Public holiday WFH mode. 2020 12.9 iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard. Loving how the scissor keys and trackpad feel, and the Magic way it makes my iPad Pro float.
Some thoughts after using it for a while: If you plan to do a lot of typing on the iPad Pro, this keyboard is game-changing. It is a major step towards making the iPad Pro into the laptop replacement, that began with the implementation of iPadOS.
It is light years nicer than the Smart Keyboard Folio in terms of feel. The scissor keys are as good as a new MacBook Pro’s. Trackpad works very well too, though a little smaller than than traditional MacBook Pro one. The way Apple has made the "cursor" work on the iPad is brilliant, like a little finger instead of an arrow. And after a while, you will be "mousing" around as if you are using a laptop. There is a magnetic effect too, so your trackpad dot will snap to the app icons when it is near.
You need to learn the shortcuts to fully realize the potential, like three fingers swiping up to open the app launcher, or three fingers swiping left and right to switch between apps, or "the pinch" to zoom in and out. But once you master the trackpad shortcuts, and the keyboard ones, you may not need to lift a finger to touch the screen much anymore.
My only gripes: the weight (it is a little heavy), and the angle (I wish it tilted juuuuust a little more backwards haha!).
The 12.9 iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard weighs about 1,340 grams while the 2020 Macbook Air weighs about 1,268 grams. Yes, I weighed them both on the scales I use to weigh my coffee beans.
So the Magic Keyboard combo is slightly heavier. But then you can't use an Apple Pencil on the MacBook Air or any MacBook for that matter. For people who are iPad-focused, this small weight difference will not be an issue.
You can use a previous Gen iPad Pro with this Magic Keybaord too (I tested it on an 2018 iPad Pro) and it works fine. So no worries there. You don't need to buy the new iPad Pro just to use this Magic Keyboard. Though the LIDAR and the extra camera is nice to have.
I understand why the tilt angle can't go back further, as the iPad Pro is fairly heavy by itself. For now, the angle is usable.
Charging via the additional USB-C port on the Magic Keyboard works well, and frees up your main USB-C port for other accessories and peripherals. If you use an 18W Apple charger, you won't see much difference in charging speeds. If you use something with more juice, like a 30W charger, then the main USB-C port is faster, but not by a lot. The Magic Keyboard USB-C port tops out at 22W of juice, while the main USB-C port can do up to 26W. So, charge with the main USB-C port with a big fat charger if you want the maximum charging speeds.
Note that you cannot use the USB-C port of the Magic Keyboard for anything other than charging. It does not support data transfers or accessories.
You can't flip the keyboard around to use the screen only, unlike the Smart Keyboard Folio. I suppose if you want to use the iPad as a tablet, you are supposed to take the entire thing off the Magic Keyboard. I am ok with that too.
The floating is amazing. And the Magic Keyboard is nice and rigid. It is a pricey accessory, for sure. But there is nothing like this out there for the iPad Pro for now, and it works great. iPad Pro users, rejoice!
Note to self: Perusing Instagram in landscape mode is bad for one’s neck.
When James Lye (no, not VR Man. The music producer) approached me to be part of this song, I was like, "Sure!". Before I knew it, an Audio-Technica AT5040 mic was delivered to my door, and I started recording and filming my bits. And by that, I meant my bits of the song. Not my other bits.
Marc Nair wrote the lyrics and James arranged the song, with the following talents.
James Lye on Guitars
Goh Si Kai on Keyboards
Nicholas Lee on Bass
CK Er on Drums
Video Editor: Marc Nair
Audio & Mix Engineer: Eugene Soh & James Lye
It was such a thrill to be working on the same project as all these talented singers and musicians. And that AT5040 mic is so nice too. 10/10 would do it again.
It is now day 31 since Circuit Breaker started on the 7th of April 2020. The family has settled into a rhythm of WFH, HBL, attending church service at home, binge-watching anime and tv shows, and working on our hobbies.
Mommy has her miniatures to work on, Isaac has his Call of Duty and his music, Joy has her art, her cosplay and music, Faith has her Wiggles and music on her iPad, Auntie chats with her family back home over video calls, and me, I have my, er, sleep.
One of the challenges has been to carve out space for everyone to do their thing, be it work or study, hobby or leisure. We managed to do this by clearing out a lot of unneeded rubbish and furniture, just before Circuit Breaker started. I also had to make room for my work, which involved lugging home a ton of audio and video equipment.
Music is one of the things we all agree upon. And because each of us have our own tastes in music, the Sonos system we had was invaluable. I also found a little time to unpack the Sonos Amp and Klipsch RP-500 speakers and added them to my network. The Amp drives passive speakers at 125 Watts per channel, and also lets me connect the TV via its HDMI ARC input, if I wanted to use them for tv sound.
The way I use them is just for music. So in the living room, the Sonos Amp is my music player.
I had a pair of Play:5 version 2 speakers (there is a version 3 out already) in the living room for music previously. So since the Amp took that role, Isaac received a Sonos Play:5 speaker in HIS room (which he was thrilled to get), and Faith got the other Play:5 in HER room (which meant she no longer needed to sit in the living room to listen to her favourite songs).
Joy got a little red HAY Sonos One Limited Edition I was using somewhere else in the house, placed next to her bed, and an older Sonos Play:1 went into the kitchen for Auntie to listen to while she cooks up a storm daily. The Playbar surround system in my master bedroom is still there, providing music and movie surround for the wife and me to enjoy. It is even more important as a personal cinema system now that we can't go out for movies.
As you can see, everyone has their own speaker space. I think it helps us all keep a little sane in this kind-of lockdown.
I was quite excited to hear that Sonos finally updated the Playbar with the new Arc. Finally!
ARC is the successor to the venerable Playbar. It has 3D sound with Dolby Atmos and 11 Class D digital amplifiers that drive 11 custom drivers inside. Supports voice control via Google Voice or Alexa, Apple Airplay 2 (which my Playbar doesn't), and uses a magnetic sensor to detect when the Arc is mounted and smartly adjusts the EQ.
Made to support larger TVs that people now buy, 55-inches and up, the Arc is basically the Playbar on steroids. One downside though, it requires your TV to support Atmos and Atmos-encoded content in order to enjoy the Atmos experience. You can't just have an ATMOS-supported Apple TV 4K console to get it. And it will run on the new Sonos S2 platform coming in June.
The S2 platform supports almost all the Sonos products except the first-generation Sonos Play:5, Zone Players, and Connect/Connect:Amp devices manufactured between 2011 and 2015.
The Arc is S$1499 and will be here on on 10th June and available now for pre-order at trysonos.sg
You can pair it with the existing Sonos Sub or get a Sub (Gen 3) for S$1149, announced at the same time. The Play:Five (Gen 3) is also out (S$799), coming on 10th July. Though I am likely to stick with my current Play:5 (Gen 2) speakers.
Last night, we watched the new Emma movie directed by Autumn de Wilde, starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma. It was quite nice to watch some Jane Austen, in the comfort of home. Which is where we will be in the weeks, and maybe months, to come. Thank goodness for the company of loved ones, the roof over our heads, food on the table, and music wafting through our home.
As Emma said in the book, “Without music, life would be a blank to me."