Apple Event 10/30/18 (new iPads, Mac bump)


I like my 12.9” pro so much I am a little concerned for my credibility as a PC game player and a Real Programmer (not really, of course.) I’m not using my laptop much, my desktop PC much, I’m playing iOS versions of games that are sitting in my Steam library, buying lots of apps, etc.

My wish list, which I like to think is independent of the fickle winds of Bendgate, Filegate, iOS13gate, and whatever else people are mad about:

  • Multiple MFI controller support and games to support multiple local inputs. I think Apple would have an excellent portable console on their hands. The iOS developer community is big enough that at least a few great premium games would emerge.
  • Better inter-op between apps. This is not the same as griping about the Files app. I am not one of these people who believes the iPad can’t replace a laptop until it runs a port of Windows or macOS. I do want to see much smoother passing of files and data between apps. For example, I would like be able to do things like edit a photo in Notes in-place using Photoshop or Affinity and have it remember the layers, etc. when I go to edit it again. I’d also like to use something like Siri Shortcuts to create pipelines for data, code, images, etc. A bit of this is already possible with text using Shortcuts. Essentially, I am proposing that there’s an iOS way to do complex work with files without having to manage the intermediary steps and products as “files” necessarily.
  • A USB-C port on both sides of the Pro. C’mon, don’t punish me for not having power outlets on both sides of the couch. I’m spoiled by the flexible USB-C laptop charging.
  • Some kind of multi-user. A $300 ipad can be a single-user device, but if a $1200 ipad is to replace the family laptop and approach family laptop prices, I need to be able to let family use their own email, Twitter, etc. without messing up my stuff.
  • I really like the Smart Keyboard but the initial delay when I enter an app or Spotlight before my typing registers is getting old. If the input can’t register instantly, could it at least be buffered. I also would like to see better support, at least in stock apps, for using cmd+firstLetter to control modals, e.g. Cmd+d to confirm deleting a draft when I exit it without sending in Mail. I’d also like the cursor position to stay when I cmd+tab from an app and back to it (as I just did while writing this.)
  • I think it should come with Apple-branded screen cleaner. :) The screen’s bright enough to hide most smudges between cleans, but it looks awful from an angle when the sun catches it.

Overall, an outstanding purchase that’s making me wonder how different computer work and play could be in a dozen years.


I don’t disagree with this, but you know you can just turn the iPad “upside down” to get the USB port on the correct side, right?


You do run into some apps that won’t flip (which is stupid and should be a requirement, imo, but it happens).


True. Should’ve clarified I’m using it in landscape with the Smart Keyboard Cover. The port has to be on the right and my outlet is on the left. I do turn it upside down at my desk to keep the cord on top when plugging into my monitor.




The bottom two look like older models. The main concern I’d have with getting an older iPad at this point is if you’re planning to run Photoshop when it comes out for the iPad. My Surface Book 2 has a 1060 GTX in it and it still has issues running Photoshop (mostly lots of lag when painting with certain brushes). So you’ll probably want the newest/fastest CPU possible if you want to run Photoshop when it comes out. Otherwise, a last generation iPad is probably fine – note that only the newest iPads can use the new Apple Pencil, although I think the main advantage of the new pencil is just convenience (the charging scheme is much more straightforward) and it’s nice that it latches onto the iPad.


I didn’t realize you could still get 2017 models. That’s a pretty good deal. The 2018 models are a nice improvement, just ridiculous prices.


I wouldn’t get the 2017 13" iPad, the 2018 model is a huge improvement. It’s much smaller.

And if I was price sensitive and thinking about the 10.5" 2017 iPad, I would get the just plain iPad.


Two recent purchases have added value to my 2018 iPad Pro:

This superb, tiny GaN 45W USB-C PD charger from RAVPower:

And the Zugu Muse case:

The case has made an indispensable tool even more versatile, with superb Pencil usability (stash it in the fared-in charging recess on top, where it is both accessible and remarkably stable compared to without the case — even staying attached in a backpack during my daily 1.25 mile each way commute — or tuck it into a stretchy pocket on the back when you’re going into, I dunno, maybe a flashmob scene or a war zone).

The charger has become the only USB-C charger I travel with, powering everything (including my laptop) while being smaller overall than the mini charger that shipped with the iPad. Really well built as well. Recommended.


Here’s that case in-use:

The Pencil faring is impervious to cat shenanigans:

Curses… foiled again!


This is a cross-post from a Macrumors forum, but relevant for here.

I am finding lately my iPad usage to be declining as a production device.

For me, the problem is the apps. Certain apps (the Affinity Suite, Procreate, Things) are great at getting and helping me get things done. I can, however, sympathize with what made Fraser Speirs give up on the iPad. I am involved in a school project we are using Google Docs for. The Google suite on the iPad is not good. For the individual contributions to the project we are using separate Google Documents for. The iPad is largely fine for this. However, for when we collate the document I want to create custom styles, use the table of contents, and all the stuff a large document needs. I can’t do them on the iPad, or if I can, not as easily as I can on browser. If Google just let me use Chrome on iOS to edit stuff, I’d be in good shape.

I have found this level of document wrangling to be a pain on all iOS editors. Some, like Pages, let me edit styles. But there isn’t one app on iOS that lets me do everything in one go.

The iPad is great for when I want to write and draw on my personal stuff. It was also fine for when I wrote term papers. but large, medium-complexity documents it falls down hard.


I agree with a lot of that (not necessarily the Google docs in a browser issue though — you can use Safari and have it request the desktop site, same as with any other site that does stupid things when detecting a tablet). I do a lot of professional work on mine, but I treat it as an extension of my work laptop — only occasionally as a replacement (in meetings and such).

Since I’ve embraced this model of playing to its strengths and just switching between them frequently, though, I’m finding that I use it more rather than less.


Either something on Apple’s or Google’s side throws you immediately to either the Docs app, or to the App store to install it even in desktop mode. I haven’t tried iCab to see if that works around it.


You can do pretty much anything with iCab but it uses the old webview, so javascript is slow as balls.


You can use a bookmark or link directly to a document in Safari. When it loads (and shows the get-our-app-to-edit banner at the bottom), press and hold the reload button, then select Request Desktop Site.

Works for Docs for me. Sheets throws an error (my current spreadsheet does anyway).

I don’t have their apps installed, because they are terrible tablet apps that, last I tried, don’t even allow minimal multitasking (like tolerating a messaging client on the side). I cynically assume they don’t want it to work better than Android.


Hey! I just downloaded them again and they’re not bad now. Multitasking works. I wonder if gmail does… time to try it again too.


Nope, the gmail app is still garbage. Doesn’t even support rotation, let alone multitasking.


Once grad school ends, and I go back to just using Ulysses and other apps that are good iOS citizens I will probably go back to using it more.


I don’t disagree that MacRumors quoted experience happened to them, but I really like the more focused environment on the iPad for the 90% of the work I can do on it, and obviously anything that can be enhanced by drawing or tactile interaction is turning out better. I think it’s saving me computer time overall. Google being bad at iOS apps is definitely an impediment, though.


This got lost in the message, but that was me. I just copied the post I wrote here.

Yeah. The apps I use for my personal stuff: Ulysses, Things, Affinity suite, Procreate, et al. make the iPad a joy. Creating these massive documents with ToCs and custom styles is one of the areas it falls down, but I can also get a lot of the writing done in Ulysses.