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The Question of the Week; Should You Buy the iPad 2?

The Question of the Week; Should You Buy the iPad 2?

    I was somewhat skeptical at first when the initial iPad was released. Not that Apple couldn’t use their marketing magic to sell a ton of devices, but that the tablet with a “limited” OS would be that useful. After getting my hands on the first iPad the day it was launched it took me about 15 minutes to convince myself to buy one and a couple of days to fit in my digital life and find the use for it.

    The iPad is perfect for some things and not so good at others. Many tech journalists throw around this idea of the iPad being a consumption only device and that creating on it is difficult and/or useless. I sort of agree with this notion, but at the same time say that with a bluetooth keyboard I can be productive on the iPad. Apple made a point at their keynote that the iPad 2 is a consumption device as well as a creation device showing demos of Garage Band and iMovie, both being extremely impressive.

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    All that aside, with the iPad 2 release happening in a little over 24 hours at your local Apple Store, there are two questions that remain.

    1. Should I jump now and finally get myself a tablet like the iPad 2?
    2. Should I upgrade my months old iPad and get the iPad 2?

    Let’s take a look at both situations seperately as they are quite different. Let me remind you I have owned the iPad since day one and have also not had the chance to see the new one in person, only video and photos.

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      Potential iPad owners

      To the new tablet buyers out there I have to say that the options you are given for tablet based devices is pretty slim at the moment with the iPad 2 being the most affordable and approachable. To cut to the chase, I have to say that if you are a new tablet buyer and you have the money to get the new iPad 2 it seems like a no-brainer; get the iPad 2.

      You have to remember though that Apple may or may not be upgrading the iPad again before the end of the year (this comes from John Gruber a known Apple pundit that tends to hit-the-head-on-the-nail when it comes to Apple rumors). The reason for this is for Apple to catch the holiday buyers and not put them in the position that they did this year by releasing a brand new iPad only two and a half months after Christmas. Yet, knowing this rumor, I still recommend buying the new iPad 2 as it is the best, most affordable tablet device on the market.

      Old iPad owners looking to upgrade

      Ahhh, the early adopters, innovators, and geeky types. My hat goes off to you for adopting a product that was somewhat questionable when first released. Now the question is, do you upgrade to the latest incarnation of the iPad or just plug along until the iPad 3 hits the market? This is a really tough call and it all comes down to three different talking points.

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        1. Do you really need those cameras?

        One thing that iPad 2 brings to the table is the front facing and rear facing “HD” cameras that allow users to Facetime and record up to 720p HD video. Many consumers were upset that the cameras weren’t available in the iPad 1, and in the normal Apple fashion “they have found a way” to put the cameras in the gen 2 device.

        Personally, I think that the cameras may only be useful for something like Facetime. I can’t see myself actually shooting pictures and video on the thing and if you are a real Apple fanboy/girl you have a iPhone 4 to do that heavy lifting anyways.

        2. Shear power of A5

        When the iPad was first released it seemed that the device was extremely powerful and quick to launch apps and process information. After about a year of use though, it does seem that the iPad has lost some of its “smoking fast” luster. The A5 is a dual core chip and said to bring up to double the processing speed and 9 times video performance. If that is somthing that you need then maybe the iPad 2 is your ticket. But, just remember that the iPad 1 is no slouch; it streams video beautifully, plays full 3D games like Infinity Blade flawlessly, and browses the web quickly.

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        To be honest, I can’t imagine a small spec jump in processor speed will make an extreme amount of difference.

        3. No screen upgrade

        This may be the most disappointing part of the iPad 2 announcement; it is the identical screen from the iPad 1. I’m not saying that the iPad’s screen is bad, but after owning the iPhone 4 with the Retina Display, you really do notice the difference in pixel density. This is the exact reason that I may wait for the iPad 3 as I can imagine that they will finally upgrade the display.

        Probably the reason that the iPad 2 ships with the same screen is to keep the cost down to the $499 starting price which is a good strategic move made by Apple.

        Conclusion

        For the first time iPad buyers out there that are on the fence, I say jump over it and get the iPad 2. Like I said before it is a no-brainer.

        For the iPad 1 owners looking to upgrade it is a bit more complicated. If you are really in need of cameras, faster processing, and don’t care that the screen is exactly the same then you may be standing in line tomorrow at 5pm with the rest of the Apple fans. But, if you are happy with your current iPad and don’t see the point this incremental upgrade, you should save the money and wait for the redesign of the iPad 3.

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        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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        Last Updated on July 29, 2020

        19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

        19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

        Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

        There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

        This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

        1. Todoist

          Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

          Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

          If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

          Download: Todoist

          2. 1Password

            You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

            1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

            You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

            Download: 1Password

            3. Bear

              Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

              It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

              Download: Bear

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              4. Hazel

                Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                Download: noodlesoft

                5. Alfred

                  Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                  For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                  It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                  Download: Alfred

                  6. TextExpander

                    TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                    For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                    An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                    Download: TextExpander

                    7. Backblaze

                      If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                      Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                      Download: Backblaze

                      8. Keyboard Maestro

                        Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                        Download: Keyboard Maestro

                        9. Snagit

                          There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                          Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                          10. Bartender

                            Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                            If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                            Download: Bartender

                            11. Otter

                            Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                            Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                            Download: Otter

                            12. Flux

                              Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                              Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

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                              Download: Flux

                              13. PDFpen

                              If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                              PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                              Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                              14. OmniFocus

                                OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                Download: OmniFocus

                                15. Franz

                                  It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                  Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                  Download: Franz

                                  16. MindNode

                                    If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                    The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                    Download: MindNode

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                                    17. Focus

                                      The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                      This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                      Download: Focus

                                      18. CleanMyMac

                                        Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                        Download: CleanMyMac

                                        19. Grammarly

                                          A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                          This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                          A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                          Download: Grammarly

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                          Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                          More to Boost Productivity

                                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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