Going down the Twitter memory hole

M.G Siegler on Mastodon:

Yes, yes, the network is under immense strain as people flee the Elon strain infecting Twitter. But come on, there are folks who really believe this is going to replace, or even stand alongside Twitter, as a massively scaled social network? I call bullshit. While it’s impressive that millions of users have apparently given Mastodon a try, the product is far too slapdash and clunky to keep folks engaged

I’m surprised M.G. can’t remember back to the early years of Twitter, because I know he was there and suffered just as many fail whales, lost posts, and crappy errors as I did.

Also worth remembering: as Ben Thompson has pointed out, by the objective standards of modern internet corporations, Twitter failed. It’s too small to be an interesting scale play and offers no advantages to advertisers over Facebook. Advertisers used it because they don’t like to put all their eggs in a single basket. Journalists used it because all the journalists in the world are on it, and we’re gossipy little monkeys who like to show off to all our friends.

That said, this oversized profile with media professionals meant that Twitter had an oversized influence on the media (and so political) landscape.

But, but, it’s not a product, it’s a protocol. Yeah, that’s a nice thing to say. And to believe in. But I truly believe the ship has sadly sailed for such idealism in this space.

I disagree. I don’t think that M.G. or any of the very comfortable Silicon Valley folk who have made the uber-capitalist VC world their home really understand quite how much the ground is shifting. Their world is drawing to a close. Something new is happening, and not being beholden to massive corporations is part of it. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Musk could make his own phone. But no, he won’t.

Daring Fireball: Should Be Easy, Indeed:

The hard part is that what he’s really talking about is making his own phone with his own app store. (Android phones that don’t play by Google’s rules also don’t get access to Google Play Services, which is effectively a closed-source segment of the Android operating system. Outside of China, I’m aware of zero successful Android phones that don’t use the Google Play app store by default.)

This isn’t quite correct. You can create a fork of Android which can access apps from the Play Store, without the Play Store. There are open-source versions of the Play Store APIs, and you can use Aurora Store to access apps with or without a Google account. This is one of the ways Graphene OS uses optionally to run those apps.

But it is hit-and-miss. Like every kind of development which attempts to reverse engineer something, it will occasionally break and apps can go awry. It’s good, but not perfect – and I suspect that were a major figure like Musk to go down this route, Google would have legal teams on it in seconds.

Thinking again about Stage Manager on iPad

The big reason I was eagerly awaiting Stage Manager wasn’t using it on the iPad’s screen: it was the promise of proper second-screen support. I have had a dream of using the iPad with a big monitor for a long time, and Stage Manager seemed to be the solution I have been waiting for.

Of course, we all know what happened next: Stage Manager was a buggy mess, and its external display support was the most buggy part of it. It worked, as long as you were prepared to have your applications crash every few minutes.

Sad to say, it’s not much better now. On the current developer release, external monitor support is back, but once again it’s buggy as hell. Stage Manager on the iPad’s main screen is working well enough to be usable, but forget about docking your device to a big display. Given the state of it, I suspect Apple is going to release it quite a bit later this year.

But here’s the thing: I’ve actually grown to like using Stage Manager on the iPad on its own. The “aha” moment was changing the display mode to “More space”, something that’s only possible on 12.9in iPads (and, I think, only on the M1 currently, although it’s intended to support older models too):

Changing Display Zoom to “More Space” makes a big different on iPad
Changing Display Zoom to “More Space” makes a big different on iPad

As the name suggests, this gives you more virtual space on screen by making the display work at its native resolution, without any scaling. Text on screen becomes smaller, but the flip side is that you have more space to work with.

And Stage Manager really likes having the extra space. Windows overlap less, making it easier to flip between open applications on stage. You can have bigger windows while also seeing more of the shelf at the side. It just feels more natural and less cramped than the default zoom.

All the criticisms of Stage Manager generally are still true (and if you want a good collection of them, it’s worth looking at Federico Viticci’s article). But “More Space” has made a big difference to me, and now I find that I have Stage Manager on almost all the time. Except, of course, if I want to plug the iPad into an external monitor. That, hopefully, will come.

The iPad’s confusing lineup

John Gruber on the iPad’s current lineup:

A lot of people are now complaining that the iPad lineup is “confusing”. I disagree. There are specific aspects of the iPads in the lineup that are confusing, or at least disappointing. These aspects are mostly related to peripherals — which Pencils and which keyboard covers work with which iPads — and I wrote about these issues last week. But in terms of the fundamental question facing would-be buyers — “Which iPad should I get?” — I don’t think this lineup is confusing. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s less confusing, because the lineup is more complete.

John then spends 424 words explaining the differences in the lineup, not including the table he had already used to show the difference in pricing above this paragraph.

If you have to spend that long explaining the differences between the products on offer, there is definitely a problem with the coherence of the product line. This is doubly true hen your explanation has to go into the details of which device has a P3 colour gamut, which has an sRGB, which one has a “media engine”, which one supports Bluetooth 5.2 vs 5.0 and more. And that’s before you start explaining which peripherals are on offer and why exactly the first version of the Apple Pencil still exists four years after the second generation one was introduced.

If you need reminding, the iPad is a device where you just shouldn’t have to worry about that shit. It’s a classic product where a Steve Jobs four quadrant approach works perfectly: consumer, pro; small screen/large screen. Of course, there will be variances in storage space within those quadrants, but the core of the product doesn’t need to be more complex.

I have no doubt Apple knows internally this is a mess of a lineup. However, there are many reasons a company ends up with a confusing product line, usually in a transition period for the device. Sometimes this is driven by parts supply: for example, if a key part in (say) the iPad Air is constrained and will be for some time, making a similar device without that part to siphon off customers is a smart move if you have the ability to do it.

Sometimes it means an entire product remains in the lineup because you have a bunch of them that you need to sell off. And manufacturers can get blind-sided: it’s easy to see how the new iPad could have been meant to be a replacement for the 9th generation version but ended up not being able to be manufactured at the same price.

Either way, the iPad line up is a mess. There might be good reasons why it is, but attempting to claim its not is a bit daft.

How to run Scrivener on Linux

Scrivener happily running on Ubuntu, like a boss

Scrivener is easily the best application around for long-form writing. Yes, you can do it in Word or LibreOffice (or even, like Cory, just a text editor), but the combination of structured rich text, note-taking, outlining and character notes that Scrivener has will make your life easier. And, of course, you can compile your work into just the right format at the end.

There is no Linux version of Scrivener these days, probably because the number of people wanting to both run it and pay for it was insufficient to justify keeping it going. Them, as they say, are the breaks. There are several open-source alternatives, such as Manuskript and Bibisco, but when I’ve tried them I’ve always felt like they are a developer’s idea of what writing is like, rather than a writer’s. They feel like databases where you end up filling in fields, and that just doesn’t work for me. That’s not to say it won’t work for you — and you should try them and thank the developers for their work — but it just doesn’t work for me.

Another option which can work on Linux but isn’t open source is Obsidian. Using some judicious plugins, such as Longform, you can get some of the structured writing capability that Scrivener has, but to make it work, you need to spend a decent amount of time creating templates and tweaking, and all of that is time not spent writing. Oh, and get to know Pandoc. You will so need to know Pandoc.

The good news is that you can get Scrivener working on Linux, and I will show you how to make it run and not look like a rat’s ass. It takes a bit of work at the start but once done, it’s done. Many pages around have part of the details of how to do this, but some don’t quite work, and others have typos, so I thought I would pull everything together into a single article. Thank you, in particular, to Thomas Peltcher, who started me off on the right track.

A brief note about Fedora. These instructions should work with any Ubuntu-based distro. I’ve tested it on Ubuntu 22.04, 22.10, Mint 21.1, Pop!OS 22.04 and Zorin OS 16, and it all works. However, I have never been able to get this working on Fedora. Using the same steps, I can install Scrivener, but when I try to run it, it freezes at “Loading fonts”. If anyone has a solution to this, feel free to either comment or email me, and I’ll include it in this article.

Install Wine (7) and Winetricks

The first thing you will need to do is install Wine. If you’re running Ubuntu 22.04, you will have an ancient version installed by default, and you probably want to update to Wine 7. However, Wine 7 can sometimes end up freezing, in the same way, trying to install on Fedora does so be prepared to roll-back if you find this.

Note: you don’t have to install Wine 7 to make Scrivener work. It will work perfectly happily with the default available from Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 22.10, or distros based on those versions. But it won’t look as nice, and you may need to spend extra time in Wine tweaking it so it looks like a Windows 7 app and more like something close to native on Ubuntu. That’s my setup at the top of the page. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

If you are on Ubuntu 22.04, I have good news: all you need to do is go to the WineHQ page and follow the steps there using the Stable branch. however, if you are on 22.10 (as I am), you will need to choose the Development branch instead. The 22.10 version of Wine 7 hasn’t been released, but it is in that branch. I am on the Development branch and have had no problems at all.

Next, install Winetricks through the software store or via the terminal (sudo apt install winetricks will do it). Winetricks is a neat little app which makes it much easier to download and install optional parts of Windows that apps require, such as dotnet.

Configuring Wine

First, you need to set the architecture correctly. No, I don’t really know what that means either, but basically, open up a terminal and type this:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Followed by:

env WINEARCH=win64

Important! That’s a double-dash before “add”, not an em-dash. You will often find instructions on the web have that wrong, not because the authors are idiots, but because, annoyingly, WordPress often “helpfully” converts double dashes to em-dashes. I’ve even seen some pages where users have commented correcting this from the text, and then WordPress has converted their double dashes into an em-dash. Thanks, WordPress.

Next, you will want to install an appropriate version of dotnet and the core Windows fonts. You may already have the latter installed, but it’s fine to do it again if you’re unsure. In the terminal, type:

env WINEPREFIX=$HOME/.wine winetricks --force dotnet45 corefonts

Again, that’s two dashes before “force”. And again, WordPress often wants to convert it.

Finally – and this should be final – run the Scrivener installer. Sometimes it has been known to crap out if you double-click on it, so the best way is via the terminal. Navigate to the directory where the installer is (mine was in ~/Downloads, as I had just downloaded it) and run this:

wine Scrivener-installer.exe

That should be it, although some people have reported that it chokes when you try and enter your license code. If that’s the case, the solution appears to be to install speechsdk, which you should be able to do via Winetricks. I haven’t actually done it, but I didn’t need to.

Does Wine look really tiny to you? Wine doesn’t play well with fractional scaling, so if you have that turned on you have a couple of choices. First, you could turn it off. But you probably don’t want to, so what you need to do is go to the terminal and type “winecfg”. Go the graphics tab and crank the DPI up to the point where the sample text looks nice and readable to you – on my 1900×1200 laptop, with fractional scaling at 125%, I make it 244dpi and it looks OK. But you may wish to go smaller or larger.

Making it look like you actually want to use it

So now you have a working version of Scrivener, yay! However, if it’s anything like mine, it looks like a sack of crap with blurry fonts, tiny menu items, and so on. Good news: all of this is fixable. The bad news, it takes a bit of boring and repetitive work.

First, ensure that Wine is set to use the light appearance theme: it looks much better. This should be correct out of the box, but just in case it isn’t, go to the terminal, enter winecfg, and go to the Desktop Integration tab. Set the theme to Light — if you have Scrivener open, you’ll need to quit and restart to make it take effect.

When you open Scrivener, you might find things look a bit off. For example, when I installed everything from scratch every time I highlighted something in the Binder at the side it showed as black text with a black highlight — not exactly readable. Another time it had buttons and menu items which didn’t highlight at all, but worked perfectly.

This is because Scrivener has its own theming system which doesn’t always play nice out of the box with Wine. The good news is it’s easily fixable. The best way is to reset the Wine theme to the default, which makes it look like ropey old Windows 98. But don’t worry: the next step will change that.

You could go through all the appearance options and set your own theme, but a quicker way is just to use a third party theme as your base and customise from there. There’s a really good, simple white theme which I like in the Scrivener forums. This makes a great starting point for further customisation. Download it, change the extension from .zip to .scrtheme, and in Scrivener load it from File> Options > Manage button > Import themes. Select the downloaded theme, load it and you’re good to go.

Next, let’s deal with those blurry fonts. This is down to your menus using fonts in Windows, but which don’t match the ones in Ubuntu, so you need to change them to something which works on both. Open Scrivener, and in the File menu, choose options. In the Appearance tab/General Interface, change the GUI Font to something which more cleanly matches your Ubuntu install – I chose Ubuntu Light.

That settles the menus, but the Binder at the side may still look too small. In the same options, go to Binder, select the Fonts tab, and pick something nicer. Again, I’ve gone for Ubuntu light.

You can go through the rest of the interface, too, if you want, changing the fonts on Corkboard, Index Cards, Outliner, and so on to something which works more nicely for you.

Once the interface looks decent, you will probably want to change the main editor, too — unless you like really ropey Courier (hey, I’m not one to kink shame). This is done in the Editing tab. I’ve set mine to Optima because who doesn’t love Optima? I’ve also bumped the paragraph spacing because I’m not a barbarian.

Things which don’t work

You should now have a working installation of Scrivener, which doesn’t look like trash. Almost everything will work, but there are a few things that don’t, and you need to bear them in mind.

First of all, forget about importing a web page into notes directly. It will freeze Scrivener. Workaround this by saving any webpages you need as PDF or text and importing them.

Second, some good news: Scratchpad works! Yay! However, it only works if you invoke it via the menu, not via a keyboard shortcut. And as with the Windows version, if you have saved web pages into the Binder on Mac, they’re unreadable and might crash your app. If you’re working cross-platform, make sure to convert them to text.

And that’s it! You should now have a working, good looking version of Scrivener. Now all you have to do is 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and you’ll be a writer.

Keyboards! Apple being shit! Ducks! Or, as you might call it, links for today

Oh good. An attack on machine learning algorithms that secretly gives language models a point of view. No idea how that might be abused.

Chrome’s “Incognito Mode” isn’t. Even Google’s engineer’s know it, and privately suggest it gets renamed to something else. I don’t use Chrome, and I don’t recommend anyone else uses it.

DuckDuckGo has the first beta of their browser for Mac out. Seem interesting, especially the “Duck Player”, which blocks YouTube ads which track you — which, it turns out, is most YouTube ads. It preserves the ones which don’t track you.

Firefox Relay, which lets you create one-off email addresses for signing up to services, now also lets you mask your phone number. US and Canada only for now, but this looks really useful.

An ultra-slim Keychron K3 you say? Why sir, you are spoiling us!

I stopped using Hey.com email because of two reasons: I really didn’t need another non-standard service; and DHH came across as a complete asshole, and I really don’t like giving money to assholes. He is, though, bang on the mark when he talks about how 32Signals are going to move away from the cloud and start hosting their own stuff. Cloud is great for some things — but the 30% take that the likes of Amazon will happily fleece you for is basically just you paying a large margin to someone else, and you probably don’t have to.

John Gruber gets this absolutely on the mark: the current iPad line up is a mess. There’s too many models in the line, you have weird anomalies like the new iPad having USB-C but using the old-style Pencil, the Pros still having the front-facing camera in the wrong place, and more. I am sure Apple has plans to make the line up more simple next year, but in the meantime, it’s just a mess.

I mean, we have a cost of living crisis, hospital waiting times at an all-time high, and schools literally collapsing. So obviously the Daily Fail thinks that the worst thing in the world is trans people and so runs six pieces in one issue about them. Did a trans person veto Dacre’s lordship or something?

Whoo-how, Apple is adding more ads to the App Store. Not content with taken 30% revenue from every single developer, it now wants devs to pay for placement – because let’s be honest, this is what it is.

This is an interesting account from Bono on the whole pushback against Apple for giving away their album. I never quite got it — it was a free album, you don’t have to listen to it.

Downgrading screens, misogynists losing money, and some Apple stuff

I recently downgraded my screen – my ThinkPad is a 1920×1200 display – so I think John Gruber has got this a little wrong. There is much more to a screen than resolution, and even relatively low-resolution screens now look much better than they used to. It’s not just about the number of pixels.

Dreadful misogynist and racist Vox Day, AKA Theodore Beale, has apparently lost $1m to a crypto scam while trying to crowdsource money for a right-wing superhero film. Just think, only a few years ago, that sentence would have drawn a blank look from everyone. What times we live in.

In case you’re not familiar with Vox Day’s oeuvre, he attempted to manipulate the ballot for the 2015 Hugo Awards to ensure only right-wingers got on the list and was a prominent supporter of Gamergate. He’s an all-around piece of shit, and losing money to a scam couldn’t happen to a nicer person. If you want to check out the deep cuts of his awfulness, We Hunted The Mammoth has you covered.

Chris Hynes (via Michael Tsai) tells the story of Apple Mail’s first importers. I love stories like this.

Michael, by the way, is the creator of SpamSieve, which is still the best way to filter out spam on any Mac. I bought my copy when it first came out in (I think) 2006, and I am still getting updates now, which goes well above and beyond what anyone could reasonably expect from commercial software.

The cost of YouTube Premium’s family plan is getting massively hiked up. Well, when you have a monopoly on video, that’s what you can do. Of course, it’s still “free with ads” if you want to put up with incredibly intrusive privacy-violating tracking.

Completely unrelated, an extension to gPodder allows you to subscribe to YouTube channels and automatically download new content, where you can watch it locally. If you do this, though, support creators by subscribing directly to them — most creators have Patreons or other methods of giving them money while bypassing the egregious middleman that is YouTube.

One of Microsoft’s cleverer things on Windows is creating both Windows Subsystem for Linux — which lets you run Linux apps — and Windows Subsystem for Android. You can guess what that does. There’s now a public development roadmap for Android app support on Windows. What’s nice about it is how it fills in gaps in the Windows app ecosystem, such as having a good Kindle book reader on Windows tablets. It’s much more useful than the equivalent in the Apple world, where iPad apps can run on Apple Silicon Macs, mostly because the Mac app ecosystem is now so much strong than Windows.

Of course, it’s out of date now — things move pretty fast on Brexit Island — but John Lanchester’s article on “Thatcher Larping” is still an excellent read. You subscribe to the LRB, don’t you? You should.

It’s interesting looking through this piece by Cory from 2010 about why he wasn’t going to get an iPad. I think some of it’s proved wrong, but some are pretty prescient. In particular, I think the idea that the iPad’s user interaction model was all about consumption was correct (although I didn’t agree with this at the time). Enterprising users and developers have pushed the platform to be focused on creation too: Matt Gemmell writes and publishes novels on his. But it’s pushing and hacking and so on. Apple has finally acknowledged that the hardware is capable of much more than that, but it is now struggling to retrofit a more powerful and creator-focused user interface on it — and I think iPadOS 16 is the point when the bough breaks. Apple’s best option would be to make the iPad more open, of course (at least as open as the Mac) but I get the feeling there is still something of a religious war internally about doing that.

Paul Thurrott has reviewed the ThinkPad X13s, the first ThinkPad running on an ARM processor. It neatly illustrates the biggest issue with ARM outside Apple: battery life declines as soon as you push performance up to levels comparable to Intel. Paul was getting only six hours from this machine, which is terrible.

Terence Eden writes some good advice about how to write a literature review. Having had to do one, I wish I had read this before I did it. It would have saved me a lot of pain.

As I mentioned yesterday, Ubuntu 22.10 is out; of course, I’ve upgraded. I had to reinstall Wine (the Wine version in Ubuntu’s repo’s is ludicrously old) as 22.10 removed my hand-installed Wine 7. Thanks guys. And Ubuntu is really pushing Snap still. I am not religious about this, but I want Snaps to be at least up to date, which is probably one reason they have posted on the Steam snap.

Some stuff that’s interesting (not featuring Liz Truss)

Cory’s written a great post on how the FTC uses dormant powers and obscure provisions in existing bills to enact key policies like the right to repair. Still, there is a great lesson here for progressive politicians more broadly: being good at your job matters. Being competent is really important because it allows you to get stuff done.

Ubuntu 22.10 is out, and for those who like living away from the steady comfort of LTS releases, you can upgrade by following these instructions.

Google is still pushing hard for Apple to adopt RCS. On paper, this would be great: RCS gives much better support for features like rich messages and a bunch of other stuff. But despite what you may have read, there is no RCS standard for end-to-end encryption. Google’s implementation is proprietary to it, and not supported by any third-party apps. It does not (yet) support group messages or encryption on multiple devices. And, importantly, the metadata surrounding your message is not encrypted, so Google knows who you’re sending messages to, where and when. If you want encrypted messages, use Signal, which does not collect that data.

Idaho Republicans want to ban all public drag shows. Sigh. Meanwhile, over here The Daily Hate is making up shit about trans people to stir up hatred. Because hating minorities is what gets these nasty little people off.

The Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac

If you want to start a fight, ask people who are serious about keyboards what their favourite model is and watch them “debate” it. The debate will rapidly descend into something approaching a brawl. The ability of keyboard nerds to come into conflict over the best key caps, switches, wired or Bluetooth, and in fact every aspect of what keyboards can and should be like is unparalleled in the computing world. If you think Windows and Mac fans can get feisty, just wait until you see the adherents of Cherry MX Brown vs Cherry MX Blues come to blows.

From where I’m sat at my desk, I can see six different keyboards. I’ve tried everything, from ergonomic split keyboards from Microsoft to Apple’s Magic Keyboard and beyond. Mechanical, shallow-travel, you name it: I’ve tried all of them. And the one that I come back to all the time is the Das Keyboard Professional 4, which I’m typing this on at the moment.

I always imagined that the Das Keyboard was German. Das Keyboard sounds like the kind of declarative description that German companies love. But in fact, it’s all down to a small company in Austin, Texas, which has now been honing their skills in keys for seventeen years.

The best way to describe the build quality of the Das Keyboard Model 4 is that you could probably beat to death a reasonably stacked bodybuilder with it. It’s heavy, in a way that you will likely not be used to if you have only used laptop or even desktop standard keyboards. What the Das Keyboard has in common with Apple’s perfectly acceptable Magic Keyboard is they are both made from aluminium, and both have keys you press to make letters appear on-screen.

But the similarities end there. Where the Magic Keyboard feels lightweight, utilising the inherent lightness of aluminium to make something that feels and looks like cultured engineering, the Das Keyboard is heavy enough to cause serious damage if you were to apply it with force to someone’s head. Any burglar attempting to rob the house of a writer in mid-flow on a Das Keyboard will be taking their lives into their hands.

The layout is similar to something like the classic IBM Model M, with the addition of media controls on the right, including a very satisfyingly tactile volume knob. There’s also a handy mute switch and a sleep button which, as the name suggests, brings up the sleep/shutdown dialogue box.

There’s no fancy backlighting – another thing it has in common with the Apple – because this isn’t a keyboard designed for gaming on. Of course, you can game on it if you like, and depending on the key switches you choose (more on that later) you will have a good gaming experience. But this is a keyboard designed to make typists, and particularly writers, feel at home. If you’re the kind of person who wears out the WASD key caps first, this probably isn’t the keyboard for you.

And there’s no Bluetooth: this is a USB wired keyboard complete with two additional USB 3 ports to act as a hub, which is handy.

I selected Cherry MX Brown switches, which I find are perfect for the way that I type. They are soft, with the key click about halfway through the action, which means they don’t have quite the same SMASH click sound which you get with gaming keyboards or with Cherry MX Blue switches. If you’re not used to typing on a mechanical keyboard they can be tiring at first: your hands and wrists are used to depressing a key for just a couple of millimetres, whereas with these keys, you are going to apply anything from 2-5 mm of force.

This shouldn’t be a problem for me: I learned to touch-type on a manual typewriter. However, if you’re more often using a laptop, particularly one with limited travel, it can be hard to get used to. My advice is to do as much typing as you can on a mechanical keyboard, saving your work on a laptop as little as possible.

The keys are rated for at least 50 million depressions each, which means you will get a lot of typing out of this keyboard before you’re likely to get much wear. There’s also a special UV-resistant coating on the key caps to avoid fading from sunlight.

If you’re the kind of person whose longest writing work is a bunch of emails, this is not the keyboard for you (unless they are really long emails). However, if you write professionally and spend your life hammering away, then the £159 or so it will cost you will be money well spent. This is a professional tool for professional writers, and it’s worth every penny.

The new iPads

A lot of people are drawing attention to the fact Apple released the new iPad and iPad Pro with a video and a press release rather than an event. I wouldn’t read too much into that. These are incremental updates, particularly to the iPad Pro.

There’s a new Folio Keyboard for the iPad, which looks good but which costs a really rather remarkable $249. On a device which costs $449 that really is quite a lot of money. And it weirdly supports the first generation Pencil rather than the newer (and much nicer) one. Although the iPad has a USB-C port, it doesn’t have the magnetic charging capability of the iPad Air and Pro – hence the old Pencil support. Of course that USB-C port means you need a dongle to charge your Pencil. Elegant design? Not really.

The iPad Pros (iPads Pro?) gain the M2 processor and WiFi 6E, which delivers some speed gains (15% faster processing, 35% faster graphics, 40% faster neural engine, 50% more memory bandwidth). It supports capturing and editing ProRes, which is a big plus for the people out there using iPad Pros as cameras (yes, they do exist). There’s also a new Pencil “hover” feature, which feels like a really odd feature to add dedicated screen hardware for. Nice, but I think it’s going to be a hard sell to get developers adding support for it.

The iPad also sees its camera shifted to the right position: at the top in landscape, not portrait. However, I can’t see anything which makes it clear if this is also the case for the iPad Pro. You would hope so, but I have the nagging feeling that the position of the charging circuitry for the magnetically-attached Pencil might rule it out. If so you can expect another update to the iPad Pro next year which shifts the charging position – again. It wouldn’t be brilliant if the cheaper iPad gets the better camera position while the professional one makes do with the weird “from the side” view you get with the current one.

Apple made quite a big point in its video about Stage Manager, “released with iPad OS 16”. Of course at the moment, the best part about Stage Manager – massively improved external monitor support – isn’t there. It was, of course, demoed in the video. Hopefully it will be released soon.

There’s nothing there which makes it a must-have upgrade over either an M1 or previous generation iPad Pro, in my view. Yes, the performance increase is great, but until the applications are there and external display support is improved I just don’t think there’s a need for all that power.

Pricing hasn’t really changed. The lowest-cost iPad Pro 11in will cost you £899. A fully laden 12.9in with 5G and 2TB of storage? £2,679. I would love to know how many of those 2TB iPad Pros Apple actually sells.

Apple also sneaked in a new Apple TV4K, with an A15 Bionic chip and support for HDR10+. Oh, and best of all: a new Siri Remote which supports USB-C for charging. At last. It’s still too expensive at £149, especially compared to the $129 it costs in the US. Thank you Tories for trashing the currency. And that £149 version doesn’t come with Ethernet as standard: you have to move up to the £169 version for that, which also bumps up the storage to 128Gb.