iPads, iPadOS and iPad apps are more capable than ever. But navigating the waters when choosing what iPad is right for you can be difficult. Let us take you on a journey comparing each aspect of these tablets to find your best option.

The Base Model – iPad

If you are looking for an entry level tablet that is good for gaming, watching movies and scrolling through social media, then look no further! The 10.2” screen has TrueTone tech, which automatically adjusts the screens image to your environment with improved colour accuracy.

The ultra wide 12MP front camera utilises Centre Stage, a feature that tracks your face with digital pan and zoom to always keep you in shot, even if you’re moving from one side of the room to the other. 

This model is the last to have the elusive headphone jack, for those of you that still want that old school headphone feel, along with a home button on the front for fingerprint ID scanning for security.

As far as accessories go, it is compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil and a range of keyboard cases – unfortunately it does’t have the capacity to work with the slick Magic Keyboard.

The All Rounder – iPad Air

Sporting the M1 chip that’s in the iPad Pro, the iPad Air is a little powerhouse in itself, performing 60% better than the previous A13 model.

Sizing up at 10.9”, the Air has a laminated LED display, meaning that if the iPad is dropped, the screen won’t shatter if it’s broken. The Air features Touch ID integrated into the power button on the top. 

With 12MP cameras on both back and front, it seamlessly keeps video and image quality consistent when flipping between the two. The front facing camera also keeps the Centre Stage feature and the screen also uses True Tone to adjust to your environment.

Changing from the lightning port to a USB-C port allows up to 10GB per second data transfer and supports connections with cameras, hard drives and 4K/5K external monitors, and can even charge your iPhone or Apple Watch with the right cable.

The Smart Connector means the Air can communicate with power accessories like the Magic Keyboard and transfer both power and data, negating the need for batteries. The Magic Keyboard is a hinged folio-style case that features a full backlit keyboard and a trackpad, essentially turning your iPad into a small laptop. The 2nd generation Apple Pencil also communicates and charges via the Smart Connector. 

The Air is the only full sized iPad to come in colour options outside of silver or space grey and is available in Space Grey, Pink, Purple, Blue and Starlight.

The Pocket Rocket – iPad Mini

The design of the iPad Mini reflects a smaller, 8.3” version of the iPad Air with its full screen and Touch ID located on the power button on the top, although the volume buttons have also been moved to the top edge and there is no Smart Connector.

Equipped with the A15 chip, the Mini now features up to 80% better performance. The cellular models can also now connect to 5G.

Like its big brother, iPad Air, iPad Mini features a 12MP wide camera on the back and ultra wide on the front, with Centre Stage for video calls. 

The Mini also sports a USB-C port for charging and connecting to cameras, 4K/5K screens and other USB-C devices and supports 5GB transfer rates.

The 2nd generation Apple Pencil is also compatible with the iPad Mini. iPad mini is available in Space Grey, Purple, Pink and Starlight.

The Powerhouse – iPad Pro

The iPad Pro comes in 11” and a whopping 12.9” edge to edge screen design with a True Depth camera system with Face ID for facial recognition.

The 11” model has the same Liquid Retina display as the 2020 model with wide colour support, True Tone that adjusts to ambient light and a refresh rate of 120 times per second.

The 12.9” model has the new Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display, giving the iPad Pro a much more dynamic range in brightness and contrast, its true-to-life HDR creates a visually stunning image.

The front camera is the 12MP Ultra Wide camera featured on all of the current iPads, also utilising Centre Stage. The rear camera set up holds a 12MP wide angle camera and a 10MP ultra wide angle camera along with True Tone Flash and a LiDAR scanner that uses reflected light to measure distances up to 5m away from the iPad.

iPad Pro rocks the same M1 chip that’s in the iPad Air and MacBook Pro, as well as compatibility with the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard.

The long and the short of it all…

The baseline iPad is great for light users with a budget who want to be able to watch movies on the go, interact on social media or send emails. It makes a great and affordable iPad for kids.

The iPad Air is the cool kid, and rightly so, it has most of the capabilities of the iPad Pro without such a hefty price tag, and has the added bonus of more colour options.

The iPad Mini is perfect for people on the go who don’t want a large screen but want all of the features of the larger models and fun colours.

The iPad Pros are powerful, well made, really mean business, and could even replace your Mac entirely.

What is the Cloud I hear you ask!

The simple answer is a computer somewhere else, that you access via the internet.

There are three main uses of the cloud for home users. File storage, file sharing and backing up data. Here, we will take a glance at what each of these functions can do for you.

Cloud storage operates like a remote hard drive or server, used to share and access your files across devices. Utilising services such as iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive, it can be just as easy as saving files straight to your computer. Most of us already employ the cloud for storage without thinking about it for our emails, with web based accounts like iCloud, Gmail and Office 365 providing space, we can access our messages on the go. 

Here at Mac Aid, we utilise Dropbox, as so that every staff member can access what they need through the finder (or in Windows Explorer on PC) at any time in the office or when working remotely. This keeps the system simple and easy to use even for the non techs in the building! 

All of these services can house any file type, even allowing music and videos to be played straight from the service’s website or app. Storing your files on the cloud gives you the convenience of retrieving your data on any device, from anywhere you have internet.

Going hand in hand with a few of the file storing services, is file sharing. File sharing makes it easy for multiple people to work on one document, often at the same time, from different locations. iCloud (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and Google (Docs and Sheets) are the prime examples of this providing solutions for text and spreadsheet documents that can be created and edited by several people simultaneously. This means that you can share both work documents and personal lists alike – real time shopping lists or business or home account spreadsheets that can be modified on the go.

Photo sharing has also become much simpler with the likes of iCloud Photo, Google Photo and Flickr. iCloud Photo enables photos being directly saved to the drive when you take them, where they can be sorted manually or by face recognition, and easily shared from there.

While online storage of documents, photos and videos is useful and frees up space on your device by housing your files on the cloud, it’s not the same as doing a back up. A backup is a copy of your files that isn’t available to edit, which stays in its original state. Because of that it can be a very important snapshot of the files you had at the time of that backup. Cloud backups are designed to protect your data and ensure continuous backup and easy restoration of files in the event of malware, damage or theft.

Backup services like iCloud, IDrive, Backblaze and Carbonite, work in the background, backing up files and data, scanning for changes along the way. Cloud backup stores multiple versions, so if you accidentally overwrite a file, you can still recover earlier backups. Trusted backup providers refuse to compromise customer data privacy or allow anyone else to do so. There is one caveat with iCloud, that set up of the backup for files needs to be carefully considered, as data loss can occur if not.

Cloud backup should be accompanied by local hard drive backups to provide extra peace of mind.

 

Over the years, the Apple eco-system has become renowned for its integration between all of its devices, from the general communication between your Mac and your iPhone or Apple Watch, to more recent innovations like Handoff, AirDrop, AirPlay, FaceTime, iMessage and SharePlay.

For these features to work, your devices need to be logged into the same iCloud account. Some of these features are only available on newer Apple devices, use Google to find out whether your devices are compatible, or ask Mac Aid if it is all too confusing.

iPad users should try out SideCar, which lets you extend your workspace by using your iPad as a second Mac display. And Sidecar can also bring the ease and precision of Apple Pencil to your favourite creative Mac apps.

With Continuity Camera you can use your iPhone to shoot a photo or scan a document and have it automatically appear on your Mac. Just choose Insert a Photo from the File menu, then choose Take Photo or Scan Documents. Take a photo of something on your desk and instantly see it in your document. Or scan a receipt, and a straightened version is immediately available in the Finder as a PDF. Continuity Camera works in the Finder, Mail, Messages, Notes, Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

Camera Remote on your Apple Watch allows you to remotely control the camera on your iPhone. Just launch Camera Remote on your Apple Watch and the camera app on your iPhone will open. Camera Remote allows you to take a photo, set the timer interval, swap between front and rear cameras, turn your camera flash on or off, and other settings.

Auto Unlock lets you automatically log in to your Mac when you’re wearing your Apple Watch. Turn this feature on in the Security and Privacy settings in the system preferences on your Mac.

Universal Clipboard lets you copy images, video or text from an app on your iPhone or iPad. Then paste into another app on your nearby Mac — or vice versa. It’s like magic!

SharePlay and the new Meetings feature of FaceTime easily allow non-Apple users to join in video calls and combined with SharePlay, you can have a video call with your friends or colleagues regardless of whether they use Apple devices or not. It allows you to:

Handoff is a very useful built-in feature that allows for you to be working on your Mac, iPhone or iPad and then switch to another device to exactly where you were on the device you’ve moved from.

AirDrop, is one of the most useful features Apple ever developed and makes non-Apple users jealous to this day. Take a photo or video and then just tap the share icon, select your iPad or Mac and it instantly transfers the file to the device. No emailing the file or uploading it to the cloud. Brilliant!

AirPlay is one of the oldest of all of these features. The ability to simply be able to share your screen to a compatible screen or device is just so easy! We’ve tried Google’s Chromecast version of AirPlay and it will most of the time give some kind of connection error. AirPlay is just always seamless!

Do you use all of these features? Would you like to learn how to use some of these features in your day-to-day life? If so, contact Mac Aid today and we’ll ensure that your devices are setup to work with all of these features and train you on how to effectively use them.

 

Released in mid-March, the Mac Studio is Apple’s most powerful M1 Mac to date. Paired with the new Apple Studio display, this potent little powerhouse is set to become the go-to for many studio professionals and high-performance users.

For those of you who may have been waiting for a re-designed 27 inch iMac with an M-series processor, it seems this one is for you, as the 27 inch iMac has been discontinued.

Apple’s offering for power users needing a potent desktop solution is now the Mac Studio and an external display. Given that many have long been dissatisfied with the all-in-one solution of an iMac, and would have preferred to choose their own monitor, or have the potential to upgrade their monitor or Mac separately, this is a great solution.

Let’s start by talking about hardware. The Mac Studio comes with either the M1 Max or the new M1 Ultra as processor options. The M1 Max offers significantly higher performance compared to the original M1 chip found in the MacBook Air, M1 Mac mini and iMac, but that gap is made even bigger when discussing the new M1 Ultra, which doubles the specs of the M1 Max.

The Ultra is made by combining two M1 Max chips using “UltraFusion.” Apple says due to its custom-built internal architecture, macOS sees the M1 Ultra as a single processor. UltraFusion is also what allows Apple’s multi-chip interconnect to offer 4 times better bandwidth than other companies’ similar tech.

The M1 Ultra brings total RAM up to a max of 128GB alongside a 20-core CPU, up to 64-core GPU, 800GB/s memory bandwidth, and super-fast 7.4GB/s for the SSD storage.

Working with multi-gigabyte graphics, 4K or 8K video projects, complex Photoshop or demanding Lightroom workflows, or complex After Effects or Final Cut rendering projects are where you will really benefit from the extra CPU, GPU, and RAM of an M1 Ultra Studio.

But for most users the M1 Max Mac Studio will cover all of your needs.

To keep that package cool there is a unique thermal architecture that pulls air in through the airflow channels on the bottom using double-sided blowers and pushes it out through additional perforations on the back of the unit.

On the front of the Mac Studio M1 Max, there is an SD card slot, along with two USB-C ports, which are swapped out for two Thunderbolt 4 ports for the M1 Ultra. On the back of the Mac Studio, connectivity options include four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, one HDMI port, one 10-Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones. The computer supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

All the Mac Studio hardware components are fixed, so you’ll need to carefully configure it how you want it from the start.

Here’s how the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra compare in the Mac line up:

Mac Studio

MacBook Pro 14/16 inch

M1 Mac mini/iMac

Mac Pro

CPU

M1 Max or M1 Ultra
up to 20-core

M1 Pro or M1 Max
up to 10-core

M1 – 8-core

Intel Xeon – up to 28-core

GPU

Up to 64-core

Up to 32-core

8-core

AMD Radeon Pro W6800X Duo

Storage

Up to 8TB

Up to 8TB

Up to 2TB

Up to 8TB

RAM

Up to 128GB

Up to 64GB

Up to 16GB

Up to 1.5TB

As with all Apple products currently, supply of M1 Max and M1 Ultra Mac Studio is likely to be severely constrained. Mac Aid are here to help and advise if you would like to consider Mac Studio. We will do our best to arrive at a spec that will suit your needs, and that can be delivered in as short a time as possible.

The introduction of the Apple M1 processor last year was a breakthrough that transformed the performance and battery life of many of the most popular Macs. Now Apple has unveiled the new M1 Pro and M1 Max bringing game-changing upgrades to their pro laptops.

We all want the ability to work as efficiently as we can and with the CPU in M1 Pro and M1 Max delivering up to 70 percent faster CPU performance than Apple’s M1 and the GPU in M1 Pro up to 2 x faster you are far less likely to be slowed down by your machine. Meanwhile the new M1 Max goes one better and is up to an incredible 4 x faster than M1!

M1 Pro and M1 Max introduce a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time.

These chips are by far the most powerful chips Apple has ever built.

They feature fast unified memory, industry-leading performance per watt, and incredible power efficiency, along with increased memory bandwidth and capacity. M1 Pro offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory. M1 Max delivers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth — 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 — and support for up to 64GB of unified memory. That’s 4x the amount of memory of the latest released PC laptops. Meaning graphic and processor-intensive workflows that seemed unimaginable on a laptop previously are now possible.

In addition to this, enhanced media engines with dedicated ProRes accelerators are included specifically for pro video processing. All this on the beautifully vibrant, Extreme Dynamic Range, Liquid Retina XDR display. The best display ever on a notebook.

The M1 Pro and M1 Max boast incredible battery life (up to 21hrs on the 16 inch model) and can deliver the same level of performance whether plugged in or using the battery. With such a powerful battery one would expect things could get a little heated during use however this machine actually keeps its cool very well, meaning if you need to put it on your lap – as the name laptop would imply – you don’t risk scorching your legs.

The 14 and 16 inch MacBook Pros see the re-introduction of some of the ports which pro-users have been missing on recent MacBook Pros. With three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, an HDMI port and an SDXC card slot. There is also the return of Mag Safe charging and the reintroduction of physical function keys instead of the Touch Bar, whilst retaining Touch ID.

These MacBook Pros are a heftier design, without the tapered design that made previous MacBook Pros appear slimmer than they really were. So they can appear to be a little on the chunkier side compared to their recent predecessors. And it seems that like many of us, they do appear to have gained a few covid kilos – nothing too drastic though only about 200gm. This added weight is barely noticeable really and very easy to overlook with all the M1 Pro and M1 Max have to offer. The M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros represent another huge step forward by Apple.

Interested in taking that step and upgrading to the new M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro? Both are available in a 14 & 16 inch models and can be ordered through Mac Aid, your authorised Apple Reseller today! Call us to find out more about which model would best suit your needs.