

I did not own any iPad previously. I did bought one for my mum on her birthday several years back, but this is the first time that I bought for my own use. I have the nexus 7 from Google that I bought from Amazon, but I only used sporadically, because I wasn’t thrilled in using Android, even after trying to convince myself that it is a great mobile operation system. I guess i just find the apps lacklustre, often times buggy, slow and the overall UI not as well thought out as that from the iOS counterpart.

The iPad mini 4 is light. Really light. It’s a joy to hold, and anything that display on the beautiful screen just pops out. Its sharp, crisp, and wildly colourful. Weather you are reading text, or watching a HD movie, the screen is just captivating. The iPad mini is fast, and with 2gb ram, app switching is a breeze.

I have been using for a bout 24 hours now. I am looking for many more days of joyful use.

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