With the coming of iOS10 (Apple’s latest operating system for iPhones and iPads), my first generation iPad Mini can’t keep up: it can’t be updated to iOS10

ios10 logoIt’s not yet four years old, so if I’d got out of bed on the wrong side this morning I could well be whingeing about “built-in obsolescence”. But let’s take a sunnier view. It doesn’t mean that my iPad is about to stop working. It just means that I can’t run iOS10 on it. This means that some features of iOS10 are not available and, in time, some new apps won’t run on it either, and some existing apps will not be updateable.

Apple Store - Covent Garden

Apple Store – Covent Garden (sans Fan Boys)

Forgetting the Apple Fan Boys who camp outside Apple in Regent Street and Covent Garden the night before a new Apple product comes out, would a normal, sensible person, think iOS10 is a trigger to get a new iPad?

Probably not. I’ve said before that the iPad Mini is my favourite ever piece of technology and I think it probably still is. Mine is working just as well now as it ever did. I’m writing the first draft of this blog on it. Funnily enough, the excellent Logitech keyboard that I bought for it has some keys going a bit yellow, but the iPad itself looks and behaves like new.

Battery Life

My iPad’s battery has lost 13% of its capacity in almost four years

Does it wear out in ways that we can’t see? Yes. The battery becomes less efficient over time. I’ve just installed an app called Battery Life that tells me my battery is only 87% as good at taking a charge as it was when new. I don’t know how steep the curve is going to be between 87% and useless%, but it’s not worrying me today. It should also be said that I’ve got no idea how accurate the “Battery Life” app is.

Probably just as important as the battery, there’s no hard drive to wear out, and no fan to get as noisy as a cement mixer.

So, what’s a new iPad got that mine hasn’t? Well, it might be a bit faster, but it’s still the same size and weight, and the screen resolution is still the same. If, like me, you own a first generation iPad and wonder what benefits you’d get from a new one, you can compare them at the links below:

Original iPad Mini spec
Current ipad Mini spec

Personally, I can’t be bothered to check them in minute detail as I’m fairly sure the current model doesn’t have anything so staggering that it’s worth upgrading.

iPad Mini Logitech Keyboard Cover - White

The first iPad Mini with Logitech keyboard

The truth is that the iPad mini is proving to be a resilient, reliable fact in my life life that does its job extremely well. When my IT support clients ask me how long they should expect their laptops and desktop PCs to last, I say that anything over four years should be looked on as a bonus. That’s for Windows PCs. I’ve got a Mac Mini and a Macbook Pro of late 2009 vintage that are both still going strong at almost seven years old (although they, too, are now unable to keep up with the latest operating systems). As my clients will know, I’m not a particular fan of Apple as a company or of their computers (as opposed to iPhones and iPads), but there’s no denying that their (initially expensive) products do last very well.

No, I won’t be replacing my iPad Mini any time soon. I’ll just have to get used to the fact that from now on it’s a click on the Home button to fire up the iPhone 5 (in iOS10) and the old familiar swipe rightwards on the iPad (in iOS9).

A few bits and pieces this week..

Tab key Tip

Tab KeyWhen filling in forms online, or even just entering a username and password, it’s much quicker to use the tab and “shift tab” keys to move to the next and previous fields respectively than it is to fumble around with the mouse.

If you are not familiar with the “tab” key, it is always at the lefthand side of the keyboard. I think it’s always to the left of the letter “q”.

“shift tab” is executed by depressing the “shift” key and, while the shift key is still down, tapping the “tab” key. Getting used to using the tab key in this context is much quicker than typing one piece of information, fumbling for the mouse, clicking on the next “field”, and typing the next piece of information.

By the way, a “field” in computer terms is a specific piece of information on a form or otherwise entered into or held by the computer – eg “mobile phone number” can be a field and “surname” can be another.

Still on the subject of typing and keyboards:

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad Mini

iPad Mini Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard CoverI’ve been finding the “virtual keyboard” on the iPad Mini more and more usable for “extended typing sessions” as I practise with it more and more. Nevertheless, I would prefer to have a “proper” keyboard that’s good enough that I forget about it for the duration of writing, say, 1000 words.

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad has a reputation for doing a good job for the iPad, and now the iPad Mini version has just been released. Naturally, though, the challenge for the manufacturer is even greater here, as there’s even less space to work with to create a comfortable, usable, keyboard on an iPad Mini than on an iPad. I’ve read a few reviews that vary in their assessment of how well Logitech have pulled this off. Here’s an example from Macworld. If there is a consensus at all, it is that the main keys are fine but some of the less important ones are too small to use without a conscious effort. At the time of writing, the only supplier I can find that has them in stock is Amazon. This is one occasion where I’d really like to get my hands on a product (literally) before buying it, so I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival on the High Street. My guess is that either John Lewis or PC World will get it first. Yes, I know that I’m somewhat less than enthusiastic about PC World, but I’m not relying on their technical expertise, and I think it unlikely that I would want to return it. Those are my two criteria for buying from PC World and they pass the test in this case.

Moving smoothly on to another High Street purchase..

Maplin Remote Switchif you find you need to reboot your router regularly and the router is not near your computer, you could buy a remote control switch (eg from Maplins) and keep the switch near your computer so that you can re-boot the router without leaving your chair!

These remote control switches are also very handy for other computer devices whose power switches are not easy to get to.

And, finally, AVG Antivirus (not for the first time)
 
I stopped recommending AVG Free as the best free antivirus program because their marketing tactics seemed to be getting more and more aggressive. They seemed to do everything possible to steer their users into installing (or upgrading to) paid-for versions rather than the free version. I often find it hard to find the free version on their website, so here is a current link to AVG Free.

Be careful, though, as they still try and get you to click on the paid version. They’re still showing orange buttons for links to the free version and green links to the paid version. No doubt they think we’ll be more likely to click on the green one as we’ll think it’s safe.

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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