Backblaze, a company of which I’m quite fond, just sent out an email notice of a price increase to their computer backup service.1 Starting October 3, the new pricing for the Backblaze Computer Backup service is:

    • $9 a month, or
    • $99 a year, or
    • $189 for two years

    I’ve been a Backblaze user since they were charging $5 a month or $60 a year to back up a computer. In the years since, I’ve seen that number slowly tick up. $5 became $6 became $7. The price has now nearly doubled since I first subscribed.

    In addition to the price increase, they’re also making their one-year extended version history feature available to all users for “free.” Previously, it was an additional $2 a month add-on. I’ve never used more than their 30-day version history, so this ridiculously long extra safety buffer is nice, but in my case, unnecessary. It feels like a way to boost revenue without actually spending anything.

    This email, taken in its entirety, can also be read a different way: Backblaze subscribers will be receiving a feature that they may not need, and cannot refuse in exchange for a lower subscription price, while incurring a 29% price increase for monthly subscribers or a 41% increase for annual subscribers.

    It’s an understandable bummer for the consumer. On one hand, data storage isn’t free,2 and they have other operating costs to consider. I’ll never begrudge anyone that reality. On the other hand, Backblaze launched its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2021. This means that people can buy and sell shares of the company, but also that there is now massive and relentless motivation for Backblaze to increase its value. It’ll allow the company to grow, but will also necessitate price increases like this one if it’s not growing enough or in the right way (according to the inscrutable stock market gods). Capitalism, baby!

    It should go without saying, but I consider Backblaze an essential service; there’s nothing quite like it. I’ll still recommend it to everyone I know. There are few things in this world I value more than knowing my important data is reliably backed up and able to be restored. I’ll accept this most recent price increase with a well-earned grimace for that reason.

    1. Thankfully, I just re-upped for another year a few days ago, so this won’t be a big issue for me for several months. ↩︎

    2. Although it is getting cheaper all the time—another reason why this increase is irksome. ↩︎

    Like with a lot of great technology, the more I hear people talk about the Vision Pro, the more I know I’ll find myself wanting one.

    My new mantra: You don’t have a use for one now. You certainly don’t have the money for one now.

    Repeat ad infinitum.

    I’m so late to the game on this one, but after my father-in-law ran into a AI-related cheating issue in one of his classes, he resolved to learn more it. Naturally, that meant I needed to learn more about it and relay the information.

    The potential of ChatGPT is blowing my freaking mind.

    Now that enough time has passed for everyone to make podcast and YouTube episodes about the Vision Pro, I’ve realized that I should make re-posting these earlier entries of mine an annual thing:

    I’ll add that it’s a good idea, if for no one else but me, to completely ignore anyone spouting a hot take about a product that’s not been released yet and only a small handful of people has tried.1

    It’s echoes of the original iPhone release all over again, and look how those knuckleheaded responses fared over time.

    1. But then, what podcasts will I be able to listen to, you may wonder. Good question. ↩︎

    WWDC23 Retrospective


    What an event that was, am I right? It’s not every day that we witness the grand unveiling of a brand new platform and hardware device. This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference will become known as a changing tide moment. Whatever advancements we’ll see in the future, near and far, June 5, 2023, was the day that a lot changed.

    Back in April, I wrote a post called An iOS 17 Wish List. In it, I wrote about several iOS (and by extension, iPadOS and even macOS) features that I hoped to see unveiled at this year’s WWDC. I think it was a fair list, not too excessive. These were hopeful solutions to some longstanding pain points in the platforms that I’ve had, some for several years now.

    I’m not an Apple developer, so they’re more closely related to consumer gripes rather than complex software and development issues. I sure as heck don’t know much about SwiftUI or Xcode, so I’ve got nothing of value to contribute there.

    But I do have a list to go through. Some of the wishes I made might pop up as the beta cycle continues throughout the summer, but I’m not going to hold my breath there. Check the links for further information and images of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and watchOS 10.

    A standalone Passwords app

    My first wish was a swing and a miss. Passwords in Safari have been relegated to the Settings app for too long. It’s past time for them to have their own app. Unfortunately, that time is not this year.

    However, password and Passkey sharing will be a thing this year, so there was an unexpected bonus. I hope that this is Apple laying the groundwork for a safe and reliable password app in the future.

    Natural language parsing for Lists in Reminders

    Another miss! I’ve been enjoying using Reminders since switching over from Things, but the inability to type a chosen list for a reminder as I’m making it is the only issue I currently have with an otherwise great app. It demands too many taps from me. I’ve solved this issue with a shortcut, but that shouldn’t be necessary.

    Maybe next year.

    Cross-linking in Notes

    Success! This new feature wasn’t mentioned during the keynote address, but it did show up on the iOS 17 Preview site. I was beginning to wonder if Apple would ever include this feature that’s been around in other apps for years now.

    Much like the improved Reminders app from a few years ago, this feature gets me one step closer to using Notes exclusively. Now if it could only support Markdown.

    Active Home Screen widgets

    Another win! I’ve been wanting interactive widgets on my devices since they were first introduced, and now they’re here. Finally. I’m looking forward to checking off tasks, toggling my home lights, and controlling podcasts from my Home Screen. Opening apps will soon be a sucker’s game.

    A second row of Lock Screen widgets

    On the one hand, this isn’t happening on the iPhone this year. On the other hand, since the iPad is getting Lock Screen widgets, the expansive screen space of those devices allows for many widgets on that screen.

    This is a bittersweet and moderate win. I still long for the glorious day when I can add that second row to my phone.

    Smart Albums in Photos

    At a time when we’ve got Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro on the iPad, the lack of smart albums in Photos (and Music, for that matter) hurts. It hurts real bad. I can’t imagine that this would be a complicated feature to include. Hell, it’s already available on the Mac.

    Please Apple, I beg of you. This would make my life much better.

    2023 will be a banner year for Apple.

    Not only are their operating systems getting some understated yet superb updates, plus a revolutionary one for the Watch, but they’ve also completed their silicon transition and have introduced the astonishing (and absurdly but understandably priced) Vision Pro headset.

    They’re right to be excited about the advent of spatial computing. If the Vision Pro feels like science fiction now, just imagine what it’ll feel like five or even ten years from now. I, for one, cannot wait for the inevitable Apple Glasses.

    As for my wish list, I may not have gotten everything I hoped for, but what Apple did unveil will have a positive effect on my phone and computing life. I’m looking forward to when the new operating system updates will be released, likely in September. And the introduction of a new iPhone is sure to take the sting off of the wishes that didn’t happen.1

    1. Perhaps a slightly larger screen on the iPhone 15 Pro Max could mean the addition of a second widget row? I’m crossing my fingers again! 🤞 ↩︎

    $3,500 for the Vision Pro? I guess I’ll be waiting at least until the tenth generation to even consider getting one for myself.

    Unless… Has bank robbery become a more feasible/acceptable activity in the last few years? I’m, uh, asking for a friend.

    I just got a fancy Eve Room indoor air quality monitor and my dog is already putting it through its paces with her stinky toots. I don’t know if it was ever meant to handle this sort of challenge.

    That little sensor has got its work cut out for it, that’s for sure!

    The major annoyance that may encourage me to finally switch over to using DuckDuckGo for good are the incessant “ would like to use your location” pop-ups that I get every time I search for something.

    The results may not be as good, but at least the experience won’t be as frustrating.

    An iOS 17 Wish List

    With WWDC23 starting on June 5—just a few short weeks away—thoughts of what will be revealed to millions are popping into my head. Every summer feels like Christmas has come early. We’ve got gifts under the tree waiting to be unwrapped with gleeful abandon!

    And then September rolls around, and there are invariably new iPhones. They’re beside the point here, but the excitement they bring me helps dull the discomfort I feel living in a desert during the hot summer months.

    While all rumor reporting points to this being a relatively light year for Apple’s most important operating system, that doesn’t mean it has to be an underwhelming update. We’ll all surely need to silence the hordes of people who’ll scream, “BORING! HARD PASS!” across the internet for months after the keynote. That’s another annual tradition I try my hardest to stick with. Do that, though, and I think there’ll be much to discover and love about iOS 17.

    Of course, it’ll be tough to stay excited about what is comparatively old news when, in all likelihood, Apple will be debuting their long-rumored AR/VR headset. That’s an announcement that’ll be the talk of the entire world for the foreseeable future. Sorry, iPhone, but you’re not the hot thing this year.

    Who would have ever thought we’d see that day come to pass?

    I don’t expect Apple to ship whole number releases to iOS without including any new features. That’s more of a point release thing. We’ve all been conditioned to expect something worth showing off, not just in the keynote, but also in the inevitable commercials they’ll release. They need something appealing to encourage users to upgrade their devices, and whole number releases don’t include the desirable new emojis. They need a shiny new thing.

    I’m all for some new hotness, but at this point, an update focusing more on sprucing things up is fine by me. I don’t need something that’ll shake the world. What I would like are features that will make my device feel like it’s keeping up with the rest of the world. If that means aping features from Android or other app developers, then so be it. I don’t care if others have had certain features for years; I would like to have them on my chosen platform.

    Here’s what I’m thinking, in order of preference…

    A standalone Passwords app

    I’ve used 1Password for as long as I can remember. It’s been so useful that I got my family to use it as well.

    But it’s still a third-party app, and that comes with some drawbacks, namely:

    • It will have inherent limitations when compared to services provided by a platform vendor. Apple, in this case.
    • The company that creates it will always be looking for ways to earn more money for itself, which is fair but may not align with your values or hopes for the company.

    That second point is what I’m running up against these days, and I’m not alone here:

    Since securing $620 million in VC funding in early 2022, the company has grown increasingly focused on the enterprise side of its business. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it changes a company. That becomes a problem when it’s at the expense of their individual customers.

    There’s a great opportunity for Apple to break their password manager out of the Settings app on their devices and make strong passwords a visible part of their system. This feels like a no-brainer for a company that has made privacy and security part of its brand.

    Add in family password sharing, and I’ll switch over immediately.

    Natural language parsing for Lists in Reminders

    When making a new task, Reminders will occasionally suggest a List in the QuickType bar above the keyboard, but if that actually shows up, it’s not very good at guessing which List to offer. I appreciate the way Fantastical and Todoist do this feature, and we would benefit greatly if Apple adopted this ability.

    For instance, I would like to be able to type out something like: Clean the bathroom on Monday at 9:30 #chores /Home

    Reminders should take that line of text and do the following:

    • Make a new task titled “Clean the bathroom”.
    • Set the due date for Monday at 9:30.
    • Add my “chores” tag to the task.
    • Place the task into my “Home” list.

    As it is, there’s way too much tapping necessary to include all of that information in a task. The same could be said of Apple’s Calendar app. It’s the biggest reason why I’m using the increasingly too expensive Fantastical. I could probably create a Shortcut to do all this, but that route shouldn’t be necessary.

    While we’re talking about Reminders, open up the API a little bit and give third-party developers access to the tagging system. The phenomenal app, GoodTask, meets all my needs except for this one issue.1

    Cross-linking in Notes

    This feels like a table-stakes feature in any note-taking app now, and it’s a glaring shame that Apple continues to not offer this useful ability.

    A year or two ago, this felt like a lock. The notable Apple journalists, especially Federico Viticci, were talking about it with growing frequency before Apple dashed all our hopes by ignoring this common feature. It was a real disappointment.

    Notes has become a capable app over the years. Cross-linking between notes in the app will further make it something eminently useful and powerful. It’s beyond time that they caught up with other apps like Obsidian, Craft, and Notion.

    (I’ve also always longed for Markdown support in Notes, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.)

    Active Home Screen widgets

    The widgets we all got with iOS 14 were a phenomenal addition to our devices. They not only extended the utility of the staid Home Screen, but offered users the ability to customize one of the most seen parts of their devices. Thanks to apps like David Smith’s wonderful Widgetsmith, iPhone users could make their devices an extension of their personalities and interests. It was an important update in the history of iOS.

    That said, there’s little that can be done with those widgets once they’re placed on the Home Screen. They’re just passive squares of information.

    Interactivity would bring a whole new level of usefulness to our widgets. Imagine being able to play or pause your music, jot down a quick note, or complete a task without having to open those respective apps. How novel!

    It would also give the Home Screen widgets another run under the spotlight. Apple would surely be happy about that.

    A second row of Lock Screen widgets

    Similar to Home Screen widgets, Lock Screen widgets have given us the ability to further extend our phone’s ability to provide information. Released with iOS 16, these widgets are even less capable than those on the Home Screen, but they’re still a welcome addition. I want more of them.

    Perhaps this would only be useful for those who have irresponsibly huge phones, but I’m one of those people. I want more widgets on my Lock Screen, darn it! A second row would be enough; I promise I won’t ask for a third row next year.

    Smart albums in Photos

    Smart albums are on the Mac, and they’re wonderful. Why can’t I see, create, and edit them on my iOS device? Our iPhones and iPads are powerful computers, more than capable of handling automated organization. Why are they deprived of such a useful feature? The same could be said of smart playlists in the Music app.

    It seems Apple doesn’t want to divorce any “smart” abilities from its Siri behemoth, except Siri isn’t all that smart, and it’s rarely available where I want it to be.

    There are other issues that I could include, but I’m not writing a novel here.

    Apple has never been an infallible company; its products have always had their drawbacks. However, what they offer is generally done so well that their flaws tend to stand out more. When those flaws can become the basis of a 1,600+ word blog post, it starts to feel like a paper-cut problem—one is annoying, many are a serious issue.

    I would be the happiest person in the world on June 5 if they were to fix these issues I’ve written about. I’ll even take just a few corrections. I don’t expect them to be perfect; that goal isn’t attainable by anybody, even a company as rich and powerful as Apple. I do wish that more attention and care was given to what’s currently out there and a little less to what looks good on a marquee. Otherwise, how are they different from any of the other feature-chasing companies of the world?

    1. I do know that GoodTask has its own hacky tagging workaround. It puts a tag in the notes field of a task and uses that for organization. I don’t want to clutter up my task notes with tags. I’d like to use the same tags that Reminders uses. ↩︎

    When I think of the difficulties some of the older people in my life have with technology I then wonder about what I have trouble with. What challenges me?1 How can I avoid being overwhelmed like I’ve witnessed with them?

    1. It’s probably anything related to social media. ↩︎

    ‘Luddite’ Teens Don’t Want Your Likes ↗

    From Alex Vadukul at the New York Times:1

    For the first time, [Logan Lane, the 17-year-old founder of the Luddite Club,] experienced life in the city as a teenager without an iPhone. She borrowed novels from the library and read them alone in the park. She started admiring graffiti when she rode the subway, then fell in with some teens who taught her how to spray-paint in a freight train yard in Queens. And she began waking up without an alarm clock at 7 a.m., no longer falling asleep to the glow of her phone at midnight. Once, as she later wrote in a text titled the “Luddite Manifesto,” she fantasized about tossing her iPhone into the Gowanus Canal.

    Some stories hit you at the right time in your life and bring your emerging (or well-cultivated, as the case may be) worldview into greater focus. You might, for instance, be sitting at your kitchen table waiting for your dinner to finish cooking and happen on an article about a bunch of Brooklyn teens who have eschewed the trappings of modern online society in favor of less technology and more tree-gazing.

    Vee De La Cruz, who had a copy of “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois, said: “You post something on social media, you don’t get enough likes, then you don’t feel good about yourself. That shouldn’t have to happen to anyone. Being in this club reminds me we’re all living on a floating rock and that it’s all going to be OK.”

    I’m not about to throw my iPhone out a window and replace it with a flip phone, nor do I think it’s particularly valuable to put too much stock into something like the preventably tragic story of Chris McCandless. That’s just me; these kids can take it as far as they please. But I do think that the broader lesson of spending more time with your eyes directed at the world or in a book is a powerful one.

    Written in the article is a concern amongst the teenagers about this endeavor being seen as classist by their peers. I feel the concern is overblown and inspired by a misguided sense of what “classist” can mean. Is it not classist to require a phone, especially a smartphone, to be “included in society”? The derision these people are facing surely comes from a lack of understanding. It’s a shame that such a harmless thing would garner such ridicule, but I guess that comes with teenage territory. Again, they should do as they please.

    I especially appreciate the closing of the article:

    As they marched through the dark, the only light glowing on their faces was that of the moon.

    1. Which surely ham-fisted that haughty title onto the reporter’s article. ↩︎

    Because the issue regarding Stage Manager continues to be contentious for many people, myself included, I’ve wondered what could be a way out of this whole mess.

    At this point, allowing external display support without pillarboxing would be enough to make me very happy.

    Can I just delete the phone app from my iPhone?

    I mean, I know I can’t, but I happily would given the opportunity. I can’t name a lesser-used app than that one.

    Always great to find out that the new networking equipment you just purchased fixes all of your home internet issues. My latency was monstrous—I’m talking 1476 ms pings.

    If I never have to use another Spectrum-provided modem again, it’ll be too soon for me.

    Pour one out for a technological world changer. Bye iPod.

    Sigh. Am I going to have to figure out what a/the blockchain is?

    In your Account page on Netflix,1 there’s an option to “Download your personal information.” It’ll provide you with many files, most of them in CSV format, of just about everything you’ve ever done with the service.

    It’s fascinating to see your complete history all collected in one place. It’s also a little terrifying to see how much of your activity is being tracked and stored by them. This certainly isn’t unique to Netflix, but is just something I happened upon recently.

    A quick sampling of the exhaustive information they gave me:

    • What I’ve put on my watch list, going back to 2016. I’ve been a subscriber since 2012, but I guess 2016 is when they started collecting this data.
    • My entire search history, i.e., every single word or phrase I’ve ever used to look for something.
    • What devices I’ve used to watch their content.
    • What IP addresses I’ve used to access their site and content.

    It’s remarkable. A lot of that information is necessary to serve me the recommendations and content I continue to enjoy. I don’t know that they’d be half the company they are without it. However, it’s always surreal to see proof that my personal activity is being stored in a place that I have no control over.2

    1. I’m assuming that this is the same for everyone. However, I live in California and there are statues like CCPA and CalOPPA that may come into play here. Or not, and it’s available to everyone. ↩︎

    2. Likewise, I bet there’s still information about me stored on servers owned by Facebook, despite me having deleted my account years ago. ↩︎

    Apple Maps these days

    A CNN article and interview by Jacob Krol has been making the rounds. It’s an interesting read and is packed with detailed imagery that shows off how capable and beautiful the app is now.

    On September 19, 2012, Apple released its own map app, supplanting the app that had previously used data provided by Google. To say its reception was frosty would be an understatement. Rarely has an app been greeted with such disappointment, bafflement, and occasionally outright furor. Two momentous things happened in the immediate aftermath:

    1. Tim Cook released a letter of apology following the bungling of the release, in which he suggests using alternative map apps.
    2. Senior Vice President of iOS, Scott Forstall, and mapping team manager, Richard Williamson, left Apple (or were made to leave).

    Apple isn’t ever without fault; it’s had its fair share of public embarrassments. I’m thinking of Ping, AirPower, and the still gorgeous Power Mac G4 Cube, to name a few. They may play like they’re unassailable, but oftentimes they show a great lack of insight and transparency with their releases. I guess world-shaking products like the iPhone, Apple Watch, and MacBook help to keep the balance.

    Perhaps it’s because I live in Southern California, but at the beginning, I never had the sort of truly awful experience that others did. It was clear that its edges were as rough as could be, but calling it an abject failure? A catastrophe? Something worth getting fired over? It was an embarrassment, sure, but the reactions always felt outsized. Indeed, I think everyone should have taken some deep breaths over the whole thing.1

    Anecdotally, the general feeling around my circle of family, friends, and acquaintances was one of disappointment and ridicule. Many expected it to be as capable and reliable as Google Maps was at the time (and continues to be). What a ridiculous notion that was! To write off an entire app—and for many, never use again—because it wasn’t immediately as good as its predecessor/competition felt like the wrong sort of knee-jerk response. Google Maps launched on February 8, 2005, a full seven years before Apple Maps. Of course Apple is going to be playing catch-up for a while. If you told me that Google’s product was rough and problematic at launch, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.

    We’re coming up on a decade of Apple Maps and, baby, it’s come a long way. We’ve got useful mapping data, gorgeous 3d models, and a Look Around function that’s second to none.2 As Krol describes in the article:

    When navigating somewhere on an iPhone, you’ll notice that you’ll see clearer details about lanes in a road. Lanes are depicted accurately — with road markings — and intersections show crosswalks. It not only helps with accessibility since you’ll know those elements are there, but also extends to knowing what lane you need and how to get there properly. Even neater, you’ll see proper elevation when navigating complex highways that have ground-level roads with overpasses that intersect.

    It’s a treat to use the app now. The service is capable and trustworthy. They’ve turned what would otherwise be an app lacking in personality into an experience that feels friendly, is chock full of helpful information, and is littered with eye candy.

    Maps has a special place in the history of Apple. Roundly criticized and rejected at its release, it has since become one of their crown jewels. The app shows Apple at its best—quietly improving a product or service until it gleams with polish and essential utility. There are few apps on my devices that are as simultaneously useful, entertaining, and educational as Maps.

    1. That being said, there were undoubtedly some areas of the world that were failed by the app’s rough edges and shoddy mapping data. It’s a damn shame that people were let down by Apple’s mistakes. ↩︎

    2. Yes, it’s a far better experience than Google’s Street View. The only downside is that it doesn’t have the same coverage that Google’s feature does, but it’s only a matter of time before that changes. ↩︎

    I sure do wish the creators of Castro, my preferred podcast app, would debut the iPad app they’ve been working on for at least the last year. I understand that it’s hard, time-consuming work, but as Harry told Sally,

    When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

    I’ve always enjoyed the data I get from using the Sleep Cycle app, but the alarm has failed on me too many times (including this morning).

    I love sleeping in as much as anybody, but not when it’s an accident caused by something I rely on.

    As per usual, Apple delivered some amazing new products that have left me both salivating and wishing I was born into a richer family or had some crazily well-paying job.

    Also, as per usual, all the rumor sites got many things wrong. “M1X”? “M2”? New Mac mini?

    Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee ↗

    I’ll readily admit that I don’t know as much about this burgeoning antitrust legislation as I should. However, does this “American Choice and Innovation Online Act” mean that I have the choice to keep any new Apple device I get largely the same as I have them now? Doesn’t seem like it.

    I believe that giving the ability of smaller businesses to fairly compete with larger ones is generally good. Lower the cut Apple takes on sales. Make it easier, i.e., not impossible, to go to a company’s website where I can subscribe to their service. Remove the fear that some developers have over dealing with these large companies. However, don’t throw the word “choice” around without understanding and acknowledging that it should cut both ways. I don’t want the overall Apple experience I know and love to be destroyed because, for example, Epic wants its own app store on Apple’s devices.

    I’ll also readily admit that I may be singing a different tune if I were a software developer working with Apple’s platforms. As a consumer, though, I’ve had no problem with my past Apple experiences and would like the ability to keep that going for myself. That’s my choice.

    I enjoyed Apple’s opening keynote presentation for this year’s WWDC. It wasn’t a particularly flashy event—this far into the COVID pandemic, they’ve toned down their “look at me” camera work and are mostly focusing on delivering information,1 of which there was a lot.

    However, what I did find frustrating, as someone who enjoys using their expansive iPad Pro for both play and work, is the continued lack of extended display support for this device.2 It’s an unpleasant situation that persists, year after year. There was a lot of speculation that 2021 would be the year that iPad fans would be gifted with the ability to completely fill our widescreen displays, run different apps on different screens, and move content between our devices and the monitors to which they can be connected. Alas, that did not happen. We’re stuck with the inferior mirroring support we’ve always had.

    The puzzling part of all this is the new iPad Pros have the same M1 chip that can be found inside Apple’s far more display-capable Mac computers. There should be nothing preventing the M1 iPad Pros from enjoying the same external display abilities that are given to all of the Macs. And yet, here we are again. I can think of two reasons why this might be the case:

    1. There’s a new, hopefully cheaper, Apple-branded monitor on the way and they’re waiting for its release to unveil awesome new iPad features.
    2. This continues to be an artificial limitation set by the perpetually lagging iPadOS software.

    There’s no evidence to back up the first possibility. Heck, they just spent a large portion of their April 2021 event talking up the truly amazing mini-LED display in the new 12.9” iPad Pro. It may undercut the unique advantage it has if they were to release a product that removes that advantage so soon after its respective event.3 Why buy the 12.9” iPad and that hypothetical monitor when I can just get the monitor for the iPad I already have?

    Indeed, there’s no definite indication from the people that matter, i.e., Apple, that there’s any sort of forthcoming monitor. Their current stance boils down to “if you want an Apple monitor, then you can feel free to spend at least $5,000 on our glorious Pro Display XDR.” At the moment, any possible Apple alternative to that display lives only in our collective dreams.

    The far more likely possibility is that iPadOS 15 continues the long tradition of the iPad’s software falling far short of its amazing, powerful hardware. This is also the sadder possibility. While we were gifted with a preview of some truly excellent upcoming features during this year’s presentation, to omit the sort of external monitor support that they grant their other computers sends the message that Apple still doesn’t fully believe their own iPad messaging. An iPad can be so much more than “just a computer,” but despite what they think, it’s still a computer. Either all that or they’re continuing to ignore the clear fact that many people do real work on their iPads. Both are likely. I don’t know which is worse.

    What would make the iPad “more than a computer” isn’t just the Apple Pencil, touching the screen, or ARKit. It would be the ability to do all that a computer can currently do and then more.

    But hey, maybe it’ll happen in iPadOS 16… 🍎

    1. Nor is it ever Apple’s obligation to provide a Hollywood caliber event with pyrotechnics, extreme visual effects, and a live band. We could have just had Craig Federighi sitting on a stool and reading off a teleprompter, a perfectly acceptable alternative. They’re not required to present entertainment, no matter what the internet thinks. We’re all lucky that Apple chooses to do more than that to varying degrees. ↩︎

    2. I’m confident in saying that @pimoore has got my back on this one. ↩︎

    3. Ah ha, there’s a third reason! ↩︎

    After dealing for the past day or so with a Plex server that seems to have nuked itself, I’ve never been more aware of how little I know about computers and networking.

    For those working in tech, are your days full of inscrutable, depressive catastrophes or is it just me?

    What it’ll take for me to comfortably be able to use my iPad Pro as my main computer:

    • Real external monitor support, as in not just mirroring the iPad screen on the external display. Pillarboxes begone!
    • The ability to route audio to and from more than a single location. I’m imagining an iPad version of Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack here. An iPad version of SoundSource would also be much appreciated.
    • Improvements to multitasking. I’m not sure what those could be, and I’m generally okay with how things are now, but I won’t ever mind things becoming easier to use.
    • Dramatically improved keyboard shortcut support. I’m talking being able to run an action anywhere, anytime.
    • Pro-level apps. I don’t work in Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro all the time, but when I do, I’d be happy to do it on an iPad.
    • I wouldn’t say no to a second Thunderbolt port.

    What I probably won’t want to ever do on an iPad (and am okay with):

    • Handbrake1 transcodes. I’m sure the iPad could be capable, but I’d feel better about doing sustained media transcoding on a machine with a fan. I’m not even sure if I’d be able to run an app like that in the background, so an iPad would probably be out anyway.

    All of this seems like I’m saying I should just use a Mac. Fair enough. However, I want to use my iPad Pro as my main computer. I think it’s an amazing device, and I really love iPadOS. That’s it. It just needs to close some gaps.🍎

    1. Or Compressor or Media Encoder↩︎

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