Seven simple tricks to impressively speed up slow iPads

Remember the day when you took your iPad out of its box for the first time? How fast it ran? How snappy it was? Yeah, those were the days. For me, these days are long over; I am still rocking a first gen iPad that is getting a little old after more than three years of great use. But why upgrade when it still works? In this post, I am sharing 7 simple tricks how you can speed up your iPad (and iPhone) to squeeze some more life out of it.

I am not pretending that this will make your old iPad act like a new one. There are some physical limits on what an older model can do. But I can tell you this: These seven tricks transformed my iPad from “a pain to use” to “reasonably fast”. In my books, this is a huge win, because I am able to wait out another entire iPad generation before upgrading.

I know what you are thinking: You have seen posts like this before, so how is this one different? Well, because I actually took the time and researched it. And guess what: what most people will tell you about how to speed up your iPad – closing apps and rebooting the device – will in most cases not help a bit. [Read more...]

Android vs. iPad: What platform will be the long-term winner?

Is the Nexus 10 Android tablet killing the iPad 4?Once upon a time, one tablet ruled over the post-PC world, and this tablet was called iPad. Competing Android tablets soon entered the market, but an “iPad Killer” was nowhere to be found. Life was simple.

However, three years after the first iPad has been unveiled, the tablet world is rapidly shifting. Microsoft entered the market with its Surface tablets, and Android powered devices such as Google’s Nexus 10 lure consumers with better hardware specs than the mother of all tablets – the iPad.

There are several detailed reviews out there that compare the iPad 4 with Google’s Nexus 10 Android tablet (see here and here), and all conclude that the Nexus is the closest competitor to the iPad. In many hardware specs, including screen resolution, the Nexus indeed outperforms the iPad! Maybe it makes you wonder: Is the iPad still the best choice for you? Maybe you can save some dollars by going for a less expensive Android tablet? (I willfully ignore the new Windows tablet for now, whose initial sales and reception were quite a disappointment.)

The “Android vs. iPad” decision is a tough call because of its long-term consequences: I don’t know about you, but I rather build and fine-tune my computing workflow only once. And the situation is even trickier when not only your own time and dollars are on the line, but when you are trying to decide what platform should be adopted for a school-wide tablet program.

I don’t pretend to have the answer here. I don’t even have an unbiased opinion, since my own workflow is heavily based on Apple’s ecosystem: I sync between my iPad and my Mac when annotating papers, organizing my tasks and notes, conceptualizing ideas, and I use all kinds of helpful iPad apps in my research and studies.

See, I am a big advocate of integrating tablets with traditional computers, which gives me a somewhat different perspective on the iPad vs. Android debate: Hardware specs are less important than you think – its the ecosystem that is all important! [Read more...]

Looking for a stylish iPad case? Check out these 9 beauties!

The iPad’s sleek design is one of the main reason why I am so fond of this particular tablet. I simply enjoy a beautiful design, and I always found that a stylish iPad case can add, not distract, to the overall iPad experience. This post is a running list of beautiful iPad cases that I find around the web.

TwelveSouth BookBook iPad case [Read more...]

Adonit Jot: The Best Stylus for Academics

Adonit Jot: A stylus optimized for precisionThe stylus is making a huge come back nowadays. New forms and shapes have proliferated over the last few years, begging the question: what is the best stylus for academics? I personally think that Adonit’s Jot is the best stylus out there for people in Higher Education. In this post I share my personal experience with the Jot, discuss its pros and cons, and compare the different members of the Jot family (Pro vs. Flip vs. Touch) with each other.

 

Made for students and professors

First, lets quickly think about what you would you use a stylus for. Most academics want to use a stylus to develop ideas. Thus, the capacity to capture handwriting (e.g., when taking notes) and to draw lines (e.g., when making conceptual maps) are the most important aspects to look for in a stylus made for students, professors, and everybody else whose main business is conceptual work. In other words, what we need is a stylus optimized for precision. [Read more...]

Stylus Academicus: What stylus is optimized for handwriting and conceptualizing ideas?

Stylus for handwriting and conceptualizing ideasMany people ask me what stylus I can recommend for taking notes in class or to conceptualize ideas; and for a long time, I became unusually quiet. The truth is: I am somewhat torn about using a stylus. For the most time, I have found neither hardware nor software developed enough for digital handwriting, but this has been changing for some time now with improvements on both sides. And with Bluetooth 4 being introduced in the new iPad, even better styluses are looming around the corner.

It is therefore time to finally enter the stylus debate: Does it make sense to buy a stylus for university and college work? The short answer is: Only if you don’t expect miracles. A true paper-notebook-like experience is impossible until the next generation of styluses rolls around. However, there are a few styluses today that are optimized for handwriting and drawing conceptual maps, and these are worth a try if you are willing to experiment a little in your analog/digital workflow.

This article brings you up to date with what you should look out for when shopping for a stylus today, tells you what I think is the best stylus for academics (spoiler alert: its the Adonit Jot), and discusses what exciting developments in the stylus world are lying ahead. [Read more...]

Retina display MacBook Pro and other goodies from WWDC

Retina display MacBook ProYesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote saw a flurry of updates, as Apple unveiled changes in its entire MacBook lineup and showcased new features in the upcoming versions of Mac OS and iOS. You can watch the entire keynote online on Apple’s webpage, but just in case you should have better things to do with your time, here are a few highlights:

 

A new MacBook Pro with Retina display

Apple updated its entire notebook line during yesterday’s event. While the MacBook Airs and the 13 and 15 inch MacBook Pros saw minor updates on their specs (the 17 inch MacBook Pro was quietly cancelled), Apple’s new 15 inch Retina display MacBook Pro certainly stole the show. For about $2200, you can give your Mac the Retina display treatment and enjoy crisp clear text and photos. Yep, that is 400 bucks more, so what do you get for that? [Read more...]

Serious writing with iPad: What keyboard case fits your writing style?

iPad Keyboard CaseThe iPad can be an incredible tool for the serious writer, but only if paired with an external keyboard. Which of the countless alternatives out there is the right keyboard case for you? Its simple: Go for a quality keyboard that fits your writing style. This guide discusses three things you should consider about your writing style, and it reviews ten of my personal favourite keyboard cases.

Before going into the details of quality and writing style, you might wonder what makes the iPad a great tool to do some serious academic writing? I have written a complete post about the benefits of writing with the iPad that I encourage you to check out. In short, during the warmer months I frequently use my iPad to write my dissertation “in the wild” or, as you might call it, the city park. I find this change of place to boost my productivity, and the iPad helps me to get into the flow and stay there. There are other reason that make the iPad a fine machine for academic writers (e.g., battery life, health, comfort, focus, and even screen estate), but an external keyboard is a must. [Read more...]

Magical screen cleaner? Don’t waste your money to clean iPad!

iKlearBrowsing through the Apple accessories aisle of some stores is sometimes like entering a strange, medieval-times bazaar: you can find everything from bare necessities to magical potions. Screen cleaner fall under the second category.

One of my most favorite, ridiculous “must-have” accessory you should not buy are screen cleaner solutions. For the bargain price of $20, iKlear (and many others) will sell you a cleaning kit that “contains everything you need to clean, protect, and preserve your iPad” and all your other Apple gadgets. [Read more...]

The new iPad: Gorgeous Retina Display, but disturbing heat issue

How bad are the heat issues of the new iPad?Boy was I excited about the new iPad! Judging from its specs, it seemed to me the best iPad yet for academics, and so I went ahead and ordered one. However, the heat issue cooled of my excitement considerably. The Retina Display and the new camera perform well, pretty much as expected. What I didn’t expect, and what nobody really saw coming until the first units arrived at people’s doorsteps, was that the new iPad runs considerably warmer than its predecessors.

At least for me, the heat is an issue, and this is why I am returning my new iPad. In the rest of this post, I am discussing the pros and cons of the new iPad in more detail. Hopefully this helps you to decide whether buying one now is worth it for you, or whether you want to sit this one out. [Read more...]

Why buying a Smart Cover (or Smart Case) is a stupid idea

Apple Smart Cover Stupid IdeaFor some time, I thought Apple’s Smart Cover was one of the coolest features of the iPad. But then I saw it in action and changed my mind. In fact, the Smart Cover is a stupid idea, because it is a disappointing compromise between screen protection, a stand, and the desire to show off the iPad’s slim design. For this reason, the Smart Cover lands on my list of “must-have” iPad accessories you should not buy. Read on for more details on what is wrong with the Smart Cover and what might be better alternatives.

UPDATE: Someone at Apple must read my blog, because they introduced the Smart Case ($49). While the Smart Case addresses the first point of my Smart Cover critique below, the other points still seem to be relevant, and I still think that there are better alternatives for a case out there. A few are listed in this post, and I have written an update on stylish iPad cases here. If you are more about function than form: I have also written a post about keyboard covers that not only protect your iPad but also turn it into the ultimate writing machine.

[Read more...]