How Apple Saved My Life ›

If you do only one thing on the internet today, please watch this video by James Rath. In a world where so often technology can make us feel disconnected and absent from those around us, it’s important to see things from the other end something. In the case of James Rath it’s incredible to see how much technology has influenced his life in such a positive way.

iPad Working

This morning I gave something a try for the first time. I left my MacBook Pro at home and took my iPad and Bluetooth keyboard out to do a bit of work. Since the release of iOS 9 last September I’ve heard many people talking about it has enabled them to use their iPad to do a lot of work. Being a designer I just pushed them aside, no software is able to produce artwork to the that the Creative Cloud apps can on my Mac, and so I just marked it as not yet for me. I have noticed recently that I’ve been naturally reaching for my iPad to do certain bits of work, largely emails and admin. I decided it was time to give it a try. Interestingly I’ve really enjoyed it and I think with a little thinking through, I could switch some of my web site maintenance tasks to the iPad.

Ulysses 2.5 for iPad and, Now, iPhone Review ›

A glowing review which I couldn’t agree with more. Ever since I downloaded it for my iPad I’ve been using the app, now it’s on my iPhone as well everything I write for this site goes through the app. Paired with the Mac app, it’s great for writing sermons in as well.

I’m Done with MacBooks ›

When I read this post from Khoi Vinh I found myself nodding along in agreement. This part in particular struck a chord,

When I think about where I’m most productive with OS X, it’s always at my desk, where I have a huge monitor (on my iMac, at home) or even two Cinema Displays (at work)

I upgraded my Mac nearly a year ago and had a long debate about whether to get an iMac or a MacBook Pro. The iMac was appealing for so many reasons, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to give up the flexibility my MacBook offers. However there’s no denying that I’m most productive at my desk with a larger screen, and since upgrading my iPad 2 to an iPad Air 2 I’m using that for more work leaving me more focused when I’m on my Mac as well.

In the future I can certainly see myself moving to an iMac over the MacBook Pro and maybe, if budget affords it, and iPad Pro. Especially as it’s capabilities grow and allow for more and more work to be accomplished on it.

Why iOS is Compelling ›

Interesting comments from Ben Brooks on Why iOS is compelling. Since iOS 9 the iPad has become so capable I now do all my non-design work on it. It’s also the first computer I recommend to people when they ask me what’s worth considering these days. I think for most people it’s a case of conquering the fear of something being different that’s the biggest stumbling block.

Doing Real Design Work on an iPad ›

Khoi Vinh on using the iPad to do real design work. I agree with much of what he says, I’m imcreasingly using the iPad in my design work these days, but I do wish the Adobe apps were more capable and able to produce more fully finished files that I would be comfortable proofing to a client.

The Week in Links

Another Sunday and another edition of The Week in Links. This weeks featured links focus largely on the iPad and it’s ability to be used for work and not just for consumption. It’s a debate that has been raging for years, and one which we seem to be no closer to ending, although we might be a step closer once iOS 9 arrives in September.

I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday, sit back with a coffee and have a read.

  • Crossing the iPad Rubicon — 500ish Words – I love the idea of working solely on an iPad, along with many others, and the constant discussion of whether it can actually be done is interesting. But every time I read an article like this one, I can stop but come away feeling like the whole thing is just a romantic notion. That’s not to say that no one can solely work on an iPad, but I know I won’t ever be able too. My work requires a Mac, with professional software in the form of Creative Cloud. That said, if I had an office job of some kind, and only used a computer at home for the likes of email and writing for this site, then I’m pretty sure I could go all in right now.
  • The Tools & Toys Guide to Writing with an iPad — Tools and Toys – It seems to be a bit of a theme this week, the topic of working on an iPad. This is a really good guide for those looking to find out where to begin using their iPad as a more serious work tool by doing some writing on it. Personally I’m a Byword fan and use it on all my computing devices that I use to publish to this site.

The Best of the Rest

My Homescreen: May 2015

With this week completely focused on finishing phase one of a client project, I completely missed that it was the 1st of the month yesterday. So now that the working week is over and I’m sat back relaxing it’s time to sort out this month’s edition of my homescreens. I’ll tackle both iPhone and iPad at the same time, since the changes to both are identical and for the same reason.

iPhone

iPhone May 2015

Dock

The Rest

iPad

iPad My 2015

Dock

The Rest

What’s New?

  • OmniFocus – Since the start of the year I’ve been using Things to manage my tasks, in the last month I’ve ended up switching back to OmniFocus. Partly because one of the porjects I’m working on has needed breaking down further than Things can cope with, and partly because of OmniFocus MailDrop.
  • Outlook, Gmail, Inbox by Gmail and Mailbox – Recently I’ve been having some issues with the provider of my email, lots of servers down and unreliable delivery. As a self-employed person I need to be able to rely on my email never failing, and so my work email has now switched to Google Apps. I’m still deciding on my personal email setup.

One of the advantages of moving to Google Apps for Work has allowed me to test out a few email apps I couldn’t use previously, and also to combine my email with IFTTT so that it works harder for me. Part of that IFTTT integration has been to combine the Gmail channel with the email channel and my OmniFocus MailDrop address. I’m still refining things and trying to decide which apps to use, but I hope to be able to explain further how I’m making my email work for me rather than having to work to keep on top of it.

Two Weeks with iPad mini ›

That’s when it clicked. When I realised I had – without really thinking – done all the things I need an iPad to do for a whole week without being forced back to a full-size iPad, I saw that the iPad mini is just that: an iPad.

When it comes to iPad, Fraser is one of those people whom I make sure to take note and listen to what he’s saying. He uses iPad a lot more than most people, so I believe his judgement on the device is one to be taken note of. I’ve played with iPad mini for about 30 mins in total over a couple of visits to the Apple store here in Cheltenham. The weight of the device and how easy it’s been to hold in one hand has me considering selling my iPad 2 to upgrade to a mini, my only reservation being could I continue to use it in my work the way I’m finding I use my iPad 2?

I have not found the mini to be unusably small, even with iOS being scaled down to fit. There have been occasional apps where certain operations have been fiddly, and I found drawing precisely with a stylus was difficult because of the relative size of the stylus tip. This might be something that can be overcome with a bit of practice but I’m not there yet.

This is now my only reservation. I use a stylus and the Paper app to scamp ideas, it beats my Moleskine because I can use subtle colours to guide my thinking. I can see a trip to the Apple Store armed with my stylus coming to maybe confirm or deny that nagging that the reduction in weight is worth me seriously considering upgrading (and curing the pain I get in my wrists after reading for extended periods).

iPad mini: Good things come in small packages ›

The iPad mini doesn’t add anything to the iOS experience feature-wise, but it does make using iPad apps out in the real world far more likely. I never felt comfortable using my iPad outside the office or house, but I think I’ll be taking this smaller, lighter iPad with me more often.

I had a brief play with an iPad mini at the weekend. Unlike with the iPhone or the original iPad, I didn’t get a big wow moment, instead a more relaxed and confirming this feels right. Seems to be the general theme from the reviews I’m reading online.

Sakura Quick Math ›

Because the iPad is only for consuming right? You can’t use it for productive tasks, like maybe improving your maths, or teaching your kids in a way they are used to. This app looks great, I’m sure I’d have enjoyed maths more had I been able to learn it in a more relaxed fun way.

One Year Later, the iPad Is Still My Favorite Computer ›

Up until a few weeks ago I’ve often found myself asking the question below:

Why won’t you admit that you can only use the iPad for real work because you’re a writer?

Perhaps one could be justified in asking it. A lot of the people demonstrating the iPad is good for working on tend to be writers, people who just require a text editor and a keyboard to produce something. Of course each time I come across answers similar to this:

I didn’t expect this self-interview to get so combative. But if you’re so sure that the iPad can’t be used for other creative expression, you might want to take it up with people like Cynthia Wick and Glen Mulcahy.

A couple of weeks ago I experienced this first hand. Each summer I do a beach mission in North Wales, every year we end up making things at the last minute to suit the needs which no amount of planning could foresee. This year what was the device I used to do the work? My iPad. My MacBook Pro sat upstairs in it’s case for pretty much the entire time. I wrote talks on my iPad, I made presentations and I planned sessions. My friend, he drew pictures to tell bible stories. Not once did we require a Mac or PC to do it. It was a real eye opener to the power of the iPad as a computer that can be used for work.

So will I leave my MacBook Pro at home next summer? As a freelance designer the only thing that stops me doing this, and perhaps my biggest disappointment with the iPad at the moment, is that there is no software akin to InDesign or Illustrator that would let me. Yet…

Blogsy 3.4 Released ›

The iPad blogging app Blogsy has just released a new version which includes the ability to set/edit custom fields for WordPress blogs. For those of you like me who like to blog from the iPad this could be just up your street. I’ll be checking it out this evening.

(Via Jim Dalrymple.)

Reading on the iPad — Shawn Blanc ›

Ironically, the worst reading experiences are with the apps designed by the “professionals” that are based on the age-old history of reading in print: Apple’s own iBooks, and the Condé Nast apps. The best reading experiences on the iPad are Instapaper and Reeder. In part because they are easy to keep up-to-date, but also because their designs have the least amount of frilly bits, and therefore make reading of the actual text the easiest.

I would also add the Kindle app to the good experiences of reading on the iPad. Either way Shawn nails it in this piece. The traditionally print media folk need to stop trying to design the same way for the iPad as they do for the printed page. There are different rules in play here, and as a predominantly print based designer it baffles me how these guys can’t see that.

Daring Fireball: The iPad 2 ›

If you didn’t like the original iPad, you’re not going to like the iPad 2. If you liked the original iPad, you’re going to like the iPad 2 even better.

John Gruber in his review of the iPad 2.

This seems to be the general consensus I’m reading at the moment. I can’t wait to get one and experience iPad over a prolonged period.