I managed to avoid spoilers this year before the keynote and was pleasantly surprised by Apple creating a fork of iOS just for the iPad. It’s long overdue and I’m hoping it means each year now we’ll see improvements to the iPad. As someone that lives on the iPad I was really excited to give the beta of iPadOS a try. In the 48 hours I’ve had to play with it here are some of my favourite things about using it.
New home screen
Not a huge change but significant enough to make a difference to how I use it.
I have my most used apps on the right, now it’s more compressed they fit nicely. On the left I have Calendar and Reminders widgets reminding me about my day. This is a positive improvement and although I’d like to see the option to remove app names I’m pleased with the implementation.
Reminders has had a big overhaul and in my time using it I loved it. Very buggy at the moment as to be expected but fitted the way my brain thinks about tasks. I enjoyed being able to create a Today list free from having to pick a specific time. I’ve raised over 15 radars with Apple on issues and suggestions so I’m hopeful it’ll become my only to do list manager come September.
Quick path typing and small keyboard
I was surprised at how much I loved using this little one handed keyboard on my 10.5″ Pro. I’ve also come to love (and miss now I’m off the beta) the swipe keyboard.
I installed Catalina on my MacBook and was very impressed with being able to use my iPad as a second screen. I didn’t use the pencil but simply as a second screen for info.
Big update for Photos and it looks particularly great with dark mode. Took me a while to get used to the new default view when you launch the app but definitely missing the beta. Looking forward to using it again when the public beta launches.
Again took a while to get used to but found it easier on my eyes. I enjoyed using the default apps in dark mode, particularly Reminders. It’ll be a mode a lot of people will enable and then go back to white I imagine but for those of us that prefer a darker look it’s been implemented well.
I’m running on my 10.5″ iPad Pro and even though its beta 1 I had no performance issues. That said I can’t recommend running the beta at the moment. It’s so buggy right now and I’ve experienced several iCloud issues.
There are a tonne more improvements including files and multitasking but to be honest I don’t use those apps or features much. I’ve tried to highlight the ones that made a difference for me using iPadOS. I’m planning on a full review as we get through the beta cycle. I’m so pleased that Apple have recognised that the iPad is its own thing and needs a dedicated development path away from the iPhone. Now iPadOS is a thing we can expect to see improvements year on year and fingers crossed will push the iPad forwards at an increased pace.
I was very surprised when I saw mouse support being rumoured and it also wasn’t the keynote so I forgot about it. Then I saw a few things on Twitter including this amazing tweet from Andy.
I’m amazed that already I’m loving it and so will my RSI hopefully. I ended up getting a cheap wired mouse that I plugged into the camera connection kit. I wrote this post up with my Smart Keyboard and mouse attached.
Now I had it connected I needed to head into SETTINGS,ACCESSIBILITY, TOUCH and then turn on ASSISTIVE TOUCH.
Once enabled you see a round cursor (that fades when not in use) that you can move around and click on touch targets.
Within the ASSISTIVE TOUCH above you can tweak the settings to your liking including reducing the tracking speed and what each mouse button press does. I use left to click and then middle to go home. Oh and if you have a scroll wheel then you also use it in settings and some apps.
I’ll write up more but just wanted to share some initial thoughts.
I’ve refreshed my devices onto the beta so been setting up my iPad Mini again. I don’t restore from backup so it’s always a fresh look at my apps when I do this. As you can see I’ve moved back to Things to keep my week a bit simpler as I had a lot going on. Still using Bear for my notes and writing. Another change is using my iPad Mini to journal exclusively. I’ve uninstalled DayOne from my iPhone in fact. Social apps have moved here also off my iPhone.
I’m planning on writing up more posts on how I’m recording music on iOS and want to relax a bit more so I’ll be playing more guitar and freelance writing less. This is part of realising I’m taking on too much in terms of projects. More on this in a later post.
I’ve been wanting to spend less time with my iPhone XS and it turns out getting the iPad Mini was the fix I needed. As I write this I realise I’ve not charged my iPhone for two days and left it at home multiple times by accident. I’m finding I’m using social media less, creating more and being more intentional with my devices. I’ve also found that I’m using my DSLR more, to the point I’m thinking about getting a new smaller camera to take around with me. I didn’t expect this to happen but it’s been a positive move for me.
I almost picked up an iPhone 8 to have as a testing device to write about the new iOS but it hit me, I loved the iPad Mini so why didn’t I just use the cash for that instead. A used 8 was going to cost me more than this iPad Mini 5 and I’d get less use out of it.
The reason my last one went back was the lack of work use but the more I’ve been reading and listening to music and wanting to spend less time on my XS the Mini seemed the perfect device for me. I now have a comfortable device for reading in bed and with the larger than my iPhone display it’ll be my main device around the house. I might even use it in my camera bag to take with me when I want to take the DSLR out for the day.
I’m in the process of getting ready to reset my original iPad but thought it would be fun to look back at the older design a little bit. When using it I was struck with how much I prefer the pre iOS 7 folder look.
This is how it looked, I think the darker background and clear division of content looks a lot cleaner than what we have now.
I’m not a huge fan of the smaller semi transparent look of iOS 7. Yes I can swipe though multiple pages of apps within the folder but for me it’s a lot more user friendly in iOS 5.
This isn’t an old man yelling at the clouds but a look back at different elements of iOS in a nostalgic fashion.
Overall I love iOS these days but I’m looking forward to comparing old app versions and seeing how far (or not) we’ve come.