Posts tagged tablet

Close-up image of woman texting and using an iPhone with iOS 11.

Apple’s iOS 11 and More Updates Coming

Close-up image of woman texting and using an iPhone with iOS 11.

What’s new with iOS 11?

Apple announced several updates are coming to their iOS devices this Fall. The company is giving iPhone and iPad users access to new features with iOS 11.

“iOS 11 gives iPad users the powerful app functionality they need to take advantage of everything iPad is capable of, and brings hundreds of new features and incredible updates to the iOS apps iPhone and iPad users enjoy every day,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

Apple praises iOS 11 as “A giant step for iPhone. A monumental leap for iPad.” It’s hard not to see why. These long-awaited features are set to give users more options. Let’s walk through what Apple users can expect this Fall.

New iOS 11 Features

  • Customizable Dock – On iPad, iOS 11 gives users more customization options, making it even more powerful. The new customizable dock grants access to frequently used apps and documents. Furthermore, you can customize the dock with your favorite apps. The dock even suggests apps that you have used recently or on other iOS devices.
  • Multitasking Features – Switching between apps is now easier thanks to Split View and Slide Over. The new updates allow you have two apps open at the same time. You simply drag an app from your dock to your main screen.
  • Files – This app is perhaps the biggest feature coming with iOS 11. You can control the file storage on your devices. Not much is known about this feature. However, we do know that the Files app will give users access to stuff stored on iCloud and other storage services.
  • Apple Pencil Support – The update will allow the Apple Pencil more functionality on the iPad. Users are now able to markup PDFs and screenshots, take notes on the lock screen and draw in the notes app.
  • AR Functionality – With the ARKit, developers can easily build new and exciting AR experiences. Using the built-in camera of iOS devices, users can experience what Apple calls “detailed and compelling virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more.”
  • Updated Siri – Apple’s premier personal assistant Siri is set to become a whole lot smarter. By adding new AI technology, Siri will sound more realistic than ever. Siri can also offer suggestions based on what apps you use, learning about your interest and curating the content you see in apps like News and Safari.
  • Enhanced Do Not Disturb – The updated Do Not Disturb feature can determine when you are driving and prevent calls, text messages, and notifications from reaching you during that time. People who are trying to get in touch with you automatically receive a message that you are on the road.

More Updates

Apple announced a ton of other announcements at their conference. They revealed new products and features like the HomePod, iMac Pro, and updated App Store on iOS devices. In addition to these products, the company also detailed their new macOS operating system. You can check out everything the company has to offer by visiting their website. Keep visiting the Geek Aid blog for more on the future of mobile technology.

The Current iPad Market – Comparing the Available Devices

The iPad may not dominate the tablet market the way it did early on, but it is still the popular choice for many mobile users. Now take a look at the five tablets that you can buy brand new from Apple. They come in three sizes:

  • Small tablets – iPad mini 2, iPad mini 4 with a 7.9 inch screen
  • Large tablets – iPad Air, iPad Air 2 with 9.7 inch screen
  • Enormous tablets – iPad Pro (there’s actually a bigger-size jump from the Air to the Pro than from the mini to the Air) with 12.9 inch screen—practically a laptop

The Difference Between Each iPad

Let’s start with what sets the iPad Pro apart, besides being gigantic. It’s the only tablet for which Apple makes its own keyboard. You have to get a third-party keyboard for the others. It is also the only device compatible with Apple Pencil. You’ll need a third-party stylus for the other tablets. The Pro is also the only model with four speakers, compared to the usual two.

Differences in appearance primarily come down to size and color since they are all aluminum. While the three newest devices are available in a gold color, the iPad Air and the mini 2 are only available in space gray and silver.

All of the devices have the same screen resolution (2048 by 1536) except the Pro, which is 2732 by 2048. Even at that astounding resolution, the mini still has a higher ppi. The newest devices have a coating to reduce reflection that is not available on the mini 2 or the Air. The same is true of the touch ID feature.

Processor speed increases by device generation. The mini 2 and Air use the A7. The Air 2 and mini 4 use the A8. The Pro uses the A9 chip and clocks in at 2.3 GHz. It’s also the only device with 4 GB of RAM. The Air 2 and mini 4 have 2 GB,r and the Air and mini 2 also have 2 GB.

How much can you expect to pay? Occasionally you’ll find deals, with the starting rretail price for the mini 2 at $269, the Air and mini 4 are $399, the Air 3 is $499, and the Pro is $799. That is the base model of each, which is Wi-Fi only, and has 16 GB of storage (except the Pro which starts at 32 GB).

Tablet Review: iPad Pro vs. Surface Book

Wondering about which tablet to get between the iPad Pro or Surface Book? Here’s our tablet review to help you decide.

First, why compare a tablet and a laptop? Well, the iPad Pro is a tablet apparently wanting to be a laptop, and the Surface Book is a laptop attempting a crossover into the tablet universe. The best way to see if either accomplishes the task is to analyze them side by side.

Dimension and weight: When you take the Surface Book’s tablet off the keyboard attachment, it’s only slightly taller, wider, and thicker than the Pro. It also only weighs a few grams more. Of course, that’s only without the keyboard.

Appearance: the Surface sports a beautiful magnesium exterior and the Pro has the sleek aluminum we expect from Apple. So far, things are pretty even.

Display: The Surface Book is slightly smaller, with a screen size of 12.3″ (if that’s what you are looking for), whereas the Pro is 12.9″. Both are huge compared to 10” tablets. The Surface also has a minute advantage in resolution with 267 ppi to the 264 ppi of the Pro. Both screens allow you to multi-task by splitting the screen and using two apps alongside each other.

Microsoft Advantages

So what does the Surface have that the Pro doesn’t? Here are a few things:

  • A Trackpad – Apple still won’t commit to making the iPad a “2-in-1” by adding a mouse or trackpad.
  • Desktop Apps – The Surface book can run the same apps as your PC. The iPad Pro still requires that you shop in the App Store.
  • Facial Recognition – When you sit down in front of your device, it unlocks. A simple and elegant solution.
  • More RAM – While the Pro comes with 4 GB, the Surface has 8 and 16 GB options.
  • USB – Two USB ports allow you to easily connect other devices to your Surface.
  • More Storage – Let’s face it. The Surface Book is a laptop. That means storage ranging from 128 GB to a full terabyte vs. just 32 GB and 128 GB options for the Pro.
  • SD Slot – Not enough storage or data transfer options for you yet? Use an SD card.

So is the Surface Book a clear winner? Not so fast.

Apple Advantages

Here are a few things the iPad Pro has that you won’t get from the Surface Book:

  • Touch ID – It’s not just for unlocking your device. Many apps will let you log in with your fingerprint.
  • Cellular Options – The iPad Pro has an LTE version, so you can use it to get connected anywhere you have cell service.
  • Lower Price – Apple rarely wins the price war, but you can get a Pro with the keyboard and stylus for over $400 less than the Surface Book base model (although you lose a little bit of that if you choose the 128 GB model).

The bottom line: Our tablet review just lays out the specs. It’s a matter which is right for you. Between these two, it comes down to size and resolution. The Pro is larger but with less ppi, where as the Surface is slightly smaller but has better ppi.

Sync Your PC With Your Windows Phone

Device connectivity has been one of the major advances in wireless and cloud technology. Now you can access the same data, in real-time, from your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. The question is: How do you do it? Some companies make it easier than others. Google uses their Drive service. Apple provides a Cloud ID. Let’s take a few moments to see how Microsoft allows you to sync your PC with your Windows devices.

Microsoft’s version of Drive/Cloud is called OneDrive. It is a free download on all of your devices, and you get 15GB of storage space without having to purchase an Office 365 account. A personal Office 365 subscription boosts that storage by another 20GB (it costs about $70 a year to get the subscription from Microsoft, but you will find a product key for half that on Amazon). A business Office 365 account adds 50GB of data and allow up to 300 users to have access. For most people, the free service will be more than enough space.

You can also connect your Windows phone to your laptop while on the go in order to have Internet access anywhere. Be aware that you will be using your phone’s data plan, and online computing is more data intensive than mobile online activity, so be sure you have enough data to avoid overages. On your phone, you will need to access the system settings. The Internet Sharing feature will allow you to turn your phone into a hotspot. Make sure to password protect the Internet connection if you do not want everyone else around you to be burning through your data. From there, your laptop will see your phone as an available network. Just log in and surf away.

OneDrive is unfortunately much better for documents and presentations than it is for audio and video files. Microsoft still makes Zune software to manage your multimedia across devices. In fact, if the software is on both your phone and your computer, you do not even need your USB cord. There should be an option to sync your PC or other devices wirelessly.

Google Releases New Chrome-Related Devices

Chromebit is one of several new devices to join the Google line of products that operate on Chrome, the tech giant’s operating system. All in all, there are four new Chromebooks available if you count Chromebit, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

First of all, let’s look at the new full-metal Chromebook from Asus. The Flip weighs less than two pounds and is less than 0.6 inches thick, which makes it one of the most portable laptops available on the market today. Flipping the keyboard around allows the user to turn their Chromebook into a tablet with a full onscreen keyboard.

Hisense and Haier, on the other, have produced two of the most economical of all the current Chromebooks, and that is saying something considering the shockingly low price tags on these devices. They are both 11.6 inch devices and have tremendous battery life at 10 hours each. They are inexpensive models that you can grab for about $149 a piece at Walmart, making them a great tool for an on-the-go student or business person who does not need the extra computing power and accessibility of the Flip.

Now let’s get back to the Chromebit, perhaps the most exciting of Google’s new releases. This is basically a Chromebased computing system on a stick that is not much bigger than a flash drive (think small candy bar size). You simply plug it into the HDMI port of a TV or monitor and blammo! You’ve turned it into a Chromebook. Initial reports from Google are that you will be paying less than $100 for the device.

Obviously the effectiveness of the Chromebit will depend on the features of the screen it is plugged into. A touchscreen device or one that can also be hooked to a mouse or keyboard will be optimal. In lieu of those options, it will still give a standard TV Internet accessibility and access to the limited number of Chrome apps on the market.

Using a Tablet as Your Laptop

Using a Tablet as Your Laptop: Are You Ready to Trade Your Laptop for a Tablet and Keyboard?

2-in-1 laptops are becoming more common, integrating aspects of tablets (e.g., the touchscreen), with what we expect from laptops (desktop computer programs, a CD drive, etc.). But, now that all tablets seem to have available keyboards, are you ready to begin using a tablet as your laptop? The second question to consider, if tablets are poised to double as a laptop, is which tablet is right for you? Let’s compare the Surface with the iPad and decide which tablet is the better “laptop” option.

Microsoft is advertising the Surface as a powerful business tool, and it is. However, that doesn’t mean the iPad is only for use at the local coffee shop. Microsoft did develop their own keyboard, while Apple was content to let third party manufacturers handle theirs. However, this fact doesn’t make an iPad second tier in quality or usefulness. 

One advantage the Surface does have are digital connectors. These allow the keyboard direct access. The iPad wasn’t designed this way, which makes Bluetooth a requirement for iPad keyboards. This is another drain on your iPad battery and it can affect the iPad’s usefulness. Surface keyboards also have a trackpad, which makes for more of a laptop feel.

However, once everything is connected, the iPad reminds us why Apple products have such a following. The iPad is lighter and better suited for travel. If you will be carrying the device for long periods, you’ll definitely appreciate the iPad’s lighter weight. The Surface, however, has a better aspect ratio for video. Ironically this makes it the better ‘toy.’ Of course, in no way does this make it less of a business machine.

Microsoft Office is a big selling point in regards to productivity. However, the Surface Pro 2 doesn’t come with a free version of Office. This flagship Microsoft program does come with the non-pro Surface 2. This factor alone may make the Surface 2 the best of the Microsoft tablets to use as a laptop. On the other hand, iPad now has free Office apps. There is a catch. The Office apps are read-only, unless you get a $7/month subscription to Office 365.

In the end, two of the most important factors are price and the amount of storage space needed. The Surface Pro 2 provides greater processing power, while sacrificing a little portability. The Surface 2 is the least expensive choice. Apple’s iPad’s are lighter, feature better displays, and have a longer battery life. The final factor might be App selection. Apple clearly has the lead here, as their product has been around much longer.

If you are ready to begin using your tablet as your laptop, there are several choices. None of the choices are perfect for everyone, but as tablets have matured they have become more versatile. It is possible to make this step, as long as you choose based on your own specific needs.

The iPad Mini

Amazon ruled the holiday season last year with the affordable Kindle Fire. This year the Kindle Fire HD is their new product, but it faces tough competition from the Google Nexus 7 and the Nook HD. Another wild card thrown into the mix is the iPad Mini. At $329 (US), it clocks in with a far greater price tag than the competition—but it’s an iPad. Will that make it steal the season? Read on to see how its specs match up against the Kindle Fire HD.

Starting with the dimensions and feel of the device, iPad gets the edge. The height and width are similar, but the iPad is significantly slimmer. Also, while the plastic and rubber Kindle is easy to grip, the black and white versions of the iPad are much more stylish. The iPad is also the lighter device, but both weigh so little, it makes the difference negligible.

Just going straight up by the numbers, the Kindle shockingly beats out the iPad in the display category. Apple is used to being on top here, but when Amazon says HD, they mean it. You get nearly an extra inch of display from the iPad—216 (Kindle) verses 164 (iPad) pixels per inch puts Amazon on top.

In processing power, the Kindle wins again with a 1.2GHz chip versus the 1.0 in the iPad. It’s a small difference and both tablets should be fine, but the Nexus beats them both soundly here since both are dual core. The Kindle Fire HD, however, has a likely edge in RAM over the iPad with 1 GB versus an expect 512 MB (which explains why Apple is being quiet on this topic).

Memory gives the advantage to iPad with a 64 GB model available, but you will definitely pay for it. The same is true about the 3G/LTE model iPad. Kindle is only wifi right now, but an 8.9 inch 4G Kindle Fire is due out soon.

Battery life is comparable on the two. iPad gives you the edge in cameras since the Kindle doesn’t have a front facing camera (believe it or not, that is probably the biggest advantage of the iPad overall). The other big victory for the iPad is that it has a huge app store, but the Kindle app store isn’t bad either.

The verdict: If you want a sleeker looking device with somewhat better software, the iPad is for you. If you want the nicer display with a far smaller price tag then the Kindle Fire HD wins out hands down. Sorry Apple, maybe next year.

What to Expect from the iPad 3?

Although Apple hasn’t officially confirmed it yet, there have been many rumors about the specifics of the iPad 3. Based on these rumors, iPad 2 owners have started to sell their tablets; eagerly waiting for the announcement of the iPad 3, which is scheduled for March 7. People are speculating about every possible new feature for the new generation of iPads. The additions, which I’ll discuss later, haven’t been officially confirmed by Apple yet, but there are a few interesting rumors circulating around at this point. In December 2011, there had been plenty of rumors about two versions of the iPad 3: a mid-range version and a high-end one. The mid-range version is thought to be a mini iPad 3, while the high-end version is about the same size as the current iPad. (more…)

Go to Top