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Filtering by Tag: iPad

Apple Event, September 2016

Like many, I had been waiting for Apple's September event with eager anticipation. Dubbed the iPhone event it is primarily a platform for the launch of new mobile hardware. Rumour and speculation leading up to the event meant that there was little ground breaking news or product.

There were large parts of the presentation that didn't interest me, but I understand the need to court big partners like Nike and Nintendo, even Niantic, but they did detract, for me, from the product launches.

I've had an iPhone 6 for two years and am seriously considering an upgrade. The last time I was at this point was when I owned an iPhone 4S and had completely skipped the 5 and 5S models. The 6 was a significant change. Larger screen, completely new physical design, a lot faster, Touch ID, Retina display etc. etc. and felt like a real upgrade.

In the iPhone 7 the changes and improvements are more subtle; ongoing refinement of what is already there. There's no doubt significant innovation and development in manufacturing processes, but the product has become mature.

Apple likes to talk about being "courageous" in it's decisions to move away from old technologies and hardware solutions. This time in the iPhone 7 it was the consignment of the 3.5mm headphone jack socket to history. It makes perfect sense as the format of the plug really is ancient technology which has changed little in form or function since the late 1870s. In reality I suspect the move was more about several other factors, namely creating extra space within the enclosure, eliminating one hole in the device in the pursuit of making it more water resistant and the ability to generate even more revenue through the licensing of Lightning connected wired earphones and headphones in addition to increased sales for Apple and Beats branded products.

The bundling of a converter dongle, which is effectively creating space on the inside of the phone and dangling it out of the Lightning port is the least Apple could do for all those who have money already invested in high end audio jack earphones, though it's an inelegant solution. It also means that you cannot listen to music through earphones whilst charging the device, although third parties are already selling even more cumbersome looking dongles to get around this.

Apple did launch a pair of Bluetooth earphones called AirPods which look pretty much like their EarPods but without the cables. Simply from a practicality point, regardless of sound quality, ease of pairing and charging, they need a lanyard or head band. One or both earpieces will be lost within days of purchase, and at £159, that's not a cost that can be easily justified.

Other improvements to the iPhone are as expected. Camera, display, speed and storage. There are also a couple of new colour finishes available, though Apple is already warning that the gloss 'Jet Black' is likely to scuff and scratch easily.

Apple Watch also got a refresh and is now waterproof, within reason. The addition of GPS is nice but I still don't think it fully meets the necessary requirements to be considered a serious sports watch. It is also thicker and heavier than the first generation Apple Watch, but doesn't come close to the size of some of the competition in the specialist sports watch sector.

I was hoping to see a refresh of some of the iPads, in particular the iPad Mini; assuming that we would see a Mini 5 to replace the twelve month old Mini 4, but this didn't happen.

What did happen was an across the board increase in storage capacities on all iOS devices, replacing the ridiculous 16GB entry point with 32GB, and then skipping 64GB in favour of 128GB, topping out with 256GB on some models.

Customers in the UK are also treated to a price increase across all Apple product, due to international exchange rate fluctuations, with most of the media adding "post Brexit" to that statement. 

As yet I'm undecided about ordering an iPhone 7. I want one, but don't need one.  At the time of posting this, there are about eight hours before the preorder process comes online (08:01 UK time).

I think I'll have to sleep on it


Update: Friday 9th. September 2016.

Thank you for your order.

A surprising discovery.

The iPad Keyboard Dock.

I wasn't the first member of my family to own an iPad - which is quite a surprise, because I am the most Apple-centric, amongst all of my family... by a long way.

But, it was my father who bought the first generation iPad, within days of its launch. He still has it and uses it daily, and gets immense pleasure from all he is able to do with it.

When he bought it, he had never used a touch screen device and was rather wary of being able to type using the on-screen keyboard. So, without trying it first, he bought the iPad Keyboard Dock too. Needless to say, two and a half years later, he has barely used the keyboard.

In a recent rush of blood to the head, he has embarked on a major clear out at home; working his way through cupboard after cupboard, taking lots of 'stuff' to the council tip, charity shops, and also depositing many items of indeterminate usefulness, at our house.

Actually, I shouldn't be too critical. Some of the things he has dropped off, have, and will be very useful.

Amongst everything was the iPad Keyboard Dock. He had decided that he was unlikely to ever use it, so I suggested that I tried to sell it for him on eBay.

I have an iPad 2 and just assumed that it wouldn't be totally compatible, because of the difference in thickness between the first and second generation iPads.

Today, I started to create a few eBay auctions and got the dock out to take a couple of photographs for my advert.

Just out of curiosity I tried my iPad on it. It wasn't particularly easy to locate the 30 pin dock connecter in the socket on the iPad, but, with a little careful manipulation, it went in.

The back of the dock supports the iPad reasonably well. Perhaps it is a little more wobbly than the first generation one would be, but it's okay.

Anyway, to give it a try, I sat down and started to type, and I like it. With the iPad specific function keys and Apple keyboard feel and build quality, it’s perfect for turning the iPad into a slightly more traditional computer.

An easy 400 words typed on my iPad.

Now, I just need to offer my father something for the Keyboard Dock.

 

I suddenly had the urge to write something.

 

As I sit here, with my iPad, syncing documents to iCloud; adding to the same documents on my iPhone later in the day, then editing and completing them on my desktop computer in the evening, ready to post to my website, created in the UK and hosted in New York, I have the overwhelming desire to write something.
"But you are", I hear you say.
Well no, I'm not.
I mean actually write, with a pen, on paper. Not a roller ball gel pen either, but a fountain pen. One which requires filling with ink, from a bottle.
Last week, whilst buying stationery for my business, I spotted a small notebook. Bound in soft leather, containing pages of crisp, high quality paper and a cover page, printed with the words "This Journal Belongs To". I couldn't resist it.
Now, as I sit here with my journal and my fountain pen in front of me, I haven't a clue what to write.
So whilst I consider my options, I open a new document in Pages on my iPad and write this piece for my website.

Oh well...

iPad 2. The UK Launch.

 

It seems only right that, after having owned an iPad 2 for just over a week (since it's UK launch, on Friday 25th March 2011), I should post a short piece to my site from it.

Wednesday and Thursday of the launch week were very warm for mid March in North West England. Temperatures were in the high teens, Celsius. So, I set off to Liverpool on the train, probably a little under dressed for the cold afternoon of standing in line at the Apple Store in Liverpool One that was to follow. Although it was a sunny afternoon, I hadn't considered the cold wind blowing off the River Mersey and funnelling through the streets close to the docks.

I arrived in good time and joined the line at about 12:15pm. I estimated that I was about 50th. in line. As it turned out, I was 38th. Considering the fact that a few people had already been waiting for almost twenty four hours, I didn't think it was too bad.

Staff from the Apple Store spent the whole afternoon amongst the queuing fans, handing out complimentary water, tea and coffee. The warm drinks were certainly very welcome, though as a person on my own, I was a little concerned about taking in too much liquid with at least a five hour wait ahead of me. The line behind me grew pretty quickly and at the time the store reopened for the official 5pm launch, there were probably about 400 people there. A small team of staff also worked their way through the queue from the front, identifying which model of iPad everyone required and handing out reservation tickets.

 


At about 3pm the store closed for business and the staff began erecting a large black curtain across the front of the store, just inside the doors. Outside, there were photographers, journalists and film crews recording the event and interviewing willing fans, happy to share their passion for all things Apple. One of the photographers from the store tried to initiate a Mexican wave, but failed rather miserably as everyone was too concerned with just keeping warm.

Following a 10 second countdown, at exactly 5pm, the large curtain dropped to the floor and the doors opened to a loud cheer.

Each customer was assigned a personal shopper, who lead them through the store, helping with the selection of any accessories, before arriving at an area on the first floor of the store, where the iPads were being issued. They were then taken downstairs again, where payments were taken.

The whole process took less than ten minutes. Considering the volume of customers, the store didn't feel crowded and I certainly didn't feel rushed to purchase and get out.

 

This was my first experience of a product launch at an Apple Store. The atmosphere, anticipation and sense of community were more than compensation for the cold conditions.

When the next iPhone is launched, I will be upgrading.

Will I be getting it on launch day from an Apple Store? Almost certainly.

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