Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Will the iPad mini Become Bigger A 9” Screen?

Main Points:

  • Would an iPad mini with a 9” screen still be a mini? And would it still be popular among its supporters?
  • iPad mini is optimized for consuming contends
  • I’ve been using my 2019 mini for productivity as well. For writing, drawing, and light work, it’s fine. When it comes to serious productivity like spreadsheets or coding, you quickly run up against a lot of limitations. 
  • As far as working with the mini, the 9” screen is better than the current 
  • If Apple does go bigger, no idea when it will happen.
  • A bigger iPad mini would allow Apple to accessorize it like all the other iPads in the lineup. The mini is the only without a keyboard case from Apple.
I have 5th generation iPad that was released in 2019. I immediately upgraded from my 4th generation iPad mini when I saw the specs and Apple Pencil support. I have skipped the current mini with the modern form factor with an 8.3” screen. Previously iPad had 7.9” screens. So what happens if Apple decides to increase the iPad mini screen further to about 9”.

Some might argue that a 9” iPad mini would not be a “mini” anymore. Perhaps. However, consider the added benefits and form factor increasing slightly and still continue to be easily handled on just one hand, it still is still a mini. 

Here are the benefits of a 9” mini that I am sure would get many people to upgrade, including myself:
  • More real estate. A bigger screen. Duh. As I have gotten older, my eyes need all the help they get. I read a lot on it. Lots of books, comics, and news. I also watch videos on my mini as well. It’s my go-to device. 
  • Flatter design. Apple can spread out the battery and other components and even upgrade the camera. This helps make the body of a 9” mini thinner while still keeping it very sturdy.
  • If I happen to have a to get some some work done, an added 1” to my screen from my current 7.9” mini screen would make a big different. Remember my eyes? Yours will also appreciate bigger letters and numbers.
  • Apple can make even more money. I’ll get to that later.
Those are the obvious points. I like having an all-in-one device that I can take with me and serve multiple roles. That’s my current mini. For the current IPad mini, with the updated form factor, better ship, and slightly bigger screen, it was not enough of a jump from the 5th generation for me. Slightly bigger screen? Meh. But 9” would serve me very well. The original iPad was 9.7”. However, I will still it mainly as a consumption device. I would rather opt for a possible 12” iPad Pro for prolong and focused productivity sessions as I’ve previously discussed. 

And Apple might want to develop and produce this mini for a few reasons. All of these will be a benefit to Apple’s bottom line and demonstrate that it can still innovate. Apple current 10.2” iPad is no slouch but I would hardly call it a workhorse. And updated 9” mini with modern A-series chip would make people opt to upgrade to the mini even though it will cost more than the iPad. People will figure for paying extra for the updated specs and bigger screen would make sense. And I said more because I am sure Apple will increase the price of the 9” mini by $100 if not more. Still well worth the upgrade for many iPad users.

Another reason for Apple to sell this mini is to allow users to accessorize it. It is the only iPad with a keyboard case. With a bigger body, a keyboard would be easier to type on. When the 8.3” iPad min I came out, I am sure many users were disappointed that Apple did not realize keyboard or Smart Keyboard cases. Well, that’s because it is too small to really type on them. I cannot recall typing any length of email or article on the mini’s keyboard in recent memories. I either dictate or use an internal keyboard and mouse. 

Add all this together, Apple will have found an added revenue screen. Plus, Apple can continue to keep the current iPad mini with the 8.3” screen on the market at the same price or even at a slight discount.

Excited? Yeah, me too. Back to reality. I am just speculating here. I have no idea if Apple is thinking along these lines. Given how long Apple has kep the previous mini with the same screen and form before upgrading to the latest in 2021, if Apple chose to keep it the same for a while, I think a 9” mini could be a long wait for most of us. Still like I said, Apple can still keep the current mini on sale while releasing this 9” iPad mini. Maybe they’ll call it ‘iPad mini Pro”

What do you think? Your credit cards ready? Yeah, I see a lot of you folks with the 8.3” iPad mini set to upgrade as well! 

When Apple Takes the iPad Pro to 14”, Does That Mean the 12” As well?

Key Points:

  • I've given up on Apple ever releasing a 12" MacBook
  • I will settle for a 12" iPad Pro
  • The screen would be big enough for most productivity work. 
I have given up on Apple ever releasing a 12" MacBook for the foreseeable future (or in my life time). Apple's philosophy regarding hardware designs suggests that going bigger is the right path for them. I am sure they have their reasons and you cannot knock Cupertino for believing in this given Apple's $3 trillion valuation and $100 billion in net income with sales of around $400 billion in the last four quarters. 

The iPads have gotten bigger (and it’ll get bigger still and it is why I’ve started on this post). So have the iPhones. Last year, the mini with the 5.4” screen got dropped. The iPhone SE is the only smallish phone with its older 4.7” screen. Rumors has it that it will be replaced with a new SE in 2024 that comes in at 6.1”. Essentially, think of it as the iPhone XR with updated specs.

And then there are the iPhone Plus and iPhone Pro Max both with 6.7” screens. There is still room yet for these screens on future iPhones to become bigger with the form factors getting bigger as Apple push out the bezels.

Back to the iPad Pro line up. Apple will be going big on the iPad Pro as well. The two models currently come in at 11” and 12.9”. Apple has been working on an even bigger iPad Pro. The biggest iPad Pro will have at least a 14” screen. That being the case, what does this leave the 11” and 12.9”. 

Apple can conceivably keep around - giving users three Pro models to choose from. However, the more like path Apple will take is to replace the iPad Pro with 12” and 14” screens.

If I am right, the 12” iPad Pro with M3 chip is going to be my go-to computing device. I am still on my 12” MacBook from 2016. The keyboard is useable but I feel likely I am making too much compromises when I am typing. Also, the battery is half what it once was at best. On top of that, it is no longer on the latest MacOS. While Apple provides security updates, there are some dev tools that are no longer available. 

Now, I know you cannot run Xcode on the iPad Pro but I can continue to use Playgrounds to learn and test some codes. And when the time comes, I can get a Mac mini or Mac Studio for when I need more serious computing muscles for my other projects.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Google Contact Lenses, Apple’s Vision Pro, And The Future of AR in Glasses

 We can walk and chew gum at the same time. But how about watching a video while doing yard work, during a meeting you don’t want to be at, or, ahem, school? Okay, I don’t recommend doing that but I am sure it has been done before or worse. I am suggesting this because with the recent Vision Pro unveil by Apple, I cannot help but imagine in a few years, perhaps a decade from now, Apple and other tech companies will be able to jam all that technology that currently has to sit on the top of your head into a pair of glasses. 

We already have glasses with audio built in from the likes of Oakley and Ankers.

There were rumors a few years ago that Google was going to skip the glasses altogether and go directly to incorporating tech into contact lenses. Now if you remember Google Glasses, let us just say that Google was way ahead of its time and it should not have included a camera. 

Despite the fact that Google Glasses did not go anywhere, I cannot help but feel that Google has not given up on this effort. In fact, Google even went as far as to try putting a computer ship inside contact lenses to measure glucose levels in 2014. While all these efforts have supposedly been abandoned, keep in mind that it was before Apple Vision Pro.

So far, the media has been kind to the Vision Pro despite its heft $3500 price tag and that it seems to be more of a beta device that is not ready for prime time, the Vision Pro has elevated AR, VR, and spatial computing from just its demos alone from WWDC back in June.

I cannot imagine Google and Microsoft letting Apple have this space all to itself. As we know, Facebook is already in this space with the Oculus Quest. Then there is HTC’s Vive and I am sure Samsung is doubling down on its effort in this space as well.

All those are today and in the next few years. What about beyond that?

That’s where I want to focus on - bring back Google’s vision for Glasses with all these tech fit inside the frames of the glasses and the lens capable of displaying 8K resolutions. I am sure I will eventually pick up a Vision Pro and something else in a couple of years just to get into spatial computing and being able to use those large displays in the headsets, I cannot see myself not being fatitured by an extra 1.5 pounds on my head.

Plus, I do not want to be tied down in my office or living. I want to go out. With such a pair of glasses, I can go out and have the glasses offered me updates while I am out and about. As I jog, the glasses gives me my speed, heart beats and blood pressure, and distance. Sensors on the glasses gives me direct as I walk about. And yeah, if I’m working in my yard and I want to catch up on some shows while I work, a little screen pops up with the video. 

And yes, I would totally be watching YouTube videos during meetings I don’t want to be at.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

AI Use This Week - Use Before Search To Save Time Is the Lesson I Learned

It has taken me a while to get going with the whole generative AI craze. Although it seems as though things have died down and the world realized ChatGPT is not going to take over the world and humanity is not doomed to extinction because of AI overlord. If we go the way of the dodo birds, it will because we did it to ourselves.

So, AI is very useful. There are obvious inherent dangers and pitfalls but for a vast major of its potential uses, generative AI is actually great at what it does. Granted, most of what I use it for is feels rather superficial but it is a great time saver. I had asked ChatGPT for a workflow on writing a novel. But before I get into the result that I got, let's go through the results that I would have gotten from just search.

I have used DuckDuckGo, Google, and even Bing whenever I need to find information. Input something like "workflow for writing a novel", and you get the very helpful search results. In fact, tons of useful information. The top searches from DuckDuckGo and Bing took me an article that seems pretty good until I realized I had to sign in before I can read the rest. Subsequent results are fine. Google gave me a search on creating workflows as its first result.

I spent some time digging in and doing a quick read on which articles offer the best of what I was looking for and what the main points are. I took notes.

With ChatGPT, it offered me a quick outline and pointers. It hit all of the main points that I took down. I did not have to read through three to five articles to get that. I realized that with some subjects or searches, I can go to a generative AI like ChatGPT to quickly get some main points and even use it to elaborate on them if I needed it to or I can do more research through search engines as well.

It would have saved me a lot of time if I had asked the AI in the first place. It gave me a starting point. And that I think that is going to the main use for generative AI - helping users parse through the most difficult part of any research or project with the main points and allow users to get started easier and more quickly. 

iPad and WWDC Prediction: Apple Will Upgrade Siri And Users Will Not Be Able to Choose Between ChatGPT or Gemini

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