The Firing-Up-a-Tablet Edition Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Why An iPad Is Worth It, by David Nield, Gizmodo

Last week we asked what the hell the point of the iPad was anyway—and you responded. It seems quite a few of you are still getting real use out of an iPad in 2018, and we’ve collected some of your reasons for firing up a tablet rather than a smartphone or a laptop.

What Can You Connect To The New iPad Pro With USB-C?, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The iPad Pro does not have Thunderbolt. It has a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port. This means it can drive a maximum of 10 gigabits per second, which makes it possible for the iPad to drive a 5K monitor at 60 frames per second. However, there is a catch.

In fact, there are little asterisks and gotchas to be aware of for almost anything relating to the iPad Pro’s new USB-C. Let’s break it down.

Apple Confirms New "Pencil" Stylus Won't Work With Qi Charging Standard, by Tiernan Ray, ZDNet

In response to an inquiry from ZDNet, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that Apple Pencil doesn't support Qi. The only way to charge the device is by resting it on the side of the iPad Pro computer. Apple did not provide comment as to why Qi is not supported in the device.

Take Care

My Apple Watch Became An Excuse To Not Take Care Of Myself, by Rose Riala, The Outline

The new Apple Watch obtained its clearance from the FDA “de novo” - that is, it argued the watch’s relative risks and benefits without comparing itself to existing medical technologies by positioning it as an unprecedented technological advance. To its credit, Apple chooses its words very carefully to describe this new technology in its promotional materials - “the data is for your doctors, the peace of mind is for you.” I, with the imagined authority of the watch on my wrist, played a game of existential chicken, trusting that the watch on my wrist would tell me the exact moment when I needed to hit the breaks. Unprecedented things tend to be used in unprecedented ways, and we, either through hubris or necessity, are all too likely to play doctor.

A Smart City Is An Accessible City, by Aimi Hamraie, The Atlantic

For digital-accessibility maps to work, they would need to be designed by cross-disability coalitions, similar to the ones that developed the tactile-pavement curb cut. Rather than relying entirely on visual representations of data, for example, digital-accessibility apps could expand access by incorporating “deep mapping,” collecting and surfacing information in multiple sensory formats. Such a map would be able to show images of the doorway or integrate turn-by-turn navigation. Deeper digital-accessibility maps can offer both audio and visual descriptions of spatial coordinates, real-time information about maintenance or temporary barriers, street views, and even video recordings. These capabilities are not yet present in most digital-accessibility apps, partly because they build upon digital-mapping tools that assume a view of streets and storefronts is sufficient.


Choosing Your Markdown Editor: A Comparison Of Ulysses And Drafts, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When I began this comparison, I had no idea which app I would end up choosing. Ulysses has served me well for years already, but Drafts appears to have a more aggressive development schedule presently, which I find appealing, and it's hard to ignore the potential for custom-built actions to make my life easier.

In the end, I've decided to stick with Ulysses for two main reasons: ease of use and aesthetics.

iPad Pro Cases Make Charging New Apple Pencil A Pain, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

With the 2018 iPad Pro not even in customers’ hands yet, very few cases specifically for it have been announced. And there could be a wait, as some companies may be hastily redesigning their products.


Silicon Valley’s Radical New Idea: Treat Employees Well, by Dan Lyons, Literary Hub

What common DNA do they share? These companies operate in very different industries, and for the most part they have little in common with one another, except for two things: they are all incredibly successful, and they treat their employees exceptionally well. This doesn’t mean putting out Ping-Pong tables and free candy, or running kooky New Age team-building games. Rather, this means paid sabbaticals, on-site child care, and reimbursement for college tuition.

All of the legends extend health benefits to part-time workers. Some even provide part-timers with perks like paid time off for sick days, vacations, and holidays. The lesson? Skip the Ping-Pong and the New Age guff about mission statements and culture codes, and give people things they actually value.


The MacBook Air Needs Face ID And A Delightful Notch, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

But a notched menu bar would let Apple keep the camera right where it belongs — in the top of the display — without sacrificing slim upper bezels. Combined with Apple’s already omnipresent-by-default menubar (which already has an awkward dead space in the middle in almost every setting) and the newly introduced dark mode in macOS Mojave, a notched MacBook would fit in perfectly to the existing software design, instead of being an awkward intrusion that you have to ignore like on iOS.

Here Are The 3 Ways Apple Could Bring A-series Chips To Macs, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

The market is somewhat less spec-driven than it was a decade ago, so Apple might be tempted to use iPad-style lifestyle marketing rather than direct hardware comparisons to sell Macs. But lifestyle marketing hasn’t historically worked particularly well for laptops or desktops.

Despite Apple’s recent comparison of iPad sales to PC sales, there are still differences between tablet and traditional computer buyers. Customers don’t tend to shop the same way for tablets as they do for laptops or desktops — computer buyers still care about specs, even if they don’t completely understand them.

You Already Email Like A Robot — Why Not Automate It?, by John Herrman, New York Times

What does the tech industry want to assist us with now? Email. If you use Gmail, you’ve probably interacted with either Smart Reply or Smart Compose, whether or not you know them by name. Google introduced Smart Reply in 2015, and Smart Compose began rolling out this year. Both, in execution, are self-explanatory. Smart Reply suggests canned responses to inbound emails, based on the company’s best guess at what most emailers might be about to type. The suggestions are short, peppy and often adequate, at least as a start. Sometimes their tone prompts unhappy realizations about what Gmail sees in us. The frequency with which they use exclamation marks emphasizes just how peculiar the language of professional email communication has become (“Sounds great!” “Very cool!” “Love it!”). Smart Compose, in contrast, offers word and phrase suggestions, based on similar judgments, as the user types in real time. You write “Take a look,” and ghostly text might appear to its right: “and let me know what you think.” Its assumptions are more personalized, and they feel that way because it is constantly, visibly, guessing what you’re thinking.

Bottom of the Page

My top three uses for my iPad:
a) meeting-machine: take notes, check stuff, catch up on RSS feeds when I'm bored at meetings;
b) tv-machine: Netflix and iTunes; and
c) reading-machine: e-books.


Thanks for reading.