Timed with the release of the latest iPad Pro models, the hallmark features include brand new systemwide support for mouse and trackpad on iPad, plus a handful of external keyboard enhancements. Shared folders for iCloud Drive is the other big addition – first announced at WWDC last June then delayed out of the initial 13.0 release, iCloud users may finally be able to consider reducing their Dropbox dependency. Beyond those highlights, Apple has also included smaller OS tweaks in a variety of areas.
Previously only available in Apple School Manager, Shared iPad for Business Shared iPad enables businesses to share devices between multiple employees, while still providing a personalized experience. Employees sign in with a Managed Apple ID to begin loading their data. The user then has their own Mail accounts, their own files, iCloud Photo Library, app data, and more. The data for the employee is stored in iCloud, so employees can sign in to any Shared iPad that belongs to the organization.
The data on the iPad cached so employees can choose from a list of recent users to quickly get back to their personalized setup. There is also a temporary session that allows for any user to sign in without an account, and their data is erased when they sign out.
The Music app on macOS Catalina 10.15.4 now offers the same time-synced lyrics feature that came to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac last year. This feature allows you to follow along with a song in real-time. In prior versions of macOS, you could access plaintext lyrics, but this time-synced feature takes things to the next level.
Today’s update also allows users to share folders on the iCloud Drive, something that was previously available in earlier beta versions of macOS Catalina and iOS 13, but Apple has removed it from the final release for some unknown reason.
If you already have a 2018 iPad Pro, the only reason to even consider upgrading is if you’re somehow professionally involved with AR, or if you make serious use of your iPad camera. These are not new iPad Pros so much as tweaked iPad Pros. And the best part of holding onto a 2018 iPad Pro is that the upcoming Magic Keyboards are fully compatible with those models. Keep your 2018 iPad Pro and wait for the keyboard.
If you don’t have a 2018 iPad Pro, I can recommend these new iPad Pros with no reservations. Everything I wrote about the 2018 iPad Pros still stands. Rumors abound that Apple might release a more significant iPad Pro update at the end of the year, perhaps only in the 12.9-inch size. If you want to wait, wait, but waiting for rumored future products is a good way to tie yourself in knots and wind up waiting forever. If you need a new iPad now, these are the best iPads Apple has ever made, and arguably the best portable computers Apple has ever made, period.
I started this review by talking about the tension between iPads. The core of that tension is that for most people, the iPad Pro is overkill. Unless you’re quite sure what you are going to do with these cameras, that LIDAR, or the faster processor, chances are you’d be equally served by the much-less expensive iPad Air — or even the base iPad. Neither of those iPads is as nice from a hardware perspective. But if you don’t need the extra power, saving hundreds of dollars is also nice.
As much as I’ve used the iPad over the past five days, there were plenty of things I couldn’t test—like how the microphones fared in crowded, noisy environments, or how well the ultra-wide rear camera captured photos of large groups of friends. I didn’t sit and do work on it from a coffee shop, I couldn’t travel with the iPad on a train or airplane to give it a good lap test or see how it fared while it was smushed against a seat back. I quickly grew disinterested in AR apps within the confines of my small home.
These are interesting times.
I've been using the trackpad with my 2018 11-inch iPad Pro for the last four days, and I can't stop smiling. It's a boneheaded response, I know—to be delighted by something that feels so obvious and, many would say, regressive. But paths matter. And what's so strange about all of this is the multiple layers of redundancy you find on an iPad. You don't need the keyboard to type, you can type on the screen. You don't need the trackpad to navigate, you can pick up the Pencil and do the same. And if you lose that Pencil, who cares? The OS was designed potato-first, and so your dirty digits will work just fine. A bare iPad is like Monty Python's Black Knight; no arms, no legs, but the brain still works.
Thankfully, it's easy to snap all these pieces back on. And I'm glad the trackpad, along with its beautiful, playful new cursor, is now part of the package.
Apple didn’t just copy Mac cursor support and paste it into iPadOS with version 13.4. This is a careful, considered set of additions that rethink what a cursor should look like. And apparently it should look like an adorable round sticky color-changing blob.
With schools closed in many countries due to the current pandemic, teachers and parents alike are navigating the new reality of educating students from home. To help with this, Apple has launched a new series of videos designed to help schools and educators use built-in features of their Apple devices like the iPad to enable remote learning.
Cookies for cross-site resources are now blocked by default across the board. The WebKit team says this is a significant improvement for privacy since it removes any sense of exceptions or “a little bit of cross-site tracking is allowed.”
The data is aggregate and anonymized, and there is an opt-out for new customers.
Along with iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4, Apple has released ARKit 3.5 to let developers take advantage of the new LiDAR Scanner in the new iPad Pro. The latest ARKit release features Scene Geometry, Instant AR, and improved Motion Capture and People Occlusion.
Apple Inc. expects to start re-opening its retail stores in the first half of April on a staggered basis and has extended remote work abilities for many employees through at least April 5.
Phones that have the app installed exchange short-distance Bluetooth signals when their users are near one another. Records of those encounters, including the duration, are stored in their respective phones for 21 days, according to the app’s frequently asked questions section. It added that location data is not collected.
If a user is diagnosed with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, they could allow Singapore’s health ministry to access their app data to identify people who had close contact with the infected individual.
I am enjoying the new Apple Music's Get Up! Mix -- not to wake me up in the morning, but to wake me up after my lunch and going back to work.
Now, I am wishing for another Apple Music Mix to make me forget about work in the evening.
Thanks for reading.