Tech

Don’t Buy the 4th Generation iPad

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For some reason I have been seeing a lot of “deals” out on the internet for a very cheap (less than $75) for a “brand new” iPad (4th generation). We even had this as a deal on GeekDad (one of the daily deals we run on a regular basis) until I saw it and had our editors pull it from the site.

So here is a little history on the 4th Generation iPad. This iPad was originally released in November of 2012 (6 years ago) and was touted as the iPad with a Retina display. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great iPad at the time. But fast forward 6-years later and this iPad is grossly under-powered, barely has enough storage for just the operating system (much less any movies) and is not capable of running the last two most recent operating systems (iOS 11 and iOS 12)...it can only run iOS 10 or earlier.

This was actually my wife’s iPad until just a few weeks ago. She didn’t realize she was 2 operating systems behind, otherwise she would have upgraded to a newer iPad sooner. Why? There are a lot of security enhancements in each new version of iOS and once you start getting a few behind Apple stops making security updates. So if you use it to browse the web you are vulnerable. The other issue for my wife was storage. The base model of this iPad (which is what she had and is what most of these internet deals are for) had only 16 Gb of storage. After you load the operating system it only leaves you a few Gb of data storage left which isn’t even enough to download and watch a movie.

Most people who are tech savvy know not to purchase this iPad, but not everyone pays attention to the details when it comes to an iPad. Most of the time you are pretty safe when you buy an iPad (even an iPad that is 2 or 3 years old) but in this case this 4th generation iPad is just too old. Don’t waste your money and warn any friends or family members that might see this deal.

The 1WaySwim 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday and everything in between right on our doorsteps I thought it was time to toss out a few geeky and unique gift ideas.

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The Bolt Backpack from Waterfield

I did a full review of this on GeekDad a while back and it is now my daily carry for work. It holds all my work and personal related computing and tech gear as well as all my gear for the gym...all in a single professional looking backpack. When WaterField sent me this backpack to review I was out of town and my wife opened the package when it arrived. I almost didn’t get it back to use and review when I got home (she really liked it). I’m a big fan of carrying around a highly functional and nice looking bag so this is one of my favorites. Check out the Waterfield Bolt backpack and I'm pretty sure it will end up being your favorite bag too.

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The Nintendo Switch Pouch from Waterfield

This is another WaterField product I reviewed a while back on GeekDad. If you have someone in your life that has a Nintendo Switch this is a great compact padded case to use with your Switch so you can safely take it with you on the go.

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Coravin Wine Preservation System

If you are a wine lover then this is definitely a gadget you should consider. It is a bit pricy, but if drink high quality wine on a regular basis I personally think this device is worth every penny. The Coravin Wine Preservation System allows you to pour a glass or two of wine from a wine bottle without corking the wine. So you can drink a glass out of a bottle and then store that bottle for years and then have another glass. I did a full review of the Coravin on GeekDad earlier this year but the system I reviewed was their high-end model geared for restaurants (a little bit out of the consumer’s price range). But for the next several days Coravin has several of their cheaper models up to 50% off on their website so check out their sale this weekend.

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1Password Subscription

This is a MUST have. If you or any of your friends or family is not already using some kind of secure method to store and manage their passwords then a 1Password subscription is an excellent gift idea. I have been using 1Password with my entire family for years and if you want to keep your accounts and sensitive data safe it is the best option out there. I wrote a full review of the service not too long ago on GeekDad. 1Password is also running a Thanksgiving special right now in that if you subscribe to 1Password you can gift 1-year of subscription to a friend or family member.

How To Transfer Apple Care to a New Owner

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I am writing this article because there seems to be a lot of confusion about whether it is possible to transfer Apple Care when you sell or give your device to another person. Why do I say there is confusion? Well, when I called up Apple the other day to transfer the almost year of Apple Care that is remaining on my Apple Watch to the person that bought my Apple Watch from me… Apple told me that I wasn’t allowed to do that. I politely explained that I had a very recent Apple Support Article in front of me that says it was possible. I gave him the article number and in a few seconds he apologized for the confusion, acknowledged that he had made a mistake and connected me with someone who could help.

But the story doesn’t end there. The person he connected me with told me that he could absolutely help me transfer Apple Care to someone else, but he said more than likely it wasn’t necessary. The only reason you would need to have Apple Care in your name is if you called up Apple and wanted a partial refund for the Apple Care (i.e. you wanted to cancel it and get your money back for the portion of the plan that hasn’t been used). Otherwise, it is the device itself that is covered with the Apple Care warranty and who calls the device in to make a claim to get the device repaired or replaced doesn’t matter. There were a few other things I learned from this call as well:

  • You can check whether any Apple device has an remaining Apple Care coverage by going to checkcoverage@applecare.com and entering in the serial number of the device (or device identifier).
  • If you still want to transfer Apple Care to the new owner you will need the following information about that person:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Email address associated with their Apple ID
  • Also, at any time after you transfer ownership the new owner of that device can make the request themselves (they don’t need you to do it) to have their name put on the Apple Care, but they need the following information in order for Apple to that:
    • The name of the original person on the Apple Care
    • A valid proof of purchase (unless the device was purchased at an Apple Retail Store)
    • The proof of purchase can have financial information like the last 4-digits of the credit card blacked out (Apple just needs the basic receipt)

The Apple Support Article I linked to above has some of the information I explained above but not all of it so don’t rely purely on the Apple Support Article. Hope this helps.

Why I Chose the 12.9” iPad Pro (Again)

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Its hard to believe it has been nearly 3 years since I purchased my 12.9” iPad Pro. Since that day I have used that iPad Pro as my primary computer to do all kinds of things:

  • Write my master’s thesis
  • Household budgeting
  • Paying bills
  • Write in my daily journal
  • Write and publish post to this blog
  • Write and publish articles at GeekDad.com
  • Sheet music reader for playing piano and keyboards
  • My daughter used it as her digital drawing studio until she bought her own iPad earlier this year
  • Provide me entertainment while I travel (and I did a TON of travel this past year)

That last item is what actually got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I would opt for the smaller 10.5” or 11” iPad when the new iPads were announced. In fact, before I watched the event video I was fully prepared to switch to the smaller form factor. But ultimately there were 4 things that kept me with the 12.9” iPad Pro.

Split View

Because I use the iPad Pro as my main computing device, I end up doing a wide variety of tasks and many of those tasks are much easier if I have two apps open side by side in “split view” on the iPad. When you compare the diagonal dimensions of 12.9” and 11” you wouldn’t think there would be a large screen area difference, but there is. With the 12.9” iPad Pro in landscape you essentially get nearly two 9.7” iPads in portrait mode when using the split view feature. When you are doing something tedious and detailed like a budgeting worksheet that extra size makes a huge difference. This wasn’t enough of a reason for me to absolutely stick with the 12.9” form factor but it one of the factors.

The New Smaller Sizes

The new iPad Pros Apple just announced this past week came with a new smaller more compact size because they eliminated the home button and almost totally eliminated the bezels. So you still get the same 12.9” diagonal screen but in a much smaller overall package. In fact, when it came to the 10.5” iPad Apple was able to keep the same physical size of the device but increase the screen size to 11” (that is why we have a new size this year). In the case of the 12.9” iPad Apple was able to decrease the device size down to something that is just slightly smaller than a standard 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. The main reason I was pretty sure I was going to go with the smaller iPad Pro this time around was because of how much I travel for my day job. I spend a lot of time on airplanes and the original 12.9” iPad Pro was pretty unwieldy for a seat back table or your lap while squeezed into one of those tiny airplane seats. But the new smaller footprint of the 12.9” iPad is just smaller enough to make it an easier fit while using on an airplane. My daughter has last year’s 10.5” iPad Pro so I was able to do a comparison between my current 12.9” iPad Pro, her 10.5” iPad Pro (which is the same physical size as the new 11” iPad Pro) and I used an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper as a stand-in for the new 12.9” iPad. As you can see from the photo below the new 12.9” size is a nice balance between the two devices while not sacrificing anything in terms of screen size.

The very bottom is my current 12.9” iPad Pro, the white sheet of paper is the stand-in for the new 12.9” form factor and on top is last year’s 10.5 iPad Pro (the same size as the new 11” iPad Pro)

The very bottom is my current 12.9” iPad Pro, the white sheet of paper is the stand-in for the new 12.9” form factor and on top is last year’s 10.5 iPad Pro (the same size as the new 11” iPad Pro)

Stability When Typing On My Lap

One of the main ways I use my iPad Pro is while sitting in the living room and using it in my lap with the Smart Keyboard. In this “laptop” mode I rely on the extra width of the keyboard to keep it stable while typing on my lap. I tried typing with my daughter’s 10.5” iPad Pro in my lap and it does work, but you have to really pay attention and keep it centered on your lap in order to maintain stability.

Sheet Music Reader

The final nail in the coffin for going to the smaller 11” iPad Pro for me was my use of the iPad as a sheet music reader. I’ve talked about this many years ago when I wrote about switching over to using an iPad mini. These days I end up playing from full on sheet music with melody lines instead of just lead sheets and most of the time I am not on a traditional piano which means the iPad screen is farther away from my face than it would be if I were just sitting at a normal piano. Bottom line…I really need the extra screen size with my aging eyes to be able to effectively read sheet music while playing piano and keyboards. So this one use case (combined with the other 3) is really what put me over the edge to staying with the 12.9” iPad Pro.

Apple Watch Series 2 vs Series 3

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If you are in the market for an Apple Watch, whether it is your first Apple Watch or you are just upgrading, you may be asking yourself:

Should I buy a Series 2 or a Series 3 Apple Watch?

Up until a few days ago I would not have been able to give you much advice on that topic. But now that I have upgraded from a Series 2 to a Series 3 I can tell you there are 3 main differences to consider when trying to answer that question.

The 1st Difference: Siri has a voice

All Apple Watches before the Series 3 reduced Siri to a visual text-based interface only. If you raised your wrist and gave Siri a command or asked a question you would need to then look at the screen of your Apple Watch to get confirmation that Siri acted on your command or to get the answer to your question. That all changes with the Series 3 Apple Watch. Now Siri has a voice. At first glance this might not seem like that big of a deal, especially if you have been using an Apple Watch since they first came out. But in practice this a really big deal. One of the biggest advantages of having a computer strapped to your wrist is that you can access it in situations where it is simply not possible to sit in front of a full computer or even pull your iPhone out of your pocket. But in many of those cases it also isn’t possible or practical to look down at the screen of your Apple Watch. This is especially true if you are asking Siri a question. Maybe you are walking down a flight of stairs or across a parking lot and in either of those cases you really shouldn’t be looking down at a tiny screen and trying to read a bunch of text. Siri’s voice pouring out of your Apple Watch really is a great new feature but you don’t realize how handy it is until you have it and use it.

The 2nd Difference: Cellular Connectivity

This may not be a feature you need, but for some this really handy. I like to go outside on walks and runs for exercise and listen to music and be able to use my phone if I run into trouble. Until I bought the Series 3 this meant I needed to take my iPhone with me on my run or walk. Walking isn’t such a bid deal, but if you are running an iPhone in your pocket isn’t feasible and strapping one to your arm is just a pain. Now all I do is pop my AirPods into my ears and head out the door. If I get a phone call or I need to call someone I can do that right from my watch. The cellular feature also means I don’t have to carry an iPhone around in my pocket at work all day. I leave the iPhone in my bag in my office. This is nice in a couple of way in that I don’t have an iPhone in my front pocket (not always attractive especially in dress pants) and it eliminates the temptation to pull my iPhone out and start checking email or news. But since I have cellular data on my watch I still get important texts and phone calls.

The 3rd Difference: Processor Speed

I saved the best for last and that is a faster processor. I can’t stress this enough, the jump in processor speed from the Series 2 to the Series 3 is staggering. There is nothing worse that lifting your wrist to quickly do something only to have to wait on the watch to catch up. With the Series 2 this would happen almost every time I went to start a workout. I was always waiting on the watch to “unfreeze” the interface so I could select a workout to start. This simply doesn’t happen with the Series 3 watch. There is no delay. Double-tapping the side button to quickly switch apps is also lightning fast and fluid with the Series 3 and with the Series 2 it was very sluggish. All of this might not seem like that big of a deal but you don’t realize just how much it bothers you until you realize you weren’t using the watch to its full potential because it just wasn’t enjoyable to use when it did these things. With the Series 3 I am now using my watch more than ever because it works so much more fluidly now.

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