Tech giant’s tablet offers a tantalising glimpse at life without one VERY irritating gadget
IT’S the office technology which stubbornly refuses to shuffle off into obsolescence.
So is Apple FINALLY about to deliver a death blow to that most hated of gadgets, the printer?
Personally, I find the process of printing anything out about as enjoyable as invasive root canal surgery.
It seems that every time I go to press that “print” button something goes wrong. The paper jams. The ink runs out. A little red light starts flashing.
As well as being infuriating, printers are also wasteful and potentially even dangerous, emitting particles of dust which you definitely don’t want to breathe in.
I’ve been fiddling with Apple’s iPad Pro for a few months now and I’m glad to report it has shown me we are stepping ever closer to an era where you may never have to print anything ever again.
The iPad Pro has one key accessory that – I hope – might finally stop me having to struggle with a printer ever again: the Apple Pencil.
This gadget is basically a super advanced stylus, allowing you to draw on screen, write out notes by hand or simply interact with the screen in a more refined way than using your finger.
Crucially, it allows you to perform the sorts of tasks which ususually require a printer.
Some tips and tricks to help you use the iPad Pro
- Notes: The native Notes app does more than you might think. You can use it to easily create a checklist to tick off things to do or add in some photos to jog your memory. With Apple Pencil, you can sketch ideas quickly and share easily.
- Markup: When someone sends you a PDF or image by email you can quickly provide feedback by opening it, selecting Markup from the toolbox icon next to the Search field, making the edits you’d like to, and then automatically have it repackaged in an email response.
- Slide Over: With Slide Over, you can interact with a second app without leaving the one you’re in. The second app slides in from the right so you can quickly check your text messages or respond to emails.
- Multitasking: Use Multitasking gestures on your iPad to quickly return to the Home screen, see the app switcher, or switch to another app. Just experiment with swiping using four or five fingers.
- Split View: This function lets you use two apps at the same time. For example, you can read a book and take notes. Or look at a location in Maps while you search for holiday ideas in Safari.
If you want to sign a document, for instance, you could just take a photo of it, scrawl your signature and then send it without having to use a printer.
If someone sends a document you need to annotate, you can download it onto the iPad Pro and then scrawl away on it using the markup feature which becomes available when you are emailed an image or pdf.
It could even help you do away with your notebook, because you can just open a notes app and write using Pencil.
Your words are then stored as text and are searchable.
Of course, there are plenty of third party apps which perform similar tasks – but I find myself daring to think that it can’t be long before we’ll all just writing away on tablets rather than printing out reams of pages and filling up notepads with barely legible gibberish.
Here are some of the best work apps for Apple iPad Pro
- PDF Office (£4.99 for 1 month or £38.99 for 1 year) – This cool app lets you scan in paper documents, receipts, contracts and delivery notes using the iPad camera to create a digital document you interact with. It comes with automatic form field detection, which will automatically recognise the empty writing spaces in a scanned form. You can also highlight text, add stamps and use natural handwriting with Apple Pencil.
- Adobe Comp CC (Free) – You can design documents using this app and the Apple Pencil. It’s a desktop publishing platform that’s powerful enough to give professional results whilst still being easy to use. You can use the Pencil to draw boxes and then fill your page with images, text and whatever else you need.
- Adobe Capture (Free) – If you want to Basically, you just take a photo of an object and it will “converts the rough shape and lines into crisp graphics” which you can copy into other programs. You can also automatically use it recognise the colours from an image so you can use them in another app.
GoodNotes (£7.99) – GoodNotes lets you take handwritten notes and annotate PDF documents. The handwritten notes are searchable and are created using a pioneering vector ink engine. If you use iCloud sync, your documents in GoodNotes will synchronise between your iPad and iPhone automatically.
- Pixelmator (£4.99) – Pixelmator is a powerful, fully-featured image editor that lets you touch up and enhance images, sketch and paint.
- Weebly (Free) – More than 30 million people around the world have created a website using Weebly, an easy to use web design platform. Now, with Weebly Mobile you can create a website, blog or store directly from your iPad.
- Procreate 3 (£5.99) – This is a “powerful sketching, painting and illustration app containing a complete artist’s toolbox”. You can import an image to use as a base layer, such as a photograph of a building or a floorplan, and then use Pencil to draw over it.
The iPad Pro is Apple’s flagship tablet and comes in two sizes: 9.7 and and 12.9 inches long.
Apple also offers a slightly cheaper version of the iPad, which you can read out about here.
Could these gadgets finally save us from the ordeal of printing things out?
I hope so.
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