New iPad Air day! And some thoughts on the latest Apple software

Wow… In case you missed Apple’s event last week, then you missed a TON of announcements.  Instead of the event being iPad focused with little info about the Macs, it was completely the opposite.  The event was 2/3rds Mac, and 1/3 iPad.  Quick summary:

  • More info about the Mac Pro
  • Update Mac Book Pros and Mac Book Airs
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks released, free
  • iWork updated on both OS X and iOS, all free
  • iLife update on both OS X and iOS, all free
  • new full sized iPad, called iPad Air, shipping Nov 1st
  • new iPad mini, now with Retina, shipping sometime in Nov.

Being the stupid, bleeding edge person that I am, I almost immediately installed Mavericks, iWork, and iLife (plus the small update of Logic).  My initial first impressions are very positive.  The Mavericks upgrade is a no brainer.  Unless one has the initial 32-bit Intel processors (the absolute first Intel macs), Mavericks will install on a machine.

The good:  So far, the OS part of Mavericks is awesome.  The boot time on my MacBook Pro decreased significantly.  I don’t know if that’s because Mavericks has a better handle on my SSD, or if some other voodoo is going on, but the boot up, and general responsiveness of my computer seems to have gotten better.  Unfortunately, I don’t have benchmarks, but ‘it feels faster’ works for me.

The bad: I’m coming to grips with the changes in applications.  I’m one of the people who like the skeumorphic apps like the calendar, notepad, and contacts.  The new apps are a bit bland.  Sometimes, skeumorphisim really works.  In my Digital Audio Workstations, plug-ins that look like their real counterpart seem to be much more accepted than ones that have abstract interfaces.

Then there is some ugly:  The multi monitor implementation might work for most, but I hate it.  I’m just glad that there is a check box allowing one to go back to the ‘old’ screen system.  iBooks is another issue.  Did anyone actually try to READ a book on an mac with the iBooks program?  Trying to get a large, single page view is impossible.  I expect iBooks for Mac is why iBooks for iOS didn’t get updated.  The iBooks team has probably been feverishly working on iBooks for OS X, and had to rip out the features in the program to get it to ship.  Hopefully, iBooks will get updated a LOT.

As for the other apps, I don’t use Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, and Garageband that much.  Garageband is more and more ‘Logic Lite’ as the latest Logic features, like Drummer, are showing up in it.  The other apps seem to have regressed a bit, as lots of features have been pulled to allow the apps to get a solid baseline.  I expect the extra features will come back, but only when  the feature can be implemented across OS X, iOS, and the web sites.

All in all, the hardware and software are great update, and show that Apple isn’t only focusing on the phones and tablets.


I had also told myself before the presentation that my current iPad, the 3, was ‘good enough’.  Well, that’s until the iPad Air was announced.  A lot of people have been calling the iPad Air a ‘boring’ release.  As for me, once the iPad Air’s information showed up, I decided to sell the iPad 3, AND my iPad mini to fund an update to the Air.  What makes this release not boring TO ME was several things: one, the weight dropped by almost 30%.  The new Air falls squarely in the middle of an iPad 4 and an iPad mini for weight.  At the same time, the reduced the size of it and changed it to be more ‘iPad mini’ looking.  I’m undecided on if I like the shrinking of the size.  On one hand, one can use the Air one handed.  But for someone like me who uses a stylus a bit, the edges were exactly right.  Now, there’s no where to rest one’s wrist.  Next up, is the processor upgrade.  This one is huge.  The iPad 3 has always been a bit lag-y.  I’m sure the 4 helped, but I’d skipped that version.  Still, the new processor is MILES ahead of even the 4.  Plus, the 64-bit change over makes the processor a very interesting upgrade.  And finally, 128 gigs of memory.  Yes, this was there for the 4, but the extra space was not enough to cause me to go out and upgrade from the 3 to the 4.  However, when you put all of the features together, the iPad Air became a no brainer.

So far, so good.  Apple is executing well, and I’m personally very happy with all the new toys!