Wednesday, January 2, 2013

iPad3 and iPad mini

In two previous blogs I dealt with the iPad. Now after more than two years of experience I am still convinced that this tablet fulfills all my mobile computing needs in particular when bluetoothed to the Logitech keyboard. The keyboard when not in use serves as a perfect cover for the iPad3 screen. Reading e-books in bed on the iPad3 however becomes "heavy" with time. So why not get an iPad mini?

I received my pre-ordered iPad mini on December 7 and started loving it right away. During its initial setup I simply copied the content of my iPad3 to the iPad mini but immediately became more selective with respect to applications. I keep on the mini only those programs I am likely to use. It is convenient to have two machines that are programmed alike but fulfill different purposes. The iPad3 is the tablet I now use at home as my "notebook" whereas the iPad mini is the ideal travel companion and e-book reader. Hence, should I ever change my iPad3 to a newer edition I shall choose a WiFi only model.

As far as the arrangement of apps on my iPad home screens is concerned they both look the same. However, compared to the display shown in my previous blog there are some changes:

For managing my appointments, tasks and contacts I still adore the eventually matured Pocket Informant. I now use iOS calendars only that perfectly synchronize in iCloud with all my devices (Desktop PC, iPad3, iPad mini and iPhone5). Cloud services make all the difference in modern computing. There are no longer any "lost" appointments nor double entries for tasks.

Contacts in Pocket Informant are also kept in an iOS database except for group e-mails as Apple still does not provide a decent possibility to build groups from single e-mail addresses. There is a third party application available in the Apple store but setting up groups with more than ten people is a lengthy operation and bound to crash preferably when I had just entered 90% of the names. So I still manage my e-mail distribution groups in MS Outlook on my desktop.

The many third party apps for managing tasks in the Apple store without any decent synchronization are not worth the download. Apple offer their frugal Reminder application so until lately I rather used the task database of my favorite Pocket Informant that I keep synchronized between my iOS devices using Toodledo. Luckily things have moved. Two months ago in a mayor update Pocket Informant incorporated iOS Reminder intö their platform. Tasks are now accessible and editable in PI and synchronize in the cloud. The only thing still lacking and I like to see is the fusion of iOS Notes with the notes in Pocket Informant.

Mail is the next icon in the first row of applications with, as mentioned above, the restriction of offering no group mail.

The next icon on the screen marked Launch hides an iPhone only application that runs on the iPad too. When you tap on it a panel opens with nine programmable fields you may assign to apps and actions. Instead of moving to and struggle through menus and other pages to launch less frequently used apps with Launch in my case YouTube, my Wikipedia watch list, Google Maps, Toggle brightness, the Kindle book reader, Quickoffice that can handle MS Office files, Wikipanion (switching easily between the German, English and French versions of Wikipedia), the iBooks reader, and PCalc, a RPN-calculator, are just two clicks away. It seems that Launch is one of those applications Apple dislikes for the authors of the app so far hesitated to launch a dedicated iPad version.

Nothing is to be added about Apple's Safari browser. Facebook still allows me to follow my son's travel.

The first application in the second row remains Flipboard that gorgeous news reader. With Flipboard I follow the most important national and international news. However, for futher reading I replaced the Pulp reader with the somewhat faster Newsflash app. The next icon launches PhatNotes my most cherished carryover from my Windows Mobile days. The database contains all my personal information and passwords. Of all those browsers available in the Apple store I eventually retained Google's Chrome as fast and stable in case Safari is compromised.

I still jot down my ideas with the simple text processor Nebulous (they changed their icon), synchronizing the texts into Dropbox and retrieving them with TextPad on my desktop. The additional row of freely programmable keys in Nebulous stays on the screen when the Logitech keyboard is connected via Bluetooth but I changed the disposition of these keys slightly.

The fourth row starts with my now favorite weather application. Meteogram is a graphical presentation of the development of temperature, rainfall etc. detailed for the next two days and  spanning the coming week. The following icon marked Wetter contains my collection of nearly all of these weather applications I accumulated with time when I used to look up the best weather forecast available. In Utilities I keep stored useful apps some of them I described previously. In the meantime both my iPads are delivered with a camera I never use. Don't people simply look ridiculous taking photos with the iPad? Should one day the need for a camera shot with my iPads arise the Camera+ app features more possibilities than the native one. Notizen is what is called in English Notes.

On the last row the SPORT1 app and the DB Navigator are known to those who have read my earlier iPad blog. New are ReaddleDocs and an alarm clock (Wecker) the latter chosen among a dozen others. ReaddleDocs is special for it allows me to view in a single application all my files stored in my clouds. Yes, in addition to the old and faithful workhorse Dropbox I am hooked up to Google Drive and Microsoft Sky Drive services too. I have not yet made up my mind on the possible use and even usefulness of these various cloud services hoping that ReaddleDocs will eventually help to spark my ideas on this matter.

On the apps bar at the bottom there is one newcomer: Bluetooth on/off again is one of those applications Apple does not like. Without getting astray in the submenus of iPad Settings just hitting the button will toggle Bluetooth on and off connecting or disconnecting my Logitech keyboard instantaneously..


  1. Can you suggest to me a good site or an online dealer that market durable iPad cases? I want to get something in leather and in Silicone. Sleeves would do good too :)



  2. Hi Allan,

    thanks for your interest. I bought two cases for my iPad1 and regretted it afterwards. For my iPad3 I just glued a foil to protect the back and use the original iPad screen protection or the Logitech ultra thin keyboard. For my iPad mini I haven't bought anything yet except the standard magnetic cover from Apple. In the meantime I hate cases for they just add weight to the devices.

    For choosing your "sturdy" case look on the internet. They are offers as sand on the beach as we say in my language.

    Have a good choice and good year, Red Baron

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