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How To Blog on an iPad

When blogging on Tablet Habit I have gotten the question of how I do it all from my iPad. It is a fairly simple process, but it can be hard to build from scratch, so I want to break it down here.
Before I get into it though, I want to make a quick note. I write in Markdown. If you write in Markdown this should be pretty easy to follow along. If you don’t know Markdown, you can find out more from the creator of it, John Gruber, on his site Daring Fireball.

Also, this is primarily for anyone using WordPress as their blogging platform. That is the service I use as well as a large portion of other websites on the internet. It is a free, open-source platform and is absolutely worthy of the praise it has received over the years. I will happily help those who use other platforms like Squarespace if they would like. Information on how to contact me is at the bottom of this post.

With that out of the way, I am basically going to format this as a step-by-step process of planning, writing, and posting on a WordPress blog.

Brainstorming

So the first thing is to brainstorm your article. You can do this in a Markdown app you will eventually write this in, or use a mind mapping tool like iThoughts and MindNode. You can even use a pen and paper. The only requirement for this is to get everything out of your head and onto a page or screen. Emptying your brain is key to allow for more mental RAM when actually writing the article. Don’t be afraid to dump anything and everything down, even if it has nothing to do with the project at hand.

Forget to take the trash out? Write it down at the bottom of a page or note on your iPad. Just get it out of your head and write it down. The less you have swirling in your mind the less distractions you will have when actually doing the work.

From there, clean out the things not about the blog post and put them elsewhere, like a task manager or even a different sheet of paper, you can deal with it later. Really focus your outline and/or mind map to one specific goal at a time, in this case it is the blog post.

Writing

Once you know the topic and have some kind of idea what you want to say, it is time to write it into a post. Open your text editor of choice and start using that outline you wrote as a basis of what you want to say.

Side-Note: If you want some good Markdown text editing apps I highly recommend Ulysses, Byword, iA Writer, or Editorial. There are a ton of posts elsewhere that will get in the weeds on Markdown apps so you’ll be able to find one that is right for you in no time. Anyway, back to the writing portion of things.

One thing I like to do is focus on one part at a time. This can be the introduction, conclusion, item 1 of 5 if you are posting a top 5 style post, or so on. For me, I like to have the introduction and conclusion done first. It helps me know what I want to have as the “meat and potatoes” of the post. Bookending the main points I want to make allows me to work with the constraints I put on myself. If that doesn’t work for you try something else out.

There really is no wrong way of writing, but I do have one piece of advice for anyone wanting to do anything on the internet: Really take your time and make something worthwhile here. Hang your hat on your work.

So get things right instead of just getting it done. Once it is done and you want to share it with the world, you have to know what to do with those words you’ve written to get on your website.

Exporting and Posting online

After writing the article, comes exporting it to WordPress.

There are a number of ways to do this but if you are using an app that has integration with WordPress you are halfway there. Ulysses and Byword both have this built in. From within the app with integration you can actually send your post straight to the WordPress website. Just login to your website and in the app there is an option to publish (if you need help finding it let me know what app you are using and I’ll happily help you out).

Alternatively, if the app you want to use doesn’t have built in WordPress integration you can still post to your blog. You just have to use the app Workflow. You will need to convert your Markdown text into rich text. Here is a quick and easy Workflow you can use to accomplish this. It converts the Markdown text into rich text and then sends it to WordPress. Upon first use you will need to sign in to WordPress so make sure you have that information at the ready. But after that initial setup you are set to post away!

If you are using an app that is already rich text (Notes, Microsoft Word, etc.) then you can delete the conversion block in the workflow and just have it take the text and make a post on WordPress directly, or you can download this Workflow I made.

From there you can go to your WordPress post either in Safari or the WordPress app and you can edit the post, add a featured image, change the SEO or meta data, and then post it.

Uploading Images to WordPress

There is one more thing I wanted to share with you that helped me a ton. It is related to images. Uploading images to WordPress from an iPad can be a royal pain if you let it. I created a workflow that allows you to upload an image from Photos right to WordPress and then copy the link of that image so you can paste it into your Markdown text editor. It comes in handy especially if you write in Markdown and want to share that image within world. You can download that workflow here.

PLEASE NOTE: you will need to change the domain from tablethabit.com to whatever your domain is. Otherwise your links won’t be right. Also, this only works if you have a custom website as the link it creates is based on a custom domain. If anyone knows a way to make this work with a WordPress.com website I would love to know!

Congratulations! You just posted your blog using nothing but your iPad!

If you have any thoughts or ideas on how to improve this feel free to let me know on Twitter or get in contact with me.

Google gives up on tablets: Android P marks an end to its ambitious efforts to take on Apple’s iPad

Apple’s new iPad suddenly confused everything. For some Mac users, it didn’t seem like it could be powerful enough to serve as a computer. Market researchers immediately branded it as a “media consumption device” in a desperate effort to avoid any comparison with PC sales and to disavow any potential for it disrupting sales of Windows PCs, despite their having spent the previous couple years preaching the gospel that cheap, ultralow-end netbook PCs would certainly eat up sales of Macs.
Yet despite waves of media contempt citing certain users’ disgruntlement, a deluge of market research white papers explaining that iPad wasn’t a real computer, and thunderous umbrage from Adobe expressing outrage over iPad’s lack of support for its proprietary Flash content (all of which sounded virtually identical to the themes in this year’s launch of HomePod), real world users voted for iPad with their billions of dollars.

I haven’t been in the Android game in quite some time but this seems to show just how impenetrable the iPad is in the tablet market. There really isn’t anything that comes close that has had as much support and iterations as the iPad.

Honestly this entire article is just a great historical piece on tablets over the last 9 years. Daniel Eran Dilger did a great job on this and you should all read this.

How To Annotate Screenshots on iOS 11

When you want to share your screen on iOS it has become second nature to just take a screenshot and send it to the person you want to share it with, usually without any editing. This can be useful, but an even better solution is to add things like text, arrows, handwritten words, etc. to that screenshot. It can give whoever is getting that image that little extra reference to help then understand what you are sending.
A great example of this is when a family member needs help with a setting in iOS or has a technical support question. A simple screenshot that may help, but a screenshot with an arrow or an explanation on what to do can save you a ton of time (and headaches).

With iOS 11 this has never been more accessible and easy to use.

Annotate On iPad

To start, you can take a screenshot by pressing the Home Button and the power button at the same time. The only outlier with this is the iPhone X as it does not have a Home Button. To do this you simple press the side button and the volume up button simultaneously.

There is also a way you can take a screenshot with a keyboard attached to your iOS device. If you are a Mac user you probably know the shortcut. You can use pres SHIFT+ ⌘ (cmd)+3 to take a screenshot. You can also take a screenshot and immediately get into the annotation with the keyboard shortcut SHIFT+⌘(cmd)+4. Both are staple keyboard shortcuts that works in any app you are using. So pick what ever method you want to get the screenshot(s) as you see fit. After that is where the real fun begins.

Once you get that screenshot, a small photo of the screenshot shows up on the bottom left corner of your screen. If you take multiple screenshots, they stack on top of each other to indicate that you have multiple screenshots.

From there you can either tap on the screenshot(s) and the built in iOS annotation will come up with a plethora of options at your disposal. You can crop the image, write on it to create arrows or hand write some stuff explaining things.

Alternatively, if you decide you don’t need to annotate or edit the image you can press and hold on the screenshot on the bottom left and the Share Sheet will pop up to send wherever you like.

One great example of what an annotate image can provide is a screenshot I recently got was from my co-host of A Slab of Glass, Christopher Lawley, who shared his thoughts not the redesign of Tablet Habit.

He pointed out the two things he thought needed changing on the site (he was totally right and I have since changed the menu and image like he recommended).

This is the power of screenshots and specifically annotating them.

Along with the crop tool, pen, pencil, and highlighter options you get in the built in iOS editor you also have this lasso tool, which is underrated if you ask me. With this you can select any and all added markings on the image and move them around as you see fit. Below is a quick video of what I am talking about.

So these are the tools you get with the built in annotation, but what if you want to do more advanced stuff with your screenshots? This is where 3rd party apps come in.

3rd Party Apps for Annotation

One app I love to use for annotating images for Tablet Habit is Annotable. It is a 3rd party app that allows you to do some pretty amazing things. I personally love the spotlight feature where everything you select is at the foreground while the rest of the unselected areas of the screenshot are dimmed to showcase the selected areas. It is great to point people where to look in a way that is appeasing to the the eyes.

Spotlight Feature with Annotable

Spotlight Feature with Annotable

If you want to learn more about Annotable and other apps that are great additions for annotation check out The Sweet Setup’s article and pick the right app for you.
So if you find yourself wanting to share your screen with someone, maybe a few seconds of editing a screenshot can help.

If you think I missed something about this or want to give any advice you have about annotating screenshots on iOS feel free to leave a comment below or get in contact with me.

Follow up Episode – GCU 10

This episode to Getting Caught Up was a monster to put together. We covered the previous 7 episodes and tied up all the loose ends we left. Mike also has a dilemma with a new purchase, and Jeff sinks into a deep pit preparing for this episode.
This is an episode I want anyone interested in podcasting to listen to because we go deep into our podcasting philosophies and feelings on making content online.

Download MP3

Announcement: A Slab of Glass coming out 3/18

I am extremely excited to announce a new podcast I am doing with Christopher Lawley called A Slab of Glass. It is a podcast all about the iPad where Christopher and I will be talking about how we use our iPads and how others can make their iPad a main device.
We talk about a specific topic each episode. Things like our Home Screen Setup, our quest to find the perfect keyboard for the iPad, and how we handle storage in the cloud for our iPads.

The first episode comes out March 18th and episodes 2 and 3 will be out later that week. After that we will be posting every other Friday. so go to aSlabOfGlass.com and subscribe now!

If you still need convincing here is our trailer for the podcast. Feel free to share it out with anyone you think will be interested.

Benuo iPad Case 10.5” Review

Cases for an iPad are a dime a dozen. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of iPad cases on the market. Some are great, some are not-so-great, and they all have their quirks. The Benuo iPad Pro 10.5” Case isn’t an outlier to this, but it is a case that I got to try out that’s worth talking about.
Full Disclosure: I was sent this case to review for free, but this doesn’t change my opinions for this review.

Look and Feel

To start off, this case is a leather folio style case that feels great to the touch. I am not sure how genuine the leather is, but it just feels way more expensive than it actually is.

Conversely, the microfiber cloth that is inside the cover isn’t as luxurious, and honestly does very little to clean the glass when it is closed. But if you want a case that cleans your iPad even the Apple Smart Cover doesn’t do a good job at that.

The final type of material used in the making of this case is a very study, yet somehow soft, plastic that houses the iPad. Putting it in the case is just as easy as taking it out, which is great. Not many cases have this kind of plastic material to house a case that is as forgiving and gentle to the iPad, which is a shame. Benuo gets this right on the money and they do it without it being a flimsy case that barely holds the iPad in place. I hope more companies looking to make cases for things like the iPad look into this material as it seems to be the sweet spot between security and flexibility.

One thing you will notice right off the bat with the look of this case is that the width of the case is bigger than other folio cases for the 10.5” iPad. That is because it offers a built in Apple Pencil holder next to the iPad. Made of the same material housing the iPad. It offers a secure and forgiving way to keep your Apple Pencil with you all the time without being a hassle to get it out for use.

To add even more to the pencil holder, Benuo takes the free space on the side and made a hole to put your Apple Pencil in as if it were a quill in an ink bottle. If you are using this for drawing in landscape mode, this added feature is a really enjoyable experience. It keeps your Pencil from rolling off the desk and allows you to keep it out of sight when you want but available when you need it. Benuo really put together a great looking, and even better feeling, case that is both simple in design but functional at that. But that isn’t to say there aren’t issues in that department entirely.

Functionality

The number one thing I look for in cases is a functionality that doesn’t look to reinvent the wheel. I don’t mind when companies do this, just not with a product I am going to use every day.

With that said, Benuo doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with this case. They merely offer some extra flair to a type of case as old as the tablet itself; but Benuo does miss the mark on some of the more fundamental features you are looking for in a folio case.

For instance, the case does say it offers a sleep/wake feature. This is usually done by magnets as that is what Apple uses to determine if the cover is over the screen or not, but these magnets couldn’t hold a paper clip if it needed to. They are such weak and cheap magnets that if I tip my iPad to the side the cover rolls open without much resistance to stay attached to the screen. The cover has no attachability to the iPad leaving it flacid and pitiful.

This is really noticeable when I try and roll it up to use as a stand. If I tilt or even barely bump the triangle made to stand up the tablet it unfurls dramatically. It took some time to learn how to carefully place this case down on a surface while rolled up to not disturb the delicate connections these magnets make to stay together.

I will say that once you have the case leaning on the cover it somehow offers support to keep the magnets together, but it is still a horrible experience. It is probably the most disappointing thing about this case entirely. Magnets for a sleep/wake feature is nothing new, and has been perfected for years now, so why does Benuo drop the ball so hard on this? My only guess is to keep costs down and allow for a better price point.

Finally, I am also not a huge fan of how they put together the flap to hold the body and the cover together. Because the Pencil case is on the inside of the iPad, the cloth connecting the body and the cover has to be inward more. Which in turn means the flap itself is much longer than the normal folio cases. It seems to be also double the size than most other cases like this I have seen.

This is problematic because I hold my iPad in portrait mode when reading articles and apps with my left hand. Because of this, and the extra long flap, I am stuck with a fist full of flap when holding the case open for reading. In a perfect world I would have liked Benuo to keep the pencil where it is but offer a much better solution the to connection of the body and cover that didn’t result in an awkward experience when trying to hold it for reading purposes. I don’t personally know what the practical solution is, but I think between this and the poor magnets it is a hard sell to customers that use their iPad in many different positions day to day.

Conclusion

The Benuo case is very nice to look at and touch, but functionally it drops the ball on some very basic stuff. I think the company is on the right track from a design perspective, but they need to improve their quality for function, even if that means a slightly higher price point.

This review isn’t all bad though, I will be using it for those times where I am going to a family event and I need something to entertain me. It offers a place on my shelf, just not a daily case. but my uses aren’t that of the normal user.

I hope in the future Benuo keeps their design and materials as they were great to use. I also hope they spend more time on the fundamentals of the case and fix the issues with the magnets and hopefully find a better solution of the hinge keeping the cover and body connected.

If you want to give this case a try, and I recommend you do so even after my issues with it, you are going to have to wait for stock to come back in. the price I saw last I checked as $22.99 on Amazon. If you need an occasional folio case this isn’t a bad option to work with or watch videos on.

If you have any questions or want to let me know what you think you can find me on Twitter @iamJeffPerry. Thanks for reading!

How To Podcast on iOS

When I started to use my iPad more and more I knew at some point I would want to go iPad only. With a lot of tinkering and tweaking my writing workflows and exploring apps to handle some of the things I did on a Mac, I was close. The only thing stopping me from ditching the Mac entirely was editing audio for my podcasts. Then Ferrite came into the picture.

Ferrite is an app that allows you to edit audio, especially podcasts, on iOS. This was the last piece of the puzzle, and I was elated to dive deep into this once I found out about it a year ago. Over the past 12 months I have been playing around with my setup on the app and watching the updates come regularly to make this an even better experience. Canis, the lead developer at Wooji Juice, developed this app, and I wish I could give him a giant hug for all he’s done.

After a year of using this app off and on, I think it is finally time to show you how to edit your podcasts 100% on iOS.

My iOS Podcasting Setup

My iOS Podcasting Setup

Recording

Recording requires both the iPhone and the iPad (more on why later). The iPhone is for connecting with anyone you have on the show so that you can communicate with them either with Skype, FaceTime, or even just a good ol’ fashioned phone call. After that you’re set with the iPhone. If this is a long call I suggest connecting the phone to a power source to avoid any issues.

The iPad is where the magic happens. For me, I use Google Docs to handle all of the pre-show notes and to keep the topics on hand for the episode I am recording. From there I have Google Docs and Ferrite side-by-side within my iPad.

The reason that you can’t both record your voice and have a call on an iPad simultaneously is basically because iOS limits this. The sandboxing of iOS has always been a sticking point for many who want to use the iPad. This might not be ideal, but I understand where Apple is coming from on this. It can be a privacy issue if they did allow this to be a thing and Apple, the company that touts its users’ privacy, would never allow this to happen. While it can be a privacy issue, I think there can be something done to meet users in the middle allowing them to record both a microphone and use Skype at the same time whilst still caring for their personal privacy.

If you want more of a detailed reason for this Canis explains it in a podcast episode of Vector with Rene Richie (this is a link to get you right to the explanation, but this entire episode is great).

From there, It is up to the guest/co-host to record their end as with this setup it isn’t possible to both record audio and use an app like Skype or FaceTime at the same time.

With hardware I use the Audio Technica ATR 2100 with an Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor and a lighting power supply to power the microphone and charge the iPad. The power supply goes into the dongle and provides both a charge and phantom power to a microphone connected, if need be. There are other great mics that you can use to achieve this, but they need to be USB or be connected to an audio interface that allows USB output. For me, the ATR2100 has been in my arsenal for years and I personally like how it makes me sound and the ease of its plug and play setup.

After the setup, and perhaps some testing if it is your first go, you’re ready to record your podcast and after that comes the fun: editing!

Editing

Once you record and get your files through some fashion (I use Dropbox for convenience sake) it is time to begin editing. But before I make a single cut in the podcast, I always clean up the audio.

One service I adore for my workflow is Auphonic. It is basically magic where it uses their own software to automatically level the audio to broadcast standards and removes any persistent noise. I rarely have to clean up the audio after it goes through Auphonic.

If I do find some other things need to be done to the audio I will use Wooji Juice’s Hokusai Audio Editor. This is a wonderful app that pretty much allows you to do anything you want to clean up audio. There’s compressors, limiters, EQ, and noise reduction plugins that any podcaster can play with to clean their audio up without much incident.

Hokusai does take some time to get used to and having background knowledge on audio is also a big plus. But, if you don’t know much about audio terminology and have time, I would play with it using an old episode and see what you can do with it.

Once the recordings are clean and ready to go, I import the clean audio files and put them in a project on Ferrite and begin cutting.

One thing I love about Ferrite is the ability to map the keyboard shortcuts to what you want.

I can either use a list of common shortcuts from other DAWs, like Logic Pro or Garage Band, or go ahead and use whatever I want to use. It is a genius addition and something I wish to see in other pro apps down the line.

Cutting a podcast is fairly straightforward if you have ever done it on a Mac using something like Garage Band or Logic Pro. You can slice, remove, move, and automate things like volume, pan, etc. without much friction.

One benefit Ferrite has over any Mac app is that you can take the project into your hands, literally. This is one of the many reasons I love working in iOS, you can use your fingers and work with you hands to create something instead of relying on a trackpad or a mouse. It is like dancing on an ice rink when you move and cut the tracks with your fingers. It is something that is almost intimate with your work when using the glass as your canvas.

If you want to learn more about how to use Ferrite there are some great tools from Wooji Juice (the company that develops the app) with their video tutorials.

There is also a really nice course by podcaster Joel Sharpton called iPad Podcasting. He also has a supplementary course on iOS audio plugins. I haven’t personally taken these courses but I know Joel personally and he’s not only a great person, but his work is always terrific. If you have any questions for him feel free to connect with him on Twitter @therogueslife.

Once it is edited as you like, you’re almost ready to share it with the world! All you have to do now is export it!

Exporting

There isn’t a set “standard” for podcasting files but I have found that the best is a mono MP3 at a bit rate of 64-128 kB/s. It isn’t studio quality but it does allow for a small file with minimum compression in the audio quality.

Once exported I save it into my iCloud Drive to safekeeping while I work on show notes and other things a podcast episode entails.

From there you just need to recall the file and upload it to your podcasting host (Libsyn, Simplecast, or Blubrry are all great options.

Conclusion

Ferrite is a wonderful and powerful app to use, and it has been a game changer for many podcasters I know who prefer the iPad over a Mac. They have finally create the last piece to the puzzle to go iPad only.

So if you are a fan of iOS and want to start podcasting with your iPad and iPhone here is a guide to do so.

Ferrite is a free app to download but in order to get the full unlocked version it is a $19.99 in-app purchase. That may be a sticker shock to some but in comparison to other editing software this is a drop in the bucket. Logic Pro X for instance is $199, and Adobe Audition is $30 a month to use. To pay $20 and never have to pay for it again is unheard of for production software.

So get podcasting on your iOS devices, and let me know if I missed anything. You can leave a comment below or get a hold of me on Twitter @iamJeffPerry.

Our Yearly Themes – GCU 8

This episode Mike and I choose our word for the year. Mike is worried about the dentist. I share why so many people set resolutions on the new year. Mike reads a lot in preparation, and I watched a lot of motivational videos. Both of us share our thoughts on marketing and motivational videos.

Get Show Notes and more here

Using Bear as an Apple Notes Replacement

Note-taking has become a staple in any modern computer in your pocket, backpack, or tablet sleeve. That much is clear, but the apps in which people write their notes in has been a point of contention ever since there were blogs.Apple Notes was my app of choice ever since I switched to iOS and has been my go-to note-taking app since, until I started using Bear shortly after its release.

There are a number of reasons that I can now say that Apple Notes is no longer my favorite note-taking app, here are a few of them.

Markdown

Markdown has been my preferred syntax in writing since Is started to learn it in 2014. It is simple, effective, and doesn’t require anything special.

John Gruber created an amazing way to write the majority of what is needed in blogging without ever needing anything except a word processor and a few specific characters memorized.

Markdown not only is a very nice tool to use on other platforms, it also is universal and allows you to write what you have to say and focus less on how you’re going to say it. Apple Notes doesn’t have Markdown support, instead it has its own formatting stuff that pretty much boxes itself out from other apps if you want to move it elsewhere. Essentially, Apple Notes makes your words and ideas squatters in a home, only coming out with certain conditions and rules.

I will say that Bear has its own “flavor” of Markdown, but with a quick change in the General Settings of Bear you can put it into “Markdown Compatibility Mode” and all will be the same as other Markdown apps.

This entire review was written in Markdown inside the Bear app. Including all the images, links, and text formatting you see.

Customization

There are a number of things you can customize within Bear that you simply can’t in Apple Notes, making Bear offer a unique and personalized experience to whomever is using it. Notes has improved their overall look from a journal with lined paper to now a clean look where your words pop.

However, changing the background color, the font, and the font size leaves a lot to be desired. Some of these things can be done on Apple Notes, but not easily nor to the capacity Bear offers.

Themes

Where Bear shines brighter than other writing applications is their themes. From light themes, dark themes, and everything in between Bear offers the look a vast majority of people would want when they are writing notes, or even long form.

The dark themes are especially eye-catching because of how useful they can be for people that find a white text on a black screen easier to work with than the illuminating white background and black text.

To date there are 13 theme options, some being from a recent update earlier this year. I personally like the High Contrast theme for a light theme and Panic Mode as a dark theme.

A really nice addition is that each theme has its own app icon as well. You can choose whether to use the theme icon or not when selecting one in the app.

Typography

One feature I didn’t know about until very recently is that you can change the font in the app, which blew me away because it offered a whole other level of customization I didn’t even think I needed. Needless to say I played around with it and found that I actually prefer the system font over the standard Avenir Next font it ships with. Something about have the same uniform font across all applications is more appealing to me. There are a few other options to match most peoples needs. To change the font simply go to Settings within Bear and tap on “Editor” and from there you will see the option for “Typography.”

Organization and Functionality

So far I have only spoken about the cosmetic features Bear offers, which are great, but when you are talking about a notes application the proof is in the pudding. To stick with the analogy, Bear’s “pudding” is so rich you won’t be able to enjoy any other pudding the same way again.

Checklists

When I work with my notes, I sometimes find myself needed to make a list of items or things to do into a checklist, which used to mean I would take the list I created in Apple Notes and have to create a Workflow to make this list into a format another Markdown app supports. With Bear, it is a simple selection of the text and tapping on a checkbox in their custom shortcut menu.

Not only that, but Bear has sweat the details so much you can go into settings and have it automatically fold any sub-lists once the main item is checked off. Meaning you don’t have to deal with the 16 tasks under one big project checklist you created after completion. Next time you enter the app all the completed tasks will fold into a gray icon with three dots. Which allows more screen real estate available to the remaking unchecked items.

Bear checklist before fold

Bear checklist before fold

Bear checklist with fold

Bear checklist with fold

Tagging system

Organizing your notes and lists in Apple Notes is probably the most frustrating thing about the app. Not only can you not sync your notes with third party services like Dropbox, you aren’t allowed any subfolders. So if you have plans to keep notes for that big project for work, the project has to have its own folder rather than being a subfolder within the Work folder you already had.

With Bear that all goes away, because Bear uses something similar, but different. They use a tagging system, and they allow sub-tags. For all intents and purposes this is the same as folders and subfolders. Regardless of the terminology, Bear allows you to have those project notes inside its own folder wherever you want. It doesn’t have to be a top-level folder.

Bear has actually made some serious updates to their tagging system as of late. They have now implemented autocomplete features so when you begin typing a tag within the not a pop-up dialog box appears where you can then select any existing tags that fit what is already written. It makes thing a lot easier from an organizational standpoint, and prevent users from using several tags that all have the same meaning.

The Little Things

Now that I have converted both the cosmetic and the functional portion of Bear, there are still some things that these developers have put in that deserve to be mentioned.

Icons for tags

Bear’s tagging system is not only very functional, they managed to put in a few secret nuggets of fun to boot. If you use tags like “Podcast” or “Blog” or “Personal” Bear automatically assigns icons (what they are calling “TagCons” for now) for those tags that are seemingly prebuilt in the application.

Bear TagCons Bear TagCons

If you use a tag that doesn’t meat this hidden criteria, they will use a generic “#” instead, which looks all well and good, but those TagCons that appear magically really make all the difference.

Handling of Drag and Drop

When I am working on notes for my podcast Getting Caught Up I tend to use a lot of links to things mentioned in the show. As I said before I prefer Markdown, as it is my favorite way to write, but it also is supported by my podcast host, Simplecast.

Before Bear I had to copy and paste each link in a new document, then find the summary and/or title of the articles I grabbed and then put in a serious amount of time to do the tidying up.

With Bear, I simply have to drag from the page in Safari and drop in into my Bear note where it gets the heading of the page and uses that as the text to encase the URL in. It makes for bringing webpages and articles a breeze and easily saves me an hours work.

What Bear isn’t doing that Notes can

While it is easy to tell I am a fan of Bear, there are some things that Apple Notes has that the note-taking app should consider building in.

Secure notes

Apple Notes added the functionality of having secure notes in a recent update, meaning that in order to access notes you deem private it requires either a passcode you set or Touch ID (Face ID for iPhone X).

While this was never something I used because I put my secure notes in 1Password, I do see the importance of having this option. Whether it is you banking information or just a Christmas Gift list you don’t want anyone to stumble upon on accident, the ability to thwart any snooping eyes with this added security is important.

I am not sure whether Bear hasn’t implemented this because of limitation in what Apple allows users to use (which I doubt because this kind of security is used for password managing apps all the time) or it simply isn’t something that the developer have pushed out yet.

If it is the latter, BEar needs to make the effort to make this a reality, security is a growing concern among Apple users every single day, and one way to retain your current users, and probably gain new users, is with this option.

Document scans

Sometimes when you are working with others or even for yourself, there are times when you get physical items like contracts and information you want to keep for “future you.” If you are like me, you try and go paperless as much as possible.

Sadly, Bear doesn’t have any kind of document scanning app like that of Apple Notes as of iOS 11. Granted, you can use 3rd party apps to make this happen, but going from one app to another just to keep a contract on hold for later can be a dealbreaker to some. If Bear were to implement this feature, it would dramatically improve some people’s workflows and allow them to make the complete switch over.

Final Thoughts

Bear is a colossal giant among note-taking apps and after getting deep int the application making the switch over was one of the best things I have ever done for personal productivity and keeping my thoughts organized.

you can download Bear for free, but I recommend going Pro early on for either $1.49 a month or $15.00 a year. The features you get when upgrading can be explained on Bear’s pricing page.

Did I miss something in this article or have any corrections? Feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email contact@tablethabit.com.

iPad Remains World’s Most Popular Tablet

The dust has settled with the recently release Apple Q1 results, but one thing I found interesting was the iPad market share numbers. MacRumors did a really interesting article showing the market share of the iPad compared to both Samsung and Amazon’s projected sales in 2017.

Apple captured a 26.8 percent share of the tablet market in 2017, meaning that roughly one in every four tablets sold last year was an iPad. Apple’s tablet market share rose 2.5 percentage points year-on-year.

Two things stand out to me on this. The fact that 1 out of every 4 tablets bought in the market today are iPads and that it only rose 2.5% year-over-year. It is clear the iPad is dominating the market, and for good reason.

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