The iPad Pro and USB-C

A few days ago I opined that a power application like Final Cut Pro X would only make sense on the iPad Pro if Apple did away with the Lightning port in favor of USB-C. Well, that day has arrived, but we may not be quite there yet. Jason Snell at Six Colors loves the new iPad Pro, but he does raise this good point:

Which brings us to USB-C. The iPad Pro is the first iOS device to ditch Lightning for the port standard favored by computers. This is another sign that the iPad Pro is really embracing being a computer—but the sad fact is, it’s hamstrung by iOS itself. The hardware is willing, but the software is weak. iOS’s support for USB devices is sorely limited. It will import photos and videos from cameras and memory cards. You can hook up a keyboard or an Ethernet adapter or a microphone or audio mixer. And I assume the iPad Pro will be able to power a much wider array of devices than could have been powered by the USB 3 Lightning Adapter without a power assist.

But plug in a hard drive or flash drive and you can’t view the files in the Files app. Plug in a USB webcam and I assume nothing happens? There’s more to be done here. On a standard computer we have an expectation of what happens when we plug in a USB device. iOS has holes. Maybe the existence of USB on iPad will finally prompt Apple to prioritize better USB device support in future versions of iOS.

I’m keeping the dream of touch-based FCPX alive for now. Connecting fast RAID storage to something as powerful as the new 12.9″ iPad Pro would truly blur the lines between Mac and iPad. iOS, for better or for worse, feels like the future of computing for most people.

Would Final Cut Pro X make sense on an iPad Pro?

If Apple unveils a redesigned iPad Pro at next week’s special event in Brooklyn, they will surely have some new software to show running on it. The cat is already out of the bag with Adobe’s upcoming iPad version of Photoshop. That’s huge news for both companies and I’m sure it will be a hit. What else would spark some sales?

How about Final Cut Pro X?

Video editing software has been around on the iPad almost as long as the iPad itself, and today’s offerings are pretty compelling. Just take a look at LumaFusion, a powerful and fun-to-use NLE from Luma Touch. I have it installed on my 2018 (non-Pro) iPad and I’m impressed by its ease of use and depth of features. It has support for cloud services (iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc.) so getting media onto your device is easier than it used to be. An upcoming release promises external video monitoring and XML support, showing that Luma Fusion is serious about making this a pro solution.

Final Cut Pro X on iPad wouldn’t be a huge technical leap, considering iMovie for iOS has been around for a while and they would presumably share large chunks of code. Currently you can start a project in iMovie and send it to FCPX on your Mac for finishing.

I think the issue boils down to storage and connectivity. The current iPad Pro tops out 512GB of built-in storage, and anyone who works with today’s camera media knows that you could fill that up with one single job. It’s also cumbersome to transfer large files to and from an iPad. The cloud services offered by LumaFusion make accessing files straightforward, but that material still needs to copy to your device to be used for editing.*

A clue that Apple might be looking to address this issue is the rumor that the high end iPad would adopt a USB-C port instead of Lightning. Suddenly a “closed” platform could support things like external storage and 4K video out. Applications like Final Cut Pro X start to make a little more sense.

I’m not completely sold on this concept, though. Is Apple going to release an iPad app that requires tethering your mobile device to a drive? Will 512GB (or 1TB in a future release) be enough storage for most users?

Hopefully we’ll know soon enough. Slicing through my footage with an Apple Pencil sounds fun.

*LumaFusion does have support for wireless storage that lets you preview source files, but shots you choose to put in your timeline still need to be copied.

2018 iPad Pro rumors are afoot

Apple is expected to announce a refresh of the iPad Pro line this month, and Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac has an exclusive look at some of the new features:

The new iPad Pros will have an edge-to-edge display and will not feature a Home button, much like the iPhone. Unlike the iPhone, however, the iPad Pro will not have a notch.

Even though the new 2018 iPad Pro models will sport thinner bezels, those bezels will still be wide enough to accommodate the TrueDepth camera system necessary for Face ID.

Rambo also claims that the 2018 Pro will have a USB-C port that can output video to external displays, as well as a new Apple Pencil and a few other interesting bits.

iOS 12.0.1 is here, and the “.?123” key returns to its proper place

Apple has released the first point update to iOS 12.

iOS 12.0.1 includes bug fixes and improvements for your iPhone or iPad. This update:

  • Fixes an issue where some iPhone XS devices did not immediately charge when connected to a Lightning cable
  • Resolves an issue that could cause iPhone XS devices to rejoin a Wi-Fi network at 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz
  • Restores the original position of the “.?123″ key on the iPad keyboard
  • Fixes an issue where subtitles may not appear in some video apps
  • Addresses an issue where Bluetooth could become unavailable

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

I’m glad I’m not the only one who kept mistakenly hitting the emoji key after iOS 12 arrived.

An iOS update that’s actually faster on older devices

Apple has pushed back against the notion of forced obsolescence with the latest version of iOS. Andrew Cunningham, reporting for Ars Technica:

…iOS 12 is a convincing counterargument to the theory that Apple intentionally hobbles its old devices to force people to buy new ones. In addition to running more like iOS 10 did, it supports devices going all the way back to 2013, which sets a new record for iOS’ software support window. Given their age, these phones and tablets feel reasonably good in everyday real-world use, including browsing, emailing, and using most apps.

I’m still rocking an iPhone 6 (I know, don’t judge- my kids get braces instead) and I can say the performance improvement is noticeable. Podcasts is my go-to app on my commute and I no longer have to wait 10-15 seconds after launch to actually play anything.