I’ve now spent the last 10 weeks working from home. I’ve been really productive but do have to watch a couple of things. There are little breaks in my day at the moment. Back to back meetings/calls and no gaps. You miss the walking between meetings, talking to others. It’s full on, one topic to the next. The other thing to watch is tiredness. Feeling more and more tired as the week goes on and that’s despite a daily walk to try and recharge. Still, I’m one of the lucky ones so shouldn’t complain.
As the UK starts to unlock I can now see unfolding in front of me why Sturgeon said weeks ago that when to unlock and how will be really difficult. Scotland’s leaders have been far more clear and effective from what I can see. That doesn’t let them off the hook as care homes, testing, PPE and late lockdowns are all their responsibility too. However the mess unravelling in London and Johnsons defence of Dominic Cummings seem like idiocy after what the UK has been through, all summed up in this now deleted tweet.
How the world views Britain
While the politicians try to kid us that Britains Covid-19 response has been world beating it’s easy to find alternative views. The New Yorker calls it right – a disaster.
Patients Don’t Die Alone
This Buzzfeed article provides comfort to so many that their parents, family or friends are not dying on their own.
When Apple announced 2020’s iPad Pro’s I had zero interest in upgrading from my 2018 model but I really wanted the Magic Keyboard. So it was with some relief after reading the blurb about the new keyboard that it also worked with my 2018 model. It was due out May but ended up launching in April. Instant purchase even though it cost £349. For a keyboard.
The one niggle I had was the lack of any mention of weight on the Apple website. Apple is really good at listing weight spec’s and shouting from the rooftops about thinness and lightness…unless it wants to keep something hidden.
When the keyboard finally arrived I was surprised at the small packaging. I opened the box, took out the keyboard, ripped of the packaging and my first reaction was…this is pretty heavy. Heavier than iPad Pro heavy. Uncomfortably heavy. Mmmm. I then opened the keyboard and the hinge mechanism felt stiff and awkward. Mmmm. Not the best of starts and one of the few products I’ve bought where my immediate thoughts were this is getting returned.
I then snapped on the iPad Pro and I do mean snap. The magnets really grip the iPad in place. Opening and closing the keyboard with the iPad Pro attached was initially awkward. Unlike most devices of the last 20 years, the weight is in the top and not the bottom. Usually you lift open a light screen in a laptop. The iPad weighs more than just a screen and is thicker so it feels counter intuitive. However after a couple of days it feels fine and you get used to finding out the convenient ways of opening and closing the keyboard.
Those initial impressions were just over three weeks ago so I’ve had plenty time to pull together some thoughts. First, the positives:
The keyboard is great. A real step up from the Smart Keyboard folio, the keys have proper travel and are also backlit. Far more comfortable to use for extended periods. The base is rock solid too and doesn’t flex at all when typing no matter the surface it’s on. Didn’t realise how much I missed backlit keys until I got this keyboard.
The trackpad although small is a great addition to the iPad. Coupled with the new cursor support it makes text editing far easier and app’s as they add support take on a new feel. Only time I notice the size is vertical scrolling. One oddity is that the trackpad is a return to a physical click rather than the haptics in the Magic Trackpad. I also found it better to visit Settings > General > Trackpad and increase the tracking speed.
The trackpad supports a nice range of gestures that are well worth getting to know to help with usability day to day.
Love the floating iPad Pro. The viewing angle is the same as the Smart Keyboard folio…and I think I’d have liked another 5 degrees or so to tilt it back but I’m being picky. Now that I’ve got used to top being heavier, it’s easy to use and the hinge is super strong and doesn’t flex.
One aspect of the Magic Keyboard is you can’t fold the keyboard around the back of the iPad so I’m taking the iPad off the case more often than not. Never did that with the folio…and it makes for a more comfortable reading/relaxing device that way too.
Taking the iPad off the keyboard can be done with one hand like most have said but I usually hold the keyboard and pull off the iPad. The magnets are really strong and the photo below shows just how many are being used to snap the iPad into place. There’s also a lot of engineering in the keyboard and hinge mechanism.
There are however a few con’s to this new design that are worth considering.
For sketching there’s no perfect angle. Would have liked somehow to get an angle of around 170 so you can sketch with a bit of weight behind it but unless you turn the whole keyboard over….which looks ridiculous…then there’s no real solution. Maybe v2 in a couple of years time will address this.
The USB-C while useful charges at a slower rate than if you plug directly into the iPad which is a shame. It also is a charging port only – no accessory support which is a bummer.
It does make the overall iPad Pro a lot heavier – up there with laptop sizes so you may want to think through what you really want from a mobile device before going down the iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard route.
At £349 it still feels really expensive. Even £249 would feel expensive.
Should you buy one?
If you do any typing on the iPad Pro then yes pick one up despite the price. If you want the iPad to be more laptop like then it’s another yes. However the combined price would get you a cracking laptop so it really comes down to what you do day to day with your laptop or iPad and whether the Magic Keyboard add’s value.
The Magic Keyboard has really improved the way I use the iPad Pro. I could argue thats its transformational. The keyboard and trackpad coupled with the software changes in iPadOS to add cursor support really do add another dimension to the iPad. Cursor support has only been around for a few month but it feels so natural in iOS and so well integrated it feels like its always been there. The keyboard looks and feels great, which it really should for the price, and if you are making use of your iPad for an hour or two a day I’m sure you’ll like the Magic Keyboard as much as I do.
Still here. Still working from home. Hope everyone is doing their best to get through the Covid-19 crisis as safely as possible. I’ve been keeping the daily walks going and last weekend popped into Glasgow city centre. I couldn’t believe how quiet it was. While my local area is busier as people do their exercise the city centre was deserted. Nothing opened, little use of public transport. No rough sleepers. There were more police visible than anything else. No cars and the few cyclists had the run of the streets – why worry about the one way system when there is no one around. Does make you wonder what our towns and cities could be in the future when you factor in the climate challenge we face.
Working from home has become a bit relentless. Call after call with little to break the day. Taking a few days off soon and also counting my blessings as I’m lucky. Still in a job, still productive, still healthy. My fortress of solitude is quite nicely setup now although thinking about a new office chair to make the long days that little bit more comfortable.
We are told by many many people (politicians mostly) that you shouldn’t compare stats across countries when it comes to Coronavirus. I even nodded my head in agreement reading this article from David Spiegelhalter in the Guardian that it will only be at the end of the crisis that we’ll see just how badly each country has done in dealing with the pandemic. But then there are some stats that you just can’t ignore:
With much of the world hitting first wave peaks, attention is now turning to how Covid-19 originated and could China and WHO have done more in January? This Wired article focuses on the information disappearing before our eyes as China tries to re-write recent history.
Getting It Right
Many countries have worked hard to control coronavirus. One who locked down early was New Zealand. While many countries have lessons to learn, if we do hit second peaks later in the year I hope our politicians look at the actions taken by the likes of New Zealand and are quicker to act.
I’ve done precious little photography over the last two months – loving the lockdown photo project by Christopher Swan. Great images and also many places I recognise around Glasgow and also where I work. The glamour of South Street.
Watch your back
With so many video calls and Zoom traffic booming, video backgrounds are now a thing. Couple of options if you want to jazz up that call. Studio Ghibli have released a set of great images from some of their best creations and Got Your Back have an ever growing set of suitable…and not so suitable backgrounds. Choose carefully!
Anyone remember the I Love You virus that spread in the early 2000’s? The author has finally been found! I still remember someone at work clicking on the e-mail and spreading it even though we told him not to….but I got an e-mail from such and such that said I Love You. Doh. Social engineering is a powerful drug.
Great article on the history of iPad keyboards. I’ve been using a Magic Keyboard for a couple of weeks and I’ll post my thoughts soon but as the article shows there’s been a lot of changes in the last decade.
Important video for all of us during the lockdown. Spaceship You gives some great advice on how to get through the next weeks and months. Find 10 minutes to watch this.
1 Pixel Wealth
When you hear about millionaires and billionaires it can be hard to imagine just how much money that really means. 1 Pixel Wealth does a great job in highlighting the inequality in the world right now. Keep scrolling!
This is pretty amazing. OpenAI have released an AI Jukebox – give it an artist and genre and it will generate new music. Some of the results are spookily good.
The Best Sporting Video Games
The BBC have put together a top 50 sporting video games list with comments from loads of people about why a particular game is important and needs to be in the top 50. So many great memories in this list.
What a time sink this is. 9 eyes is named after the Google Maps camera module that sits atop cars, bikes…even people to take new Google Maps imagery…and has 9 cameras. This site is full of the weird and wonderful images that Google has captured. Some are funny, some weird, some seedy and some a snapshot on everyday lives across the world. Addictive.