Friday, May 17, 2024

NEW GEAR: My New “Computer”

 I needed the screen.

OK. So I’ve had a few posts that have needed making of late, and I haven’t been making them because, well, my Smart Keyboard Folio has been slowly dying for months.

Some background. My computer is an iPad. Until today, it was an 11” iPad Pro, old (oldest?) version, with a Smart Keyboard Folio for typing. But I had two big problems. First, the charging port semi-died on it, rendering it unchargeable with anything but an Apple brand USB-C cable. Which don’t come in the ten foot lengths I use to be able to charge it from anywhere in my living room. I was limping along with a 6” extension and a 3” Apple cable, but I knew I was interested in a replacement/upgrade.

And the Folio was essentially toast. Getting it to recognize the keyboard at all was a multi-minute process of disconnecting reconnecting, rebooting, and hoping. Which really discouraged spontaneous writing.

And then they announced the new iPad Pros, with their 1000-nit OLED screens, and my sad, degraded retinas wept with joy. Brightness is EVERYTHING for my device usage because my trash eyes don’t take in nearly as much light as y’all’s do. So, while I certainly don’t need the power of a goddamned M4 processor, I needed that OLED brightness. And a new keyboard. And a pencil.

OK, I didn’t need the pencil. That was pure impulse bordering on hubris. But I am using paint software now, and while I can’t draw for shit, there are definitely situations where a pressure-sensitive brushstroke will come in handy. I think. I’m like 90 minutes post-setup as I write this so it’s all aspirational right now.

So, initial thoughts. The screen is amazing. I didn’t think it was crazy impressive in the store, but then I set my old Pro next to it, and in the bright lights of the Apple Store, the new Pro’s screen was white and the old Pro’s screen looked gray. A thousand nits is a lot of nits. My LG OLED TV only had 800 nits when it was new. SO MANY NITS.

Beyond that, it’s an iPad. More storage in the base model, super-fast processor I don’t need, front camera where it would be on a laptop rather than a phone, very thin, but basically an iPad. A very nice iPad. Which, for me, is a computer I can hold close to my face. A computer with better and more effective visual accessibility features than OS X. The computer I use for literally 98% of my computing tasks. It’s my everything box. At home or on the go. I use it as a large-screen phone (I use the cellular model). Is it a solution for most people? Probably not, but it is for me, and so goes my value proposition.

The Magic Keyboard is a bunch of upsides and one big downside. The upsides: it’s way sturdier and nicer than the old Folio was. It’s mostly metal. It works as a structural case for the iPad. The keys are super nice. It has a trackpad I’ll never use on account of hating trackpads. It even has its own USB-C port for passthrough charging, which is great and will save a ton of wear and tear on the iPad’s port. 

BUT. It’s not a folio. It doesn’t fold backwards. It’s closed and it’s a case, or it’s open and it’s a keyboard. If the iPad’s on it, it’s connected. There’s no using it as a tablet with the keyboard on it. On the upside, it pops on and off easily and strongly, but I’m going to have to figure out how to use it on the go and whether I’m comfortable with it in my hands out of a case in the world.  But it’s the only Smart Connector keyboard that works with the new Pro and isn’t made by Logitech (some bad experiences with their iPad gear) so I’ll figure it out.

Overall, it’s everything you love about Apple and also if you hate things about Apple it’s those things too. Cost is ridiculous, but so is quality. It ain’t cheap, but also, it ain’t cheap.

Anyway, what matters is, now I can type freely and easily again, which is good, because I also started a new collection and have a bunch of photos to post. 

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