Apple to discontinue iPad mini as device gets squeezed from both ends — BGR

First introduced in 2012, Apple’s iPad mini was a welcome alternative to the much larger, thicker, and heavier 9.7-inch iPad. There was no 5.5-inch iPhone Plus, so the iPad mini made a great choice for light reading and effortless web browsing, email, and gaming. The market doesn’t stand still, however, and we’re now looking at a redesigned iPad Pro to be launched this summer that should offer everything the current 9.7-inch iPad features, but in a smaller footprint with a larger 10.5-inch display.

On the other side, there’s the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, which is large enough to negate the need for a tablet for many users. The device you take everywhere, that’s always with you, that has the best camera, and that has everything else you need. The device that you already own. Therein lies the problem, and that’s why we have heard from a source close to Apple that the iPad mini is being phased out.

That’s a shame. I love my iPad mini. I use it to read ebooks in bed, because the larger iPad is much too heavy. The iPad mini is the paperback to the iPad Pro’s hardcover. It’s a bit bigger than a Kindle, but the typography is so much better…

It’s also used a lot in education with small children for whom the full-sized iPad is too large. And I’ve seen stores where people use it as a point-of-sale device.

I understand that it’s a niche device, but it would be a shame if they kill it off.

Source: Apple to discontinue iPad mini as device gets squeezed from both ends — BGR

iPad (2017) review: With a stripped-down iPad for $329, you may not need to go pro – Macworld

Amazon sells a Kids Edition of its Fire tablet, which is the exact same tablet they sell for adults, but in a kid-friendly case, with a year’s worth of the FreeTime Unlimited service for kids apps and content. Apple does not do this. But at $329 for 32GB of storage, the new iPad is pretty close. This is a great iPad at its most family-friendly price, and certainly a better buy for kids than the $599 iPad Pro.

I think this iPad is a very good deal. But… There’s one thing missing which, for me, would tip the balance. The 9.7″ iPad Pro has four speakers; two on the top, two on the bottom. If you’re watching videos, that means there are two speakers on each side. I often watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Video on my iPad Pro in bed, and the sound that comes out of that device is astonishingly good. It’s good enough that I don’t use headphones, which I always did with the previous iPad Air models.

So if you do watch videos on an iPad, I’d think twice about going for the cheaper model. If you’re happy to wear headphones, then it’ll be fine, but it’s much more comfortable to not wear headphones and use the four speakers in the iPad Pro.

Source: iPad (2017) review: With a stripped-down iPad for $329, you may not need to go pro | Macworld

How to Free up Storage on an iPhone or iPad

In a recent article, I told you how you can clean up your Mac, removing files you don’t need and freeing up space. While this is important on any computing device, it’s even more essential on an iPhone or iPad, where your storage is limited.

On your Mac, you may have an SSD with, say, 256 GB, or a hard drive with hundreds of gigabytes, or even terabytes of storage. On your mobile device, you have, at most, 256 GB, and most iOS devices have much less storage than that.

So, how do you make more storage on your iPhone or iPad? In this article, I’m going to show you some ways you can free up storage on your iOS device, so you have more room to add apps, music, and more. Let’s get started!

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to Mass Delete Photos on an iOS Device

I ran into a bit of a problem with my iPod touch. I had had iCloud Photo Library on at one point for testing, and, after turning it off, it seems that the iPod had downloaded my entire 5 GB photo library. On a 32 GB device – which really only holds 26 GB – this was becoming a bit of a problem.

You can delete photos from the Photos app; one at a time. That would take quite a while for the more than 1,200 photos I wanted to get rid of.

iOS is supposed to “optimize” the photo storage, deleting local copies of photos when space is needed. But since iCloud Photo Library was off, it wasn’t doing that.

There are lots of third-part apps that can delete your photos, but I wanted a simpler solution. I found it in Apple’s Image Capture, a utility that is part of macOS. (It’s located in your Applications folder.)

Connect your iOS device to your Mac, then launch Image Capture. You’ll see something like this:

Image capture

You can select a photo, right-click, and choose Delete IMAGENAME. But the Delete option was dimmed for me.

Now, if you look to the right of my iPod touch’s name, you’ll see that it’s got a cloud icon next to it. Image Capture was still seeing this device as having iCloud Photo Library on. In fact, when I went to the Settings, Photo Sharing was still on, even though iCloud Photo Library was turned off. So I toggled that setting off and returned to Image Capture.

So I selected all the photos, then right-clicked and chose Delete 1241 Items. In about a minute, all my photos were deleted.

Delete photos

Now, I could turn iCloud Photo Library back on if I want, and it won’t download all my photos, and they’ll still be accessible. But on this device, I don’t want the photos; I only use it for testing and for music. So I’ll leave it off in case I need my photo library later.

Farewell 16 GB iOS Devices; Almost

When Apple announced the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 last week, they also removed the 16 GB tier of the iPhone. People have been complaining for years about 16 GB iOS devices; with the size of iOS, and a few apps and some music, there’s little room left on the device. At the same time, Apple bumped the storage of iPads; now all iPads start at 32 GB.

However, Apple still sells two iOS devices with 16 GB storage: the iPhone SE (it comes with 16 or 64 GB) and the iPod touch (available with 16, 32, 64, or 128 GB, the latter only available directly from Apple). It’s a shame that they didn’t update the iPhone SE; I think Apple still sees this as a sub-par device, even though millions of people have bought it because it’s the correct size for an iPhone. As for the iPod touch, I would argue that nearly everyone buying that device does so to listen to music, and it should start at 32 GB. But the iPod touch is a dying breed; we may never see another update to that device.

So there has been progress, with the majority of iOS devices now starting at 32 GB. Finally.

The iPad Pro and Smudges

I upgraded from an iPad Air 2 to a 9.7″ iPad Pro recently. I like the device, in particular because of the excellent speakers. I sometimes like watching videos in bed – streamed from Netflix, or Amazon Prime, or my Plex library – and the sound is good enough that I don’t need headphones.

I’ve noticed one annoyance with the iPad Pro however: the display shows smudges much more than previous iPads. I thought it was just me, but during yesterday’s episode of The Committed podcast, I mentioned this, and my co-host Ian Schray said that he has noticed the same thing. I need to keep a soft cloth handy to wipe the screen down often, especially if I am watching a video.

I took this picture after wiping my iPad Pro, then tapping my fingers on it a couple dozen times. It’s hard to get a good photo, so I had to put it in direct sunlight, which does amplify the smudges a bit, but much of what you see below is visible in normal light:

Ipad pro smudges

I think this is because of the new less reflective coating on the display. I am happy that it reflects less, but I find it very annoying that it smudges so much. To be honest, I would have been happy with the iPad Air 2 coating; smudges were less visible, and the reflectivity didn’t bother me.

What about you? If you have an iPad Pro, have you noticed the same thing?

Clear Out Some of Your iOS Device’s “Other” Storage

Lots of websites have been relaying a “simple trick to clear space on your iOS device.” The trick, it is claimed, involves renting a movie that’s too large to fit on your iOS device, which then tries to download the movie after clearing out some space. If it is successful, you then have to cancel the rental.

The logic behind this is that the iOS device attempts to clear as much unneeded space as possible in order to receive the movie. While this is successful for some people, it isn’t a panacea, and its effectiveness depends on a lot of factors.

Most iOS users are familiar with that amorphous “Other” storage that displays in iTunes. It’s never been clear what this “Other” storage contains. Apple claims it contains “Settings, Siri voices, system data, and cached files,” but anyone who has had sync issues, and has seen dozens of gigabytes of Other storage on their iOS device knows that this isn’t the whole story.

The best I’ve been able to tell over the years is that Other storage is all of what Apple says above (though I don’t know why they include Siri voices), plus orphaned files, and that these orphaned files are very common. If you use Apple Music, then Other also includes cached files that you’ve streamed (but not downloaded) using that service.

HamletSo, about that “trick.” You don’t need to use a rental; if you have already purchased any movies from the iTunes Store, then you can use those as well. Find the biggest movie in your Purchased list – mine is Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet, at 8.66 GB – and try to download it.

You’re iOS device will hesitate for a bit, delete some files – caches and the like – then it may tell you that you don’t have enough room for the movie. After this, check your device’s storage, and you may see an improvement. I was able to shave off about 1 GB of my Other storage at different times. However, when I repeated the operation, I found that my Other storage increased by a few hundred MB.

Other1  Other2

So while this trick can save some space, deleting some caches, it’s not foolproof. If you have a lot of Other storage, then try this out; if not, don’t expect it to magically delete that inexplicable yellow band of storage you see in iTunes.

Some Thoughts on the Apple Pencil

I got a 9.7″ iPad Pro yesterday; I hadn’t planned to upgrade, but it turned out that it was useful to hand down my iPad Air 2 to my partner, whose iPad 3 is showing signs of age. Naturally, since I bought the iPad Pro, I had to get the Pencil.

I’m intrigued by the idea of using a stylus to write on the iPad. I actually envisage using it to take notes and mark up PDFs. As such, I bought the $8 GoodNotes, on the recommendations of several friends who already have the gargantuan iPad Pro.

Now, I have to come clean: my handwriting is horrible. It always has been, no matter how much I was shamed when in grade school. Also, I rarely write by hand any more; it’s quicker for me to dictate into my iPhone or iPad, though I do keep a pad of paper and a pencil on my desk to take notes during the day. (And I’m a big fan of pencils, even though I don’t use them much…)

So the idea of writing on the iPad made me hesitant. Here’s an example:

Handwriting

I can read it just fine, so if I take notes and just want to read them, it’s no problem. However, I may also want to benefit from GoodNotes’ built in OCR capabilities. (You use the lasso tool to surround text, then tap the selected area, then tap Convert.) I’ve been around Apple products to have used a Newton a bit, back in the day, so I wasn’t expecting much. But to my surprise:

Recognition

This is just one example. In my testing yesterday, I found that GoodNotes’ OCR is about 98% accurate; and when it’s not accurate, it’s my fault for making letters that overlap. This is simply astounding.

As to the Pencil itself, I have a few gripes. It’s quite slippery. The plastic is very smooth, it’s hard to pick up off my desk, and it’s slippery to hold. I prefer the knurled grip area of a pencil like the rOtring 800 mechanical pencil, which I use daily to take notes. I’ll eventually put something on the Apple Pencil to make it easier to hold, such as a piece of tape, but Apple should have considered this. (Or they could have made it hexagonal, like real wooden pencils.)

Pencils

The Apple Pencil is also an inch or so too long. My guess is they calculated the size for artists who hold a pencil far from the tip when shading, but it’s much more than anyone needs if they’re only writing. And the Apple Pencil suffers from the problem most styluses have: a lack of resistance. It’s too smooth against the iPad Pro’s screen. The drag you feel when writing on paper actually helps you write better by slowing you down.

Aside from those caveats, the Apple Pencil feels good in the hand. It has the right heft, not too heavy, not too light. However, it’s missing one important feature. The lack of a clip means that if you put it onto a desk or table that is not perfectly flat, the Pencil will roll. People have already realized that they need to add a clip to the Pencil, and it’s a shame to have to do that.

I’m looking forward to using the Pencil more to take notes on my iPad; maybe if I write more, my handwriting will improve. I’m a big fan of analogue tools – including pencil and paper – but the OCR available in GoodNotes is nearly magical, and means that I can take a lot of notes and not have to type them into my Mac later.

Apple’s Confusing iPad Product Line

Those of us who have been using Macs for a long time remember the days before Steve Jobs returned to the company and simplified the product lines. There were scads of different Macs, and it was hard to know what the differences were. Jobs killed off most of the existing models, and simplified the offering.

But things are returning to an unnecessary level of complication; take a look at the current iPad product line:

Ipad product line

Ignoring the different color, capacities, and connection capabilities (Wi-Fi and cellular), there are five different iPads. Why?

There are now two different iPad Pro models, each with some unique features. The 12.9″ iPad is, for the most part, inferior to the 9.7″ model, though it has some features that its smaller brother doesn’t, such as USB 3 transfers, and a faster processor. But the 9.7″ model has such features as Wide Color and True Tone display, live photos, a True Tone flash, and more. Rather than upgrade the (admittedly young) larger iPad Pro, Apple chose to make the smaller, cheaper model more modern.

They still sell the iPad Air 2, which is a good thing, because it is an affordable option for people who don’t need the “Pro” features (i.e., most people). But then there are two iPad mini models; the mini 4 and the mini 2. Why have two models of the small tablet? Sure, the iPad mini 4 is a bit lighter, has a faster processor, and a better camera, but why continue to sell the sub-standard model? There’s a fairly large difference in price – for the 16 GB versions, the mini 4 costs $399, compared to only $269 for the mini 2, but then the different storage options don’t match (16/64/128 GB for the mini 4, 16/32 for the mini 2).

All told, with the different colors, capacities, and connectivity options, there are 77 SKUs for the iPad product line:

  • 12.9″ iPad Pro: 15
  • 9.7″ iPad Pro: 24
  • iPad Air 2: 12
  • iPad mini 4: 18
  • iPad mini 2: 8

That’s a lot of different products to manage.

One could say the same thing about the iPhone; there is the iPhone 6, the 6s, Plus versions of each one, and now the SE. So that’s five different models, in a variety of colors and capacities. But it seems more complicated with the iPad, perhaps just because of the second iPad mini. maybe they need to kill off that cheaper model, but also match the features in the two iPad Pro models.

Dissing owners of older PCs, even accidentally, may not be the best way to sell them an iPad

One remark [Phil] Schiller made during yesterday’s launch event raised a few eyebrows. In noting that the majority of 12.9-inch iPad Pro customers had actually switched from Windows PCs, he pointed to the huge potential switchers market still out there for Apple. There are, he said, over 600 million PCs more than five years old.

What he said next generated laughter in the room, but may not have gone down quite so well with those owners.

“This is really sad. It really is.”

Now, he may be right. A Windows PC more than five years old is going to be creaking somewhat by now. But it seems to me that there are three types of owners of old PCs, and the remark may well offend all of them …

Ben Lovejoy makes a good point.

But also, who owns those 600 million PCs? My guess is that the majority of them are beige boxes in offices and call centers, which are only used to run a few applications. And the people using them have no say in what type of computing device they use. And, most of them probably couldn’t use an iPad anyway, since they’re using apps that aren’t available on the iPad.

Yes, it was a clumsy comment, and one that Schiller shouldn’t have made.

Source: Comment: Dissing owners of older PCs, even accidentally, may not be the best way to sell them an iPad | 9to5Mac