World’s Best Word Processor: Pages

First off, I would like to apologize for not posting in a while. Life has been busy to say the least. Also, due to the amount of time I have to think about my blog posts, I have been struggling to come up with relevant content. This is why I created the suggestions page, so I urge you to suggest topics you would enjoy reading about. Now, on to the subject at hand.

For thirteen of my life, or maybe little less than that, I used Microsoft Word to type papers and do projects. I grew up in a house and a family that were strictly PC users. In 2011, I purchased my first iMac, and thus the pages era was born (for me anyway). Pages was released just 9 years ago, whereas Microsoft Word was released 19 years ago. Regardless of the release date of each processor, I consider one to be superior to the other. Indeed as you might have guessed, I prefer Pages.

After reading an article on this subject in the New York Times, I would agree that choosing a Word Processor comes down to three main categories: Appearance, Compatibility, and Sharing. So, let’s go through each category.

1. Appearance: The user-interface is arguably one of the most important selling points for software. Microsoft Word has been around a lot longer than Pages and Bill Gates knew what he was doing when he designed Word. Growing up using Word, I can attest that for years Microsoft was ahead of the game. From the toolbar to any other function imaginable, Word was king. But, then Apple came along and released Pages in 2005 and we all know who is superior when it comes to design. Unlike the cramped feel of Word, Pages has a natural, minimal layout that is supreme. It is easier to use and easier on the eyes.

2. Compatibility: For years, Word and Pages documents were not compatible. In fact, the two do not always support the same fonts and layouts, so when you edit one with the other program, it changes your document. That can be very frustrating! Apple has worked hard to make sure Pages is compatible across all Apple devices. The Pages app works on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Therefore, one can edit a document on Mac and then continue working on it form another device. Better yet, with iWork in the Cloud anyone can edit iWork projects or documents from any computer. Did I mention that Microsoft Word has no mobile app? Thus, again, rendering Pages superior!

3. Sharing: Apparently, many people do not choose to switch from Word to Pages because their coworkers still have Word. This is a sad excuse to deny oneself happiness. With the newest version of Pages, one can share a document by exporting it as a Pages, PDF, or Word file. A new feature also allows one to email a link to one’s document. When opened, the recipient can edit, comment, and collaborate with the creator. Pages is also cheaper than Word, at just $20 (Word is $80). Sounds pretty great, right?

Long story short, I prefer Pages over Word. I can begin a document on my Mac and finish it on my iPad at school. It is beautiful, simple, and easy to use. I would submit that once you try Pages, you might not go back!

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/technology/personaltech/pages-scores-technical-knockout-over-word.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

Brief Ideas for the Betterment of iPads

In short, these are a few ideas I’d enjoy seeing Apple implement sometime in the future:

iPad with multiple user accounts
- w/ finger print scanner as log-in
- deletes user data after log out

Classroom sharing capabilities
- allowing educators to share a file with students from within iOS
- collaborative assignments
- possibly within iWork

Improved Cases
- Ives designed Keyboard Case
- redesigned SmartCover

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Is Apple What It Used to Be?

In this ever-changing world, humanity never stops wanting more. People always have a desire to have bigger and better things. Josh, are you saying technology is bad, that people are selfish and insatiable? No, no, no, that is not what I am saying. Yet, over the past few months I have continuously been hearing people question Apple’s ability to be innovative. This, quite frankly, gets under my skin. Yes, I am a devoted Apple fan and will be until the day I die, but if one really stops and thinks, Apple has done more in it’s 38 years than many companies can dream of. Let’s take a quick trip through time, shall we?

1984 – Apple releases the Macintosh and changes the face of personal computers with their stunning, user-friendly graphical interface

1998 – Apple unveiled the world’s most beautiful, all-in-one computer, the iMac

2001 – Apple released the first iPod, a sleek, stylish, portable music player that would change the way we listened to music

2007 – Apple unveils the iPhone, a revolutionary concept that merged the iPod with a telephone and would forever be the world’s leading smartphone

2008 – Apple launches the iTunes Store and completely changed music industry and the way consumers purchase content

2010 – Apple unveils the iPad, making the tablet market a thriving business where competition cannot compete with the innovative and stunning iPad

These are just a few of the amazing products that Apple has released over the years. This list does not even include major products such as the AppleTV, MacBook line, and AirPorts. Some of you observant and knowledgable readers will notice that all of these innovative products were released under the careful watch of Steve Jobs. Steve understood the fundamentals of technology and knew what people wanted before they did. With his vision and a wonderful team, he created simply elegant products that consistently shattered the competition. But, with his untimely passing in 2011, Tim Cook took the helm of the tech giant. Many are worried that under Cook, Apple has lost it’s touch, but I disagree.

Under Tim Cook, Apple has released the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S, the new iPad (3rd gen.), iPad with Retina Display (4th gen.), the iPad Mini, the iPad Mini with Retina Display, and the iPad Air (5th gen.), updated MacBook Pro and Air, completely redesigned iMac, iOS 7, and OS X Mavericks. Those are some pretty fantastic products that Cook has overseen. No, Cook should not receive all the credit, as there are many talented employees that work hard to create these products. One of the most notable being Jony Ive, who is behind Apple’s simply elegant designs. What is next for Apple? Will they just keep refreshing models of the same product lines? Yes and no. Apple will never discontinue any of their product lines, in my opinion, because each is relevant and lucrative. Yet, Tim Cook has hinted at new products on the horizon. The long rumored Apple TV can not be too far away, but I doubt we will see it this year, even though Jobs claimed to have cracked the perfect iTV before his passing. With smart watches on the rise, we can expect Apple to step into that market this year. They have been hiring professionals in various fields such as fitness, pointing towards the release of an iWatch. Launching a whole new product category for Apple, while maintaining the other four major product categories makes me respect Tim Cook’s leadership. The updated versions of the products are always topnotch and each software update always promises something I had never expected before. I have faith in Tim Cook.

So, consumers of the twenty-first century, I urge you to keep your complaints at bay. Before you complain about how your iDevice doesn’t do something you think it should, stop for a moment a realize that Apple has integrated features into that device that a year ago you would have never dreamed on having at your fingertips. A virtual assistant, what is that? Biometric security, thats years away. Touch screen, who needs that on a phone? So, when you ask yourself: Is Apple What It Used to Be? Yes. Apple is the most innovative and creative company on the face of the planet. The staff at Apple understand that a device has to be powerful, yet easy to use. Simple, yet elegant. Apple understands the consumer and will forever think different.

Is Bigger Really Better?

In this day and age it takes more and more to impress people. We are far from the day when the 3.5” screen of the first generation iPhone thrilled consumers. Now, our iPhone’s have 4” screens and Samsung Galaxies have 5″ screens. Apple has been an inch behind the competitor for a generation or so now as far as smartphones go, but tablets are a different story.  After seeing the video below, I became curious as to what the reaction would be to a larger iPad.

iPads have consistently dominated the market share in the tablet market since it’s inception. So, would an iPad with a screen larger than 10” be a hit or a miss? The video, made by SET Solution, plays with the rumor of an iPad Pro. Said iPad Pro would follow in Apple’s Pro line, such as the MacBook Pro. Let’s consider the pros and cons of such a device. The improved screen would, no doubt, allow for applications optimized for it. As always in a Pro line, this iPad would contain an advanced processor and more memory. In theory, this iPad would be tailored to suits the needs of professionals, possibly photographers, artists, or designers. For example, a photographer could take some photos, use the camera connection kit to upload them, then view and edit them on the iPad Pro. This is just a possibility as to the many uses of an iPad Pro.

The final question is, is bigger really better? Would a Pro line for iPads benefit students, doctors, artists, or families? The video even suggested that the iPad would ditch iOS and run OS X. This was multiple users accounts would be possible. This novel concept is something that must be pondered upon more, yet I would predict that an iPad Pro is unlikely. One has to considered demand, and although the demand for a bigger smartphone screen is popular at the moment, I do not think the world is quite yet ready for a tablet with a screen over 10” and the price tag that would come with it.

 

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I Have A Dream & Ive Has A Dream

Apple is a leader in designing elegant consumer technology. This is apparent in each and every one of their devices. Jony Ive, is Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. He has been an integral part of the design of all products since 1996. Let the MacBook Air or iPhone 5S be an example of his genius designs. What if his works of art could be protected by something scratch resistant so that your iDevice did not require a case? Apple hopes to solve this problem in the near future.

With the iPhone 4 and 4S being covered by glass in the front and back and the iPhone 5 and 5S having glass on the front and aluminum on the back, a case is almost necessary unless one doesn’t mind scratches and cracks. Sapphire is the solution! Analysts estimate that Apple’s new Arizona sapphire factory will produce over 100 million sapphire iPhone displays a year. Cult of Mac explains below that the displays would not be completely sapphire, but coated with a sapphire laminate.

Saphire is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide (so we’ll get to hear Jony Ive say “aluminium” again in the iPhone 6 promo video). Sapphire is “grown” by crystallizing it in furnaces, resulting in a giant cylinder that’s sliced and polished to make displays.

Using sapphire for the full display is way too expensive and costs several times more than Gorilla Glass displays do.

And, in fact, Apple has a patent for a range of technologies called “Sapphire Laminates” — in one of them, a very thin layer — less than 1 millimeter thick — of sapphire is bonded to Glass, which gives them the scratch-resistance of sapphire with the cost-effectiveness of glass.

This would render the iPhone screen scratch-proof and crack-proof, allowing the user to leave the case behind. How does all this apply to students? Well, speaking from experience, it is no fun when your iPad falls to the floor and the screen shatters. Even a case can not prevent cracks from happening if it is God’s will. Yet, with this sapphire laminate being used on iPhone displays, I have high hopes that I will never have to shell out cash for an iPad case again. In short, I have a dream that one day I can carry my iPad without the fear of harm befalling upon it.

http://www.cultofmac.com/265632/next-iphone-wont-need-case/

How To Give Yourself A Pop Quiz

Each and every one of us has crammed for a test the night before. We review frantically and flip through flash cards attempting to memorize terms and dates. I am here to tell you that there is a database that provides multitudes of flash card sets that one virtually any subject of your choice. Some of you may be familiar with it, it is called Quizlet. With the creation of a quick account, one can create their own set of flash cards or search through the 21 million sets already available. It also has three different ways to study and quiz yourself to make sure you know your stuff!

Download the app for iPad or iPhone or log onto the website and start studying!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quizlet/id546473125?mt=8

Some Things Just Don’t Add Up

How did you like that title? Right now you probably do not have a problem with it, but just wait until you discover the topic of this post. Calculators. Yes, those delightful machines we use almost daily in school to add numbers together and solve problems. One would think that Apple, aiming to transform technology in the classroom, would provide a calculator on the device they promote so highly for education. Yet, if you search your iPad, you will not find a native calculator app. This is a slight error on their part and most users overlook it. They simply download a free calculator app from the app store and they think their problem is solved. I am here to tell you it is not. These free calculator apps are riddled with adds and sport dissatisfying user interfaces.

Now, imagine for a moment what Apple could do if they partnered with Texas Instruments and collaborated on a TI-84 graphing calculator app. This partnership would have a huge impact on the mathematical capabilities of the iPad. It would allow students to go beyond a simple calculator. This could bring the TI experience to the wonderful Retina Display of the iPad. I can picture it now, students graphing equations and solving problems while taking advantage of a 7.9 inch or 9.7 inch screen. It would be a truly magical and mathematical experience. Hey, it might even spark an interest in math in students who could care less while using a standard calculator!

Not only should Apple collaborate with Texas Instruments, but they should provide the app as a free, native calculator app the is built into iOS. Wouldn’t that just be amazing? Wow, look at me, I am excited to learn math…this could catch on quickly.

The Key to iPad Keyboards

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Have you ever wished you could type just as effectively on your iPad as you could on your laptop or desktop? I constantly come into contact with this problem. Maybe I just need more experience, but even if my typing speed is an average 45 words per minute, I still feel I could type faster on a physical keyboard.

CNET has compiled a list of the best keyboard cases for iPad. This list includes a variety of Belkin, Logitech, and ZAGG cases ranging from $80 to $150. Although I have not personally used each of these cases, I have tried some and would like to highlight my favorite.

Belkin’s Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad is a top notch experience. Unlike other cases, the keys do not feel cramped. This allows for an almost desktop like experience, which is highly appreciated. This case is super thin and protects your iPad while covering it with a stylish aluminum covering. In all honesty, I feel like Apple should have designed a case like this one. It has delightful features such as Bluetooth, auto-on when docked, and multiple viewing angles so you can rotate your iPad. I feel like one could type quickly and effectively with the help of this case. MSRP is $99.99, but with a coupon or a trip to Amazon.com you are sure to get a discount on this case. In short, try this case, then buy this case.

http://m.cnet.com/news/keyboarding-your-ipad-best-keyboard-cases/20091329?ds=1

Wunderlist

If you are anything like me, you are constantly making to-do lists. Whether it is for school or the grocery store, most of us make lists everyday. I hope I can provide a solution for your iOS to-do list. Wunderlist. Wunderlist is a simple app that allows the user to put enter tasks and check them off as they are completed. You can assign due dates so tasks are always completed on time and even set notifications. With the Pro feature, $4.99/month or $49.99/year, you can leave comments, attach files, assign to-dos for collaborators, and add subtasks. Best of all, with a free Wunderlist account, all your tasks will be synced over all your Apple products (Mac included). Download this app ASAP!

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wunderlist-to-do-task-list/id406644151?mt=8

Drive to Productivity: Life with Google Drive

There are few apps I can admit to using almost everyday, but Google Drive would be one of them. This powerful productivity app, made by none other than Google itself, allows one to write a document or spreadsheet and upload photos or videos. Also, if you use drive.google.com then you can create Presentations, Forms, and Drawings as well as the features allowed by the app. Organization is a breeze with the folder and star options. I have a folder for each subject so I can easily find my assignments. The sweetest part of the deal is that Google gives each user 15GB of storage for FREE. Anything you create with Docs, Sheets, or Slides won’t use up any of your storage. With all that free space, one can upload just about anything!

At my school, we use the “Share” feature to turn in assignments. For example, if my English teacher assigns us an essay to write, I can simply type it on the Google Drive app, share it, and my teacher can then open it via Google Drive. It is by far the most seamless digital exchange I have been a part of and I would go as far as saying it rivals Dropbox. The user interface of the app is simple and easily navigable which is highly appreciated.

If you are looking for a service to hold all of your files, this might be the right choice for you! The entry level is 15GB for free, but there are upgrades. You can get 100GB for $4.99/month, 200GB for $9.99/month, and all the way up to 16TB for $799.99/month. Google has really gone out of the way to make Drive as user friendly as possible and I think they achieve that goal. I am interested to see if Apple’s iWork in the Cloud can match up to Google’s Drive, but you decide for yourself.