iPad

The M1 iPad Pro superpower

Sebastiaan de With, Halide blog:

Let’s take look at what’s new with the M1 iPad Pro cameras. In taking a quick look at what’s new, we’ll share a discovery: your iPad has a superpower that not even Apple has told you about.

Superpower? You have my attention.

I’m one of those people that got the nearly-thirteen inch iPad Pro, which is an absolute spaceship of a tablet. It certainly does not evoke thoughts of anything micro, but that’s precisely where its strength lies.

iPad basically comes with a microscope. That’s right: you can take some pretty incredible macro shots of things without any accessories. The iPhone 12 Pro (or any iPhone, really) has a different lens design and only focuses to about 8 cm (that’s over 3 inches) away from the camera lens. iPad Pro easily focuses on things much closer to its sensor.

And:

Interestingly, with the LIDAR sensor assisting autofocus it can sometimes be a bit hard to try this fun attribute of the camera — With Halide for iPad, you can drop into manual focus mode and to get ultra-close-ups of everyday things. Try it out for yourself if you have an iPad!

Yet another compelling argument for jumping on the iPad Pro train. Look at those closeup photos. I use a macro lens on my mirrorless Sony camera, but the display is what holds me back. It’s hard to get the focus just right.

But when the screen is one of the best in the world, and ten times as large? That’s a game changer.

Zoom adds support for new iPad Pro Center Stage

Zoom blog:

Attention all iPad Zoomers! You’ve got some great new features coming to the Zoom app on Apple’s latest iPad Pro models, which were announced at Apple’s Spring Loaded event on April 20.

Two new features – support for Apple’s Center Stage and expanded Gallery View – will help you better participate in calls, potentially stave off video fatigue, and better connect over Zoom.

And:

Previous iPad models can display up to 25 video tiles in Gallery View, but those using Zoom on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can now see up to 48 video tiles (6×8 in Landscape Mode), allowing them to better connect in large meetings.

Don’t have the latest iPad Pro? No worries! Many iPad models are also getting expanded Gallery View, and those users will see a few additional participants on a single screen, depending on the device.

To bring more or fewer people into view on any iPad, simply pinch the display with two fingers to zoom in and out.

Nice to see Center Stage adoption happen so quickly. You’ll need Zoom 5.6.6 or later, hitting the App Store this week.

Matti Haapoja: Crazy fast M1 iPad Pro editing

The whole video is both interesting and entertaining. But jump to about 5:23 in and check out the playback of the 4K drone footage. Buttery smooth.

I get the same feeling watching these M1 iPad Pro videos as I got when I first started playing with my M1 MacBook Air. What a performance leap.

Austin Mann: M1 iPad Pro for photographers

I always look forward to Austin Mann’s camera reviews. But, in this case, he’s showing off the flip side of the lens, the M1 iPad Pro used as a photography tool.

Specifically, scroll down about a quarter of the way down the review and hit play on that first video (it’s portrait mode), check out that performance as Austin steps through, and then fast scrolls through a large collection of 60 megapixel images.

And, with Thunderbolt, this is true for internal or external storage. Blazing fast. No lag. Amazing.

iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV 4K in stores Friday

Apple:

Beginning May 21, customers can get their hands on the all-new iMac, the M1-powered iPad Pro, and the next generation of Apple TV 4K at Apple Store locations and authorized resellers around the world. Customers who already ordered their new products will begin receiving deliveries Friday.

Wondering if they’s have stock of the new Siri Remote, as a standalone product. They could keep ’em on an impulse buy rack, right next to the cash register (yup, I get it, no racks, no cash register, but still.)

M1 iPad Pro more than 50% faster than previous generation in early benchmarks

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here’s the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of 1,718 and 7,284, respectively. By comparison, the fourth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the A12Z chip has average single-core and multi-core scores of 1,121 and 4,656, respectively, meaning that the M1 iPad Pro is around 56% faster.

That is crushingly fast. That is a bigger leap than the benchmarks comparing the Intel vs M1 MacBook Pro.

Why the new iPad Pro’s MiniLED display is a big deal

David Nield, Gizmodo:

One of the marquee features of Apple’s 12.9-inch Pad Pro for 2021 is its Liquid Retina XDR display, a screen tech that you might have previously seen mentioned in relation to the super-expensive Pro Display XDR monitor that Apple also sells. But what exactly do all these terms mean?

And:

Nowadays, just about every bit of Apple hardware qualifies as Retina, which is why you’ll now see extra words like “liquid” tacked on as well—the Liquid part of Liquid Retina on the iPad Pro listings just means even more pixels per inch, and even less chance of your eyes seeing any pixelation no matter how close you bring the screen up to your face.

And:

In the simplest terms, XDR is an enhanced version of HDR (High Dynamic Range) that extends its benefits.

And:

The key to HDR is having a very high contrast ratio, or the difference between the blackest blacks and the whitest whites that a display can put out. With XDR, Apple has pushed that range even further. The Apple Pro Display XDR can manage 1,000 nits of full-screen, sustained brightness, and a peak of 1,600 nits, resulting in a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

My current iPad (the 2018 “education” iPad) is 500 nits. My M1 MacBook Air display is only 400 nits. So the leap to 1,000 nits, with a peak of 1,600 nits is a bit mind-blowing.

There’s a lot more of this in the article. After reading it, makes me want to order the new iPad Pro just to experience this screen in my day-to-day iPad life.

Have an iPhone 12 Pro or iPad Pro? Check out the new AR Spaces in the Clips app

Apple:

Clips, Apple’s easy-to-use video creation app for iPhone and iPad, gives users even more fun options to record captivating videos. With all-new AR Spaces powered by LiDAR on iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models, creators can transform a space by adding immersive visual effects that map to the contours of a room, and can be easily shared with anyone.

And:

With AR Spaces in Clips 3.1, users can easily scan a room and see a live preview of effects that bring dynamic lighting, falling objects, and immersive scenes to life. Using the rear camera on a supported iPhone or iPad, users will see effects appear on walls, floors, surfaces, furniture, and objects.

This looks like a lot of fun. Depends on the LiDAR Scanner introduced on last year’s iPad Pro and found on the iPhone 12 Pro as well.

The iPad Pro interview

Matthew Panzarino interviewing Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak and Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering John Ternus about the new iPad Pro:

Last year’s model is still one of the best computers you can buy, with a densely packed offering of powerful computing tools, battery performance and portability. And this year gets upgrades in the M1 processor, RAM, storage speed, Thunderbolt connection, 5G radio, new ultra wide front camera and its Liquid Retina XDR display.

And:

Apple has essentially ported its enormously good $5,000 Pro Display XDR down to a 12.9” touch version, with some slight improvements. But the specs are flat out incredible. 1,000 nit brightness peaking at 1,600 nits in HDR with 2,500 full array local dimming zones — compared to the Pro Display XDR’s 576 in a much larger scale.

And:

“One of the things that iPad Pro has done as John [Ternus] has talked about is push the envelope. And by pushing the envelope that has created this space for developers to come in and fill it. When we created the very first iPad Pro, there was no Photoshop,” Joswiak notes. “There was no creative apps that could immediately use it. But now there’s so many you can’t count. Because we created that capability, we created that performance — and, by the way sold a fairly massive number of them — which is a pretty good combination for developers to then come in and say, I can take advantage of that. There’s enough customers here and there’s enough performance. I know how to use that. And that’s the same thing we do with each generation. We create more headroom to performance that developers will figure out how to use.

“The customer is in a great spot because they know they’re buying something that’s got some headroom and developers love it.”

And:

“How crazy is it that you can take a chip that’s in a desktop, and drop it into an iPad,” says Joswiak. “I mean it’s just incredible to have that kind of performance at such amazing power efficiency. And then have all the technologies that come with it. To have the neural engine and ISP and Thunderbolt and all these amazing things that come with it, it’s just miles beyond what anybody else is doing.”

The use of the same processor in a smartphone, a tablet, and a desktop is no small things. Intel made a living building custom processors for different enclosures, tuning their chips to get the most performance per watt for each specific device type (Here’s Steve Jobs talking about the origins of this strategy). With Apple’s M1, they’ve flipped this strategy on its head.

“Your battery life is defined by the capacity of your battery and the efficiency of your system right? So we’re always pushing really really hard on the system efficiency and obviously with M1, the team’s done a tremendous job with that. But the display as well. We designed a new mini LED for this display, focusing on efficiency and on package size, obviously, to really to be able to make sure that it could fit into the iPad experience with the iPad experience’s good battery life.

And:

One of the marquee features of the new iPad Pro is its 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage. An auto-centering and cropping video feature designed to make FaceTime calling more human-centric, literally. It finds humans in the frame and centers their faces, keeping them in the frame even if they move, standing and stretching or leaning to the side. It also includes additional people in the frame automatically if they enter the range of the new ultra-wide 12MP front-facing camera. And yes, it also works with other apps like Zoom and Webex and there will be an API for it.

And:

It also goes a long way to masking the awkward horizontal camera placement when using the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

And:

I ask how they would you characterize an iPad Pro vs. a MacBook buyer? Joswiak is quick to respond to this one.

“This is my favorite question because you know, you have one camp of people who believe that the iPad and the Mac are at war with one another right it’s one or the other to the death. And then you have others who are like, no, they’re bringing them together — they’re forcing them into one single platform and there’s a grand conspiracy here,” he says.

“They are at opposite ends of a thought spectrum and the reality is that neither is correct. We pride ourselves in the fact that we work really, really, really hard to have the best products in the respective categories. The Mac is the best personal computer, it just is. Customer satisfaction would indicate that is the case, by a longshot.”

And:

“Contrary to some people’s beliefs, we’re never thinking about what we should not do on an iPad because we don’t want to encroach on Mac or vice versa,” says Ternus. “Our focus is, what is the best way? What is the best iPad we can make what are the best Macs we can make. Some people are going to work across both of them, some people will kind of lean towards one because it better suits their needs and that’s, that’s all good.”

Great interview.

iOS security fixes could soon be delivered separately from other updates, beta code suggests

Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac:

A new section added to the iOS software update menu indicates that Apple will provide standalone security updates for iPhone and iPad users. Users would be able to choose whether they want to install only security updates or full iOS updates.

Follow the headline and check out the first image to see the new choices that appear when you go to Settings > General > Software Update, then tap Automatic Updates.

You’ll see two, independent switches:

  • Download New Updates
  • Install Security Updates

Similar to what’s offered on the Mac, you can choose to apply all updates, or just one or the other. For example, I can imagine installing all security updates automatically, but not running new general updates without doing a bit more research first.

For me, both switches were enabled by default. I’m leaving them that way.

Hands-on with a pretty cool iPad dock

Great video from Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac. Jump to about 1:10 in to skip the unboxing.

This is a pretty cool gadget if the iPad is your main computing device. It’s a solid stand, continuously rotatable and tiltable, with (about 2:45 in) a bunch of ports (that’s the hub part). And there’s even an add-on so you can charge your Apple Watch.

I do love the concept, but this is an expensive bit of kit. $480+. Gulp.

And, like an iPhone case, once you move on to a new generation of iPad, chances are, this stand won’t work with the new shape of the new iPad. Watch Jeff insert his iPad (3:50 in). This hub was designed specifically for a particular iPad. No one size fits all. But my gut tells me a one size fits all design would be possible. And that would have been a home run for me.

Still, iPads do have pretty long lives, and if you are living that good iPad life, this is worth a look.

How to find your pointer

OK, this is silly, but fun and worth trying. Best on your Mac, but even works on your iPhone/iPad, as long as you keep your finger on the screen.

Can’t miss iPad tips

[VIDEO] OK, so that headline promises a lot. I was definitely skeptical when I fired up the DailyTekk video (I believe this is the first one of these I’ve shared – won’t be the last).

Between the video’s great vibe/production values and the nature of the tips themselves, this is definitely worth your time. Check it out. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Apple says iOS 14.4 fixes three security bugs ‘actively exploited’ by hackers

Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch:

Apple has released iOS 14.4 with security fixes for three vulnerabilities, said to be under active attack by hackers.

The technology giant said in its security update pages for iOS and iPadOS 14.4 that the three bugs affecting iPhones and iPads “may have been actively exploited.” Details of the vulnerabilities are scarce, and an Apple spokesperson declined to comment beyond what’s in the advisory.

From that Apple security note:

Kernel impact: A malicious application may be able to elevate privileges. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.

And:

WebKit impact: A remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.

Note that this is an issue for both iPadOS and iOS. So update your iPhone and iPad both.

macOS Catalina running on an iPad Pro

[VIDEO] Not exactly sure how this was pulled off, but this is a pretty cool hack. Apparently, this is running via x86 emulation. Just imagine how this would fly if Apple opened up the ability to run the M1 native version of macOS Big Sur on an iPad.

The video (embedded in main Loop post) is long, mostly because of how slow the process is, so best bet is to scrub through it and look for screen changes. There are major changes at about 3:48, 5:46, and 18:33, just to get you started.

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-on comparison

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we’d do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities.

If you are in the market for an iPad, you are likely comparing the pros and cons of the new iPad Air against those of the most recent iPad Pro. Juli does an excellent job digging through those differences so you don’t have to.

Most significant to me:

There’s no ‌Touch ID‌ Home button, but there is ‌Touch ID‌ built into the power button at the top of the device. It’s fast and effortless, but you do need to reach up to the top of the ‌iPad‌ to unlock it, and it’s not as seamless of an experience as Face ID, especially when you’re using accessories like the Magic Keyboard. On ‌iPad Pro‌, you can wake it with the keyboard and then it instantly unlocks after scanning your face, but on ‌iPad Air‌, this is a two-step process.

If you plan on shelling out for the Magic Keyboard, think about Face ID and the process of unlocking your iPad. Can you live with the extra steps a lack of Face ID adds to the process? Might not matter to you, but worth thinking about.

Apple’s new iPad Air ad

[VIDEO] Solid use of the slinky, especially to highlight the rose gold, green, and sky blue colors. Video embedded in main Loop post.

2020 iPad Air review: Almost Pro

The big question for me, when it comes to the new iPad Air, is how it compares to the iPad Pro.

Jason Snell:

The release of the fourth-generation iPad Air feels kind of like that. Apple is apparently so confident in the roll that it’s on with the iPad that it’s happy to take the iPad Air, which it previously defined as a more expensive version of the low-end iPad, and transform it into an iPad Pro.

No, the new iPad Air doesn’t offer every single feature of the iPad Pro. There are still some reasons for some users to opt for the more expensive model. But this isn’t a move that a company terrified of undercutting its own high-margin products would make.

So what are those differences?

The iPad Air has two speakers rather than four. There’s no second rear camera, no portrait mode support, and no Lidar scanner. And the screen refreshes at 60Hz, not the buttery-smooth 120Hz found on Pro models.

No Face ID, but you do get Touch ID in the power button. And no Face ID means no face-reacting Animoji or Memoji. And the new iPad Air has a 10.9″ screen.

If the above sits well with you, the new iPad Air is a no-brainer. Starts at $599.

iPad execs talk 2020 iPad lineup, Touch ID on power button, with iJustine and Jenna Ezarik

[VIDEO] Apple marketing and hardware execs Bob Borchers and John Ternus jumped onto the Same Brain podcast to talk about the 2020 iPad lineup. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Of particular interest to me was the detailed discussion (jump to about 7:22) of the fingerprint scanner on the iPad Air’s power button. I would love to see this tech on an iPhone. Not sure if the footprint is large enough to allow this.

A great achievement. Love this discussion.

Geekbench scores, new iPad Air, and the 16″ 2019 MacBook Pro

Hartley Charlton, MacRumors:

Benchmarks supposedly for Apple’s A14 Bionic processor in the iPad Air 4, first spotted by Twitter user “Ice Universe,” reveal that the A14 offers significant performance improvements over the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic.

Here’s a link to that Geekbench 5 result.

  • 1583 Single-Core Score
  • 4198 Multi-Core Score

Note that the multi-core score was computed on a 6 core device.

Now check out the Geekbench 5 results for the 16 inch 2019 MacBook Pro:

  • 928 Single-Core Score
  • 5934 Multi-Core Score

This is an 8-core device. With that in mind, scroll and compare all the various tests. The A14 Bionic in the new iPad Air kicks some serious butt.

Is this a fair comparison? For a strict CPU vs CPU comparison, seems like it does offer a level of insight. And makes me hopeful that the Arm-based Macs coming our way will significantly raise the bar for Mac performance.

The differences between the new iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro

From Thord Hedengren’s iPad newsletter:

The new iPad Air is in a weird place though, or rather, it muddies the iPad lineup a bit. It can use the Magic Keyboard originally made for the 11” iPad Pro, but the Air’s screen is 10.9”, so the bezels must be a tiny bit bigger on the Air compared to the 11” iPad Pro. It also uses the second generation Apple Pencil, the magnetic one.

So far, not much different. But:

The iPad Air doesn’t have the full camera array, just the one 12 megapixel wide lens. The front facing camera isn’t the TrueDepth like on the Pro either, so while they’re both 7 megapixels, it can’t do Portrait mode or be used for Animojis or Memojis, nor does it work with Face ID. Instead, the iPad Air has Touch ID built into the top button. Furthermore, the Air has two speakers placed for landscape mode, whereas Pro models has four speakers. The Air screen doesn’t have ProMotion and is somewhat less bright (500 nits compared to the Pro’s 600 nits). It’s also a wee bit thicker, but weighs a little less. And, to wrap all the differences up, the Air comes with up to 256 GB storage, starting at the puny 64 GB, which will disqualify an otherwise truly capable machine for many users.

As I was watching yesterday’s event, I was wondering about the differences between the iPad Pro and the new iPad Air. Good to know the specifics.

Note that the new iPad Air has an A14 Bionic, while the iPad Pro is built on the A12Z Bionic.

If you are considering buying a new iPad, here’s the iPad Pro spec page, and here’s the iPad Air spec page.

Apple introduces 8th-gen iPad

Apple:

Apple today introduced the eighth-generation iPad, featuring the powerful A12 Bionic chip that brings the Neural Engine to the entry iPad for the first time. Starting at just $329, the upgrade packs even more value into the most popular and affordable iPad, featuring a stunning 10.2-inch Retina display, advanced cameras, and great all-day battery life.

And:

The eighth-generation iPad with the A12 Bionic chip delivers a huge leap in performance, with 40 percent faster CPU performance and twice the graphics capability. This makes the new iPad up to two times faster than the top-selling Windows laptop, up to three times faster than the top-selling Android tablet and up to six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook. For the first time on iPad, A12 Bionic introduces the Neural Engine for next-level machine learning capabilities, including people occlusion and motion tracking in augmented reality (AR) apps, enhanced photo editing, Siri performance, and more.

Available to order now, availability beginning Friday.

This iPad sees for you

[VIDEO] This is an amazing project, a tactile (think interactive simplified Braille) interface, attached to an iPad with Lidar. The idea is that you walk with this device and the camera tells you about obstacles in your path via this interface. Video embedded in main Loop post.

While this is a relatively simple interface, it does show a path towards something much more complex. I can imagine adding audio (via AirPods, say) to the interface to give you even more clues about the path and obstacles ahead.

Watch SpaceX troubleshoot an iPad issue in space

NASA astronaut Bob Behnken:

“A timeline application on my tablet, uh, gives me a error message that says Safari cannot open the page, and then it’s got a HTML address because your iPad is not connected to the internet,” Behnken reported. “Can you confirm that Wi-Fi is off and AirPlane Mode is on,” asked Menon. Then the NASA astronaut improvised with a go-to troubleshooting step.

Follow the headline link to Zac Hall’s writeup. Scroll about halfway down to watch this all unfold in the embedded video (jump to about 4h16m in).

Bowdoin College to provide iPads to all students during pandemic

Bowdoin College:

Students will receive an Apple iPad Pro with available Wi-Fi and cellular data connectivity (activated and covered by the College for those students who have internet connectivity needs), an Apple Pencil 2, and the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad, which includes a trackpad.

And the teachers?

All interested faculty members and the staff who support teaching and learning will receive iPads that use Wi-Fi only to connect to the internet.

This is great. The college is covering the cost of the cell plan for students with no WiFi access. Well done, Bowdoin.

Apple, iPads, and baseball in the time of COVID-19

Jabari Young, CNBC:

As part of the league’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols, MLB said it would ban traditional video stations shared throughout clubhouses. The league took advantage of its 2016 partnership with Apple to expand the dugout iPad program. It will now distribute 15 iPads to each team for players and staff to dissect performances and additional team content like scouting reports.

Far more interesting to me is the fact that teams will pump in fake crowd noise so the players, as well as viewers at home, can get a sense of how excited the crowds would be if they existed.

If you made it this far, you might be interested in knowing that Opening Day is tomorrow (Thursday), with the World Champion Nationals vs the Yankees at 7p ET and the Giants vs the Dodgers at 7p PT.

Someone tell Siri.

iPadOS 14, Apple Pencil, and Scribble in action

[VIDEO] I’ve been playing with Apple Pencil and Scribble since the first iPadOS 14 beta dropped. One thing I’d love to find is an exhaustive list of Scribble gestures.

The video (embedded in the main Loop post), from iDownloadBlog is an excellent starting point. But I’m convinced there are more gestures than this.

At the very least, there are subtleties, like double-tap and triple-tap (to select a word and paragraph), as well as machine learning elements at work to detect addresses, phone numbers, etc. that we’ve always seen in typed text.

I find Scribble fun and fascinating. If you’ve got a non-critical iPad and an Apple Pencil (even first gen), consider diving in to the public beta when it drops, purely to play with this amazing tech.

How to connect external storage to iPad & iPhone

OSXDaily:

This article is going to demonstrate how to use and connect external storage drives to iPhone or iPad, including external hard disks, USB flash drives, SD cards, and other common storage formats. You’ll then have direct access to the files on those storage mediums, right from iOS or iPadOS.

Good writeup. Worth bookmarking and passing along.

Some iPad Pro users complaining that the Magic Keyboard causes excessive battery drain

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

A number of users are now airing their frustrations about battery life issues. A slice of Magic Keyboard owners are noticing that their iPad’s battery drops quickly when using the keyboard with the backlight enabled, and some reports indicate battery drain problems arise even when the iPad is idle and not in use.

I’ve seen a good number of people complain about this on Twitter. Hopefully, this is fixable with a software/firmware patch.