The Pencil-Support Edition Monday, March 18, 2019

Apple Announces New 10.5-inch iPad Air And iPad Mini With Apple Pencil Support, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced updates to its iPad line. There’s a new iPad mini and a new iPad Air, with a 10.5-inch screen. The iPad Air features a thinner design with a 10.5-inch display and the Apple A12 Bionic chip.

The iPad mini keeps the same 7.9-inch screen, but gets the same A12 spec bump. Both the Air and the Mini are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil. The iPad mini starts at $399 for the 64 GB model, and the Air starts at $499.

Apple Announces New iPad Air, iPad Mini, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

If you want the cheapest iPad you can get, buy the 9.7-inch. If you want something small, the iPad mini is for you. If you want a keyboard, but don’t want to spring for the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air looks like a real winner.

Apple Rolls Out New Smart Covers For 2019 iPad Air & Mini Models, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

For the 2019 Air, the company has new leather and polyurethane cases. Both feature automatic wake/sleep functions, and their lids can be rolled back to prop an Air in two positions. [...] For the Mini Apple is only offering a polyurethane Cover, priced at $39. Color options are white, papaya, charcoal gray, and pink sand.

Apple’s New iPad Mini And iPad Air Both Support The Logitech Crayon, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The Logitech Crayon is an alternative to the Apple Pencil, which uses some of the same technology as Apple’s stylus and comes with tilt support, yet lacks pressure-sensitivity.

iWork Apps On iOS Will Be Updated Next Week With Enhanced Apple Pencil Integration And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its iWork suite of apps for iOS will be updated next week with enhanced Apple Pencil integration, including new animation options in the Keynote app that let users draw an animation path for any object, and an all-new user interface for implementing build effects such as move, rotate, and scale.

Apple Removes 10.5-inch iPad Pro From Online Store Following iPad Air Launch, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has quietly retired the 10.5-inch version of the iPad Pro as part of its iPad shakeup, following the launch of the 10.5-inch iPad Air, a move that now leaves the 11-inch and 12.9-inch variants as the only two sizes of iPad Pro models available to purchase.


The Most Useful Apple Watch Apps, by David Nield, Gizmodo

Despite a few high-profile disappearances, plenty of iOS apps have companion apps for the Apple Watch – but only some of them bring genuinely useful functions and features to your wrist. Here are our picks for the Apple Watch apps that go above and beyond the basics to add real value to your Apple-branded timepiece.

Review: HyperDrive USB-C Hub For iPad Pro, by iPad Insight

Today, the HyperDrive is a very handy addition to the iPad Pro. It may not be essential yet, but it provides multiple solutions in one small, well-designed package. If Apple delivers the goods with iOS 13 and gives us real file management for the first time, then it will become a real powerhouse.

The fact that the HyperDrive isn’t a one-trick pony is icing on the cake for me. It will work with any Windows PC, Mac or Chromebook that has a USB-C port. It should also work with the Nintendo Switch and will likely be compatible with any Android device with a USB-C port, as well. It’s got the versatility you expect from a USB-C hub with some nice additions that make it a better fit with the iPad Pro.


Is Computer Code A Foreign Language?, by William Egginton, New York Times

The animating idea behind these bills is that computer coding has become a valuable skill. This is certainly true. But the proposal that foreign language learning can be replaced by computer coding knowledge is misguided: It stems from a widely held but mistaken belief that science and technology education should take precedence over subjects like English, history and foreign languages.


Apple’s Big Spending Plan To Challenge Netflix Takes Shape, by John Koblin, New York Times

Five series have completed filming. Around a half dozen more are on the verge of wrapping production, according to several people familiar with the shows who were not authorized to speak publicly. And the number of original productions is expected to increase in 2020.

With all that new material, Apple will transform itself, seemingly overnight, from a tech giant into a more general enterprise, with a slate of original entertainment offerings sizable enough to put it in a league with Showtime, Hulu or FX.

How Apple Stores Changed For The Worse, According To A Former Employee, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Worse, said the former Apple store manager, new, more stringent disciplines were being imposed: "Sales traffic and volumes were dipping, and yet our sales targets continued to rise. You can imagine the pressure this would put on store leadership. Suddenly, we were being tracked based on how many 'exceptions' we were making for customers -- either a discretionary discount or waiving of a repair fee or cost."

Trusting In Antitrust: Actions Against Big Tech Are Now Palatable, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

The political landscape is shifting, however, at a speed that dumbfounds even antitrust experts. President Barack Obama thought of the tech companies in the way they think of themselves: as progressive, smart entrepreneurs who want what’s best for America. His administration declined to pursue Google on antitrust charges and hired from the tech industry for top posts. Top staff members later went to work for the tech industry in top posts, too. It was a cozy relationship.

“Something has definitely changed,” said Geoffrey A. Manne, the founder of the International Center for Law and Economics, a think tank in Portland, Ore. “Most voters are very fond of Amazon, Apple, Google and even Facebook. But I think there’s also a growing sense of skepticism about all these companies. The shine has come off.”

Bottom of the Page

Both the new iPad Air and iPad mini look great. If I have too much money, I will buy all of the different models and use different iPads for different occasions.

I'm a little disappointed -- just a little -- that Apple continues to recycle old names. Air. Mini. Familiar names with unfamiliar lineup.

But -- hey -- maybe in one or two year's time, there will be a new iPad with a new name. What will Apple name its foldable iPads?


I'm a fan for Twilight-Zone-like television shows. I remember staying up late to watch the (first) Twilight Zone revival as well as the new Amazing Stories back in the 80s, when the two shows finally made it to Singapore's local TV. And I am also a Black Mirror fan, although I feel that, for many of its episodes, a half-hour format may work better.

(I even watched Freddy's Nightmare back in the days.)

So, I do look forward to the new Amazing Stories on Apple's streaming service.

Unfortunately, that's the only thing I am looking forward to, right now. Maybe Apple's upcoming event can convince me that there are a few shows worth paying. Or maybe some shows will have good reviews or good word-of-mouth when the service finally launches. As of now, I simply don't have any motivation to subscribe this new Apple service.


I do hope the new Twilight Zone revival over at CBS All Access will make it to international audience via Netflix, just like Star Trek Discovery. Over here in Singapore, I can't sign up to CBS All Access even if I want to throw money at CBS.

And, speaking of revivals, is nobody bringing back Alfred Hitchcock Presents?


So, it's Twilight Zone verus Amazing Stories verus Black Mirror. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.


Thanks for reading.