Category Archives: iPad

Scrivener for iOS – coming soon(ish)

Here’s an early Christmas present for me and for quite a few of my friends and colleagues: Scrivener, the marvellous long-form writing tool for Mac, is coming to iPad and iPhone:

It’s still early days, though – we are about to embark on the design process proper, and all we can say in terms of a release date is that our iPad and iPhone versions will be out some time in 2012

There’s a link to share your ideas about what should be in it too. I know from my perspective the thing I’d like to see are integration with iCloud on both the iOS and Mac side, so that I could seamlessly carry on working on a project no matter where I was.

Kensington KeyFolio Pro review

There are, littering my house, more than a few different iPad keyboards. You see, I’m someone who spends a rather large amount of his time writing. That means I’m picky about the tools that I use to lay down pixels on screen.  

There’s the Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2, which I reviewed both on here and for MacUser. There is, of course, an Apple keyboard which I use in collaboration with the marvellous InCase Origami – a case for the keyboard which is light, durable, and folds up into a stand for the iPad.

And there’s the most recent addition, the Kensington KeyFolio Pro.

First, the reason why the Kensington earns the “Pro” monicker: the keyboard itself. It’s not full size, as the Apple one is, but it’s pretty close. The spaces between the keys are good, the travel is a little clunky and shallow but overall pretty good. Apart from Apple’s keyboard, it’s one of the best ones you’ll find for the iPad.

It’s not, though, perfect. The enter key isn’t quite there you think it should be, which means that I find myself hitting the backslash key rather than enter every now and then.

But the worst problem is the angle that the iPad is held in. In the default position, it’s far, far too shallow, which means the iPad is tilted almost towards you rather than back at an angle you can read. The only way to push the angle back to something that’s more comfortable is to rest the edge of the iPad on the deep plastic bezel which surrounds the top of the keyboard. In fact, my optimum angle was only hit when the edge of the iPad was resting almost on the top row of keys. That is, to say the least, sub-optimal.

This is a real shame, as the Kensington showed a lot of promise. Alas, though, it means that one of the nicest keyboards for the iPad is housed in a case which renders it almost unusable.

Mathew gets it

Mathew gets it:

I’m sure when Bill Gates looks at the iPad or the iPhone, he thinks about all the features it doesn’t have, or all the things that it can’t do. But no one else thinks about those things — all they are interested in is what they can do, and how much fun it is doing them, and how appealing those devices are. And that is one of Steve Jobs’ biggest gifts to the world of technology and design.

(from Steve Jobs and why technology doesn’t matter — Tech News and Analysis)

iPad market share rises

So much for the iPad killers:

Apple managed to gain market share in tablets at the very time that many of its new competitors were supposed to be taking that share away, IDC said Wednesday. Having full access to data from the past spring, it found that the iPad had gained share, moving up from 65.7 percent at the start of the year to 68.3 percent. Multiple Android tablets’ arrivals only led to Google’s share shrinking, dropping from 34 percent in early 2011 to 26.8 percent mid-year.

Review: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2

Make no mistake about it: the iPad’s on-screen keyboard is actually very good. You can easily rattle off a quick email or tweet with it, and some more proficient users have been known to write several hundred words without their fingers falling off.

But not everyone gets on with it, and if you’re a professional write then you’ll probably hit its limitations. Compared to even a poor-quality physical keyboard, the iPad’s virtual one simply feels weird.

Apple’s preferred solution is for you to use the iPad with its own excellent Bluetooth keyboard. However, this means you also have to carry around something to prop the iPad up with, and although Apple’s keyboard is slim, it’s still bulky and likely to rattle around a bag. What’s more, using it on a lap (like, say, a laptop) is tricky.

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Why can’t anyone match the iPad?

To put it simply no one can match the iPad because no one can match Apple’s prices with a tablet that matches its features:

When better equipped (though bulkier) netbooks can be had for $250, tablet-makers need to set their sights below $200. There is just one problem: the cost of the components currently used comes to more than that. According to the market research firm iSuppli, the basic TouchPad cost Hewlett-Packard $306 to build.

At the moment, as The Economist correctly points out, Google’s strategy isn’t working either:

But the ultimate killer feature that Android and other tablets have failed to replicate is the care Apple took from the start to ensure enough iPhone applications were available that took full advantage of the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. Today, over 90,000 of the 475,000 applications available online from Apple’s App Store fully exploit the much larger screen size. By contrast, only a paltry 300 or so of the nearly 300,000 apps for Android phones have been fully optimised for the Honeycomb version of the Android operating system developed for tablets—though many of the rest scale up with varying degrees of success.

There simply isn’t enough incentive at the moment to develop applications which fully take advantage of Honeycomb. And Google doesn’t appear to be pushing developers to do it.

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Windows 8, iOS and that weird post by Aaron Holsgrove

[Other](http://daringfireball.net/2011/06/windows_8_fundamentally_flawed) [people](http://curiousrat.com/home/2011/6/12/holesgrove-on-gruber-and-windows-8-a-public-trainwreck.html) have picked apart Aaron Holsgrove’s post on “[Why Windows 8 is not fundamentally flawed as a response to the iPad](http://www.businessinsider.com/why-windows-8-is-not-fundamentally-flawed-as-a-response-to-the-ipad-2011-6)”, but I think it’s worth going over more. It’s a catalogue of mistakes, which would keep the average commentator going for days. Take this, for example:

>If Apple never released the iPhone, we’d be sitting here today talking about how if it weren’t for Android, those three companies wouldn’t be making all of those same changes or something like that – the crippling of those companies was always inevitable. Or perhaps in your case John, you’d be saying it was the Mac and Mac OS X that proudly toppled those giants instead because Android wasn’t made by Apple and therefore doesn’t warrant the same amount of credit or boasting on your part.

I can only imagine that Aaron never saw the early demos of Android, which showed off a [phone much more akin to a BlackBerry](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoyoUpawfgU&feature=player_embedded), but with less features and a wonkier interface. Or perhaps he missed out on the later [demo of the HTC Dream](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arXolJrLVEg&feature=player_embedded) (which became the T-Mobile G1), which had an interface which was just about on a par with a decent Nokia phone of the era.

Had the iPhone not existed, would Android have been released and done reasonably well? Yes. Had the iPhone not existed, would Android have been as good as it is today? Not a chance. Would Nokia have been able to respond to Android, had Android’s development not been pushed on by the existence of the iPhone? Yes.

In fact, Aaron’s entire piece rewrites history. Take this:

>[Microsoft's] biggest goal with Windows 7 was to develop an OS that was touch friendly and as we all found out, it was a good operating system for using computers with a keyboard and mouse but it wasn’t touch friendly at all.

“Touch friendliness” was a long way from being the biggest goal of Windows 7. Steve Ballmer put it [like this](http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/4176373/CES-2009-Microsoft-CEO-positive-after-Windows-7-launch.html):

> “We’ve been putting in all the right ingredients – simplicity, reliability and speed. We’re working hard to get it right, and get it ready.”

Or perhaps Aaron should remember Ballmer’s [remarks from Windows 7's launch](http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/steve/2009/10-22win7launch.mspx):

>What were we really most trying to do? We were trying to make the everyday usage of the PC better in the ways our customers wanted: Simpler, faster, more responsive.

To be fair, Ballmer does mention touch. It comes in the “third bucket” of Windows 7 (where does he get this stuff?):

>And then No. 3, let’s enable a world of new things, new possibilities for software developers and hardware developers and for end users. So you get a technology like multi-touch, which enables people to build new computers and new software. You get literally, I would say, from an end user perspective, dozens or hundreds of new features.

There you go: touch, far from being, “the biggest goal” was one of “hundreds of new features”. And judging by the [image gallery for Windows 7's launch](http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/gallery/screenshots/windows7.mspx), when it talked about touch, Microsoft was focusing much more heavily on touch-screen PC desktops than tablets.

I could forgive Aaron some of this if he’d actually bothered to do any research. But he hasn’t.

Take this statement about the relationship between OS X and iOS:
>Actually John, iOS IS built on top of Mac OS X and its core principles. It is common knowledge that it is a modified version of OS X with a touch centric shell on top. From the Wikipedia page about Mac OS X:
>Apple also produces specialized versions of Mac OS X for use on its consumer devices. iOS, which is based on Mac OS X, runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and the 2nd generation Apple TV.
>Guess what Windows 8 for tablets is? You guessed it – the core of Windows – MinWin – with an alternate shell to Win32 on top that is touch friendly – the ‘Metro’ immersive shell we saw today.

Calling the bits which differentiate iOS from OS X “a touch centric [sic] shell is a bit like calling Android “Linux with a phone-centric shell”. iOS and OS X share core elements, notably the XNU kernel. Beyond that, Cocoa Touch (the API for building iOS programmes) is based on Cocoa, the API for building OS X programmes. But you can’t take a Cocoa-built application and run it on Cocoa Touch, unmodified.

And that’s the aim for Windows 8: Run current-generation Windows apps, unmodified, on touch-based Windows 8 tablets[^2]. The equivalent would be if Apple had aimed to create iOS and let OS X apps run, unmodified, on it. That Aaron doesn’t understand this fundamental difference is surprising. It’s a shame that, instead of relying on a single line in the Wikipedia entry on OS X to “prove” that iOS is just OS X-with-a-shell, he didn’t read the entry on [iOS](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_(Apple)), which has a good description of the layers of the operating system. You’d think that lack of multitasking available to developers prior to iOS 4 might have been a clue.

More evidence of Aaron’s lack of research comes when he starts talking about iWork for iPad:

>Now, the deal with iWork for iPad is that it’s a skinny rip-off of iWork for Mac because Apple’s original pitch for the iPad is that [it’s a consumption device](http://andheblogs.andyrush.net/ipad-its-a-consumption-device/), not a creation device[^1].

Odd that Apple should introduce iWork for iPad — something that’s all about creation — at the same time as the original iPad. You’d think they wouldn’t bother if it was a “consumption device”.

Also odd that the only evidence that Aaron can find of Apple saying this is a blog post from Andy Rush, who does not work for Apple. No quotes from Steve Jobs. No quotes from Scott Forstall. No quotes from *anyone* from Apple.

Because, of course, Apple’s original pitch for the iPad *wasn’t* that it was a consumption device. Aaron has just made that up.

Now I’m less bearish than either John or Harry about Windows 8. Windows 7 was such a vast improvement over Vista, and in such a short period of time, that it showed Microsoft can raise its game when it needs to. Microsoft also showed the right stuff when it ditched its previous mobile efforts in favour of Windows Phone 7, which has a genuinely innovative interface and some really nice touches — again, developed fast.

On those grounds, I think it’s foolish to write Microsoft off. But pretending that iPhone didn’t matter, rewriting the history of Windows and attributing stuff to Apple which Apple never said isn’t arguing the case for Windows 8 — it’s arguing the case that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

[^1]: I suspect the reason Aaron has chosen this link is pretty simple: Andy Rush’s blog post is top result if you Google “iPad is a consumption device”. Obviously, that’s good enough for Aaron.

[^2]: Or is it? It looks from some of the things that Microsoft [has said since](http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/06/html5-centric-windows-8-leaves-microsoft-developers-horrified.ars) that in fact, you’ll need to completely redevelop apps, possibly even in a different language, to use the touch-based “Metro” experience.

Which Android tablet is actually selling like hot cakes?

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Goes on Sale for $399, Sells Out Immediately

“This mirrors the Tranformer’s success in the UK where its first three production runs have already sold out. Either Asus didn’t anticipate high demand and lowballed their stock, or the Eee Pad Transformer is the perfect example of what can happen when you mix powerful hardware, Android Honeycomb, and the right price.”

My gut feeling is that the fact that the Transformer can be effectively turned into a netbook is making it much more attractive to one segment of the audience – one that wants a tablet occasionally but otherwise wants a small, light laptop.

It also shows that the way forward for Android tablets, at least for the time being, is to try and be different from the iPad rather than just being a (slightly hokey) alternative.

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Compare and contrast

Compare

“The Glendale Galleria store in California sold out of all their iPad 2s within 45 minutes of opening their doors (thanks, Michael K.). According to multiple reports via Twitter, users were unable to choose the model they wanted.”

and contrast

“Jefferies analyst Peter Misek on Friday argued that earnings estimates for Motorola Mobility are too high for the second quarter and 2011 because sales of the Xoom and Atrix haven’t lived up to expectations.”

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