Using Apple Notes and iCloud as a Facebook Alternative

This past spring I returned to a topic I’ve often thought about in regards to Apple, iCloud and Facebook. With the rumors that Messages was getting lots of attention I started hoping that we might see a push towards a platform that might replace Facebook. I left Facebook 8 or so years ago and as time has gone on I’m convinced that was one of the best decisions of my life. That said, most in my family and friend circles are still there so I often wonder what an alternative might look like. In particular, what might Apple do with an expansion of Messages and perhaps some new iCloud service or app?

With 2021’s updates to macOS, iOS and iPadOS we’ve now got even more cross pollination between the iCloud ecosystem via the “Shared with You” feature that connects Messages, Photos, Notes, Safari, Apple News, Podcasts and Music. Messages seems to form the basis of most if not all of the sharing. The one missing feature, when compared to social media, particularly Facebook, is any kind of persistent timeline. Often times it seems a messy substitute for a timeline is the group chat. I know for a long time we’ve had a large group family chat and several smaller such chats with subsets of people. Pinning chats helps but it can still be hard to keep track of.

Creating a timeline with Apple Notes?
I’m currently experimenting with Apple Notes as a kind of group timeline. I’ve set up a shared folder that I’ve just called “Family Stories”. I’ve invited much of the extended family to that, in particular, those that I’m closest to. I’ve written a kind of “Introduction/FAQ” note to explain the purpose of the folder of notes which is, in short, a place for any family member to post a note which might be a personal experience, story, thought or photo. The sorts of things that might be posted on social media but more personal. And while technically it’s not possible to add the kinds of comments one would find on a blog it is of course possible that thoughts, questions and comments can be added free-form at the bottom of any note. That will have the added benefit of re-surfacing older notes when or if comments or questions are added to any particular note.

While Apple Notes is not likely an app that comes to mind when we think of fun social sharing, I think the updated functionality and ease of use will lend itself to this kind of group activity and that it might serve as a kind of timeline for sharing. In particular, the new Activity sidebar will make it easier than a scrolling Messages thread to notice recent activity. The question that remains is whether or not it will prove to be sticky enough that it will become a new sharing habit that will bring folks back. My impression is that it’s a fairly popular default app – perhaps that popularity will increase the likelihood of it being used in this way?

Two months with iPadOS 15

I’ve been using the beta on my iPad Pro since the first day of the public beta and thought I’d write a bit about what stands out to me as noteworthy. This is just a tiny fraction of what’s coming and again, it’s what I’ve found noteworthy. The most comprehensive coverage that I’ve found thus far is this fantastic mini-site over at MacRumors.

My impressions…

First and perhaps unexpected, I’m enjoying and using the new widgets far more than I expected.

With iPadOS 14 and earlier I generally kept my Home Screen clear except for the sidebar of widgets. All my apps were in a single folder in the dock. With iPadOS 15 I’ve moved all my apps to the App Library and now have a full Home Screen of widgets which functions as a fantastic dashboard. I’m finding the 2nd largest widget sizes the most useful with just one small section for 4 of the small widgets. So, a view of my Home Screen gives me the current weather, easy access to my most recently listened to music, my most recent email, a selection of frequently used Shortcuts, my most recently accessed folders and files, calendar, current daily calories, battery status and upcoming reminders. Edit to note that I’ve since changed this by moving the 4 small widgets back to the sidebar which stays hidden. I’ve since added the large-sized Contacts widget which does a great job of providing an overview of my latest interactions with my closest contacts.

With earlier versions of, the public beta some of widgets were l a bit buggy, especially the Files widget though it seems to have settled down as of this date. Also, the mail widget does not always update recent new mail in the background as I would expect though that may be an expected limitation. Obviously having to switch to mail to see updates isn’t helpful.

I’ll mention Spotlight next because it’s somewhat integrated with the above mentioned Contacts widget. In short, Spotlight has a few new additional results added to searches. Most important for me is the improvements in it’s surfacing of my contacts related information such as photos, shared notes, messages, etc. Also, Spotlight now does more with web searches of public figures and built in web search generally. Rather than go to Safari it’s possible to just start with a Spotlight search of a topic. Web results starting with Wikipedia, images, top web results are all neatly organized in the Spotlight results. For some searches the results can be quite extensive ranging from your content, shared with you content, articles from Apple News, TV shows or movies and on. By default the extensive content categories are hidden behind a “Show more results” button.

Next, while I’m still training myself to use it the new globe keyboard shortcut is great. I forget too often to use it but suspect that as that habit takes hold it will become a really nice feature. Specifically the Siri shortcut Globe-S as I’ve always wanted such a shortcut on the keyboard. I enjoy using Siri and know I’ll use it more with that shortcut. Also, the globe shortcuts for multi-tasking are very useful. Again, one I need to practice more to more fully integrate and take advantage of. It’s not that it’s difficult so much as remembering it’s there and making it a new habit.

On the subject of multitasking, using the keyboard to navigate through app windows In the multitasking view is really nice. I normally use the trackpad but the arrow key navigation works great too.

Also in the category of multitasking, the active window indicator is still too subtle when using split screens. It’s better than before but Apple insists on making the indicator subtle enough that I have too look longer and with more attention than I should.  Actually, in a nod to macOS I wish they’d offer an option to have the same red-yellow-green color scheme. Not likely and probably not that useful. But at the very least, more contrast would actually be useful.

Keyboard shortcuts are improved in presentation when using an external keyboard and the new organization of keyboard shortcuts to resemble the Mac’s categories of File, Edit, etc are nice improvements. This whole area is more compact and useful.

The Safari redesign. This one has been talked about a lot as it should be. I agree in general that it’s nice to see an effort but it made Safari worse and seemed to be an attempt to solve problems that most people don’t really have. Glad to see the dedicated tab bar back as the default now they need to take the next step of putting it where it was and also removing the extra padding that the new rounded rectangles have. It’s wasted space that hides the description of the tab. Also, the active tab indicator is far too subtle.

But there’s some good stuff with the updated Safari too. Tab groups!! This falls under the “I didn’t know I needed this until I had it” category. I’m using it a lot to create topic areas. I’ve got a climate change group and a tech group. A week ago I was searching for a new chair and had a group of tabs for that. I’ve got a group now for a new WordPress site I’m working on for a client. I expect some of these will be persistent as they are topics I always read about. Others will come and go as needed. The key is that a tab group is easy to create from any window with tabs, easy to re-open via the sidebar and easy to delete when you’re finished. It’s also easy to add a tab from any other Safari window to an existing tab group.

I’m glad to have the updated Notes and Reminders apps. The ability to tag will be useful in both of these. Also, Quicknotes in Notes is very nice though I’m not using it as much as I think I will. Notes really is an excellent app. The indexing of Notes text, attached pdfs and now text recognition in images is fantastic. It’s all very fast and shows up nicely in Spotlight. If I hadn’t recently integrated Obsidian into my daily workflow Notes would likely shine brighter. As it is though it will still have a place. It’s a great place do do photo and document scanning and as I’m currently scanning in a bunch of old family photos I’m enjoying it for that.

The updates in the Photos app are really proving useful. I love the improved metadata, editable location and machine learning that now identifies plants and other objects. Some of that was identification was already there but it’s much, much better now with more accurate results and far more specificity in the identifications. Where before Photos could show me my dog pictures it now also suggests the specific breed and has an integrated Wikipedia link. This is especially useful for all of the photos I get out on the trail for identification of plants and flowers. It’s not yet offering specific insect ID but it does recognize more general animal categories such as insect, butterfly, bird, horse. I suspect that over time range of objects for which specific IDs are offered will grow.

Live Text in photos is absolutely fantastic and useful. Not only does it improve search but if you’re someone that deals with a lot of text and images it comes in handy often. I often need the text that’s in an image for a document or a website. Lazy clients will just send a photo or screenshot with a bit of text rather than retype it for me. This is the sort of feature that once you start using it and realize how often it can be useful, well, you’ll wonder how you did without it.

Messages has some nice improvements, namely “shared with you” which integrates into all the other system apps. Nothing earth shattering but nice. I’ve not had a chance to use FaceTime with any other beta testers and am not a big FaceTime user generally but the announced changes look very helpful for those that use video calls.

A couple more tid-bits. System-wide “shared with you” is a nice new feature. Continuous dictation is great for those that like to dictate text rather than type. Especially useful on the iPhone where I’d much rather dictate than type a long message.

That’s it for the moment. There’s far more of course but they’re features I’m not going into as this isn’t really a review so much as my notes on what I’m interested in and finding most useful. The above linked mini-site over at MacRumors has all the details! Also worth noting, at the bottom of the page is a list of helpful how-to articles for iOS 15.

I started this post in July and am just now, having used the beta for almost two months, finishing off my notes. The final release will likely be coming in the next couple of weeks and with it a load of very detailed reviews.

The First Website

August 6 marked 30 years since the first website. Benj Edwards at How-To Geek has an excellent story about the origin. It began with Tim Berners-Lee of CERN posting to the alt.hypertext newsgroup to invite people to visit his World Wide Web project on August 6, 1991:

In 1989, a British software developer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (commonly abbreviated “CERN”) named Tim Berners-Lee grew frustrated with how scientists shared research at his organization. With many different file formats, programming languages, and computer platforms, he found it frustrating and inefficient to locate electronic records and figure out how they should be used.

To solve this, Berners-Lee envisioned a network system using hypertext that would allow computers of different kinds to effortlessly share information over a computer network. That invention, first documented in 1989, became the World Wide Web, or WWW for short.

In 1991 I was going into my last year of college. I wouldn’t know about the www until 1996. That said, I was on the internet in 1993 using a service called eco.net which provided email and a few other online text-based services. But after a year of using that for school I discontinued the service. Then it would be two years before I started hearing of Netscape and websites. In 1998 I built my first website, hand-coded and uploaded via Fetch, around the time the young www had begun it’s first growth spurt with web-hosting services like Yahoo’s GeoCities.

Good times.

Obsidian Mobile

Finally!! Been waiting for this one for months. Obsidian Mobile released! I set this up on my Mac several months back but have been doing all my iPad writing in Taio or 1Writer because the mobile Obsidian app was not available. That’s worked out pretty well and frankly, I really enjoy working in both of the above mentioned apps. But I’m curious now to see how Obsidian works. After setting it up on the Mac I hardly touched it because I don’t really use the Mac much unless I have to.

So, I’ve now got a Vault set-up in iCloud for Obsidian. Will give it a whirl and add to the post when I’ve had a chance to spend some time with it.

Edit, two weeks later…

Okay, I’m back after a two week shake down. I can’t really say that I’ve explored the app as deeply as I expect to over coming months. But, I’ve given it a light shakedown and I like it! Many have commented that, as an electron app it does not have a native feel to the Mac, iPad or iPhone. I disagree. It certainly lacks the native UI elements a developer has access to but with the Minimal theme it feels close enough and looks quite nice.

The app is very stable and I’m having no problems with the switch from 1Writer and Taio. I’ve got both of those apps set-up to be able to access the Obsidian library should I feel the need to jump into one of those apps to edit. More importantly, I’d created a nice workflow for publishing to my blogs using Taio and that continues to work perfectly. When I’ve got a post written in Obsidian I can jump over to Taio and export to html then I load a new post in WordPress on Safari. It works pretty well.

And coming back again to add to this. I’ve now seen several different writers post on their Obsidian set-ups and have been following threads over at the MacPower Users forum. But today’s post by Federico at MacStories is certainly worth mentioning. It’s the first in a series on his Obsidian setup and covers Sync, Core Plugins, Workspaces and other settings. While I often find his posts interesting and sometimes helpful, he tends to go into a depth of detail that covers his very particular workflows that they don’t often translate well to how I use an app. So, I’ll at least skim his posts but unless I can easily see how it is relevant to my workflow I may not finish it. But his post above is very relevant in that it points a finger to the importance of Obsidian the plugins, various options and shortcuts.

After reading his post, the threads at Mac Power Users and a few others, the depth of features in Obsidian really do set it apart from most other apps. It’s easy to get started with the basics and then spend weeks or months just slowly poking around those depths to get to the many possibilities. That said, I’m glad it is based on Markdown files that other apps can access because even as feature rich as it is it does lack the export options that most other apps seem to have.

Using an iPhone and Apple Notes to Scan and Export Old Family Photos

I’ve started a project scanning in old family photos. It’s something I started years ago with a flatbed scanner which I no longer have. This time around I plan to just use my iPhone and Apple Notes. There are a couple things I’ve learned since getting started that might be helpful to others doing a similar project.

Before you get started scanning you’ll want to go to the Settings app and then go to the section for the Notes app. There you’ll see an option under the “Media” section to “Save to Photos”. Turn this on and every scan will be an image in Photos! Doing this eliminates the need to export from notes which the second portion of this post covers.

When you open a new note and choose the camera icon to open the camera you’ll choose “Scan Documents” which will open the camera and if auto is selected your iPhone will automatically capture a scan as soon as it detects a photo or document (In the image below I have mine set to manual). To stop the auto scan just put your finger over the lens or put the iPhone down on the table. It’s important to to note that the default scan assumes a color document, not an image. If you’re scanning an image, color or black and white, you need to be sure you select “Photo” as the media type being scanned. You can select this option before each scan or after.  To do so tap the  icon of 3 overlapping circles (for this post I’ll refer to that as the media type icon).

Select Photo option on the right side

Alternatively, just start scanning your photos and once the group is scanned you can go back and select “Photo” from the media type icon seen below.

If you scanned a group of images selecting Photo and then tapping Save will then save the whole group to the Photos app. So, to summarize, you can select Photo from media type before scanning or after, then you save the images after that by tapping the Save button.

A final note, it’s possible to save groups of photos as described above. You can also just scan one at a time marking each as a photo and saving it individually.

When finished you can confirm that all the photos have been autosaved into the Photos app. You may want to keep or delete the note once you’re finished scanning.

What to do if you’ve scanned images before setting them to save in the Photos app?

If you started scanning before discovering the setting I mentioned at the top of the post that  saves your scans to photos automatically, you’ll have notes full of pdf scans that seem stuck as pdfs. There’s no built in way to export those pdfs to Photos. But, there’s an easy two step process to get the scans to photos.

Before you jump into the export process an optional but important step is to confirm that your scans were done as Photos. Tap a scanned image in a note to open it. Then look in the toolbar for the three overlapping circles icon for selecting media type. Tap that and then select “Photo” as the media type. If you have a group of photos saved in a group you’ll need to go to each photo in the group and do this step. Once you’ve done this for all the scans in the note you can move on to the export.

First, you have to save the pdf scans from Notes to Files. Just long press a note with scans in the list view of your notes. In the context menu chose “Send a Copy”. From the list of options choose Save to Files. Choose the location to save your pdfs and save. Then open the Files app to that location. You’ll see a pdf or multiple pdfs from that note. If you scanned images in groups you’ll have multi-page pdfs consisting of each image.

For the second step, you’ll need this simple Shortcut which will save the pdf as an image or images to the Photos app. Install the above Shortcut into your Shortcuts app. It’s a simple 3 step Shortcut. Once installed you can select your scanned pdf file then tap share, then select the Shortcut “Convert and save to photos”. The Shortcut will run and when finished your image or images will be in the Photos app! It’s also possible to choose multiple pdfs at once and share to the shortcut as described above and all the pdfs will be processed at once into the Photos app.

That’s it, you’re done!

Keychron K2


My favorite keyboard in recent memory has been the Logitech K811. I bought it reconditioned from Amazon seven years ago. It’s no longer manufactured and mine is beginning to fail. It no longer pairs reliably and at least one key has stopped working. I’ve got at least one other similar Logitech keyboard that can be used but I often have issues with it and the iPad Pro. I’m not sure why. It seems to cause conflict with the Apple Trackpad which I like to use if I’m using the iPad with a separate keyboard and a second display.

So, I decided I’d look for a new keyboard that could connect via Bluetooth and usb as well. And, while I was at it thought I’d finally take a look at mechanical keyboards. I type a lot and have heard lots of good things about mechanical keyboards. This past summer my nephew had one so I had a chance to give it a go and it was very nice. After looking at the less expensive options I settled on the Keychron K2. It seemed reasonable at around $80 and has great reviews. It arrived a few days ago and boy-howdy is this a nice typing experience!

First, I like the fact that it is Mac/iOS first. They include extra key caps for switching out 3 or so keys of you prefer the Windows specific symbols. As I’m running the iPadOS 15 beta which now makes great use of the globe key I’ve got the caps lock re-mapped to the globe key. It’s superficial but I wish that key had a globe icon. Yeah, that’s silly but whatever.

I plugged the keyboard into the iPad with the included and very nice braided USB cable and away we went. I’ve also paired it with the Mac via Bluetooth. I’ll pair it with the iPad Pro as well but with the iPadOS beta Bluetooth is currently somewhat buggy so I’ll wait till that get’s fixed.

I ordered the keyboard with the brown switches from Amazon but was sent the blue switches which are, as I understand it, the loudest of the three options. It’s not a problem as I live and work alone and they’re not that much louder. Many of the reviews mentioned that the keyboard, being quite tall, is best used with a wrist pad. I have lots of scrap wood boards that I save for projects and found a piece of cedar that was the perfect width and height to match the keyboard. I gave it a light sanding and it’s perfect. Actually, adding this a few days later, I went with a piece of wood that was both deeper, wider and taller than the keyboard. The larger and taller plank provides a platform for my entire forearms rather than just my wrist and hand. I’ve got it covered with some soft flannel and it’s very comfortable. I’m still experimenting with the best position for the trackpad.

The two things that come to mind when describing the typing experience on the K2 is that it is comfortable and efficient. By comparison, the last keyboard of this type (large, deep keys) was the keyboard that came with the iMac G5 from 2006ish. I still have that keyboard as my usb back-up for the occasional Bluetooth issue. But it’s horrible to type on as it really requires effort. There’s nothing enjoyable about the key action.

Another, more relevant comparison, would be my various recent Logitech keyboards that are much thinner and much more similar to Apple’s scissor switch keyboards used on the Magic Keyboards. Which is to say, fairly quiet to type on and with shallow key action somewhere between bouncy and mushy but not too clicky. They’ve always worked well for me. With the K2 each key press results in a fairly satisfying click and a clicky sensation to match the sound. Not at all hard to depress and with a firm bounce back. I suspect that once I’ve gotten used to this keyboard, perhaps another day or so, my typing speed will be back up to the norm with no problem. (Edit a week after initial writing to add that yes, I did get used to it and it’s even better a week later!)

The only thing I’m not quite used to yet is the slightly different positioning of the arrow keys in the bottom right corner. They’re only off a bit to the right with a somewhat smaller shift key but it’s been enough to confuse my fingers a bit. I don’t doubt that I’ll get used to it.

WIX Website Code

I recently took on a new client who had an existing WIX website. The initial plan was that I would update the WIX site. I’ve never used WIX so I told the client I’d have a look and expected it would not be a problem to update. Then I took a look and discovered that WIX is a visual editor, the sort you might get with a page layout application like Affinity Publisher or Apple Pages. I knew the code from that sort of application would not be efficient or anything close to semantic but it was far worse than I expected.

To set the context, a normal page from one of my websites might be 5 to 6 printed pages of html, code and actual content. The text content is easily readable by a human. Add to that another 1 to 2 pages of code in a linked css file. About 35 kb for the html and css combined. On the html page the metadata is right a the top followed by the content. I printed the code for one page of the WIX site to a pdf document and the result was 136 pages. The metadata description appears at page 101. The first actual text content of the page finally appears at page 116. The file was 480 kb.

Other visual website layout apps produce the same kind of code. One aspect of this is that the visual editors are supposed to make creating and updating websites easier for users who may not have the experience to build a website. In my brief use I didn’t find that to be the case at all. In the bit of time I spent in the WIX page editor I found it clumsy to use. Perhaps given enough time it would get easier but I didn’t like the feel of it at all. Of course, if someone needs a website and has no website building skills this would indeed allow them to build and update a website that mostly works.

While visual page layout for websites might provide a certain freedom to the designing of a page and visual placement of elements in a more free form process, I don’t think the ultimate rendered page works nearly as well. Certainly this client’s site was not working as well on my devices as it should have and there were a few errors on the various pages. Obviously a well coded page displays content exactly as intended.

I’ve now got the client’s website moved over to a properly coded website and have come away from the experience with a newfound appreciation for the difference beteen the approaches. No surprises or new information here, just a reminder of the quality differences. And if I’m being honest, I’m happy to be able to say that I’ve been hand coding websites with a respect for file sizes, usability and standards for 20+ years.

Finally, a smart discussion of pro apps on iPad

I recently discovered Cup of Tech podcast and gave a listen to episode 129 and I’m really glad I did. I found perhaps the best, most mature and informative discussion of “pro apps”for the iPad Pro. I think the quality of discussion is largely due to the fact that the podcast hosts are all developers and it’s reflected in the information provided by the discussion. They begin by discussing the apps that currently exist which might be defined as pro such as Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and Procreate. They then move on to the usual mention of Apple’s pro apps specifically Final Cut Pro, Logic and Xcode. But then they go into an actual discussion of what needs to be happening behind the scenes and what might explain the lack of these apps that’s far. Specifically they go into a fascinating discussion of SwiftUI, Catalyst, and development process of those frameworks as it might relate to the complicated process of writing the pro apps. They don’t dig so far that a non-developer would get lost (I’m not a developer) but rather discuss the frameworks in terms of what they can currently do, current limits (in the publicly available versions) and what they can probably do behind the scenes (given new versions likely being used at Apple), and just a generally excellent discussion of the various considerations in developing complicated apps and in developing frameworks to produce those apps.

In other words it’s not just a brief and pointless repetition of the usual complaining but rather an actual exploration of what happens when a company has to build something complicated from the ground up.

The discussion begins at about 1:10:00.

Review: Logitech Combo Touch for the 12.9” iPad Pro

At the the core of my love for the iPad are the many possibilities that come along with a touchscreen tablet. I particularly enjoy the variety of keyboards and stands that make for the modular computing experience that seem to define this form factor. Whenever the subject of external keyboards and cases come up, it’s common for people on the internet to ask, why not just get a laptop? The simple and best answer is that I can’t remove the screen from a laptop. It’s permanently attached. And, along with that limitation, I cannot rotate a laptop from the horizontal position to a portrait position.

The options I considered
Of all the keyboard cases I’ve tried with all of my iPads since 2010, I think this Logitech Combo Touch may prove my favorite though it’s too soon to be certain. I’ve been very happily using Apple’s Smart Keyboard portfolio that I’ve really enjoyed using the past 2+ years and considered just updating that to a new one. In the end my desire for a trackpad and backlit keyboard led me to consider Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad, Brydge’s Max+ and Logitech’s Combo Touch. I chose the Logitech.

Comparing features
The outer material Apple uses on the iPad keyboards has not been durable in my experience so that was a strike against the Magic Keyboard especially at the price Apple asks. Add to that the missing row of function keys and it seemed I should keep looking. The Brydge Max+ was the next choice but was less protective along the edges of the iPad. And when removing the iPad from the Brydge to use hand held it would have no protection at all. It also costs more and would not be shipping till June. Lastly, Brydge has a mixed track record in terms of quality control. That left the Logitech which offered the best protection, earlier shipping and the least cost. Another plus with the Logitech was the built in kickstand for use with the iPad propped up without a keyboard. I also thought I’d like the textured fabric-like covering on the Logitech. The biggest drawback is that due to that kickstand design it has a very deep footprint and the reviews are mixed as to how that works in the lap.

It’s only been a week but here are some thoughts. I like the feel of this case just as I thought I would. The fabric-like texture is very nice, much preferred to Apple’s. It feels nicer and does not show oily smudges from contact with skin I’m really happy to have the iPad protected in a case that seems sturdy but I’ll note that it’s thinner and lighter than I expected.

The keyboard itself is excellent just as I’ve come to expect from Logitech keyboards. Now, I should say, I’m not that picky and am fairly adept at adapting to keyboards but this one feels very well made and I type well on it. The row of function keys is a very nice feature to have and happily has screen brightness, keyboard brightness and all the other expected functions. I’m super happy that holding the lock key in the top right corner functions as a Siri key. I like using Siri but don’t like reaching up to the iPad corner button. And Hey Siri sometimes has other devices respond rather than the one I’m using.

The trackpad works pretty well. I did turn off tap to click as there’s not much palm rejection going on and so the cursor jumps all over with the slightest touch. So, still getting used to the click to click as I’ve gotten used to tap to click with the Magic Trackpad I’d been using at my desk. But the clicking works very well in all areas of the trackpad. Also, there’s a two finger click to bring up the contextual menu and that works perfectly. Lastly, scrolling and all the gestures work fairly well and smoothly. All in all, the trackpad is excellent.

What about the deep footprint? Well, when I’m using in my lap I’m almost always in my tiny house with pillows nearby and my general habit is to have a pillow in my lap. This works perfectly with the kickstand folded all the way back to it’s lowest position then propped up on the pillow in my lap. If I need to adjust how I’m sitting or move the pillow or my legs it’s easy to just reach up and adjust the angle of the kickstand to keep it stable and at an angle I want. It’s not as sturdy as I would get with the laptop style of the Brydge but it does work very well though I can imagine scenarios where it does not work as well due to more limited space.

I love the iPad as both a tablet and a laptop. With this case and keyboard I can very easily pull the keyboard off the screen and still have my iPad sitting up on it’s own and still protected in a case. This is often what I’m doing when I just want to read or watch video. I can set the keyboard off to the side or even flip it backwards and reattach it as a base but with the keyboard deactivated. This last point is one of the most important of all because with this case the modularity of the iPad as tablet and laptop is at it’s best.

WWDC 2021 Wishlist

I generally avoid doing this kind of post each year as so many others do. I’m not sure I see the point really as we’ll get what we get. Also, the truth is I’m not at all unhappy with iPadOS as it is. If none of these happen I’ll still happily continue using my iPad.

  • Improved Mail app with Smart Folders, share sheet, improved searching
  • Proper external display support
  • Improved Files app (generally make it as close to the Mac Finder as possible). The main thing would be indexing of text content, Smart Folders, copy progress indicators
  • Multitasking – I’m actually pretty happy with it as is but I’m sure it can be improved.
  • Widgets on the Home Screen
  • Would be great if iPhone apps, when iPad is in landscape orientation, could be displayed as slide overs or some other way from the current method of taking over the whole screen in portrait mode.
  • Settings app support of split screen. (Lol, is there a reason this app does not support split screen??)
  • Health app
  • Smart Folders in Photos, Contacts, Notes and really, everywhere it’s possible to do.
  • Editing and creation of groups in the Contacts app.
  • Home App improvements
  • I don’t use FaceTime but from what I hear it could stand to be improved.
  • I actually really love Siri. Make it better.
  • Voice dictation is great. Make it better.
  • iCloud Diary – Setting this aside from the rest. I’d love to see Apple do something more with Messages to move it in a direction that might allow for people to more easily quit Facebook. That might just be a chip away at it sort of thing whereby each year more features are added that allow it to more fully replace FB. In particular, I’d love to see some sort of timeline feature along the lines of what Micro.blog offers. A sort of iCloud diary or iCloud journal. Make it easy for anyone to do some of the things they might otherwise go to Facebook for. I don’t think it needs to be an immediate replacement, just a step towards that. Maybe a new app with tie-ins to Photos, Messages, etc.