Muse used iPad artist for spacey cover of new album

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An iPad Pro is the canvas for the artwork for Muse's Simulation Theory album.
An iPad Pro is the canvas for the artwork for Muse's Simulation Theory album.
Photo: Kyle Lambert

Too many people assume that it takes a MacBook Pro or something similar to create serious digital art, while an iPad is more of a toy. The best response to that is a new video showing album artwork for Muse’s new Simulation Theory album being created with an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil.

Microsoft scarcely tweaked the design of its iPad Pro competitor

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One of the major changes in the Surface Pro 6 is it comes in black. Woo.
One of the major changes in the Surface Pro 6 is it comes in black. Woo.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft today unveiled a new generation of its Surface Pro 2-in-1. This has a faster processor than its predecessor but other than that remains practically unchanged. The long hoped for USB-C port is still missing.

The improvements are so marginal that Microsoft is left emphasizing that the Surface Pro 6 is available in a new color.

Smartphones are killing laptops and desktops, but tablet sales grow

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ipad ios 11
More Americans own tablet than did two years ago. The same can't be said of laptop and desktop ownership.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of Americans who own an iPad or other tablet computer increased marginally in the past two years. However, ownership of a laptop/desktop has dropped significantly in the same period.

Smartphone ownership stayed at the high rate it’s held since 2016. And that’s what’s really cutting into sales of traditional computers.

Apple replaces flawed iOS 12 beta

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iOS 12 features
Developers, you can now grab iOS 12 beta 8. This is the replacement for a version that only lasted a few hours on Monday.
Photo: Apple

Just two days after hastily withdrawing a beta of iOS 12, Apple is back with a new version that hopefully fixes the problems in the original.

No one expects betas to be perfect, but iOS 12 beta 7 had significant performance issues. So significant that it was only available for a couple of hours.

iPad’s hot streak shows no sign of cooling

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2018 iPad and Apple Pencil
The 9.7-inch iPad released this fall helped keep Apple on top of the tablet market.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

There was a time the glory days of the iPad seemed over. Sales declined quarter after quarter. Then the iPad Pro line debuted, and now Apple has seen six straight quarters of increasing tablet shipments.

That’s not true for rival device makers. Samsung tablets haven’t experienced a quarterly shipment increase since at least 2016.  

Getting ready to sketchnote Monday’s WWDC keynote

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iPad Pro with WWDC Time sketchnote displayed
Are you ready for Apple's annual developer conference?
Photo: Andy McNally/Cult of Mac

All next week, illustrator and senior UX/UI designer Andy McNally will be sketchnoting Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference for us, starting with the big keynote on Monday.

It is time to get ready for the 2017 WWDC. What should I pack? What pens should I bring? OK, maybe I’m the only one who has to think about what pens and colored markers I need to bring. However, it is critical to remember all of the chargers and cables for our Apple devices.

First impressions with the big and beautiful iPad Pro

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Big and hot: the iPad Pro is the BBW of tablets.
Big and hot: the iPad Pro is the BBW of tablets.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

I ordered the iPad Pro online at first light this morning and picked it up at the Apple Store in Stonestown, San Francisco, just as the store opened. Aside from the sticker shock — more than $1,326.49 for the iPad, Pencil and Smart Keyboard — I was surprised at how readily it is available. Seems like there’s plenty in stock, despite reports of short supply.

The iPad Pro is getting lukewarm reviews, but isn’t that what we always get from the professional reviewers? The same-old measured response that’s neither wildly enthusiastic nor harshly critical? It was the same with the iPhone 6s-es, the new MacBook, and the 6 Plus before that. “They’re not for everyone!” the reviews tended to say.

Well, bollocks! I’m excited about the iPad Pro. I’m as excited as I was about the first big-screen iPhone a couple of years ago. I think size does matter, and the bigger screen on these devices makes a huge difference.

But we’ll see. I just got my hands on it. Check out the video to see what’s in the box and my initial impressions.