A Download Folder That Syncs

How I’m Using iPadOS - Part One. - Daryl Baxter - Blog

To test the download manager, I thought I’d try a random site I used to go to for…certain files once upon a time, and I came in with low expectations. But as expected, it downloaded the file as I would have with my iMac back in the day; I went to Files.app, unzipped, and there it was. And because of iCloud Drive, it appeared on the MacBook Air, ready for an app to be used with it.

iPadOS1 lets you download either to a local Downloads folder or a new Downloads folder synced over iCloud. I didn’t think I’d like the iCloud one at first, but I have ended up using it for everything besides the largest files I download and then just having them everywhere. Download something on your iPad? Access it from your phone in a few minutes when it’s done downloading and you’re at work, for example.

  1. And iOS 13, for that matter. 

Surface Go Performance Follow-Up

The Surface Go, the most interesting computer Microsoft has released in recent memory, was released a year ago this month. I got mine a few days after launch and posted my review several weeks later…conveniently before the return window closed.

Look, I get that this is a $399 device and it’s not going to be the fastest machine in the world, but I personally found the performance issues to be relatively shocking for a device sold straight from Microsoft.

I liked a lot of the device at the time, but at $399 it seemed insane to me how slow it was at doing literally anything. Brad Sams has a good retrospective on his YouTube channel today and he suggests the $399 one I bought is not even worth picking up and you really should get the $499 model at minimum.

Here’s the thing: if you want a Surface Go because it runs Windows, then get one by all means, but if you want something small and easy to use and that runs reasonably well, the iPad wipes the floor with it.

In a very downvoted video, I compared the speed of the 2018 Surface Go to the 18 month old iPad from 2017. The iPad outperformed the Surface Go at every turn, and at 18 months older and over $100 less expensive, it seemed insane to me that the Go was as bad as it was.

Today, the Surface Go is still $399 for the “don’t even bother” model and $499 for the one you should actually get. Meanwhile, there is a new $329 iPad that has an A10 (one generation newer than the 2017 model I tested) and the iPad Air at $499 with an A12. Basically, iPads $70-150 less than the entry-level Go are far faster, and the comparable iPad Air at the $499 price point wipes the floor with the slightly faster Go as well.

Again, if you prefer Windows, then this comparison is moot, but if you are looking for something that has a 10” screen and lets you do basic tasks on the go, there is far more horsepower in the Apple offerings. You should really read the rest of my review if you’re interested in the Surface Go because I think it’s a really good Windows device with the exception of performance.

Microsoft Office for iPad: My Beginner's Guide

My overview of Microsoft Word for the iPad over on The Sweet Setup:

Microsoft Word on the iPad is currently a solid app. It has the core functionality nailed down. Editing documents is as pleasant as it’s been on any version of Word I’ve used in my lifetime. If you use Word for basic to medium-level work, then there is a good chance that it will work well for you. However, if you are an advanced Word user or rely on some of the customization options present in the desktop apps, then this will likely let you down.

I don't use Word a ton, but when I do I'm usually impressed with how well it works. Those of us who write in text editors will of course not get as much use out of it, but if you work in rich documents or as a team, then Word is pretty darn compelling.

Thanks to Josh Gitner from The Sweet Setup for letting me use his awesome mockup at the top of this post!

iPad Pro 2018 and 2017 Performance Comparison


Apparently this new iPad Pro really makes me feel productive, because I was able to post yet another tech video to YouTube! This one shows off the performance gains from the 2017 to the 2018 iPad Pros.

  • Motionmark browser benchmark
  • Geekbench
  • 10 minute Ferrite project export
  • 30 second 4K LumaFusion project export
  • Asphalt 9 game demo

The short of it is that the new iPad Pros are certainly faster than the older models, but you probably want to buy the new ones for the form factor, screens, or accessories, and not just the performance gains. The 2017 iPad Pro was fast last year, and it’s still stupid fast today.

My Blogging Workflow: iPad, Ulysses, and WordPress


I took two days off work and got two YouTube videos out…this trend is unsustainable, but I’ve loved doing it! This video was shot on a OnePlus 6 (I’m using the iPhone next time) and edited in LumaFusion on the iPad.

And as promised in the video, here’s the shortcut I use to take the selected text, page title, and URL and create a new sheet in Ulysses in seconds: New Link Post Shortcut.

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.

Apple Computer Sales Since 2015

Apple separates out Mac and iPad sales in their earnings reports, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the iPad is a computer, so I decided to combine the company’s Mac and iPad unit sales numbers together to see how their actual “computer” sales have done over the past few years.

The result is relatively flat, and actually displays a slight downward trend. I’m not a financial analyst, so I’m not going to suggest I know what this means, but it’s interesting data. One would hope that number was increasing, but it’s does not seem to be the case right now.

The iPad Excels at Long Form Writing

Using iPad for Long-Form Writing - Joe Cieplinski

So why, then, am I typing this with a mechanical keyboard on my iPad? Well, because I discovered that for prolonged periods of typing, where I want to do nothing else but type thousands of words for a blog post, a combination of Apple’s Magic Keyboard and iOS can actually be a better choice than my MacBook Pro.

I was using the Magic Keyboard with my iPad Pro, but recently switched to the Smart Keyboard and am quite happy.

The Smart Keyboard is really satisfying to type on (fight me 😉) and benefits from being built into the case, which makes the iPad + keyboard feel more like a cohesive unit than a loose Bluetooth keyboard. I was also frustrated by the fact that I had to manually turn off the Magic Keyboard every time I took the iPad away from the keyboard. Otherwise, the keyboard would remain connected and the virtual keyboard would not come up when I needed to type, even though the keyboard was in the next room. Since the Smart Keyboard only communicates over the smart connector, it disconnects immediately when I pull it off the iPad.