Man holding an iPad Pro

iPad Pro 12.9” 2020 review (A PC user’s perspective)

I’m not the biggest Apple fan; in fact, I always avoided Apple products and stuck with either Microsoft or Android. I even had Windows phones because I thought they were going to take over the market and become a competitor to Android and Apple. However, the iPad Pro is something to think consider when comparing to similar tablets.

It wasn’t until the release of the iPhone 11 when I finally decided to give Apple a chance. I purchased it as an upgrade to my Pixel 2 as the Pixel 4 wasn’t a real upgrade, and the 4K video on both the front and back lenses attracted me to take my chances. It worked out, and recently I decided I wanted to give the iPad Pro a go as well.

I took a look at comparisons between the 11” and the 12.9” iPad Pro. The differences between them weren’t just the screen sizes, but there were also a few hardware differences too, and the 12.9” just had a little more going for it in my eyes.

The things I love about the iPad Pro


1. Portability

The portability of the iPad Pro is incredible. It’s much more lightweight than most laptops out there, even when you pair it with the magic keyboard. The size is also perfect for me, it’s not too big and not too small, and I love the fact I can take it with me anywhere and start writing. I’m writing this blog post in my wife’s car while I wait for her to finish her pet sitting.

If I had a laptop, I would have to open it up, turn it on. Then wait for it to boot before I could log in and open a program to do some writing. Now I can unfold my iPad, swipe up and open my favourite editor. The difference in effort is nothing short of incredible.

I also love going from my desktop pc, which has become my main-working station to my couch and opening up my iPad.


2. iPad Pro – Apple Pencil

I purchased the Apple Pencil because I wanted to try my hand at some ProCreate. I’ve had a Surface Pro 3 in the past, which was a great machine until it started slowing down. On my Pro 3, I loved the Adobe experience, which you can also get on the iPad. However, most people prefer to use ProCreate as the digital design app of choice for iPads.

Now, I’m not an artist by any means, but I have always enjoyed being able to draw from time to time, and having this as an extra has been excellent. It’s helped me do more of my hobbies and unwind from social media. I haven’t used the pencil for notes or designing apps or anything like that, but at least it gives me that option if I ever need it.

Also, pairing the iPad with a screen protector such as the Paperlike or Bellemond protector adds a paper-like texture and can improve your drawing experience. I don’t usually use a screen protector on any of my mobile or tablet devices, but after hearing how it can add a more paper feel and reduces glare which was a massive sell for me.


3. The Apple Ecosystem

The Apple ecosystem has always been something that I disliked with Apple products. I didn’t want to get suckered into their ecosystem and be hindered by their walled garden. It is both a blessing and a curse in all honesty. However, the magic keyboard and Apple Pencil pairing and working together makes for a lovely experience. Also, I loved the fact I could place my iPhone nearby, and have it recognise my Apple profile and transfer any selected data.

I have honestly never seen such a more superior experience when I’ve used both Microsoft and Android products. However, I am still trying not to buy everything Apple-based. I still have Sony headphones and a Garmin fitness watch which work perfectly fine connected to my Apple devices.


4. Multitask like a pro

Okay. You might not be able to multitask like a real laptop or PC, but you can still multitask very well. Right now, I have Google Docs open with YouTube open to the right. You can have it as a floating window which you can move around, or you can have it attached to your current app where you can resize the apps using the black bar towards the centre of the screen. You can see both options below. There’s also another option to have two apps attached and a third app floating around if you feel like a multitasking king.

iPad Pro screenshot

It’s not a full-blown computing experience, but it works well, and it’s something I enjoy using. Hopefully, Apple can improve on this in the future, and we can have many more apps open at the same time, especially if you feel you haven’t got enough apps open at the same time.


5. iPad Pro – Apple Magic keyboard

The Apple Magic keyboard is nice to type on, with very little key-travel, and a comfortable typing experience, you can’t go wrong. I usually favour a full-blown keyboard experience and personally use a Corsair mechanical keyboard for my desktop and typically take it with me to work because I prefer it to a laptop keyboard. However, the magic keyboard is excellent, and I enjoy using it. I’m using the keyboard to write this whole article that you’re reading right now, which can’t be that bad.


Conclusion

Overall, and after being someone who actively avoided Apple products, I’m very impressed. The experience has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the iPad Pro evolve in the future. Of course, it’s not a full-blown PC like they try to advertise, but it is a productive gadget that you should consider purchasing if you’re looking for a portable and productive device.

It has helped me create more, and be more productive, and I’m hopeful this trend will continue in the future. If you were in two minds about purchasing an iPad Pro, I would say that if it’s ticking all the boxes, then you should take the plunge and you won’t regret the purchase.

Have you purchased an iPad Pro? What are your thoughts? Let us know; I’d love to learn how you have become more productive.

My initial thoughts on Apple’s IOS14

Initial Thoughts

Last week I installed the IOS14 beta, and overall, I’m impressed with the experience. Android fans will scoff at the idea that Apple has implemented widgets, screaming, “WE’VE HAD THIS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF ANDROID PHONES!”. Or they’ll laugh at the idea that iPhones finally have an app draw (called App Library) and has picture in picture mode (PiP).

The thing is, we all know that Apple takes their time, and when they deliver these improvements, they usually offer it better than most Android implementations.

App Library

The App Library is a smart AI-driven app drawer that cleverly bundles apps together and will bring the apps you use most near the top. You don’t have to think about customising it yourself, and I’ve found myself removing most apps from the main screen in favour of the App library. Also, if you can’t find the app you’re looking for, then the search at the top of the screen is super helpful and lightning-fast. Overall, my impressions of the App library has been very positive. Once in a while, I stare at my screen and wonder where the app I’m looking for is. However, this happens a lot less than when I used Android.

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Picture in Picture

It’s nice being able to watch videos while using other apps. I also like the fact you can swipe the video to the side, and the video will still play while showing an arrow to bring the video back.

To be honest, they’re the only two apps I’ve tested for PiP. I’m pretty sure the experience will be very similar to Apple video and other video apps. It’s a fantastic feature which they have implemented well, and I don’t think much can be improved. The only negative is more towards Google and forcing us to subscribe to premium for silly basic features.

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Widgets

Widgets have always been great on Android phones and I used to love having a weather and search widget. When moving over to the iPhone, I was a little sad that it wasn’t a feature. Now the feature is here, and I’m happy with their implementation. Especially with the Stack widget that allows you to group widgets together and scroll between them. Apple will also intelligently move across the widgets during your day depending on what it thinks you need at that moment.

The stack widget is so clever that I think it’s the only widget you or I will ever need. It’s currently the only one I have on my screen and I love flicking through my stack.

Siri

Siri no longer takes up your whole screen, and instead, it’s a little icon near the bottom of your screen. Results also appear at the time in a little card that looks a lot cleaner than previous versions. I haven’t used Siri enough to gather whether it’s more or less clever, but the way it works is definitely cleaner and more simple.

Receiving Phone Calls

Receiving phone calls has also had an upgrade. Rather than taking up the screen, it will come in from the top when you’re using your phone, and you can swipe up to dismiss. It’s clean and simple to use.

Bonus: Accessibility

Accessibility may not seem interesting, but there’s one feature that I love. If you go to “Settings > Accessibility > Touch”, you can turn on “Back Tap” which allows you to open apps by tapping the back of your phone. There are two options, one for “Double Tap” and another for “Triple Tap”. Currently, I have my double tap set to open Siri and nothing on my triple tap. However, I would like to be able to open my camera with the triple tap which isn’t currently possible.

Features I’m excited for

There are many features that I haven’t yet tried but really excited for. These include, but are not limited to; CarPlay unlock, App Clips, and IOS Smart Home controls. CarPlay unlock could be very handy and would mean I don’t have to carry my car keys with me any more. App clips is also another one I’m excited to try out since I can use club cards and not have to install standalone apps in order to do so.

Should you install IOS14 beta?

The OS itself is very stable. So far, I’ve had very little issues with the OS itself. However, if you rely on your banking apps, then I would stay away. Currently, all banking apps will either crash and exit or notify you that you’re using a jailbroken device.

If you have another phone where you can use your banking apps, then go ahead, otherwise, I would just wait for the official release.

Closing thoughts

IOS14 has some very welcomed features which I hope they can continue to innovate on. Android users may laugh at the fact they’ve had these features since the dawn of time, but Apple manages to go a step further each time.

Have you got the IOS14 beta? If so, what are your thoughts?

If not, what are you looking forward to the most?

If you’re an Android user, what do you think about these features?

Join the discussion here

SiteGround website hosting review

Affiliate links:

Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

I’ve been using SiteGround for almost 2 months now and so I thought it was time for a review.

My Conclusive review…

Firstly, SiteGround is really easy to get started. I selected their WordPress StartUp package which allowed me to set up my wife’s website. SiteGround gave me a step by step process for setting up my newly created WordPress site, and I was ready to migrate my Weebly website over. This did take longer than usual because there’s no way of migrating a site from Weebly to SiteGround. However, once I chose the correct theme, and I got the layout correct, the content was quickly copied/pasted over.

SiteGround also provides a very useful tool called “SG Optimiser” which helps speed up your website. It does this by resizing images correctly, adds caching, lazy loading, compression and much more.

Migrating my personal website

The process was so easy in fact, I decided to migrate my WordPress site hosted with DigitalOcean over and it also helped me save money. However, in order to migrate, I did need to upgrade to “GrowBig” and thankfully I only had to pay the difference between “StartUp” and “GrowBig” which was really helpful. The GrowBig packaged also allows my to host unlimited sites with 20GB of space. That’s double the amount of space which was a huge bonus.

The migration from DigitalOcean to SiteGround was super easy. All I had to do was FTP my files and export/import my database. Of course, being a Web Developer, I’m very tech savvy. If you struggle with this, SiteGround offer a migration tool which could work in your favour.

To conclude…

If you’re looking to self-host your WordPress blog or website, then I 100% recommend SiteGround. So far they have offered everything I need. With their 24/7 support, I know they will be there when I need them.

Smol laundry tablets

Smol Laundry tablet review

Affiliate links:

Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

My wife and I have been enjoying Smol tablets for 4 months. They’re a laundry and dishwasher tablet service which you can subscribe to, and they’re fairly inexpensive. You can get your first month for free (you just need to pay £1 for delivery), and if you’re unhappy, you can cancel straight away.

When logging into your account, you can update how many days a week you use your tablets. Smol will then work out when the next delivery should be, and you can do this as little or as often as you would like. The tablets are small, but the smell is strong and smells amazing. Their packaging is recyclable and safe for kids. It contains a sealable sticker and two plastic flaps that lock in place.

My wife and I don’t have a dishwasher, but we can imagine those tablets to be just as good. To conclude, I recommend you check out this awesome company, and give the free trial a go. You have nothing to lose, and quite possibly a lot to gain.

Plant trees and stay focused

Stay focused, be present

I have recently been trying to find some apps that will help me with my focus. I used an app called impulse blocker which would block any website that you would add to the list. You can enable and disable it whenever you liked, but I often found I would just disable it for a large duration of time and then become easily distracted.

I also found it wouldn’t allow me to track my time in attention at all which I feel is what I needed the most.

Enter Forest App

Forest is a fantastic app that helps me set a timer on a tree, when I plant that tree, it will start to track my time. Once the time has passed, I have now grown a beautiful tree, if you download the app on your phone, you can see your forest and which days you were most productive.

I have the app on my phone and on my work computer as a FireFox add-on. Using the timer in my browser allows me to also block any sites that may distract me. It will cover the website with the logo and let me know how much longer I have until I can view the site. Once my tree is planted, I then receive some coins (the longer the timer, the more coins you can accumulate) and can reward myself with some distraction time.

It would be cool to see it expanded upon, perhaps being able to set work hours, the length of productivity time and the length of break time. Say I set an hour of productivity time and 15 minutes break time, it could just cycling through that from the start of my workday to the end.

What are your thoughts on this app? Is there anything else you would recommend to help keeping your productivity levels up? Let me know in the comments below.

Joe Wicks – The Shape Plan (Book 2) Review

Affiliate links:

Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

EAT MORE. BUILD MUSCLE. BURN FAT.

Lean in 15: The Shape Plan introduces a new way of eating and training to build lean muscle and burn more fat. Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, has helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and feel amazing. In the Shape Plan, he shares 100 delicious recipes and four new workouts to take your fitness to the next level.

Are you ready to start your transformation and get Lean in 15?

Joe Wicks has become a loveable character with his charm and witty banter. When I first saw him on Channel 4 (Joe Wicks: The Body Coach). I couldn’t help but think how annoying he was, but wow did his food look amazing…

So because of the delicious food on the telly. I became so engrossed that by the end of it. I couldn’t help but love him and what he stood for. His mentality in that dieting was wrong and you should eat whole, healthy foods really rung true in my ears.

The next day, I purchased this book on Amazon Prime and awaited it’s delivery. I then started cooking all sorts of meals.

This book contains a lot more carbohydrate meal. It recommends you to eat 2 low carb meals and one carb meal on a rest day and 2 high carb meals on a workout day.

For some this may the seem overkill for their carb intake and I would agree. I personally feel that if you are getting bloated due to all the carbs, then you should cut down where you can, at least until your body is used to it.

I can whole heartedly say that I have yet to eat a bad meal from this book and I always look forward to what is next within the day. There are some meals like the chunky monkey smoothie and the fats-me-up smoothie which I could eat every morning, and not get bored of them at all.

Now, for the negatives (not many, but definitely important)… The biggest negative, and just like the first book, you really do need to prep like a boss. I know it says it right at the start of the book, but do NOT take this lightly. My partner and I missed a weekly plan at the beginning of our start week and it completely through us off for that entire week. Joe Wicks can not stress enough just how important this is.

Finally, the shopping can get costly, especially at first. It should start balancing out, but just be prepared to splash out a little from the start. If you keep these two negatives in mind then you are definitely good to go and will enjoy every recipe from his book.

Want thebook for yourself? Click the image below to buy now!

Joe Wicks – The Shift Plan (Book 1) review

Affiliate links:

Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

EAT MORE, EXERCISE LESS AND LOSE FAT

This isn’t a strict diet – it’s a lifestyle that will transform your body and the way you eat forever. Once I teach you how to fuel your body properly, you will never need to follow a low-calorie diet again.’ In his first book, Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, reveals how to SHIFT your body fat by eating more and exercising less.

Lean in 15 features 100 recipes for nutritious, quick-to-prepare meals and guides you through Joe’s signature HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) home workouts – revealing how to combine food and exercise to ignite intense fat-burning. The thousands of amazing body transformations Joe’s clients have achieved prove that his method works.

Now you too can learn how to eat in line with your energy demands every day. With recipes divided into 3 sections – Reduced-Carbohydrate, Post-Workout Carbohydrate-Refuel, and Snacks – and top tips for ‘Prepping Like A Boss’, Lean in 15 provides a plan for sustainable fat loss that will inspire you to keep your body healthy, strong and lean – forever.

Joe Wicks has become a loveable character with his charm and witty banter. When I first saw him on Channel 4 (Joe Wicks: The Body Coach). I couldn’t help but think how annoying he was, but wow did his food look amazing…

So because of the delicious food on the telly. I became so engrossed that by the end of it, I couldn’t help but love him and what he stood for. His mentality in that dieting was wrong and you should eat whole, healthy foods really rung true in my ears.

The next day, I purchased his book. (Not the one in this review, but the second one in the other review). On Amazon Prime and awaited it’s delivery. I then started cooking all sorts of meals which then actually got me to buy his first book.

This book contains a lot more low carbohydrate meals. It also recommends you to eat 3 low carb meals on a rest day, and just 1 high carb meal on a workout day. This works perfectly as I do tend to bloat on carbs anyway.

I can whole heartedly say that I have yet to eat a bad meal from this book. I always look forward to what is next within the day. There are some meals like the chicken pie and Joe’s mum’s lasagne which I could eat time and time again, and not get bored of at all.

Don’t even get me started with breakfast. The overnight oats and the smoothies (nut and mango, and fast-me-up) make me want to jump up out of bed and grab every ingredient needed to wake up and and start my day right.

Now, for the negatives (not many, but definitely important)… The biggest negative, is you really do need to prep like a boss. I know it says it right at the start of the book, but do NOT take this lightly. My partner and I missed a weekly plan. At the beginning of our start week and it completely threw us off for that entire week. Joe Wicks can not stress enough just how important this is.

Finally, the shopping can get costly, especially at first. It should start balancing out, but just be prepared to splash out a little from the start. If you keep these two negatives in mind then you are definitely good to go, and will enjoy every recipe from his book.

Want the book for yourself? Click the image below to buy now!