Kindle Voyage, iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 ?

Kindle-Family

Same to many of you, I have the Kindle Paperwhite II and the iPad Air. The Paperwhite II is my primary ebook reading device, and the iPad Air is my primary digital content consumer – be it News, Blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Zite or YouTube. I also use the iPad Air to compose emails, post feeds to social media via Buffer etc.

Both devices are pretty new and of course, both devices did not stone last few weeks even the new gadgets from Kindle and Apple launched recently. The key question is … “Is it worth an upgrade to the latest gadgets, even though mine are still working perfectly ?”

“No.” is my answer, in my case.

But what about you ? Let’s see the specifications of Kindle Paperwhite II and Kindle Voyage, key improvements are highlighted.

  1. Kindle Paperwhite is US$ 80 cheaper;
  2. Screen sizes are the same – 6″;
  3. Kindle Voyage screen include “adaptive light sensor”;
  4. Kindle Voyage screen touch screen and PagePress (Pressure-based page turn sensors in both side of the device);
  5. Kindle Voyage screen is higher resolution (300 vs 212);
  6. Kindle Voyage is lighter, for about 30 g;
  7. Sizes are similar but Kindle Voyage is thinner;
  8. Both store similar number of books and battery life last the same;
  9. Kindle Voyage gets a new Origami Cover.

Again, my answer to Kindle Voyage is “No.”. But if it’s your first Kindle, or your old one is broken, Kindle Voyage is a no-brainer.

ipad-air2

And what about iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 ? Again, I highlight the major differences.

  1. Depends on configuration, but you can get an iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 with 128 GB;
  2. iPad Air is now cheaper than iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3;
  3. The screen resolutions of the 3 devices are actually the same (surprise !!);
  4. iPad Air 2 is 1.4 mm thinner and 30 grams lighter;
  5. iPad Air 2 is equipped with A8X chip and M8 motion coprocessor – it’s 40% faster;
  6. Both iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 have the Touch ID, iPad Air 2 also gets a barometer;
  7. The FaceTime camera resolution is the same across 3 devices, but iPad Air 2 is equipped with an 8M iSight Camera (iPad Air gets only 5M iSight Camera);
  8. iPad Air 2 supports slo-mo video now;
  9. Battery life are all similar.

To me, if you think your iPad Air is fast enough, you don’t really need to upgrade to iPad Air 2, unless you really, really need the Touch ID.

 

iPad Keyboard Case – The Final Episode

Yes, it’s going to be the final episode of the “iPad Keyboard Case” as I believe I have bought way too many iPad keyboards. In addition, I believe the new iPad 5 will be thinner than iPad 4 and so it is pointless to buy any new keyboards that may or may not fit the future iPads.

So, the latest keyboard I got after months of waiting is the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad. Is it good ? A resounding yes. Is it much better than many others’ favorite – Logitech Ultrathin iPad Keyboard Cover ? Well well …

First of all, the new Belkin keyboard is about US$ 25 more expensive than the Logitech one (as of end August 2013). And it is heavier, thicker, with softer keys and not as sturdy as the competitor (because of the multi-angle design, see below). However, it is really good in a few other areas:

  1. It protects the back of your iPad;
  2. It is heavier than the Logitech, but still lighter than others like ZaggFolio;
  3. It supports multiple-angle viewing (watch the video below);
  4. It can fold flat to become a tablet again (Logitech and others cannot do that), and it is particularly useful when reading ebooks in public transport, without looking like an idiot;
  5. The cover is special designed to enhance the sound flow towards you, it makes the audio sounds a little bit better;
  6. It’s more stylish (I bought the white color version, to fit my black iPad).

All in all, I am happy with the new member of my iPad keyboard family, and will use it for a while … before the next keyboard comes out. And here is a video to see how the keyboard case works with multiple angle set up.

In Search of the next iPad Keyboard

The more I use my iPad (1, 2 and now 4), the more I think I need a keyboard. With a decent keyboard I can essentially leave the laptop computer at home, even though the laptop is already a very lightweight one. With a decent keyboard, I can browse the web, jot notes, tweet, update Facebook / Linkedin / Google+ status and compose / reply emails easily … and that’s pretty much all the things I do day in, day out.

So it’s like a mission to find the best keyboard for iPad. First, the original Zagg Solo – it’s a good one but not that protective. Then the updated Zagg ZAGGFolio – stylish, solid but heavy. Then I found a really good one – the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard. It’s beautiful, lightweight, and with a comfortable keyboard. The only down side is that it cannot protect the iPad very well.

That is the reason why I backed the Brydge + project in Kickstarter. From the project page, the keyboard certainly looks like the perfect keyboard – rock solid, good keyboard, and come with a speaker. 9 months (!) after the project get funded, I finally received the keyboard – it’s heavy, thick, and with sticky keys. You can check out the project comment page on how upset all the other backers are, in fact many still have not received their keyboards.

I am still using this keyboard every single day, while waiting for the next one – Belkin Ultimate Keyboard for iPad or Logitech Folio Keyboard.

Yes, the more I use my iPad, the more I think I need a keyboard.

Keyboard_x.jpg

From Kindle 2 to Kindle Touch (Kindle 4)

I seldom upgrade my gears even the gears’ new version / generation are released, instead I always skip one generation between each upgrade. That applies to my M4/3 cameras, iPhone, iPad and of course the Kindle as well. My previous Kindle is a white color Kindle 2, and I skipped the very good Kindle 3 (now the Kindle Keyboard) but waited for the Kindle Touch. So, the day Amazon made the Kindle Touch available to customers outside US like us, I ordered the fourth generation Kindle and the Lighted Leather Cover

Kindle 2 and Kindle Touch

Without a keyboard like Kindle 2 / 3, the Kindle Touch is very small and lightweight. And with the same reason, you need to touch the screen to turn pages and change any settings … quite frankly touching the screen to action is not as easy as pressing a button in previous Kindle verions. However the E Ink display is still very good for reading.

One thing I note from this latest Kindle is the menu options will change depends on what you’re doing – for example, the menu in the main homepage is different with the one while you’re reading and in the Settings screen. Anyway, first few things you need to do after you receive your Kindle Touch:

  1. From the home screen (the book list screen), press the Menu button in upper right, and turn on the Wi-Fi (“Turn On Wireless” option). If needed, in the same menu, select “Settings” and use the “Wi-Fi Networks” option to connect to the right Wi-Fi Access point.
  2. Then register your Kindle with the “Registration” option in the “Settings” screen.
  3. Set the password of the device, the time and personal information with the “Device Options” in the “Settings” screen.
  4. You can also set the social network through the “Reading Options”
  5. Once connected, and registered, go back to the home screen and you shall be able to download all the books to the new Kindle one by one.

I also tried the Kindle Shop (the shopping cart icon on top) and bought my first ebook for the new Kindle Touch – Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

Lastly, in case you want to take some screenshots of Kindle like what I did for this blog post, all you need to do is to hold the home button for a while and then tap the screen. The screenshot in GIF format will be stored in the root directory of the Kindle where you can copy to your PC once connected via the USB cable. Hope it helps.

Enjoy !!

8 tips to organize your iPhone / iPad apps and folders

How many apps you have downloaded to your iOS devices ? And is it easy to find them from within the devices – then run your favorite game or utility apps, move them or delete them ? Yes I know many of you have your favorite apps in the home screen and you can organize the apps into folders as well … but more questions pop up – how to name the folders ? How to arrange the folders ? And is it easy to find the folders you created last week or month in your iPhone / iPad ?

iPhone and iPad are smart devices but you need to be very smart as well one way or the other, to make that device works for you. Other than downloading good apps, I firmly believe you also need a smart(er) way to organize your apps and folders – and in turn, better user experience.

And here are 8 tips and tricks on that:

  1. First, only download the apps your need. A simple but important trick, for example, if you don’t play games at all then why download the Angry Birds ?
  2. Second, organize all standard Apple apps (Clock, Calendar, Contact, Map etc.) in the home screen of the device. With this approach, when you know you need to run those standard Apple apps, just go to the home screen to find it. Free up your mind, you don’t need to memorize where are those apps – like, where is the Map apps ? However, if there are really some Apple standard apps you don’t need in the home screen – save those into a separate folder, say “Apple apps”.
  3. Always leave a row in the home screen for your apps and folders though, in other words, only keep at most 12 standard Apple apps in the home screen (in the case of iPhone). That will leave you 4 “slots” to place your own apps or folders. For iPad, keep 15 standard Apple apps in the home screen and leave 5 “slots” for the apps folders.
  4. In the case of iPad, you can also move one of your favorite apps to the apps docking bar in the bottom of the screen. In my case, I added Zite to it.
  5. In the home screen, keep the most used apps on the left most column (if you are a right-handed person), or the right most column. That will help you to access your favorite apps with only one hand and your thumb.
  6. Probably the most important tips – sort your folders position by their names. For example, place the folder sequence like “Finance”, then “Games”, then “Health” etc. That will help you easy to find one folder just by a glance to the screen. In other words, if you want to find the folder “Health”, the first glance of the screen you found “Finance” and you will certainly know the “Health” folder is somewhere on the right or below the folder “Finance”. No more folder hunting.
  7. Keep the folders names the same between iPhone and iPad. So you can easily find the same apps in the same folder.
  8. Lastly, review the apps and folders once every few months – remove the apps that no longer needed; rename the folders or create new ones if new needs arose; reorganize the folder position again.

I hope all these tips and tricks make sense to you, following you can find few screen shots of my iPhone and iPad set up.

That’s what matters to me …

No, Apple II was not my first personal computer, it was the Commodore 64.

No, iPod was not my first portable music player, it was a Aiwa portable tape player.

No, Macbook Pro was not my first laptop computer, it was a Toshiba Portégé.

No, iPhone was not my first smartphone, it was Dopod C730.

No, iPad was not my first tablet, it was Amazon Kindle.

And no, Steve Jobs was not my first idol, my dad is.

But just imagine the modern days without Jobs, Apple II, iPod, MacBook, iPhone and iPad. And imagine the days without mouse, GUI, touch screen gesture …

Remembering the man who behind all these, and who made “IT” stands for “Innovation, Transformation”.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs

My Kindle-iPad experiment

If you search “Kindle vs iPad” in Google and you will probably find over 6 millions results, in other words this topic has been discussed to death. And of course, Amazon thinks there are many good reasons why Kindle is a better ebook reader and I also blogged before that with certain settings, one can use iPad to read ebooks.

But still, to really find out which device is the better ebook reader, I decided to do an experiment – read the first half of an ebook (“I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted“) with Kindle 2, and then the second half of the same ebook with iPad 2. And here are my findings:

iPad

  1. I like the fact that you can check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  2. I hate the fact that you can check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  3. It’s the faster device of the two
  4. The battery lasts only 10 hours, and I don’t like the battery indicator (in percentage) in the upper right corner … it makes me worry about the battery all the time
  5. Without a keyboard, the touch gesture can turn the page, highlight a word / sentence, toggle the menu system etc. etc. – in one word, “confusing”
  6. I like all the colorful book covers in the home screen. It’s pretty much like the album library in iPod is great, but I still like to see all the CD covers.

Kindle

  1. I like the fact that you cannot check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  2. I hate the fact that you cannot check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  3. The e-ink screen is much much better than iPad (for any serious long form reading), your eyes will never get tired, strained and drained;
  4. Battery life of two weeks is good, you can easily finish a book without a recharge;
  5. With the keyboard and buttons to go to next / previous page, it is a lot easier to use.
  6. You can buy ebook easily with the Kindle shop.

Summary

Without a doubt, Kindle is a much better ebook reader if you like focused long form reading. However, if you can only take one device with you and reading is not your primary purpose, get an iPad. You won’t regret it.