Taking The iPad Further

In a few days, Apple will have an event where maybe they’ll reveal new iPads. And since my iPad is my computer, I’m very interested to see what direction Apple takes iPad next. Will it become even more capable than it already is? And a bigger question, will the iPad become more of Apple’s main focus for the future of computing?

When the iPad Pro, for example, was first announced, Apple CEO Tim Cook prefaced it by declaring,

“iPad is the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.”

He went on to ask how Apple could take the iPad further. Their answer was basically 3 things: make the screen bigger, add a pencil/stylus, and add a better keyboard.

So if Apple reveals new iPads this week, how will they take it further? Add more hardware or software, or maybe both, to make it even more capable?

Most understand that putting Apple’s latest and greatest processor inside the newest iPad would for sure make it much more powerful. But there’s more to making hardware work than adding raw power.

Many people still think that a mouse and a keyboard is the best way to use a computer, and the iPad’s touch interaction, while simple and convenient, is just not as capable. Yet keyboards have been available for the iPad since it first came out. Could Apple now do even more than their Smart Keyboard?

What if they made a clamshell-like keyboard case for iPad so that it looked and acted more like a laptop? It could be similar to the Brydge Keyboard. I think that would actually propel iPad further because it would allow multiple angles of viewing/typing whereas the Smart Keyboard only has one fixed angle on a flimsy multi-hinged folding case. I think a laptop like keyboard case would also sit more sturdily on your lap.

What about a mouse? I don’t think Apple would enable a mouse and cursor for iPad because it would diminish the simplicity of the tablet. It could also cause too much divergence or feature disparity between iPad and iPhone. In short, it would cross the line by adding too much complexity.

Besides hardware, what about software and apps? Well, it’s already been recently announced that Adobe is bringing full Photoshop to iPad. This popular app has traditionally been only for the desktop computer. So Photoshop coming to iPad seems to be a strong signal that the iPad is being considered more like a “real computer.”

Other software moves that could signal Apple taking iPad further might be announcing some of its Mac only apps now being made for iPad. Or they could add new capabilities to the Files app, making it more like the Finder app on the Mac. Or they could do what Apple is known for and introduce a whole new “magical” way to select and edit text with fancy but simple multi-touch gestures that make using a mouse with a cursor seem cumbersome.

The most radical idea might be a combo of hardware and software advances: a laptop like keyboard case that has a recessed spot in which you place an iPhone so that it auto-magically enables something called touchpad mode. The glass screen of the iPhone would mimic the glass trackpad of MacBooks, including a little vibrating feedback when you touch it. This would of course mean a cursor of some kind would need to appear on the iPad screen.

Whatever Apple does, it will be interesting to see. Until then, I’ll keep enjoying my 4 year old non-pro iPad, which still makes me feel like the future is now.

What would you like to see in a new iPad? Would you use an iPad more if you could use a mouse with it? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

The Wonder Of Carlsbad Caverns

My family took a little trip recently to Carlsbad Caverns National Park where you basically pay to walk into a large deep dark hole in the ground. And it’s amazing!

I’d been here before, so this time I got to experience the wonder of the cavernous underworld all over again. But on top of that, I had the joy of watching my kids, parents, and brother with his family drop their jaws in awe at this place.

Driving into the park is the building up of a sense of grandeur as you navigate a windy road up and around small mountains until you reach the parking lot at the top, overlooking a vast plain far below.

Once inside the visitor center, you go through a small exhibit area that gives a sneak peak at what you’re about to experience. A huge 3D model showcasing the impressive caverns helps you grasp what it is that you’re really going to hike through.

With anticipation piled up, you finally walk out and onto the nicely paved path gently sloping downward to the natural cave entrance.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, there’s this big black gaping mouth of opened ground begging to swallow you in. It looks like a bottomless pit! So of course, you want to see where it goes. What’s down there!?

The best part is, you’re welcome to walk right down the well made path lined with convenient shiny handrails for you to safely explore this enchanting place.

Just maybe watch out for bats.

So down me and my family went. And down some more. Down again. Does this thing ever end? Switchback after switchback. This is just the entry. The magnificent caverns await far below.

I told my boys that we’d hit bedrock like in Minecraft. It feels that way.

The descent is a site to behold. There are strategically lit rocks and formations all over. And it’s very quiet. Park Rangers urge you to whisper as you hike down since your voice carries so easily off the long walls.

The hushed silence isn’t hard to come by since the caverns kinda take your breath away in the first place. It makes the whole hike feel mysterious or even solemn, like you’ve entered nature’s sanctuary.

Finally, you reach the bottom and the inside of the mountain opens up all around you. You’ve been swallowed down the esophagus and are now in the stomach of the land.

A sign points you to the main chamber for more awe and splendor. And it points to the snack shop area, elevators, and bathrooms for relief. That’s where we went next.

Once regrouped, we headed for the main chamber called the Big Room. It’s huger than huge! And it’s packed full with a beautiful array of formations like stalagmites and stalactites all revealed by various lights displaying their textures and shapes. How are these crazy things formed?!

You walk on the maze like trail for a long time trying to take it all in, which is almost overwhelming. By the time you reach the end and make for the elevator that whisks you up to the surface, you’re wonder bucket is overflowing.

Once we made it back up, we turned our wonder into gift shopping energy. So much cool stuff! And the restaurant promised calories to replenish our fatigued selves. But we opted for eating back in Carlsbad and having some snacks along the way.

After buying a few souvenirs, we happily returned to our cars outside, again enjoying the vista from atop the mountain. Back down the winding roadway we went, thankful for our little family adventure.

If you can go see Carlsbad Caverns, I highly recommend it.

My iPad Is My Computer

Not long ago, everyone had a boxy beige desktop PC, or maybe a thick clunky gray laptop. Those were the only real choices for a personal computer. But now, many people use other things like smartphones, tablets, or Chromebooks.

With so many options, you just kinda pick what works best for you and which thing you like the most. Nowadays a personal computer is much more of a personal choice.

My wife, for example, has stuck to using her desktop PC. She has a smartphone and has used different tablets but prefers good ol’ fashioned Windows with a mouse and a keyboard. That’s not a bad choice for anyone really. It works just fine. So, traditional.

turned on ipad
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

My kids also use Windows PC’s. We homeschool, so it’s practical for us to have budget PC’s for the kids’ schoolwork, which is mostly online stuff. And of course Windows has Minecraft. (Even I play it sometimes!) We did have a Chromebook for the kids, but it slid off a bunkbed onto a wood floor, which cracked the screen. But it only cost me about $150! So, practical and affordable.

As for me, I’ve tried lots of different things and settled on using an iPad as my only computer. I’m all-in on just the iPad along with an iPhone as my go-to gadgets.

I’m not just trying out the iPad to see if it can do all the things I need or want. I already did that and found it can. In fact, I’m typing this blog post in the WordPress app using just the on-screen keyboard, tapping away quietly on the glass. It works well! I can even make nice images with titles in the Canva app if I want.

Of course, there are other ways to do things. Before I used just an iPad and an iPhone, I used just a Chromebook and an Android smartphone. It was all Google instead of all Apple. And it worked. But Apple’s devices had some advantages that won me over.

It was not an easy win though. At one point, I kinda went back and forth between my iPad and my Windows laptop. I even switched to a MacBook a few years ago but then went back to my Windows computer. Letting go of my traditional computing ways took time because I built them up over many years. Plus I still use a Windows desktop PC at work.

The things that kept me coming back to my iPad was that it is a lot simpler and more reliable than my Windows laptop. It just works when I need it too. And it does it fast and easy.

On top of that, it’s small size and long battery life let me use it anywhere anytime. Plus, I really like my iPhone, and the iPad uses the same apps and system, so it’s familiar. Two devices with one-in-the-same software is just easier for me to manage.

What’s also surprising to me when I think about is even though my iPad is 4 years old, it still works great! It’s an iPad Air 2 that I bought used from someone on Facebook Marketplace. And if you want a new iPad, they’re so much more affordable now than they used to be. You can even get good deals and save money if you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple.

Anyways, we’re lucky to have so many options. I enjoy an iPad as my computer and think more people could too. When you think about it, you don’t really need much else.

So with all your options out there, what devices do you use the most? Or if you could choose something else, what would it be? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. Thanks.

Anxious For Nothing

A few days ago, I started reading a book by Max Lucado called, Anxious for Nothing. I first heard it was coming out last year not long after I had a debilitating anxiety attack. So I thought it could be good timing, what I might call providence instead of coincidence.

I’ve never read anything by Lucado until now, and I have to say that I like his casual writing style and his ability to tell stories. His writing is pretty simple, not scholarly or theological verbose. Plain and simple, written for ordinary people.

The first chapter really got my attention because Max described anxiety really well. He seemed to truly know what it’s like to have serious worry, like on the disorder level. It made me think, “He gets it!”

What he writes can apply to what might be called common anxiety, yet he seems to really be addressing the hardcore kind that I don’t wish on anyone.

The book, so far, follows the outline of a specific passage of Bible verses well known in Christianity. It’s in Philippians 4:4-8. I think the author does a good job of explaining the meaning of the scripture as he effortlessly weaves real life stories and anecdotes throughout. And in doing so, he makes good points without sounding like he’s peaching at anyone!

Right now I’m enjoying the part that says, “Think about what you think about.” Lucado addresses the mind and what it dwells on. I find it helpful because in my experience with crazy anxiety, anxious thoughts go hand-in-hand with anxious feelings. And I’ve often found that controlling the thoughts in my head, especially those negative voices that come in and try to ruin everything, is a key to dispelling worry or apprehension.

I’m not quite finished reading the whole book but soon will be since it’s a relatively short read. I’ll go ahead and recommend it to you if you’ve struggled with anxiety in any degree. I’m glad I finally added it to my library.

Have you struggled with anxiety? Are there any books you’ve found helpful? Thanks for sharing in the comments, or you can reach me on Twitter or goodreads.


Reading Dystopia

I’m glad to say that I finally read one of the books that’s been on my Want-To-Read list for a long time, 1984, by George Orwell.

So what did I think about it? Well, I enjoyed the overall plot with its drama and danger. I found the way it was written interesting. Almost like you’re stuck in the main character’s head the whole time.

The stuff I did not like about it was near the middle when Winston gets “the book” and reads part of it. That was convoluted, monotonous, and repetitive. I pushed through that part and was glad to get back to action and drama.

What about the whole Orwellian, Big Brother, totalitarian crazy scary stuff? Well, I wasn’t too surprised or put-off by it because I had already heard much about it over the years. Yet it was nice to finally be reading it for myself. But I think I need someone smarter than me to help me get into a discussion of it.

There’s a related book on my to-read list: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. From what I’ve heard, that one is more accurate in “prophesying” how our culture is today. People are placated through pleasure and entertainment rather than controlled through fear.

On that note, I found Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death far more interesting and prophetic than 1984.

On a general note, what is it about dystopias that seems so attractive? I think it’s the fact that most of real life is a dystopia, even in so-called paradise. And it’s just that fiction novels about dystopia draw out the related extremes and act as either coping mechanisms or as ways to teach lessons.

One dystopia I’d like to re-read is The Hunger Games. But I’ve got too many other un-read books waiting for me to dive into.

You can look me up on goodreads and maybe we can talk books some more.