Happy Thanksgiving! This year to observe the holiday we asked each of our writers to tell us a bit about the things they are most thankful for in 2012: specifically, the Apple product, app, service, third-party accessory and person they most relied upon and were grateful for this year. All through the rest of the day, we’ll be posting these thanksgiving observances. Here’s Cult of Mac News Writer Killian Bell’s list of the things he’s most thankful for this year. You can find the rest of our Thanksgiving Smorgasbord entries here.
I’ve been using Evernote for as long as I can remember, and I’m not sure how I’d work without it now. Not only do I use it for storing little notes or photographs when I need to remember something, but I also use it to draft out articles and features for Cult of Mac before they’re published.
The thing that’s great about Evernote is that it’s always accessible. There’s an Evernote app for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and all your Android-powered devices. And thanks to its free syncing service, no matter which device you pick up, you can be sure your notes will be there.
Evernote was recently overhauled with a fancy new look, and it’s more powerful than ever before. If you’re looking for a simple tool to help you stay productive, you should certainly check it out.
I’ve spent thousands of pounds on music from the iTunes Store, and I currently have more than 12GB of music in my library. But you know what? I can’t remember the last time I listened to any of it.
That’s because I use Spotify, which gives me access to more than 15 million tracks on my Mac and iOS devices for $10 a month. I can listen to almost anything I want, as many times as I want, and it doesn’t cost me a penny extra.
And because Spotify streams everything you play, you don’t need to worry about taking up precious storage space on your devices. You can pick up a 16GB iPhone or iPad and not have to worry about using most of that space on your music library.
There is an option to store playlists locally, too. So when you know you’re going to be offline for a while, you can save a few albums for offline listening.
Apple Product: iPad mini
I found it hard to choose between the iPad mini and the iPhone 5 for this one, because I’ve been delighted with both devices. But for me, the iPad mini just about edges it. Why? Because I think it’s the best iPad I’ve ever owned, and I’ve had every model Apple has released so far — except for the new fourth-generation iPad.
It’s a perfect size. It’s small enough and light enough for reading, gaming, or watching movies for extended periods of time — you don’t have to worry about achy wrists and tired arms. But at the same time, it’s big enough to run all your existing iPad apps just as well as your regular iPad.
Sure, it doesn’t have a Retina display, and it’s not as fast as the third- or fourth-generation iPad. But the lower-resolution display hasn’t been a problem for me; I’ve gotten used to it. And I’ve had no issues whatsoever with the slower A5 processor — not even when gaming.
The iPad mini is by far the best iOS device I’ve bought to date.
Third-Party Accessory: Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG
Even though it has a smaller display, I use my iPad mini a lot for writing in my spare time. And while it’s virtual, on-screen keyboard is great for quick emails or replying to the odd iMessage, I couldn’t be without a physical keyboard for everything else.
I actually bought the Logitech Keyboard Case for my third-generation iPad, but I’ve been using it with the iPad mini now for almost a month. While it’s no good as a case anymore, the keyboard with its built-in iPad stand is still fantastic. The keys are a great size, and it features function keys for media playback, volume control, a home button, and more.
I’ve been looking around for iPad mini keyboards that are better suited to its size, but I’m struggling to find one that beats the Logitech Keyboard Case.
Person: Erfon Elijah
Picking a person I’ve been thankful for during 2012 was not an easy task. There are so many people in the world of tech that make a difference to our lives each year. But I didn’t want to just name Tim Cook or Jony Ive; I wanted to pick someone who may not get all the recognition they deserve this year.
That person is Cult of Mac’s own Erfon Elijah, or Erfie, as I like to call him. I picked Erfie for one reason: he produces the CultCast, the funniest and most entertaining tech podcast you can get your hands on.
I love podcasts, and I subscribe to around 20 of them. But the CultCast is one of just a few tech podcasts I listen to from start to finish each and every week. And you should, too.