Every quarter Apple releases sales figures of its devices in the previous quarter which provide an indication of how its business is going and what is growing or declining. One of the big stories from the last few years has been the slow decline of the iPad’s sales and if this means the iPad (and tablets) are a thing of the past like netbooks rather than the future of computing as Apple claims.
While it is impossible to tell how well the current iPad Pro’s are doing after the latest refresh, we can get some idea from search results.
If searches go up, so do sales (in general)
In generally, the search results for apple devices reflect the interest in them over time and can be used to predict the growth or decline of sales of those devices. This is not an exact science, after all people search for things when they already have them to find out tricks and tips, or out of aspiration to one day buy something. But in general, if there is more interest, there will probably be more sales. This is reflected in the same declining trend in sales as decline in searches for the iPad with peaks each year around the holiday time when they tend to sell better.
As such, we can expect that if the searches for the iPad have gone up (since the iPad Pro 2 was released) then there will be a bump in sales and that will be approximately the same as how many devices get sold. This is where things turn not so good.
What do the search figures show about iPad growth?
The figures do show a bump in searches for iPad following the release of the iPad Pro 2, but not back to the levels we saw in 2014. Instead they are hovering (or slowly declining) at the same numbers of the last couple of years. If this is accurate and the methodology holds up, then the iPad Pro 2 should sell about the same as the iPad Pro 9.7″.
That’s still significantly more than laptops and Apple’s MacBooks sell but it doesn’t look like the iPad is going to sell the numbers that it initially did for a long time if this is accurate. Time will of course tell and as an iPad power user I’ll happily be proven wrong but I’m not expecting it now. (For the record, before I did the search I expected it to show a bump and it didn’t but that is exactly why I’m reporting this, as to not report it would show bias).
After trying a new app every month or so, I’ve stuck with two important apps for my task management system and email client for the last year and a half or so. They are Todoist for my task management and Airmail for my email. However, in the last month or so I’ve tried some new applications and services that have got me thinking about two different pricing models, Subscriptions and paid up front apps.
The two new apps that I have been trying are Things 3, a new task management app which has a single pay up front pricing model (it’s their first paid upgrade since they launched with the iPhone app costing $9.99 and iPad app costing $19.99). This is in contrast with Todoist which has a premium subscription of $29 a year. As such, for the price of one years todoist, you get several years of updates from Things.
Of course, there are differences in features and functionality between the two apps so there are other reasons to choose todoist over things (most notable, Todoist is a web based service that opens up the option to log in and use it on any computer and link it with online services like zapier and so on.
Newton is an email client that unlike most email clients, has a subscription based premium price plan ($50). If you pay for the premium plan, then you unlock features such as
and connected apps
In many ways it has a lot of similarities with Todoist and not just because has a pricy subscription plan, but also because it can connect with different applications and trigger different actions.
Subscriptions vs Pay up front
These connected and more web based apps have on going costs for the developers. Unlike apps which run only on your device, an app which has a cloud based component requires running a server to keep going. More users, more data, more servers, and a higher cost for the developers.
As a user, it’s not great to have to keep paying a cost each year that is the same as other apps cost in total for several years of development or is much greater in the case of Newton’s cost over Airmail. But, if you want those server based features, and you want an app to continue, you have to pay.
As for me, I’m not sure which apps I’ll settle on, but I suspect it will be Airmail and Things. They are great apps and while they miss certain features, they are still very powerful and have their own advantages…and they are cheaper.
When the iPad was first released back in (2010?) it surprised a lot of people. The rumours and speculation around apples tablet centred around “would it be just a big iPhone” or would it be a small MacBook with all the usual paraphernalia. In the end it was a big iPhone but the word just doesn’t feel right there. The iPad specific apps helped the iPad to carve out a better path than android tablets with their big phone interfaces (no wonder 7″ tablets were more popular for android). And yet at the same time it lacked the attention of the iPhone and so sales started to decline.
Yesterday we saw the relaunch on the iPad in a brand new direction where the iPad finally found a unique path away from the iPhone. Although you can still see that they have the same underpinning of iOS, there are now enough unique features that the iPad is distinct and can’t be called a big iPhone.
This new vision clearly borrows from the Mac with the new doc, files and spaces. Yet it has its own unique approach and evolution of these features which are centred around the iPad.
With the new iPads, I can’t wait to get my hands on one and iOS 11.
IOS 11 features
In addition to the changes that iOS 11 has brought to all iOS devices (the new app store, ARkit, control centre redesign and more) there are a few iPad focused features that will change the way we use our devices.
Files (a new application like documents by readdle to help you manage your…erm…files)
The dock (a mac inspired set of easily accessible applications)
New multitasking (the horrible app picker is gone…the new solution is…tricky)
spaces (a new take on multitasking and app switching)
Drag and drop
wider pencil functionality (instant mark up and in line notes)
There are two new iPad pros that will be coming out very soon. The 10.5″ and the 12.9″. The 10.5″ is a new size configuration and a change from the previous standard 9.7″. Although the screen is around 20% larger, the actual size of the iPad is very close to the 9.7 as the bezels have been shrunk. Other than the difference in size, the iPad pros share the same internals including
Promotion screen (intelligently switching between lower and higher frame rates depending on tasks)
Utralow reflective screen (1.8%) with 600 nits (that’s a fair amount of nits)
Truetone so it adapts to the ambient light and has a wider colour gambit.
Apple A10X chip (with 3 high power and 3 efficiency cores and 12 graphics cores) providing 30% faster processing power and 40% better graphics performance.
64GB, 256GB and 512GB memory options
The high quality audio four speaker set up of the previous
USB 3 fast charging
TouchID second generation for faster logging in
Many of these changes are performance upgrades over the previous iPad Pros but it also includes a unification of features that previously was absent with USB fast charging coming to the smaller pro and the true tone display coming to the larger pro.
As I mentioned last time, this idea of a test site is an easy way to do simple development for a WordPress site on the iPad. However to get going, you need to set up a test site. luckily this can all be done on the iPad. Here’s a guide to setting up a test site (or full site) on the iPad.
Choose a name, get a domain
If you don’t have a site, then you’ll need a domain name first. if you already have a site, then you could set up a subdomain for your site (test.yoursitesname.com for example) but you may want to use a separate site anyway. I decided to use an old domain name I got for a project that never went anywhere.
Set up your Hosting
This will depend a lot on your hosts solution. if you are setting up your first site, you’ll need to register for some hosting. if, like me, you have a hosting solution already which can host multiple sites, you need to go into your host management and then add another site. I use site5 for my hosting, they aren’t the cheapest, but that means they aren’t poor quality either. The support is top notch, and while it’s not managed WordPress hosting, it doesn’t have the cost either.
Most hosts now offer 1 click install of WordPress which makes it very easy to set up. I set mine up via softaculous. I made sure to remove the wp sub directory and created an admin name that wasn’t my name, nor (admin). that’s a big step against Brute force attacks as the hacker has to find out the admin username As well as brute force the password. Here is a detailed guide to setting up your site.
Once WordPress is installed, I logged in and uploaded the Genesis framework and default theme from StudioPress so I could start adapting them. I really love the hooks in Genesis which make it easy to adapt (and the community around it). There are a couple of alternative starter themes that I debated building off but in the end I went with the studiopress starter.
You could use a different theme or frame work to adapt, in which case, you should upload that at this point.
Connect Coda via FTP
Once that was done, I set up an FTP account in the Cpanel of my account. this would let me edit the theme in Coda and upload my changes. I had a couple of issues making sure that I had an account for the home directory and not some minor sub directory, but once it was up, I was ready to go!
Ready to play
So now I’m going to work on creating my own theme on only my iPad. See you next time.
(By the way, this page contains affiliate links, if you click on them and then buy something, I’ll get paid a little bit of money to help support this site.)
Reports from iGeneration seem to suggest that workflow won’t be getting any new updates and is in maintenance mode with only possible bug fixes. This follows Apple’s recent acquisition of Workflow and has been indicated by email’s from customer support which warn that Workflow will only be receiving bug fixes in future updates.
This indicates that Apple certainly has no long term plans to keep Workflow around, though some people are still hopeful that a more powerful and integrated replacement for Workflow is being worked on by Apple with the team they acquired. This is perhaps unsurprising as Apple turned the app from being paid to free (a good move to silence critics as it was “only free”) and Apple’s history of buying services and either killing them off, or integrate them more deeply, like Siri. However, Like Siri, it is usually dumbed down.
Workflow pushing iOS forward
“Workflow has been the greatest advancement in the iPad for serious work in the last two years” claimed CGP Grey on the Cortex podcast. While this might be a bit of an over exaggeration, there is a great deal of truth here. Workflow has helped push the iPad from simple single apps to complex operations at a time where Apple appears to have taken its foot of the pedal.
As such, the purchase of Workflow now takes on much more significance. Apple seems to be pushing the iPad more for serious work and as such I take an optimistic view that Apple is going to come out with its own more integrated alternative. At the same time, it’s a shame that couldn’t exist alongside Workflow with the competition pushing both teams forward.
One of the things that has really held me from going all in on iOS was working with WordPress. I like to play around with websites and am a hobbiest WordPress developer. I’m not expert, but i like playing around and helping friends out with their sites. As anyone who plays with WordPress knows, you should test things first on a local server as you develop, and although you can spend 90% of your time editing CSS files, you still need a PHP server to run your tests. Until recently I had wondered about the different ways I could get round this. Now, thanks to Ben Brooks I see an easy way round this and I know how I can sift over to doing 99.9% of my work on an iPad. Before I dive into Ben’s solution (and the issues it has) here are two alternative paths I had considered.
1. Screens and mac based local host
One option I’ve noticed another WordPress developer doing at a StarBucks is using screens to run a localhost version of WordPress on a Mac (or windows PC) and then use a Remote Desktop client like Screens to access and edit it. This has some nice advantages in that you have your own local copy to trash if things go wrong, you have all the files on your mac and you can use your Mac at home again. Everything is in sync.
But this is basically the same as having a Mac, so why not just have a mac? Sure there are reason for an iPad over a Mac (battery power, portability, pen) but in this case you have latency in your internet connection and you still need a mac. Why not just use the mac and iPad for what they are best at?
Draftcode is an iOS developing app that runs a version of PHP and has WordPress 4. something built in. This means you can get a WordPress site up and running on your iPad and write code (PHP, CSS, etc) there. I’ve been looking at it for a while and really debating whether or not to drop the £9.99 for it but I couldn’t see how easy it would be to get code across from Coda (my preferred iOS developing tool) to DraftCode and back again. This was enough to put me off…for now. I suspect I will grab it eventually though.
3. An online “local” test site
I tried using Koding.io which promises some local development features, but it is more designed as an IDE than just a test site and wants you to write code on their servers. Linking Coda up was haphazard as the server would shut down when it wasn’t open in safari. If I had split view then maybe this would have worked, but still that’s not a great solution.
Ben’s solution is simpler but not necessarily elegant. It involves setting up a test site online. This means you are running it live but as it is a test, mistakes don’t matter. You can use your WordPress settings (or Yoast SEO) to unlist this site from Google’s robots and you can choose a strange name so that no one will bother to search for it (TinyNinjaDino.xyz?) and it should be private.
Of course there are some issues with this solution, it’s live on the internet and it’s not as easy to just kill a site and then restart when you have to log into your provider and mess with their settings. Plus you’re edits are live for the world to see and if someone knows the address, they can see it. Plus, you still need an internet connection to be running to check your changes. On the other hand, that could be an advantage if you like to “show your work.”
If you are just developing a simple theme (like I mostly do) then this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and it has the added benefit of being an authentic environment, you’ll see how things will really look and work online not a local site which can have some quirks.
an iOS Only Developed Genesis Child Theme
Oh I’ll probably give the child theme away at the end, but you need the genesis framework from studiopress to run it. They have some great looking themes so I do recommend them.