Apple Fall Event 2018

A fully loaded iPad Pro will cost you $2,227

Posted by | Apple, Apple Fall Event 2018, Gadgets, hardware, iPad, iPad Pro | No Comments

This is a public service announcement. The latest and greatest iPad, namely the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, will cost you $2,227 to buy in its best configuration and with the basic accessories that make it worth having in the first place. Plus tax, of course. I’m not making a value judgment here, just stating the facts. Tablets are getting pretty damn expensive.

To be clear, here’s what you’d be getting for that price.

  • iPad Pro base cost $999
  • Upgrade from 64GB to 1TB storage: $750 (!)
  • Cellular chip: $150
  • New Apple Pencil: $129
  • Smart Keyboard Folio: $199

Tax varies. Shipping’s free, at least.

To me the cost of the base tablet is actually not bad, though I personally wouldn’t buy it. It really does look like a fine device, if you can get over the curved screen edges and minuscule bezels that will probably make you drop it. I can really see how the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be a great tool for some artists, assuming they’re already successful enough to afford it. Good stylus surfaces are expensive and the iPad has proven itself to be at the very least competitive.

The storage is, as always, the eye-wateringly expensive upgrade that doesn’t really jibe with the cost of the actual components. Good flash storage isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t $750 a terabyte. A good M.2 drive of that capacity and speed is perhaps $150, and that’s including the interface and so on. Apple charging an arm and a leg for upgraded storage is nothing new, but they somehow manage to make it just as shocking every time.

The cellular is another upsell that probably isn’t worth it, considering it also incurs a monthly cost. If it was a low-speed Amazon-style free service, I’d do it in a heartbeat to keep my notes and saved articles up to date. But it’s going to run you $150 upfront and probably almost that every year as an added device to your plan. (Could be a nice option to have if you travel a lot, though.)

The accessories are expensive, but that new stylus and its snap-on charging (hardly an Apple innovation but nice to have) sure do look nice. You’ll need a keyboard if you’re going to do anything but sketch and read comics on this thing.

Tablet computer or computer tablet?

And adding the keyboard is really where you start to blur the line between tablet and “real” computer. Of course, the Microsoft Surface, bless its heart and its tiny sales numbers (unflatteringly called out by Apple on stage), is the one that has made strides here over the last few years and Apple is merely drafting it. That’s fine — it’s been the other way around plenty of times.

But the difference when you start looking at the apps and features is pretty serious. The iPad Pro is certainly the most productive and professional tablet out there, but as soon as you add a keyboard and set it down on your lap, it starts competing with laptops. And the Surface lineup, while it may lack some of the polish of the iPad, is arguably more powerful both in specs (hard to compare Intel’s chips to Apple’s directly in this case) and certainly in software capability.

I suppose that last point is arguable, as well, but let’s try to be honest with ourselves. A Windows computer can do more than an iPad.

Microsoft’s device, after all, is a full-blown computer that acts like a tablet when you want it to, not vice versa. That’s important. If I was going to spend $2,000 on a daily driver (though honestly, there’s no need to), I sure as hell wouldn’t pick the one with all kinds of weird, half-formed multitasking gestures, semi-functional cross-app compatibility and app features and selection highly curated and restricted by the people who own the store. And this is coming from someone who likes Macs and iPads!

For the same price as the iPad Pro discussed above, you could get a Surface Pro 6 with 16 gigs of RAM (Apple doesn’t specify how much the iPad Pro has, and if it doesn’t crow about it, that usually means it’s nothing to crow about), a better processor (Intel Core i7, same generation) and… well, if you want that terabyte of storage you’re still going to pay through the nose. Maxing it out (including accessories) costs you a couple hundred more than the best iPad you can get, but I think you’d be getting much more value for your dollar.

Plus the Surface has a headphone jack.

That said, there’s no reason to go all-out on either of these things. That’s the real trap that both companies want you to fall into. Save money and buy last year’s model or the year before, save yourself a thousand bucks and take a vacation instead. You deserve it.

Apple Fall Event 2018

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Apple ditches the headphone jack on latest iPad Pro models

Posted by | AirPods, Apple, Apple earbuds, Apple Fall Event 2018, apple inc, computing, Gadgets, Google, iOS, iPad, iPhone, lightning, mobile device, tablet computers, technology | No Comments

The headphone jack is missing from the latest versions of the iPad Pro. It’s gone. Dead. Worse yet, the headphones that come with the iPhone will not work either. Apple ditched Lightning for USB-C. Instead, Apple is selling a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle for $9.

The latest iPad Pro models follows the trend lines set by the iPhone. Just like on the iPhone, the Home Button is missing, and the headphone jack is gone. It’s a concession some users might find surprising. On the iPhone, there’s obviously less real estate to integrate a large port but that’s, in theory, less of an issue in a large device like a tablet. But it makes sense. Apple tends to maximize margins by ensuring different products use a similar set of hardware. And since the iPhone hasn’t had a headphone port since 2016, it’s about time the trend hits Apple’s other mobile device.

Headphone users are not the only users left in the dark. The iPad has long been a great device for a stationary audio controller. Now, instead of simply connecting the tablet to a stereo with a 3.5mm cable, a $9 dongle is required. Want to use headphones? Apple would obviously prefer if owners use $159 AirPods though there are a handful of USB-C headphones including these from Google.

Apple Fall Event 2018

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The iPad finally moves to USB-C

Posted by | Apple, Apple Fall Event 2018, Gadgets, iPad Pro, USB-C | No Comments

Lightning had a good run, but it’s time to switch everything to USB-C. Apple finally dropped the Lightning port with the new iPad Pro. And the USB-C port is much more versatile than Lightning.

For instance, you can plug a 5K display to your iPad Pro and show some video on the external display. It’s still unclear how it’s going to work when it comes to software, but it opens up a lot possibilities.

You can also use USB-C dongles to plus all sort of data accessories. SD card readers, Ethernet cables, etc. The iPad Pro is looking more and more like a traditional laptop. Many third-party accessory makers will probably use this opportunity to develop docks and other hubs.

Finally, the good thing about USB-C is that you can theoretically turn any device into an external battery pack. Using a USB-C to Lightning, you can now charge an iPhone from your iPad. It’s an expensive battery pack, but it can be useful for those who always carry both at the same time.

Now let’s hope this is the first sign that USB-C is coming to the iPhone. I can’t wait to use my laptop charger to charge my phone, or my iPhone charger to charge my Nintendo Switch.

Apple Fall Event 2018

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How to watch the live stream for Apple’s iPad and Mac keynote

Posted by | AirPods, AirPower, Apple, Apple Fall Event 2018, Apps, Developer, Gadgets, imac, iPad, iPad Pro, macbook, macbook air, Mobile | No Comments

Apple is holding a keynote today at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House, and the company is expected to unveil a brand new iPad Pro as well as updated Mac computers. The event starts at 10 AM in New York (7 AM in San Francisco, 2 PM in London, 3 PM in Paris), you’ll be able to watch the event as the company is streaming it live.

If you live in Europe and already put a note in your calendar, make sure you got the time right as daylight saving time has yet to happen in the U.S. New York is currently 4 hours behind London, 5 hours behind Paris, etc.

Apple is likely to unveil a new iPad Pro to replace the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Rumor has it that it’ll look nothing like your current iPad. The device should get rounded corners, thinner bezels and a Face ID sensor. Apple could also switch to USB-C instead of Lightning and refresh the Apple Pencil.

On the Mac front, the MacBook Air could get a refresh. This could be Apple’s new entry-level laptop. But it should sport a retina display for the first time. There could also be a new Mac Mini of some sort after all those years without an update.

Finally, maybe Apple will tell us why the AirPower charging mat is still not available. Apple might also update the AirPods. But maybe it’ll happen later.

If you have a recent Apple TV, you can download the Apple Events app in the App Store. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old events. Users with pre-App Store Apple TVs can simply turn on their devices. Apple is pushing out the “Apple Events” channel so that you can watch the event.

And if you don’t have an Apple TV, the company also lets you live-stream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

So to recap, here’s how you can watch today’s Apple event:

  • On iOS: Safari.
  • On the Mac: Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
  • On Windows: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge.
  • An Apple TV with the Apple Events app in the App Store.

Of course, you also can read TechCrunch’s live blog if you’re stuck at work and really need our entertaining commentary track to help you get through your day. We have a big team in the room this year.

Apple Fall Event 2018

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