A Music Subscription Sounds Good

Lately, I’ve had a lot on my mind. Work has been busy and somewhat stressful. Outside that, my cognitive focus has been on designing a bedroom addition to our house. Plus my wife and I discovered the show Parks and Recreation and have been enjoying it nightly!

Meanwhile, something unexpected started. I have never been interested in subscribing to a streaming music service. I’ve never tried Pandora or Spotify.

But suddenly, I got really interested in joining Apple Music.

For years, I’ve been glued to getting my tunes the ‘old-fashioned’ way: a-la-carte. Buy one song at a time if I really like it.

For music discovery, I’ve just been using YouTube. But there’s drawbacks I may want to avoid. Like ads, Google tracking, and getting sucked into the video vortex.

Back when I was on Android and all the Google stuff, Google Play Music had good radio/music discovery. I miss that.

It looks like Apple Music has excellent playlists and other things for finding new songs, albums, and artists.

So I plan to start the 3 month free trial and see how it goes.

I’m kinda scratching my head over what made me start considering joining Apple Music in the first place. Maybe it was daydreaming about buying AirPods or finding an adapter to make my iPhone 7 work with my current headphones because the jack got jacked.

I used to think subscribing to a music service wasn’t worth $10/month. But now that I’ve actually looked closer at Apple Music, I see much to like. (No ads!)

What gets me is the fact that you can truly have all-the-songs! Every time I think of a song I like but don’t already own, or think of an artist or album I want to complete, it hits me: you can have all the albums. Every artist. Every song. Kinda blows my mind.

Every soundtrack for every movie?! Yes!

What do you use for music? Spotify? Vinyl albums? Mix tapes?

The Longevity Of Apple Tech

Thanks to Apple’s recent news about slowing iPhone sales, it’s apparent that people don’t upgrade their phones as often as they used to. Until last week, the device I used was over four years old. I upgraded from an iPhone 6 to a brand new…iPhone 7! Wait, but that phone is like two years old.

That’s right. And it’s a great upgrade! I would say that Apple’s phones are so good and bleeding edge that a 2-year old iPhone is still a fantastic device. And that’s why it seems so many people are keeping them instead of breaking the bank to buy a fancy new iPhone XS or XR. They’re just too expensive.

I like to buy used Apple stuff. You get great value and save a lot of cash. Last year, I bought a used iPad Air 2, a three-year old tablet at the time. And I’m still enjoying it today; I typed this blog post on it. It still works great! And I look at the shiny new iPad Pros and think they’re way too costly and they don’t really do anything that my iPad Air 2 doesn’t do. So why bother to upgrade?

As for my iPhone 6, I had planned to use it for one more year before upgrading, which would have made it five years old! But it recently began performing much slower than usual. I tried deleting apps, but that didn’t help.

While visiting friends over the Christmas holiday, it turned out that they had an “old” iPhone 7 not being used anymore, and they simply said they would let me have it! Wow! I gladly accepted the unplanned upgrade from a 6 to a “new” 7. And as a thank you, I gladly gave them a chunk of money for it.

Here’s something to note: I plan to use this iPhone 7 for at least two more years, which would make it four years old before I once again upgrade. Maybe by then the iPhone XR will sell at a low used price of around $250!

You can have great tech gadgets and not have to spend a fortune! iPhones and iPads, at least in the US where I live, are ubiquitous. There’s always someone somewhere upgrading and selling their current device.

If you stay 2 years behind the bleeding edge of Apple tech, I’d say you’re not really “behind.” You are just not “ahead” of the rest. You’re pretty much right in line with mainstream tech. It’s a very good and reasonably affordable place to be.

How old is your current smartphone? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,

-Jason

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.

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.