iPad OS is officially a thing. The iPad has outgrown iOS as we know it and we should all be jumping for joy. However, let’s note that iPad OS, tvOS and watchOS are still all iOS just “made for” different devices.
But this gives us an entire new outlook on how we will view the iPad moving forward. Remember the “What is a computer?” ads by Apple?
This is a big step for Apple, as we’ve had ads, hints, stabbings and more at the “mainstream PC” for years — almost since the inception of iPad; however, with the iPad finally getting it’s own operating system, this gives Apple room to finally innovate and differentiate on an entirely different level to truly bring productive and powerful features to the world’s most popular, used and powerful tablet.
On March 27, 2018, Apple let the world know that it aims to take on education. There are numerous reasons as to why getting into education is a good thing when you’re a large technology conglomerate:
Device infiltration from an early age, thus creating Apple users for life
Competing in a new area
For some time, Google has been dominating the classrooms with the help of their Chromebook line. These inexpensive, easy to configure and deploy laptops running only the Chrome browser (Chrome OS) are a mainstay in American schools because they are so affordable and Google services are free (we always pay — even for free services, more on that later). While Apple has always wanted to be in the space, the company has yet to show how fully committed they are to providing tools that schools and administrators find useful or affordable.
The highlight of this event is an all new 9.7″ iPad, coming in a just a little over one pound, that supports Apple Pencil, which is a big deal and will likely cause increased adoption of this new iPad by those wanting to use Pencil. The device starts out at $329 for consumers and $299 for students. This updated tablet features an A10 Fusion SOC, which is the same as the iPhone 7 and should provide lasting performance for years to come. In addition to the Apple Pencil, Apple partnered with Logitech to create the “Logitech Crayon”, which will be available for $49, which is half of the price of Apple Pencil at $99 ($89 for students). Logitech also created a rugged case, featuring a keyboard for $99. This lower cost iPad does not feature the set of pogo pins, which would allow the attachment of Apple’s keyboard cover used on iPad Pro models.
In addition to the smaller hardware announcements came big changes on the software front in iWork featuring updates to Pages, Numbers and KeyNote — all featuring Apple Pencil support. One feature to note is “Smart annotation” to bring markup to Pages, which has been available for some time in other competing apps such as Google Docs. Teachers will now have the ability to create digital books in Pages, which could be shared with students. A feature that we’ve long asked for, Shared iPad, will be available for students featuring an interface where the student taps their picture and they are thrust into an experience designed for them because it will have all of their apps and settings available, regardless of device. All of the Apple IDs created for students will be done through Apple School Manager, which can create 1500 IDs in under one minute. Remarkable. In the future students will be able to get handouts and more from their teachers in the Schoolwork app and be further managed in the Classroom app for Mac, which will debut in June and all work done within these apps will not be accessible by Apple.
Apple has done a great job playing catch up; however, there are still lingering problems that I see in this approach. While the 9.7″ iPad will only cost a school $299, there are Chromebooks that cost $150 — while Apple will never say outright that they are competing against Google, the truth is they are. In addition to the fact that in order to gain a full experience you need a pencil and under certain circumstances, certainly as the children get older and the type of work changes, you need keyboard support. See a sample cost breakdown:
Apple iPad 9.7″ $299, Logitech Crayon $49, Logitech Rugged Case $99, bringing the total to $450
Any budget Chromebook $150-200, consumer purchase, note that a school will pay less
So for the experience that Apple is displaying, it will cost over 50% more (in fact, Apple Pencil itself can cost up to 66% the price of a Chromebook) when the end goal is the same, putting technology in the classroom to shape our future generation.
Apple has made headway into education now by fully marketing towards educators; however, I feel like they’ve still missed the mark because the deployment of one iPad alone without any other accessories still costs almost double the price of one Chromebook. It would’ve been nice to see them hit a $200 or $250 pricepoint here and with services that never seem to fully pan out — I struggle to see this changing Google’s lock on education any time soon. The hard truth is that if Apple wanted to create a true low cost competitor in this market for schools, they could — but as this announcement has shown us, they simply have not.
Additionally, many fans wanted to see a new iPhone SE or MacBook Air — this was an education event, for those of you who wanted those devices they may or may not come at a later time.
It has finally happened, a 2 hour long presentation started and completed by CEO Tim Cook. It was an extremely important day that will certainly set the foundation for hopefully an excellent year from Apple in it’s first public press conference of the year. Apple started perhaps it’s best WWDC in recent years with an inspired video showing us the dependence we have on great technology around us, then fully showing throughout the keynote how they will help propel us into the future with new technology to help make our lives easier, more productive and efficient.
Cook noted in the opening that there were 6 very important things that they wanted to share with us this year. They are:
We finally have Amazon Prime Video! It seems that whoever was holding this deal up finally let it go through. Note, there were no talks of 4K Apple TV models, additional controllers or a redesign of it’s terrible remote (gasp).
watchOS 4 will be released later this year, with new watchfaces from Toy Story, personalized Siri watchfaces, an enhanced workout app (Apple’s workout app, is phenomenal). Additionally, Apple Watch enabled gym equipment will be rolling out that will sync data between watch and the equipment via NFC. Finally, what has long been rumored to come to watch is Continuous Glucose monitoring from Dexcom — it is here.
The latest version macOS High Sierra is all about “deep technologies” that will help propel the OS into the future including refinements to Safari with “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” so that your data isn’t constantly seeping into this information blackhole we know as the web. Updates to Mail, which takes up 35% less space, including a great split view for easier composition. Photos includes updates that allows you to name subjects of found in your photos, which syncs securely across all of your Apple devices. Additionally, Apple is doubling down on VR with full support for external GPUs with a developer kit that can be bought directly from the company.
However, all of mac updates couldn’t end on the software level, right? There is a refresh afoot with updated iMac all sporting new 7th-generation Intel Core “Kaby Lake” processors and top of the line displays. Additionally, the nrefreshed models will have new memory configurations with up to 32GB on the 21.5″ and 64GB on the 27″ models respectively, Apple’s super-fast Fusion drive on 27″ models and all iMac receiving 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lastly for macOS updates…. iMac Pro — that’s right. This is simply the most powerful Mac ever built (isn’t it always) ;however, in all seriousness, this machine is an absolute monster, starting at $4999 — it is worth it and availabile in December 2017. The machine can be maxed out with an 18-core Intel Xeon chip, Radeon Vega graphics and up to 128GB ECC memory.
iOS 11 will be arriving this fall with a vengeance. This update is poised to answer questions, increase functionality and push the envelope even further for your devices. iMessage in iCloud will allow secure syncing off your messages between all of your Apple hardware. Apple Pay will now support person-to-person payments, something long rumoured — this functionality will live inside of the iMessage app. Changes to Control Center are also afoot, say goodbye to the two page configuration with a new fully customizable Control Center that you access by swiping up from the bottom of the screen like we do today.
Let’s talk about productivity on iPad Pro — this is the most monumental update that iOS has seen and most of the updates reside on the iPad Pro starting with a dock that is similar to macOS, which recognizes apps you use often and brings those into view as well. True drag and drop between applications that has been added, which means that apps will truly be able to interact with each other besides the usual share sheets that are presented to users.
The changes to the OS is exactly what pro users have been clamoring for for years. We’ve seen Android tablets try to make a dent, the Surface from Microsoft does an excellent job; however, it is still laptop first — this is the first instance that we’ve seen a touch first operating system truly because capable of professional grade work. iPad Pro has been taking steps in the right direction here and it is safe to say with iOS 11 — the dream has finally been realized.
Alexa, Google Home — these have been around; however, Apple had to create a speaker of it’s own for the Apple faithful, it is HomePod (it’s a terrible name, let’s just be honest). Touted as being a revolutionary speaker that is encapsulated in the description: “Immersive hi-fi audio. All the music you love. And the intelligence of Siri.” The key here is that Siri has to improve, Apple is touting lots of hardware enabled AI — so fingers crossed for improved Siri, which will greatly enhance this product.
The speaker is music focused with a seven tweeter array and a 4″ subwoofer that is spatially aware so that you get the best sound possible. Siri is also incorporated into the device allowing you to ask questions and more. Additionally, HomeKit enabled devices will be able to be controlled from the device as well from the comfort of your couch.
HomePod, in depth.
Available December 2017 for $249.
My top video synopsis picks follow:
Source: Marques Brownlee (MKBHD)
Source: The Verge
Source: Dave Lee
Source: Krystal Key
Apple’s strategy of creating the entry level device (eg. MacBook, iPad) then creating the more prosumer to professional grade device with enhanced feature-sets (eg. MacBook Pro, iMac Pro and iPad Pro) is showcasing the future of Apple here and giving consumers two clear paths that they can take based upon need.
Let’s talk about the new iPad from Apple.
So what we’ve got here is a case of a new tablet brought to us by Apple that is not an iPad Pro but at the same time it does have a lot of unique qualities. For example, this tablet’s best and most forefront quality is it’s price, starting at $329. This tablet is in the perfect position to take on the education market and be a perfect entry-level tablet for consumers of media and internet services.
Next, let’s talk about look. It’s earily similar to ghosts of iPad past; however, this time around — it’s thicker, packing a larger battery and a non-laminated display. Will this make a difference you ask? To most users no and at this price point; you probably shouldn’t be that picky anyway. This tablet is designed as a perfect “gateway drug” to tablet computing and it’s bound to get many first time buyers hooked.
Let’s talk about what is sweeping Twitter and YouTube — ChargeGate — yes, another “gate” for us to become consumed with. The issue here is that people are upset at the charging speed of the iPhone — but the charging speed has not changed (as in, yes, it’s slow we all know that). Some YouTubers have noted that the larger charging brick included with the iPads will charge the device faster — of course it will if it’s spitting out a higher voltage. (No links to videos or articles describing this will be linked, as it is a subject that those reporting it are truly reaching.)
Some key facts here are unavoidable:
Larger charger will charge the iPhone quicker
iPhones typically have good battery life that usually don’t require “topping off”
This view may sound terrible to some, but if you need to charge your phone multiple times per day, you may simply be using it too much. However, we have those that are true power users that need longevity in their battery — which you can get from the iPhone 6S Plus and 7 Plus devices.
Tech for the masses, meant to empower, educate and inform by Dexter Johnson.