Quick thoughts on using a Trackpad with iPadOS 13.4

Yesterday Apple released iPadOS 13.4 with advanced cursor support. I immediately downloaded 13.4 to my iPad and paired my Magic Keyboard, Trackpad and Mouse.

I’ve been using my iPad with the Trackpad for a few hours now and can say this will change how I use my iPad. One thing I will mention is that my original Magic Mouse didn’t scroll. A Magic Mouse 2 is required for full mouse support.

Now I can see an iPad replacing my MacBook Pro as my main computing device. That said, I’ll be considering a new iPad. I’m not sure which one at this point but I’ll decide after I’ve used my existing iPad with the Trackpad for awhile.

All that said, I’m going to have to make some adjustments to my workflows since a lot of what I do on my MacBook Pro involves using Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, and Hazel. A lot of what I do with those apps can’t be replicated on the iPad. I’m sure I’ll find ways to work around it though.

To get started, I found this 9to5 Mac YouTube video very helpful.

I’m looking forward to Tuesday

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, iPadOS 13.4 will be released. Why am I so looking forward to this? Well, 13.4 will have advanced cursor support which means a mouse and trackpad will now work with my iPad. I’ll be trying this out and that will be a welcome diversion from worrying about COVID-19.

We have seen that with iPadOS 13, which was the first version to introduce mouse support to the iPad, but the implementation was extremely limited. This will change with iPadOS 13.4, which brings a new way to use a mouse or trackpad on the iPad.

The cursor will be a small semi-transparent circle instead of a regular pointer, which will come up only when you need it. That means once the user stops moving the cursor, it will disappear from the screen so that the focus continues on the content.

It also disappears when it is over certain interface elements, such as buttons and icons of the Dock. These elements will be highlighted with a different shape so you know the cursor is there, and you can just slide to access other options.

I think that at some point I would like to be iOS only? This may get one step closer to doing it.

An iPad with a mouse and trackpad?

9to5 Mac is reporting that sophisticated mouse cursor support is coming to iOS 14 and that new iPad Smart Keyboard models will have a trackpad.

According to code seen by 9to5Mac, Apple is set to roll out rich system-wide support for mouse cursors with iOS 14. Apple added rudimentary compatibility with external mice in iOS 13 Accessibility settings, but iOS 14 (iPadOS 14) will make it mainstream.

The iOS 14 build also referenced two new Smart Keyboard models in development.

The changes coming to the software will bring most of the cursor features you recognize from a Mac desktop experience to iOS.

I love it and I’m looking forward to it. This seems like something that could get me closer to making an iPad my main computing device.

Raindrop.io for bookmarks

For the last several years I’ve been using Devonthink Pro for bookmarking. With the introduction of Devonthink 3, which is a paid upgrade, I decided to look for a different bookmark app/service. Why? I didn’t want to pay the upgrade price and I wanted a truly cross-platform app. Devonthink is a great app and is a lot more than just for bookmarking but it is first and foremost a Mac app with an iOS app that is limited by comparison.

Enter Raindrop.io. I came across Raindrop.io while reviewing Federico Viticci’s My Must-Have Apps, 2019. He sums up the app quite well:

To sum up: I wanted to find an app/service that would help me save links from the web, organize them with folders or tags using a good-looking UI, and find them again with ease. Raindrop.io, which has been around for several years at this point and is in active development, ticks all these boxes: it’s a web service that comes with a desktop web app, browser extensions, and native mobile apps; links are automatically saved with rich thumbnails and descriptions extracted from the original webpage; you can organize links in collections, tag them, and choose from multiple view and sort options; you can also customize the look of a collection by choosing from thousands of icons. Here’s where it gets better and why Raindrop.io is ideal for my needs: on iOS, links open with Safari View Controller, not a custom web view; and, if you pay for the Pro version, you’ll be able to upload your own images, create nested collections, and rely on the service to find duplicate or broken links for you.

I decided to give the app a try. I’m using the free edition of the app which meets all my needs. So for now, I see no reason to pay for the Pro features. If your looking for a bookmarking app/service give Raindrop.io a try.

Spotlight on iPad

I find myself using my iPad more and more lately. That’s because I’m discovering that there are things that I do on my Mac that I can also do on my iPad. The trick is discovering that these things exist.

For example, I use Alfred on my Mac. I recently discovered that the iPad has Spotlight which I can use to do many of the things that I use Alfred for on my Mac. I use a keyboard with my iPad so I can quickly invoke Spotlight with the keyboard shortcut ⌘ + space bar.

Now here are a few things that I do with Spotlight on my iPad:

  • Launch apps
  • Search files and folders
  • Search the App Store
  • Search the web
  • Search maps

The new Fantastical 3 offers a free version

I started using Fantastical in 2014. I have it on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac and in my opinion, it is the best calendar app out there.

With Version 3 Fantastical has gone to a subscription business model. I know, another subscription. But I think Flexibits has handled the transition well. They have taken care of existing users as well as offering a free version. If you have always wanted to try Fantastical now is the time.

Another benefit of a subscription is a free version of Fantastical. That’s right, we now have a free version of Fantastical. It’s basic, but if your needs are simply to look over your schedule, add the occasional event using the famous and magical Fantastical parser, then you will be quite happy.

Now for those of us who have been using Fantastical. Do we have to move to the subscription model? The answer is no.

And what about our existing customers who bought our apps in the past years to get us to this point? Some have called us crazy, but we call it doing the right thing. All of the features from your prior purchase of Fantastical 2 will continue to work with the new Fantastical. That’s right: your new apps will automagically detect your existing purchase and provide a special unlock of the features you already paid for. This means you will continue to get bug fixes and support for some time to come, too.

This means existing users like myself will be able to use the free version but with all the features that we’ve already paid for.

I’m not going to write a review here but if you would like to learn more take a look at the articles listed below.

Fantastical 3 steps out of Apple’s shadow – Six Colors

Fantastical 3 Review: The Best Calendar App Just Got Better

Fantastical Field Guide | MacSparky Field Guides

Holiday Sale: Save 50% on all Enpass password manager plans

This is directed at those of you who are in the market for a password manager. I’ve been using Enpass for several months and am very happy with it.

I’ll mention that Enpass moved to subscription a few weeks ago but they also have a lifetime license and with the sale you, can get a lifetime license for just $24.99.

A special deal for the Holidays: 50% off on all Enpass plans

Enpass will be on sale with a discount of 50% on all app stores – while you can get a lifetime license for only $24.99, you can also get an Enpass Premium subscription starting for as low as $0.49 per month. And, of course, the full-featured desktop versions of Enpass – macOS, Windows, Linux – are completely free.

Note that this is a limited time offer, starting from December 24, 2019 and valid till January 2, 2020. So, don’t wait and unlock the full version of Enpass at this special discounted price. Spread the word to help your friends and family members get started with safe and secure password management.