Author: Thord Hedengren

Author, designer, developer, and editor of Switch to iPad, among other things.

Spark update brings new features, wants you to subscribe

Spark, the popular email app from Readdle, has gotten a pretty big update, and with it, they’re switching to a subscription model. If you’re a user today, nothing much will change, unless you want access to these new features. It’s all detailed in a blog post, but I wanted to touch this a bit.

First, the new subscription model pricing. We’re looking at $8/month or $60/year for individual users, which, I must say, is pretty steep. Current users get 30% off. The Spark for teams pricing is, I think, unchanged, at $10/month or $84/year per user. Again, pretty steep, but if you build your business around email, and need collaborative tools and real-time chat about these things, then it’s reasonable, I guess.

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Issue #111: Building and launching a site on my iPad

Between moving and editing a manuscript, I’ve been building a new site. Yeah, that sounds nuts, but it’s not as momentous as you might think. This new site is a one-pager, celebrating what, I think, is the Best Holiday Ever™️, which is Three Olives Day!

What? You haven’t heard of it? Well, you should, which is why I’m building a site about it. You can read about it on the site – threeolivesday.com – but in short, it’s a day for Dry Martinis, and celebrating Sir Roger Moore, of James Bond fame.

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New iPad Pros imminent?

It seems we might be getting new iPad Pros any day now because Apple has removed the old promo videos from its Youtube channel (thanks Steve, for pointing this out). This is common, Apple doesn’t keep promos for old models around, so this should mean that new iPad Pro models are imminent. Since there hasn’t been any event invites, these new models will likely be announced via press release, as has been rumored. I’d expect that to happen no later than tomorrow, Tuesday, so if you’re in the market for an iPad Pro, I’d hold off another day or so.

The new iPad Pros will likely use the new M2 chip. Here’s hoping the 11” model will get that glorious screen from the 12.9” model, although I wouldn’t bet on it. I don’t expect any major changes to the hardware, surely that would warrant an event, so this’ll most likely be another incremental update.

AirPods Pro, second generation – a review

You have no doubt seen plenty of Apple pundits and tech reviewers talking about how the AirPods, and the AirPods Pro in particular, is one of the best things that Apple’s done. I agree with them, to some extent, but to me, the AirPods are limited by being in-ear headphones. You see, I listen to a lot of music, and the sound quality is important to me. The fact that I have tinnitus might further add to this. The same goes for active noise cancellation, it needs to be good enough for my ears. That’s why I’ve spent a lot (and I do mean a lot) of money on headphones over the years.

I’m stepping into this review as a happy AirPods Pro (first generation) user. I think they’re good headphones with great noice cancellation and decent sounding microphones. They fit my ears just fine. But, all of this praise (it is praise, I promise) is with that big addendum: For being in-ear headphones. I mean, Apple proved this themselves with the excellent AirPods Max. You can’t compare the noise cancellation or audio quality of the AirPods Max, with the original AirPods Pro, it’s just not a fair fight.

Well, that sort of changes with AirPods Pro 2 (which I’m going to call them).

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iPadOS 16 Beta Watch: Get rid of those duplicate photos

While this isn’t an iPad-only feature (it’s also in iOS 16 and the upcoming macOS Ventura), I, for one, am doing most of my photo managing on an iPad, so I appreciate this new feature in Photos. As you know, taking more than one photo of something is the key to getting a good result, but it does mean that you end up with plenty of duplicates. Well, Photos can help you with that, thanks to the new Duplicates feature.

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Issue #110: Packing distractions (and tools)

I’m in the middle of a move. It’s not far, but the amount of work packing up an apartment is the same, no matter the distance. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s the worst –moving is truly horrible. We’ve been very effective, clearing out stuff we don’t need for weeks. As you’re reading this, we’re getting the keys to the new apartment. The moving van arrives the day after.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted. My thoughts are all jumbled, the days are long and filled with heavy lifting. Winding down is important, so I figured I’d share some app and game recommendations with you all.

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iPadOS 16 Beta Watch: Stage Manager will be available for more devices than previously announced

In a surprising, but welcome, a bit of news, Apple has enabled Stage Manager for more than just the M1 iPad models. Specifically, it’s the A12X and 12Z models, which means iPad Pros from 2018 and 2020 that will get Stage Manager when iPadOS 16.1 is released. They won’t, however, support Stage Manager on an external monitor.

Speaking of external monitor support, it appears that Apple is delaying this to actually get iPadOS 16.1 out the door. They’ll be enabling external display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads in a software update later this year, per a statement to Engadget. This, paired with the just released developer beta of iPadOS 16.1 and the fact that it feels pretty stable even where Stage Manager is concerned, points to an upcoming release pretty soon. I’d expect this to coincide with new iPad Pro models, which may or may not get an actual Apple event, as previously reported.

It seems like Apple came to the same conclusion as I did: Just release iPadOS 16 already. The fact that they got Stage Manager (seemingly) stable, albeit without external monitor support, is just gravy.

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Issue #109: The beauty of plain-text

I’m a big fan of text files. It’s a pure and simple way to keep track of things, and to make sure that they’ll be accessible decades to come. I still have files, now residing in iCloud Drive as well as on backups, that dates from the early 90s. I can read them thanks to them being text files. Sure, there’s been one or another stupid special character that’s messed up things, but that’s generally a fault of the software used to writing said text file back in the day, not the actual file-format. Besides, it’s that character that’s messed up, not the actual file. 

Let’s talk a little bit about plain-text files, shall we?

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No October Apple event after all?

Bloomberg’s Apple analyst Mark Gurman speculates that there might not be another Apple event this year after all. The rumor-mill, to which Gurman frequently contributes, has been pretty adamant that there’d be an October event to announce new Macs and, more importantly for Switch to iPad readers, iPad Pros. With the delay of iPadOS 16, an event seemed even more likely.

That said, Gurman might be on to something here, assuming the iPad Pro upgrades are M2 chips with the current generation’s design. The M2 chips got enough stage-time in Apple’s MacBook Air announcement, so there’s no real news value talking extensively about them. Looking at the state of iPadOS 16.1, it seems unlikely that Apple would want to bang the drum too hard, most likely launching 16.1 with the key feature Stage Manager under a beta moniker.

It’s been a rough couple of months for Apple when it comes to iPad. I hope I’m wrong, and that we’ll get at least a shorter Apple event highlighting iPad (and new Macs, of course), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gurman is correct on this one.

iPadOS 16 Beta Watch: These iPads support iPadOS 16.1

Updated on September 28th with new Stage Manager details.

The upcoming version of iPadOS, 16.1 (Apple is skipping 16.0, as previously reported), gets widespread support as usual. Apple is very generous with backwards compatibility for their devices, and iPads are no exception. While there is still no announced release date for iPadOS 16.1, we already know which iPad models will support the update.

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