Hardware: Thoughts on the iPad Mini….

iPad Mini

As I’m sure many of you noticed today, Apple released the much anticipated and, as it turns out, thoroughly leaked, iPad Mini. And there was much rejoicing right? Right?!

Well, for me, the answer is “yes and no”.

Now it was only just announced, so obviously I haven’t touched or used the device, but the first question I had when the initial rumors started dropping (months ago) waswhat would I have to give up to fit this into my current tech eco-system? If I did get it, what would I change? I’d definitely relinquish my old iPad to Gazelle, as there truly would be no need for two tablets. I figured it would be at least as powerful as my iPhone5 or the 3rd gen iPad and it’d also presumably be thinner and lighter, also two huge bonuses!

In fact, about the only thing that would stop me from buying one honestly was the screen. And by this don’t mean the issue of compromised screen real estate, which has never been an issue for me (I’ve actually written happily on my iPhone on numerous occasions). But the resolution? Screen resolution would definitely be a deal-breaker for me. Put simply, Apple’s “Retina” display technology that was released with the iPhone4 has completely and utterly spoiled me. So much so, that it’s a genuine distraction to use other devices of lesser quality.

So naturally, when the rumor mill started churning out tidbits of how the new iPad Mini was was going to have the same screen as the trusty old iPad2, I had my concerns. This rumor of course turned out to be true, as well as the hardware being less robust than the third gen iPad 3. Take away the finish and the new iPad Mini is basically a smaller iPad 2.

Which, to this unabashed Apple enthusiast, was a completely missed opportunity.

While it’s always amazing to me how Apple continues shrink it devices into smaller and thinner form factors making them more and more beautiful, aesthetics can only go so far. Eventually people notice when they can spend a little more to get a little more.

So when they dropped the price during the presentation (50 bucks less than the iPad 2), the deal was sealed for me. I’d crossed that line between “interested” to, “I just don’t want it”. Which is a shame really, because I could definitely see the use of a smaller, lighter, retina display equipped, same-internals-as-the-iPhone5, based iPad in my life. For travel it’d be a dream. The screen would still be an excellent size for everything I do on my iPad now and I absolutely wouldn’t have seen it as compromise on any level.

But I’m clearly not the demographic they are trying to sell this to and that is absolutely, positively fair. I’ll continue to wait it out until they have what I’m hoping for. I’m sure it’s in the works. I can be patient. In fact, I predict that at this time next year? The iPad2 will be gone, the iPad mini will take it’s place and it will stand proud next to the full-sized iPad, retina display and all! You heard it here first people (trust me, I am not the first to make that prediction)! :)

In closing, I guess what I find the most interesting about today’s announcement is that, for me anyways, Apple actually shot for the lowest common denominator, which isn’t typical for them. No one can drum up prelim excitement like Apple can and this incoming announcement had the community at a fever pitch. Which leaves me wondering how everyone will feel after the dust settles and the “new product announcement” high wears off.

My guess is that, while they’ll think it’s a beautiful product (and it is), they’ll be waiting to pull the trigger just like me.

Now that new iMac and retina 13in Macbook Pro? Those are pretty damn enticing…

Pics linked from apple.com

Software: Drafts

If you haven’t guessed by now, you’re probably new to this site, and if so, welcome! If not, you’ll undoubtedly know that I am an iOS text editor enthusiast to the umpteenth degree! I really love what developers out there have done to create such robust and fun ways to create words and text on such tiny screens and devices!

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One that I’ve been playing around with for a good amount of time is Drafts. Drafts, on it’s own, is a very elegant and clean text editor that’s UI is completely spartan by design. It main function is for you to launch it, jot a note or idea down and close it. The app saves your work in a plain text format and the next time you open the app? It starts a new note. This wash, rinse, repeat philosophy is what got me to first buy and try the app. But, it’s only when you open up Drafts and use it for a bit, that you realize that this text editor quite unique and powerful.

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Aside from the impressive collection of fonts that the kind folks at Agile Tortoisebaked in, you also get the requisite font size selector and two other themes to mix things up a bit (white text on black and a “Sepia” toned dark brown text on tan based theme). There is also a new view in the latest version of the app that is quite handy called “Link” mode which makes all the links that you type in to a note, tap-able! URLs would be easy but this view also includes phone numbers and even addresses! Think about it, you get a phone number from someone, put it in Drafts, and instead of holding down on the text, making sure it’s selected, opening the phone app, copying it into the dial field and tapping dial, now all you have to do is tap the “Link” mode in the note, tap the number, then dial. It’s that easy!

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It also has sync but the folks at Agile Tortoise didn’t want to jump through the myriad of hoops that Apple makes you go through to hook your app up to iCloud so they went with the well-thought-of sync project “Symperium“. In my using of both Drafts apps for iPhone and iPad, I’ve found the sync to be almost instantaneous and, most importantly, reliable. Which has been a little bit of a sticking point for me with the somewhat recent implementation of iCloud sync in apps. The only catch though with going with Symperium is that it doesn’t allow you to sync with your Mac (or PC, yet…). Presumably, going with the more “open” Symperium service, would afford the opportunity sync cross platform/device, but that hasn’t happened yet, so the only way you’d be able to get your notes out of your respective iOS device is through the sharing options provided to you.

The good news? This is definitely where Drafts shines! When you use Drafts you could almost overlook the sharing button in the toolbar of your notes, but after you tap it… man… there are a ton of options!

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Here’s a rundown of the current list of services that Drafts hooks into, most of which I use (some of which I’ve reviewed on this very site):

  • Post to Facebook or Twitter
  • Email your notes anywhere
  • SMS
  • Save and append to Dropbox
  • Send to iCal (Calendar)
  • Create a Reminder in iOS “Reminders” app
  • copy it to the clipboard in iOS
  • Print
  • Save to Evernote (can also save as Markdown)
  • Send to Tweetbot (twitter client)
  • Send to Day One (journaling client that I love)
  • And last but not least you can choose “Open in…” which allows you to open the note in any other text editor that you have on your device.

That’s quite a list! And they keep adding more with each version that drops!

With these sharing options, Drafts has become a my springboard for whenever I even have a whimsy about sharing a piece of text in more than one place. They’ve made it too damn easy to not see it as your default app for that. If I wasn’t such an iOS text editor junky, I’d probably have this as my sole go-to editor.

Add in it’s full support of Markdown and it’s really a no brainer.

To date I’ve used it for quick notes (movie names, phone numbers, etc…), calendar events, to do lists, entire chapters of the novel I am writing, Tweets, Facebook posts (when I actually am on FB), blog posts (though not this one), and the list could go on and on but you get the point, this app is a tiny juggernaut.

So go get it! Highly recommended!

Where to get it:

  1. iPhone – $1.99
  2. iPad – $2.99

What about the guys that made it?

All images in this post were linked from Agile Tortoise’s own website.

Tips: Deleting Your Entire Music Library Off Of Your iOS Device Sans iTunes

I was fortunate to be part of the groggy masses that woke up at 3AM Eastern last Friday to secure the delivery of a new iPhone 5 this Friday. Yes, I know, that is really friggin early, but I am a fan of Apple’s stuff and I am huge non-fan of lines and über busy retail stores so, if I wanted the latest on the day it went on sale, it was worth the 15 sleepy minutes it took to pre-order one.

Actually, I should really do a post on how that pre-order went. It was quite the Apple commercial really. Another time.

What I really wanted to do was post up a pretty handy tip I found today!

Now this won’t pertain to all of you, but often, when I get a new i-device I like to start fresh. I used to redownload everything! Apps, music, resetting up all of my settings…

For apps now, it’s a little different. With Apple’s iCloud back ups it’s way too easy to get all of your apps back with out havng to redownload and configure them again (which, frankly, is a royal pain in the ass). It puts them back where you remember too. Easy peasy.

But with music, I do enjoy picking and choosing the songs that will take up all of those beloved new gigs of space.

So today I was really puzzled on what the easiest way to delete just the music from an iDevice was. Yes, I already knew the “swipe left and tap delete” method but, even on an artist level, that can take a good amount of time.

I just wanted to nuke it all.

I waded into all of settings menus for about 20 minutes before I folded and hit the omnibar to find if anything existed that could do exactly what I needed. Sure enough! There is!

Here’s the direct link to the tip on OSX Daily. It’s four brilliant and easy steps. It certainly isn’t obvious and I wondered just how many people knew about it, so I thought I’d share it here.

If this is something you want to do before you load up your new phone, it doesn’t get much easier than this! Just delete the music, make a back up, and restore your phone when it comes in the mail!

Film: Skyfall

Meant to write about this when the trailer dropped last week but MAN… having been brought up on James Bond in the Roger Moore era? Boy I am super psyched for the kids today to have a James Bond that is a total bad ass!

I’ve loved Daniel Craig in the role since day one. It was inspired casting that I know initially, had A LOT of folks were concerned. But it was all totally unfounded! He’s been perfect for the role since “Casino Royale”. Not sure how long his contract is, but I hope it’s a long one!

The cuff link adjustment at the end of the recent trailer (below), is spot on perfect! Add Sam Mendes directing it all and I honestly can’t wait for Skyfall!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kw1UVovByw]

 

Software: Day One Journal Gets A BIG Update!

Day One Update from the site dayoneapp.com

Hey all! As you you’ve already read here on this site I am a HUGE Day One journaling fan!

Well, they’ve just come out with a new version of their all of their apps and it’s a hugeone! Integration of photos, weather, locale, better mark down support, sharing options, social integration, better Dropbox and iCloud sync, seriously… it’s huge.

They even updated their site! So if you don’t have it already, definitely check it out. It’s taking daily journaling to a whole new level. I absolutely love it and this update makes an already great experience even better!

Collect them all!

  1. Day One Journal Site
  2. Day One Journal Mac App Store
  3. Day One Journal iOS