Announcement: Tablet Habit Discord is Live
I am very excited to announce today that Tablet Habit now has a Discord anyone can join for free. As much as I enjoy writing this newsletter every week it can feel vacuous and while I enjoy solitude at times, I also want to make the conversation two-way instead of the current one-way system I have.
My hope with this is to connect with readers like you and others who love the iPad, Apple, tech, productivity, and more. I also want to share workflows, answer questions, and more.
I also plan to have live chats for Apple Events and the occasional podcast recording live for users to listen in and ask questions.
If you are interested in joining you can join today here.
Kensington StudioDock Fiasco
A few months ago Kensington came out with an interesting product with a jaw-dropping price tag. The StudioDock iPad Docking Station was released and it showed how you can turn your iPad Pro into something of an iMac mini.
It seemed like an innovative accessory albeit costing $400, which is more than a literal iPad. That said, if you had the cash it could prove to be worth the investment to make your iPad Pro your main computer; or that was true until the new M1 iPads were announced. Now,the StudioDock has immediately became obsolete.
In case you haven't heard, the new 12.9" M1 iPads are slightly thicker and thus causes the mechanism in the StudioDock that holds the iPad Pro in place to no longer fit.
A Media Relations Representative for Kensington explained via email, "The new 2021 iPad Pro 12.9â€ is incompatible with the current StudioDock because it is thicker in size than the 2018-2020 models (6.4mm vs. 5.9mm). Kensington is planning on launching a new SKU to support the new iPad Pro."
So, for those who want a StudioDock that fits the M1 iPads, you are in luck. The company plans to release a new version at a later date. When asked about when this will be available Kensington stated, "Unfortunately, I do not yet have a date that I can share."
Personally, I don't blame Kensington completely on this issue as they are beholden to Apple regarding the form factors. That said, there could have been more thought about future-proofing this dock and using a different solution to keep the iPad connected.
This is just another reminder about why it can be so difficult to make accessories and add-ons for a device that has a habit for changing form factor after 2-4 generations. I am not here to condemn the added thickness to the M1 iPad, but I can empathize with companies that spends so much time and money to make products that become obsolete in a matter of months. I fear that iPad accessories, particularly the iPad Pro, will continue to come and go over the years as designs change and Apple improves their high-end iPads.
To add insult to injury, the StudioDock had its first public casualty. Christopher Lawley also is making the rounds in the news for sharing his video on Twitter about the stand breaking after normal use.
I am not sure if this is a common issue, but with a $400 sticker price one would assume the product is built with high quality. Christopher has since unlisted his video review of the StudioDock to avoid it being found online in the future.
In the next version, along with the thickness issue addressed, I would like to see them make the stand more durable to avoid other to endure what happened to Christopher.
Announcement: A Slab of Glass is Returning this Summer
Speaking of Christopher Lawley, A Slab of Glass, a podcast I did with him a while back, is coming back. That said, it will be just me interviewing a different guests each week.
Christopher is very busy working full time on his YouTube channel and, with his blessing, I have decided to take this podcast on myself. I plan to talk to awesome people who love the iPad and tech as much as I do. I want to ask them how they do the things they do with the computers they love. I also might delve into Apple news and happenings if they are a good fit for the guest, but it isn't a news show by any means. This is an interview show and I hope to find people that are doing really interesting things and hear more about their story.
If you or someone you know would make a good fit for the podcast email me at email@example.com.
The show is still in pre-production right now, but the hope is to publish this every other week on Tablet Habit once it is ready for launch later this Summer.
Once there is a feed available I will share it here on Tablet Habit for you to subscribe.
Why I Bought a Mac
I recently made a decision that it was time for me to buy an M1 MacBook Air. This wasn't because I wanted to ditch the iPad, but I have to admit the iPad has brought in more and more barriers for me as I continue to use the 11" iPad Pro. I want to go over the issues I have had with the iPad and how this M1 Mac will help me going forward.
I am not sure if it is my eyes giving up or just me getting older but my ability to write and use an 11-inch screen has become more and more difficult to me. At times I feel that the canvas on the iPad Pro is just too small for me and I need an extra few inches to make it work. I am often leaning in to read text, increasing text size, and squinting just to make out what I am reading. I have recently seen an eye doctor about this and got a new prescription but the issue persists.
I am aware that there is a larger iPad Pro model available but the problem there is that the iPad isn't just a desktop environment for me. I use it on the couch all the time. I write on it with the Apple Pencil, play games on it, and browse the web with it.
I bought the 11-inch model because I knew that if I wanted to do all of the things listed above it could not be done comfortably with a 12.9-inch model.
Now, I could have bought an additional big iPad Pro, but there's a catch with that: cost.
When I was comparing the pricing on a new M1 Macbook Air with a 12.9" iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard I would need to make it work for me it was clear just how bloated the cost of an iPad Pro is compared to the MacBook line.
If I wanted to buy a base model 12.9" iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard it would cost me $1448 where a base model MacBook Air would only cost me $999. For me, it is not worth the nearly 50% increase in price for an iPad over a MacBook Air. Hey, even the base line MacBook Pro is $1299.
In fact, I managed to get my MacBook Air at the price of $899 which is $549 less than an M1 iPad Pro. I enjoy the iPad very much, and I plan to continue using it, but the fact that I have to spend $549 more for an iPad is, and forever will be, absurd.
Coming Back to macOS
I have long wanted to hop back into macOS to see how it has been. I haven't used a Mac since High Sierra and with the design refresh of Big Sur I wanted to know what it was all about.
Using a Mac can be both a different experience but also be more of the same. It can be different because the iPad and Mac inherently have different interfaces and different input options. That said, nearly every app I use regularly has full-feature parody between iPadOS and macOS nowadays. Apps like Craft, Things 3, Drafts, and more all work flawlessly on the iPad and Mac without any glaring hindrances on either OS.
I will say that I do miss having Shortcuts on the Mac, and I hope for all Mac users in the future that Shortcuts is indeed brought to the M1 Macs. If that can be brought to life in the next version of macOS, the sheer volume of shortcuts and opportunities for automation will be exciting for everyone involved.
Production and Background Tasks
As I mentioned earlier, A Slab of Glass is coming back. This means that I will be conducting more interviews online with people and while it is technically possible to record audio on an iPad I am unable to record both my audio and my guest's audio simultaneously. If I want to do that I need to use a Mac or PC.
I also have found that it is more reliable from a user standpoint to use a Mac or PC to record audio due to it being available to record in the background. When I am on the iPad I need to keep Ferrite open the whole time I chat with someone on Skype or FaceTime. If I don't, there is a possibility that the recording could top recording as a way for iPadOS to offload RAM. I think that this issue has been fixed for most use cases but I am still weary as I have lost recordings in the past on the iPad because of this.
When I am in the middle of a podcast recording I do my best to stay present with my guest and when I am fumbling or stressing about making sure my recordings are working it can throw me off and cause the interview to fall apart.
Matt Birchler turned me on to a term in one of his videos that I think simplifies my thoughts on what make me choose a Mac over an iPad, and that term is parallelism. As Matt explains it, it is the ability for a computer to do multiple tasks simultaneously.
For instance, recording an audio source and use that source in a Skype call. You can absolutely do that on a Mac but you can't do that on an iPad. If you are a video editor on a Mac you can export a video, minimize the app, and browse the web while you wait for the video to export. If you are on the iPad you must keep that video editing app open as it exports. If you close it you will most likely stop the export all together and have to restart the process over again.
One of the main reasons I love the iPad is that it allows me to focus on the singular task that matters and the rest stays out of my way. That said, there are more and more instances where I need parallelism in my computing life and until the iPad manages to make that happen the Mac is going to be my go-to computer for those kinds of tasks.
These are just a few of the reasons I chose to make the dive into macOS, but I want to make this very clear: I am not abandoning the iPad. I am simply adding to my computer family. The iPad is still my main computer, but the Mac is there for when I need a change of pace or something that can handle multiple tasks at once.
Workflow of the Week
On Twitter I found Chris Brandrick share an interesting trick that I never knew about with iOS copy and paste.
I tried it myself and turns out it is indeed a really elegant solution for copy and paste.
Shortly thereafter Andy Nicolaides shared this tidbit that is an equally helpful gesture.
This might be a small thing but as someone that copies and pastes a lot of text this has become handy for me, and I’m sure it can help you as well.
Means of Creation has a really fantastic article considering Apple's In-App Purchase rules for creators, not just developers.
Apple has always thought of itself as the kind of company that empowers creative people to do their best work. From the fonts on the original Macintosh, to the camera on the first iPhone, it has built world-class tools for people who make things. But now, through its App Store policies, Apple is now one of the main barriers to independent creators thriving on the internet. It’s not because they changed their minds about who they want to serve. This is just what happens when a company manages a platform as if it were a product.
José Adorno from 9to5Mac shares his perspective on what the future of the iPad should be with iPadOS 15.
There’s a maxim that says “don’t buy a product for what it can be,” but the iPad Pro has been a promise for half a decade. With iPadOS in 2019 and the Magic Keyboard in 2020, Apple has come closer to what this product can achieve. It’s powerful, we all know that. The M1 iPad Pro even beats my 16-inch MacBook Pro from 2019 that has 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i9 processor. It’s pretty, it has a stunning mini-LED display that customers can’t wait to put their eyes on. So what’s missing? Another cycle of iPadOS update.
Greg Morris shares his system with up-and-coming note-taking app Obsidian, and I have to say it is very intriguing. It makes me want to consider trying out Obsidian and seeing what I can make with it.
Tim Nahumck shares his heart-wrenching story about his dog Koda and the final months with him. This might not be "on brand" for Tablet Habit but this one really hit me right in the gut and I just had to share it.
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