Imagining the Smart Paper Cover

I've long assumed that the iPad would eventually replace paper for the majority of day-to-day tasks. While that hasn't happened yet, and faltering sells figures might suggest that it will never happen, I'm still confident that it's almost inevitable.
Larger and smaller iPads have increased the usefulness of the platform. The iPad mini is a near perfect web and social media browsing device and the iPad Pro has expanded the range of content that can easily be created with iOS to near Mac levels.
However, to replace paper the iPad might have to possess a few more paper-like qualities.
Glass is not an easy surface to write on
Even after an entire year of using the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, I struggle to write with the precision of pen and paper. I need friction, not excessive friction, but just enough to stop the small slides that annoy me. I'm genuinely surprised that Apple didn't give the larger iPad Pro a textured glass surface, or at least, provide it as an option.
How to you compete with the battery life of a sheet of paper?
E-ink displays, such as those featured in the recently announced reMarkable tablet, offer almost limitless battery life, but with massive caveats. The refresh rate isn't fast enough for anything other than static content and current E-ink displays are black and white only. Clearly, an iPad with an E-ink display just wouldn't be an iPad as we know it.
One solution might be to embed the E-ink display into a new Smart Cover, one that would connect to the Smart Connector. The entire surface of the Smart Cover (let's call it the Smart Paper Cover) would be a responsive, high contrast, E-ink display. The cover would be entirely reversible so as to allow the E-ink display to be used as a secondary display, when open, or a (limited) primary display, when closed.
This solution would solve two important problems currently facing the iPad. It would dramatically increase the notetaking capability of the iPad, plus give it Kindle-like battery life for reading content.
Would this solution be handy to you? Let me know in a comment below. 

'Selfoo' by Susan Murtaugh

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A fantastic portrait from one of our all time favourite iPad artists!

10 of the best iPad apps for creative professionals

A top 10 list from Creative Bloq features some of my personal favourite iPad apps. It's no surprise to find classic apps such as Procreate and Duet Display taking the number 1 and 8 spots respectively, but there are a few surprises too. Check out the full list at Creative Bloq.

'Can't Feel My Face' by The Weeknd


I'm really enjoying these GarageBand tutorials by Arvid Sandgren. His presentation style is very simple, but he still manages to convey all the information you need to get the cover version made.

'Photograph' by Ed Sheeran, a GarageBand tutorial

I've only just found Arvid's YouTube channel, so I'm still playing through the 40 or so iPad GarageBand tutorials on offer, including Photograph by Ed Sheeran, as shown above. I really like Arvid's method of teaching, it's quick, but not too quick. There are few better ways of learning how to use GarageBand than to create a complete cover track. It may not satisfy that creative urge, but it will help you become proficient enough with GarageBand to help you on your way. Plus you'll learn something about the structure of the song you're covering, no bad thing.

iPad Pro. "It’s an iPad that lets you be more creative..."

First, a little clarification about the apparent demise of this website. It's still alive, just.

It's hard to get enthused about a product if the company that created that product doesn't appear to know what to do with it. The iPad has been a phenomenal success for Apple, but despite an encouraging start it seems to have become a device for consuming media other people have created rather than a device for creating things yourself. This is despite a huge number of third party applications focused entirely on creating quality content.

So what's problem, what's behind this stagnation of the iPad as a platform for creating content?

The Mac is a superb tool for creating content. For a while the iPad had some important advantages over Apple laptops. It was thinner, lighter, it had double the battery life and a screen with a pixel density that was impossible to find on any Apple laptop. That changed. In 2012 Apple launched the MacBook Pro with Retina display. It had an 5 mega pixel display, battery life that was double that of the previous generation of MacBooks yet it was almost as light and as thin as the MacBook Air.

In short, many of the features that made the iPad special came to the MacBook range. However, arguably, nothing that made the MacBook Pro special came to the iPad. There was no pixel precise input, no proper multi-tasking, no desktop class CPU and GPU and no large screen option.

That changed when Apple announced the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. With its refined multi-touch experience, desktop class performance and multi-tasking, the iPad Pro seems to be a tablet that is capable of running professional content creation applications that have thus far been limited to desktop class OS's such as Windows and OS X. The Microsoft Surface Pro, even the i3 based variant, is more than capable of providing a useful Photoshop experience, so why not the iPad Pro?

I've not felt this optimistic about the iPad since early 2013. I'm eager to see what readers of this site will create using this new machine. Personally, I'm most excited about the prospect of editing 4K video. I've been shooting video content in 4K since 2013. You can certainly edit 4K video on a Mac or PC laptop, but iMovie for iOS is extremely intuitive, and fast too! If it works as demonstrated, the iPad Pro will become my default video editing tool once again, something that hasn't been true since 2013.

Going forward, I intend to only write about the things get me excited. I'm hoping that the iPad Pro will provide suitable motivation to make weekly updates. 

Creativity for the masses

I recently came across this thoughtful article over at Fast Company. It's well worth reading and echoes many of my own thoughts on where Apple might lead the iPad's creative community. There's still much that can be done by both Apple and iPad developers to expand the capability of the worlds leading tablet computer.

It's true that some of that initial fizz of excitement has evaporated over the last 12 months (and that's been reflected in the amount of content on this site), but I'm hopeful that Apple can shake things up again this year. The iPad has so much more to give and it would be a real shame to not be around for the journey.

Start something new. Apple hosts a gallery of iPad and iPhone art

Apple has kicked off 2015 with a gallery of productions created using its devices. It's a fine gallery featuring some our favourite artists and apps. The gallery covers video production, painting and illustration, photography and video editing, but we're more than a little sad that there's no mention of music production. Photography gets featured 7 times but music production not at all. Given Apple's commitment to music consumption with its iTunes music store, you'd think that it would be more keen to promote music creation.

Guitar solo from Comfortably Numb recreated with GarageBand

You simply cannot produce this kind of thing on a Mac or PC, not without extra hardware at least. Despite what some still profess, the iPad really is one of the finest content creation devices ever made, and we believe it's only just getting started. 2015 should be an epic year for iPad owners.

My thanks to Firmin for inspiring us with this stunning creation. One day Apple will have the good sense to invite you, and others like you, to demo your skills on stage at an Apple keynote.

Source: Laughing Squid


Duet Display, the app that transforms your iPad into a second screen for your Mac

I'll keep this short, Duet Display is the first iPad app that provides proper Mac second screen capability for the iPad when connected via cable. The caveats are few, but certainly worth mentioning. It only works with the Mac, running 10.9 or greater, and the iPad that serves as the second display via the Duet Display client app has to be running iOS 6 or greater. The iOS app currently costs $14.99 and the display server software for the Mac is free.

What Duet Display does that the others don't

Duet Display, when set to its highest quality setting, turns your iPad into a Retina class display running at a tidy 60 frames per second. The host Mac has to give over some of its available resources to accomplish this, but on a modern Mac the overall impact in performance will be small. I did some tests using my 2012 i7 based MacBook Pro. While displaying a static image, only 5% of the Mac's overall processing power was given over to the Duet Display server app. With the entire screen in motion, playing a video or scrolling through a website, this figure jumped up to around 35%.

One small annoyance

The developer claims that on a modern Mac there is zero lag. This isn't exactly correct. It's certainly true that the app does achieve a consistent 60 frames per second with no tearing or distracting image artefacts, However there is a tiny lag between mouse movements and screen updates. It's so small that you may not even notice it, but it's worth mentioning, if for no other reason than to temper your expectations a little.

Concluding thoughts

Duet Display is an essential app for anyone who finds they are often switching between applications on their Mac. As an example, it allows me to have Adobe InDesign open on my Mac display whilst slinging Photoshop out to the Duet Display app. It means a whole lot less app switching, hence saving me time throughout the week. I'm sure that I'll find more uses for Duet Display over the coming months, it takes a while to get used to having a second display, but just $14.99 it's worth giving it a try.