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Update: A couple of people have asked if me not having an iPad means the end of A Slab of Glass, it is not. Christopher and I both have talked about the podcast being more than just about the iPad, and we have been making strides to do that over the past few months. So no, A Slab of Glass isn't going anywhere.


After about 2 months of it collecting dust, I decided it was time to say goodbye to my iPad Pro and consequently the iPad Lifestyle. There are a couple of reasons for this, but I will stick with the one that is worth talking about: I simply don't use an iPad anymore for my work.

No, this isn't a "you can't get real work done on an iPad" article. I have gotten real work done on an iPad for years and loved it, but due to some changes in my life the iPad isn't the best tool for the job anymore.

The big one for me is editing and processing audio. I use iZotope RX 7 for cleaning up both of my own podcasts and the podcasts I edit in my freelance work. There isn't a great alternative on iOS that compares to iZotope RX 7, which leaves me to crack open my laptop whenever I need to edit podcasts. Because of this I have moved all of my podcast editing to my MacBook Pro. A lot of my time is spent editing podcasts nowadays it makes little sense to me to move from a MacBook to an iPad for the minority of the work I have left.

If I am being totally honest, it isn't just the editing that makes me want to use my Mac over the iPad. I'm not sure if it is me not always happy with certain limitations on iOS or if I am just used to the Mac, but something about the Mac allows me to work with less friction. I am almost positive this is a mental thing with me and not the limitation of the iPad that is causing this, the MacBook just seems much more appealing to me when I want to get to work on something involving a computer. Whether it's writing, editing podcasts, editing photos, managing email, or simply browsing online, the Mac just fits to me more than the iPad.

I loved my iPad and it wasn't easy for me to come to terms that I simply am not using it, but I needed the extra cash and I would rather sell it than have it collect dust on my desk.

It will be a significant transition to only have an iPhone and MacBook Pro but I think it was still the right choice for me in my life today. Maybe one day I will decide that is no longer the case and move back to the iPad more, but for now it is just me and my MacBook Pro, and I am happy with that.

If ever there was a time for me to talk about keyboards it is now that I have my Brydge Series II in hand. This keyboard was something that I was long waiting for and now that I have it in hand I think this is the perfect keyboard for me.

My History with Brydge

I was wary of this purchase after having more than my fair share of issues with the original keyboard Brydge came out with for the 10.5 iPad Pro. I had to send it back 3 times and after the 3rd time there was no charm and I eventually told Brydge to refund me in full. I was left with a horrible taste in my mouth from this company and I vowed to never give them my money ever again.

That all went out the window after hearing about the new Series II from Brydge and how it seemingly fixed all of its quality problems I had previously. I was elated to hear this and after some thought I decided to make one final exception for Brydge and gave them my money, and boy am I glad that I did.

The Pros

The Brydge Series II looks identical to the form factor of the original, the only thing that changed was the reliability of this keyboard was increased exponentially. No keys would fail to type, there were no more sticky keys, and the Bluetooth connection stayed true. It worked perfectly.

The Brydge keyboard has loads of features and checks every 99% of the boxes I had when it comes to a keyboard for the iPad.

The first is the layout of the keyboard allows me to touch type without issue and allows me to really fly on this thing without worrying if the key I am wanting to write with is going to work correctly or not. Not to mention, this keyboard doesn’t skimp out on anything, offering media keys and having arrow keys that aren’t squished and difficult to feel for. Finally, it has a dedicated home button to go back to the home screen with one press and to the multitasking view with two.

Brydge Series II Arrow Keys
Brydge Series II Arrow Keys
The Dedicated Home button
The Dedicated Home button

Not only is the keyboard layout something that warms my heart, the fact that this offers backlit keys is also a treasure to me. It is still something that baffles me to see Apple only offer backlit keys on MacBooks and never on a Wireless keyboard. I know that because of the size of the Smart Keyboards it isn’t feasible, but if Apple were to update their Magic Keyboard to offer backlit keys it would have been an instant-buy from me. I don’t use backlit keys often, but when I need it and not have it a small part of my brain goes berserk. Having my keys backlit allows me to write late at night while my fiancé sleeps and not have to have any house lights on1.

Downsides

The only downside I found with this keyboard, like so many others I have tried, is that it is Bluetooth instead of using the iPad Pro Smart Connectors. Seeing that this keyboard is specifically made for the 10.5” iPad it makes sense to me to have the connection to the keyboard be the Smart Connector instead. With that said, no one other than Apple and Logitech have ever made attempts to use the Smart Connector.nAfter speaking with a Brydge representative their reasoning actually made a lot of sense saying:

Here at Brydge we deliberately chose to use the Bluetooth 3.0 over the Apple Smart Connector as this technology does not limit our fundamental design. The Apple Smart Connector restricts the experience to a single viewing angle, while the Bluetooth 3.0 enables the flexibility to deliver a unique laptop like 180 degrees viewing angle.

With this in mind, this decision is actually something I feel is the better choice than to make the iPad only viewable in one angle. Even with the new Smart Keyboard, there are only two angles, one of which could be argued that is never used. So seeing that Bluetooth was the better option, it makes sense that is what Brydge went with instead of the Apple Smart Connector.

Conclusion

It is clear that Brydge has made gigantic strides to right the wrongs they may have inadvertently made in older models of their keyboards, and it is a breath of fresh air to see a company that cares so much about design be equally caring on the quality of their new products. As someone who has an “older” iPad Pro, seeing them update their products for this not only goes to show that they truly want to allow everyone to get their hands on something to write with, but also indicative of what is to come in their line up for the new iPad Pros.

The boycott is over from Brydge, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to buy this product, and if you want to make you iPad Pro equally beautiful and functional, there isn’t anything better the Brydge.

  1. The only light I use is a desk lamp as it isn’t as illuminating as the overhead light in the office.

Adobe recently announced that Photoshop is coming to the iPad, and with that comes talk of how the iPad is once again on the precipice of gaining the ability to be a “Mac replacement.”

For me, this seems a bit trite and something that isn’t a matter of if or when, the iPad is a Mac replacement if I ever saw one. In fact, I have been using my iPad as a main computer once again since the release of iOS 12. I haven’t picked up my Mac for more than a few minutes a handful of times.

I do still use my Mac, don’t get me wrong, and I think it is an amazing machine. With that said, it isn’t necessary for my workflow of writing, reading RSS feeds, designing minimal graphics, and managing the backend of my websites. All of this can be done on my iPad with ease.

So why did I decide to crack open my Mac? Because when I needed to do something quick, it was easier for me to use a Mac app that I was already familiar with than to try and find a solution on my iPad that would have made this quick thing I had to do an entire project. If I really wanted to go iPad only, those quick and easy things I do on my Mac would become projects and learning sessions on my iPad. It isn’t impossible, but it isn’t something that I can make time for right now.

With all this said, there are times where I will make a conscious effort to make the switch from an app on the Mac to something on my iPad. A recent example of this is going from Adobe Photoshop on my Mac for graphic design to Affinity Designer on the iPad.

The reason for this is two-fold. The first being that I wanted to make more logos and designs with an app that is actually meant for designing rather than using a photo editing tool as a means to making logos. Adobe Illustrator came to mind, but I have had issues with RAM on my Mac when using that app on my Mac. So, I decided to look into other alternatives and Affinity Designer was one that I felt was an obvious leader for the iPad. It had all the features I would want a Pro app to have, tutorials to make my life easier when learning this new system, and an affordable price tag to $19.99.

After downloading the app, I spent an hour or so watching tutorials and just playing around with the application to get a grip on what all this system can use and what things I could look into for my own work. The UI is brilliantly placed and allowed for a busy and cramped space to look like it was crafted specifically for the iPad instead of cramming a desktop version of an app into a smaller screen haphazardly.

The apps Affinity has put together allow for it to be a seamless and simple solutions for people looking for a pro application to edit photos and design works of art, but they aren’t the only ones.

Apps like Lumafusion and Ferrite also allow those working with video and audio to be iPad only as well. They not only are great solutions for using an iPad for videos and podcasts, it can be your main way of editing. The Mac isn’t necessary anymore to make that YouTube Video or create the podcast you always wanted to. It wasn’t that long ago when you needed a high-end iMac or Mac Pro to edit videos to meet the expectations of critics and film reviewers, and most importantly ourselves. You go on YouTube now and look at videos made entirely on the iPad and they are some of the most creative and impressive pieces of art I have seen online in the past 18–24 months. One I highly recommend is that of Serenity Caldwell’s iPad Review.

There are a lot of premium apps with premium prices on the iPad, but not nearly enough for everyone to see that the iPad is a “Mac replacement.” Personally, I think it would be better to see apps like Logic Pro X and Final Cut X get full versions of the apps on iOS. Having Apple tout that the iPad is a great alternative to the Mac and Windows Tablets but not have the premium apps to back it seems counterintuitive to me and I think for people to look at the iPad more than a Facebook and Netflix machine, they hav to put their money where their mouths are.

Despite my criticism on Apple not providing apps that are pro apps, I will say that there is no tablet in the Android, Chromebook, and probably the Windows ecosystem, that is as beautifully designed and well thought out as those on the iOS ecosystem, especially the iPad. If I were to look for something like Affinity Designer and Lumafusion in a Tablet form I sincerely doubt I would find anything that is as close to the intersection of beauty and function like those available on the iPad.

If ever there were a time to think about replacing that old MacBook Air with an iPad, I would say that time is now. With Adobe releasing more iPad apps in 2019 and almost certainly new iPads coming in the next month or two, I think right now is the perfect time to think about what you can do with the iPad and really consider if it can be a replacement for you in your day to day work and life. For me, it absolutely is. I may crack open my Mac once in a while but it by no means is because I need it, it is just that I don’t have the time to learn how to work around those specific things I use my Mac for still. One day I think I will, and probably have an easier time with it thanks to iOS apps like Drafts 5 and Siri Shortcuts to make things as easy as one singular tap.

Pro apps on the iPad are here to stay, and I think having Adobe coming into the game to bring full-featured versions of their apps is a great thing for iOS and the iPad.

When you are working with your iPad, many people feel stuck. Some feel like they aren’t being efficient enough or doing the right things. Well, today we have 10 ipad life hacks on how to get more out of your favorite iPad.

1. Type to Siri

Type to Siri is a new addition to iOS 11. And if you are like so many others, you usually have a keyboard attached or connected to the iPad. So, instead of talking to Siri you can type to her (or him).

This is great for the people who aren’t into talking to a computer to do tasks, it is also great for those night owls who don’t want to wake anyone that may be sleeping in your home.

Give type to Siri a try, it may just be the extra kick you need to getting things out of your head and into a system you trust.

To do this go into Settings > General > Accessibility > Siri

From there turn on Type to Siri.

2. Have a shelf app in Slide-Over

I spoke about Shelf Apps before. They are a great way to put things you want to save and use in other apps for later. One trick I found to be immensely helpful it to always have it available with a simple swipe from the right side of the iPad.

This is called the Slide-Over app. It is basically a floating app that isn’t connected to another app, allowing it to be freely accessible wherever you are on you iPad.

I use this a lot with the images to my posts, but I have seen others use it for practically any type of file or input.

If you are looking for a good Shelf app I recommend Gladys or Yoink. Each have their quirks but they are both very powerful and definitely something I keep in my dock for frequent use.

3. Use Spotlight for searching more than just apps

Spotlight is underutilized, in my opinion, when it comes to using the iPad. Many just use it for the occasional search for an app, but there are so many other things that Spotlight can search for.

You can search for files, websites, and even local stores through Maps. Spotlight is something I underutilized until I started pushing to see what all it can handle. I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see that it managed to find what I wanted a large majority of the time.

Granted, there are times where I couldn’t find what I was searching for but that happened far less then when it worked.

Give Spotlight a try more and see it it works for you.

4. Edit your Share sheet

The Share Sheet is the place to send things from one app to another. But sometimes you have to dig through to find the right app to send the information or file to.

One thing you can do is remove the apps you never use in the Share Sheet. You can do this by hitting the share icon and scrolling all the way to the right and tap the “More” button.

From there you can rearrange, hide, or add the apps you want. This works for both the top and bottom rows of the Share Sheet.

Additionally, you can drag icons to rearrange them if you find you want one more readily accessible.

5. Use text shortcuts and/or TextExpander

Many of us have common phrases or information we send to people regularly. Things like email addresses, updates on where we are, or just emails we send when someone asks a question you get asked a lot. This is where Text Replacement and TextExpander come in.

Text Replacement is a feature built into iOS. To see it go to Settings > General > Keyboard and you will see the option there. Once you open it you can add or edit text replacements. One you may see there is omw. What this means is that any time you type “omw” iOS will replace that with “On my way!”

Text Replacement is useful for quick phrases or words that you may use a lot, but when you add longer strands of text or need something that is Rick Text, you will need TextExpander.

TextExpander is a great tool I recommend to anyone who does email support, communicates to others via email or text as part of their job, or just someone that is geeky like my and wants to make things easier for me in the long run.

Because of the robust features TextExpander offer you may need some help getting over the learning curve of it. David Sparks did a video series on Textexpander a little over a year ago when the company redesigned their app from the ground up. If you want to learn more about the vast amount of features this app has, David is the man to teach you.

6. Edit Control Center

Control Center is one of those features that if you use it, it can make things much more efficient and change the way you use your iPhone or iPad.

When iOS 11 came out Apple put together a slew of options you can set for your Control Center, including having up to 8 button instead of the default 4. There are some great options on there, my personal favorite is the screen recording option. With this you just tap on the button and you screen is then being recorded. This is especially handy when you are the tech support person for your family and a relative asks you how to do something on their phone. Instead of walking them through it with long texts or emails you can record how to do it and send it their way to view as many times as they need to accomplish what they want.

7. Schedule Do Not Disturb times for working on the high-energy level tasks

Do Not Disturb sounds like a feature you would use when you are going to sleep or when you’re at the movies, but this feature can cut distractions out of your life big time.

I use DND when I am writing or working on other high-energy tasks that require my full attention. It saves me from being distracted by email, messages, and more when I am in deep work mode.

If you want to learn more about what Do Not Disturb is, Apple has a great support doc to read over.

8. Long Press on some Apps for a force-touch like response

While the new iPhones have Force Touch, the iPad does not. Regardless of the reasoning from Apple, there is a way to get the added pop-ups on an iPad.

This doesn’t work for all apps that have force touch support, but those that do have it allows you to use it without having to open the app.

Just tap and hold on an app, instead of it wiggling a pop-up will appear with whatever the developers built to come up. For instance, Apple’s Files app shows the most recent documents you have opened, which can be handy when you need to quickly open up something you were working on earlier.

9. Scan QR codes with your Camera

QR codes were never the smash hit they were meant to be. Rarely do I ever use it, but on the rare occasion I do I always thought you needed to download a separate app. Instead, you have a QR code reader built in to the camera.

With a few taps in settings you too can turn on QR Code reader and have the option to scan one within the native Camera app.

Apparently this feature was added with iOS 11. It is a hidden feature to many, but this is so convenient when necessary.

10. Access Saved Passwords in Safari

Password management has become more and more important over the years. Between hacks to your email, or even your personal finance information, a good password that is unique on each site is a must.

Safari has made some major improvements to creating passwords for accounts you make in the browser, making them uniques and then saving them to iCloud.

But there are times where you need that password and iOS doesn’t have it as an option in the shortcut menu. You’re not out of luck, you just need to copy it from Settings.

To do this go to Settings > Accounts & Passwords then tap on the App & Website Passwords option at the top. From there you will get access to all the saved passwords in you iCloud Keychain.

While the iCloud Keychain can get the job done it doesn’t offer many options for other things like secure notes, and getting to these passwords can be tedious over time.

This is where apps like 1Password come in and they offer a great app that can be built into the Share Sheet and is integrated in may apps like Twitter where you jut tap on the lock button in the login screen and it will search for passwords that match Twitter. It is a very intuitive app and well worth the money to ease the stresses of password management and security.

Extras

So there are some life hacks for using you iPhone or iPad. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed something.

Also, if you’re wondering how I made these screenshot annotations, I used the app Annotable. They are not a sponsor, just a very cool app and one I want to share with you all!