iBits and iPieces

Today’s blog is just a couple of iPhone/iPad items that I want to share with you but which don’t merit a blog post of their own

First Impressions of the iPad Mini

So many of my clients have been asking me for training on their iPads that eventually I had to have a chat with myself about whether to buy one. The problem was that I had bought a Sony tablet earlier in the year to learn the Android operating system, so could I really justify the cost of buying another tablet? Well, the decision became much easier with the release of the iPad Mini. This is completely compatible with the iPad software-wise, so anything you can do on an iPad can be done on an iPad mini. The only differences are the physical size and the Mini does not have the new “retina display”. I managed to convince myself that the iPad Mini wasn’t replicating the utility of the Sony as I needed to see if the smaller size really is relevant in choosing a tablet (well, it seemed like a convincing reason to me).

By the time that the 3G version (or “cellular” version, as Apple call it) was released at the beginning of December, I had convinced myself that I need one. At first I ritually phoned the Apple store in Regent Street every day for a week and waited 15 minutes in the phone queue each time before being told they hadn’t got any yet, but they might have tomorrow so please call again. Then I had a brainwave and went to the John Lewis website and found they’d got eight and I could place my order today and collect from the Oxford Street store tomorrow. Absolute cinch. No problems.

iPod Mini in Filofax
The iPad Mini fits neatly into an A5 Filofax as long as there’s not too much paperwork in there (which there shouldn’t be, of course, as most things are on the iPad!)
It’s a beaut. I’d long since suspected that the iPad was better than an Android tablet and I was right. If you are thinking of buying a tablet I would suggest that your starting point might favour an iPad unless you have a specific reason for looking elsewhere (eg price or a specific application/need that can’t be satisfied by Apple apps). I was amazed at the difference that the size of the iPad mini makes. It has very little of the feeling of being difficult and cramped that you can easily encounter using any smartphone (iPhone or otherwise), and yet it really is light enough to hold in one hand for more than a minute or two at a time. It’s so small and light that I can imagine hardly leaving home without it. I carry an A5 size Filofax around with me when I am working and was chuffed to realise that I can actually carry the iPad Mini safely zipped inside the Filofax. That’s it, then – more or less my entire office in a stylish A5 leather case. How cool is that?

If you are considering buying a tablet – and especially an iPad – then I would seriously suggest that you check out the iPad Mini as well as the standard one. You might easily find that the smaller size is a benefit. One final suggestion, and this is one that I do not apologise for repeating, is that I recommend you consider buying a tablet with in-built 3G. They tend to be about £100 more than the WiFi-only versions, but the usefulness of any tablet is severely hampered if you don’t have an internet connection. You can’t always rely on being able to connect to someone else’s WiFi when you’re away from home. Buying a tablet without 3G connectivity is, as my mother would say, “spoiling the ship for a ha’porth of tar”.

Marking all emails as “Read” on the iPhone and iPad

iPhone 3GS
I bought this secondhand iPhone 3GS to learn about IOS. Within two days it had become my main smartphone. HTC, eat your heart out.
Apart from the dreadful soggy and imprecise keyboard, I really like my iPhone 3GS. Everything is very smooth and as intuitive as it gets. However, there is one feature of the Mail program (or lack of feature, actually) that niggles me several times a day – the inability to mark all incoming emails as “read” with a single touch.

Actually, this isn’t the iPhone’s problem: it’s in the IOS operating system, so it’s the same on the iPad. I’ve seen most of my incoming emails on my main laptop so don’t need to read them on the iPhone. Therefore, I just want to mark them all as “read” so that I can ignore them. Why on earth isn’t there a one-touch feature that marks all emails as read? The easiest way that I have found is:

  • Go to the Inbox
  • Tap the “edit” button
  • Click the circle against each “unread” message (one at a time!)
  • Tap the “mark” button
  • Tap the “Mark as Read” button

Phew. If anyone knows of a quicker way, I’d love to hear of it.