So, About that Original Apple Pencil Design

Me, 7 months ago:

Now I’ll admit, the Pencil can look a little silly when it’s sticking out of the side of the iPad when it’s sitting on its side, but it comes with some serious benefits as well. Let’s take a look at Apple’s options for charging the Pencil and see how they stack up.

I wrote that article in defense of the first Apple Pencil’s charging method. Yes, it looked silly, but when considering the other options people bright up, I didn’t see those being better. I still stand by many of the things in that piece, but I wrote it with the perspective of the old iPad Pro design.

Regular wireless charging was brought up, but the tech to make the wireless charging coils we have in phones work in the Apple Pencil were impractical and using the existing smart connector didn’t work because (a) you couldn’t charge as you typed, (b) all cases covered the smart connector so you’d need to take any cases off, and (c) the sides of the iPad were too rounded to make the Pencil connect securely.

I didn’t like the other solutions presented, but I did end up suggesting this:

The way I see making this work is for Apple to release an iPad Pro with 2 Smart Connectors. One is on the left side and one on the right. This would let people connect their keyboards either way, and use the second connector for their Pencil. This also assumes the iPad and Pencil are updated so that the Pencil can make a solid connection when laying down on a table. It also assumes that Apple puts some super powerful magnets in the side so that the Pencil stays on there securely.

I was actually super close! They did add a second connector (not a smart one, though), they did change the iPad Pro sides to accommodate this, and they added some super powerful magnets to make it stick securely. My biggest miss was thinking that Apple wasn’t going to do this.

So anyway, I stand by the idea of the first Apple Pencil having good (or at least good enough) design considering the limitations of the previous iPad Pro hardware, but I’m happy to see Apple make the changes to both the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil needed to make the product better. I will not argue the old method was better than the new one, but I do think it was better than many people give it credit for.

Related, people aways talked about the old method as making it basically guaranteed that the Pencil was going to snap off the iPad because it was pointing out so far. Did this actually happen to anyone or is it just something that could theoretically happen but never did?

It’s Almost Poetic

November 19, 2015: My Next “Mac” Could be an iPad – BirchTree

I am due to upgrade my Mac in 2016 sometime. I was looking at the 13 inch MacBook Pro ($1,499) or the 5K iMac ($1,799), but now I’m thinking the iPad Pro ($949) might be the best upgrade I can make. Not only will it let me work on the platform I prefer, but it will cut my investment nearly in half. I’ll just keep my Mac mini running for all the little things I still need it around for. It’s an exciting prospect, and I’m very happy that we’ve gotten to the point where I can seriously considering upgrading my Mac with an iPad.

It’s been almost exactly 3 years since that post, and it’s kind of funny to look at today in 2018. I ended up balking on the iPad Pro then and got a MacBook Pro.

Today I’m selling that MacBook Pro and will use the cash I get from that to buy the latest iPad Pro, and that Mac mini is still kicking and will continue to serve the role of “backup Mac.” It’s interesting how these things go.

OnePlus 6 Charges Fast, But Only with It’s Proprietary Charger

Note, these results seem almost too bad to be true, but replicated the results across numerous charging setups. Let me know if there is a charging brick out there that will work better.

When I looked at the OnePlus 6 fast charging (don’t call it Dash Charge anymore) last week, I found it was very fast. When put up against the iPhone Xs’s fastest charging option, it was the winner, even if only by a few percentage points. All the better, it won with the charging brick that came in the box, not one that you needed to either have from a Mac you already own or just bought from Apple.

But what if you don’t use OnePlus’s proprietary fast charger? What if you have the fast charger they give you in your bedroom and want another charger elsewhere? I wanted to know, so I ran a couple more tests to see how well it played with standard fast chargers.

I tried 2 other chargers, both of which have previously charged my iPhones, Pixels, Galaxys, and even Motorola phones quite quickly. These were the Apple 30W USB-C Power Adapter and the Aukey Quick Charge 3.0…(long Amazon keyword listing name).

The results are not what I was expecting.

Not only were these charge times far slower than the OnePlus charger, they were almost exactly in line with what my iPhone Xs does when plugged into the 5W charger that comes in the box.

My Takeaway

Basically, if you want fast charging, you really need to use the charging brick from OnePlus directly and anything else will deliver far worse results. Effectively, it turns those fast charging bricks you might have for other devices into the 5W adapter that everyone is grumpy about shipping with the new iPhones.

The good news is that OnePlus sells additional fast charge power bricks for just $19.99 on their online store. It would be nice to be able to use anything you want, but at least their prices for proprietary charging bricks is reasonable.