Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

Ditched the iPad… for a Nexus 7

About two weeks ago, I ditched my iPad. I backed it up, did a clean reset, and gave the iPad to my mother. My primary tablet now is the Google Nexus 7. 

I like the 7″ form factor better. It is also much lighter. The battery life compared to the iPad isn’t nearly as great, but I’ll just have to make do.

Why not an iPad Mini? Quite simply because I bought the Nexus 7 first and cannot justify carrying 2 7″-like tablets. I realized I didn’t use that much software, regularly, on my iPad so the migration process wasn’t too difficult.

My mother is enjoying playing tonnes of games on it. The only game she’s purchased is PvZ HD which is on sale now for $0.99. Everything else is free.

Me? I’m getting used to the Nexus 7 as my primary device. What do I use on it mostly? Web browser (Chrome). Kindle to read books. NYTimes application, though I hate that I have to see ads even though I’m a paying user. Evernote for little snippets of notes here & there.

Beyond that, I’m now on a trip and have no inclination to miss my iPad. Weird feeling, huh?

Tablet strategy thoughts

In my continuing quest to see how my tablet strategy is going to be going forward, I walked into an Apple reseller yesterday, in Singapore. I typed on the retina iPad, and realised that I was using only about four-fingers. This tells you that even before in landscape mode, I was never typing like I do with a keyboard. Or maybe I never really type that way, who knows? :)

I then tried typing on the iPad Mini. I found that I could reliably, in landscape mode add text, without much ado. It goes back to dimensions. The iPad Mini isn’t really a 7″ tablet, its almost an 8″ tablet.

Typing is not a good idea on the Nexus 7. I’ve tried to do so in Evernote today, and the keyboard takes up about half the screen. Its error prone, and I end up always going back to portrait mode for typing.

Asking the retail assistant if they had the iPad Mini in stock, they said they did. But it was only the 64GB version. This is how I bought my first iPad on the day/second day after it was released in the USA – it was the only available sized model. Never again will I make such a decision. 16GB or 32GB is all I’m after at best (probably the former).

All in, I decided to go home, and give the Nexus 7 a fighting chance. I’m going to load up all the software I use regularly or find equivalents. This means paying for an equivalent of Instapaper. This means finding an alternative to GoodReader whom have no plans to make an Android version. But what about those travel apps that I use infrequently, but are invaluable when I visit a place? 

Its these “what if” applications that make iOS popular. Most people are happy with a small number of apps, but there are scenarios where you need more.

Typing on tablets – 7″ vs 10″

I wrote this post entirely using my Nexus 7 (a 7″ tablet). I found that I couldn’t type well using it. I had to use it in portrait mode, and use my thumbs to type, which meant that it was utterly slow to generate a post.

On my 10″ iPad, I can comfortably type using the virtual/on-screen keyboard in landscape mode. In portrait mode it is nigh impossible.

In either situation, I’m naturally faster using a regular keyboard, and I do have an Apple Wireless Bluetooth keyboard for this purpose.

I’m now toying with the idea of getting a new iPad (retina display, 4th gen) or an iPad Mini. I’m enjoying consuming content on my Nexus 7. I wonder if I can justify creating more content on the iPad retina? Or do I just satisfy myself with a low-res iPad Mini, which will get updated to a retina display in a year or so?

Others have written about the typing situation: typing on iPad mini, John Gruber hunts & pecks.

Didn’t take long for iOS6-only apps

It didn’t take long for my prediction on 24 September to come true on 11 October. My suspiscion was also correct, it would be led by Marco Arment, but it had nothing to do with Instapaper, it was the launch of a new product titled The Magazine.

The reason to make it iOS 6 only?

It uses some iOS 6-only features and fonts, and it’s architected for iOS 6’s gesture handling. Setting this high baseline also greatly simplifies testing, maintenance, and future updates.

Wow. Fonts & gestures. Amazing.

Greed or tradeoff from Apple? 

Why the mini iPad?

Edwin Yapp thinks about why Apple would introduce a mini iPad. The thinking for me is simple:

  1. I almost exclusively use my Nexus 7 tablet now for everything. This includes surfing the Internet, reading books on the Kindle app, and more.
  2. The only thing it isn’t so good for at the moment is watching movies which I do on the plane (which I tend to be on a lot). And consuming video podcasts is definitely an issue since there is no iTunes syncing.
  3. The storage size isn’t so hot either – at 16GB I cannot load it up with a lot of movies like I can on my 64GB iPad.
  4. It is cheap. Replacing a USD$250+ device is much easier after 2 years than replacing a USD$700+ device when the software on it becomes obsolete.

Resolution size probably plays a huge role. I lug a 15″ MacBook Pro around now, because I’ve always been using 15″ laptops since the days of the PowerBook. Its simply because of the resolution: 1440×900. Today I’m thinking about a 13″ MacBook Air because its lighter and it also supports the 1440×900 resolution. Going from 15″ -> 13″ is a smaller screen size with the same screen real estate. 

I expect that with all these HD/retina displays, you can just fit more onto a smaller screen size.

Many have assumed that iOS developers only focus on developing for 2 sizes which is untrue. 480×320, 960×640, and now 1136×640 just for the iPhones/iPod Touches. Then there’s the iPad’s at 1024×768 & 2048×1536. Why not get a third? :-)

A 7″ iPad that syncs with iTunes, has more space than 16GB (maybe 32GB is the middle ground that I should probably grab), with a good resolution – its something I could definitely consider. Have to figure out how to watch movies on a smaller screen though…

Apps are the new channels

<tl;dr>Video is going to be big. Apps that have video in them are going to be awesome. Multimedia on your iPad/tablet device is where it’s at for learning. Read on for 3 trends that I’ve noticed.</tl;dr>

John Gruber today said on the Bloomberg TV+ for the iPad:

This is the future of TV. The full Bloomberg news channel, free of charge, on your iPad. Apps are the new channels.

I remembered reading a couple of days back, Mark Suster talking about how he invested in TreeHouse (formerly known as Think Vitamin). Think Vitamin gives you high quality video training to keep you on the cutting edge of web development. It is a curated Udemy. They both have their space – I’d like to see it like TV programming versus YouTube programming.

Some takeaway from Mark Suster’s post: American’s watch 5.3 hours of television per day! Americans read less than an hour a day!!!

Learning by video is useful. Smarter universities are opensourcing their classes — not only the slides and notes, but they’re also putting audio & video online too. Some more progressive ones are even allowing you to take part in the class via an online enrollment, completely free (see Stanford’s Introduction to Databases).

It seems that Jason Calacanis has pivoted Mahalo yet again. After some layoffs, the company is pivoting from videos to apps. The blame seems to lie on Google’s Panda updates in where highly optimized SEO sites get hit. YouTube’s affiliate fees are probably not paying the bills.

So the pivot is to make instructional apps for the iPad that not only incorporate video, but some text of the techniques behind it. See apps like Learn Guitar, Learn Pilates, How to Draw!, and Walkthrough for Angry Birds. All the apps cost USD$9.99 with the exception of the Angry Birds walkthrough.

Why will this pivot work? Because instead of the web browser and search being the medium, you’re letting the App Store be the search engine. The web browser is now the app. The videos are already made, existing in Mahalo’s bank. You can download the videos if need be (I bet they are huge). And you’re bound to find it more useful to consume on your iPad rather than on your computer screen or TV.

There are many how-to books like The Complete Idiots Guide, et al. They sell for about USD$20-30 a pop. Why not get access to videos? Read text. Learn by doing with multimedia. This was the promise of Microsoft Encarta for example.

Instructional videos are very popular. I know friends in their 20s learning how to cook or even apply make-up techniques via YouTube videos. I also know people realizing that the iPad is very handy to be reading/watching videos while on the lounge, lying in bed, etc. Its also a lot easier to prop an iPad up to learn how to play the guitar than it is to bring your laptop there. Touch will allow easier pausing/skipping/etc. compared to a remote control.

The trend seems to be that of videos. We learn by seeing.

I was in Berlin recently, and visited the Topography of Terror. I read about this and the events that are explained there for O Level History. I felt connected by seeing pictures, reading additional texts, and more. Imagine the future of education: I deep-dive into a subject like this, and I can skim things a lot easier with multimedia available to me. I’ll understand a lot better & quicker than just reading pages and pages of fairly boring text.

So, are apps the new channels? I think Gruber is on to something. As are Suster and Calacanis.


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