A neat story about the iPad Pro (link to a blog post)

Scott Dawson recently published a blog post that is a guest post from his daughter.  The post is about his daughter’s new iPad Pro. She talks about how she uses the device and her first impressions of the device.   There are unboxing photos and a video of her playing the piano.

It turns out that his daughter saved her money from piano teaching, babysitting, allowance (and some additional early birthday and Christmas presents) to buy an iPad Pro.

She used the 3rd Generation iPad previously, but wanted the larger screen of the iPad Pro.  She also uses an AirTurn controller to turn pages.

Check out the post here.

Blog Post Referral: Viola Jack on the Surface Pro and Music Reading

One of the joys of blogging has been getting to know people with similar interests across the country.  In truth, the number of people who consistently blog about technology and music, or technology and music education, can be counted on two hands, and I have had the pleasure of interacting with all of them and meeting a good number of them.

One of the bloggers I really enjoyed interacting with was ViolaJack, a blogger from California who is a string player/teacher.  She has used iPad in her playing and teaching, but has always been open to Microsoft tablets as well–and she eventually interned with PC Magazine.

She dropped off the blogging world for a few years (she writes about that here), and has recently started posting again.  I have missed her blogging voice, because we share some things in common (a love of music, a love of teaching music, and a desire to integrate technology in music) but we approach technology with different solutions.  It is important to listen to other opinions that do not always match your own!  Plus, she is a great writer (you wouldn’t intern at a technology magazine if you were not good at the craft).

Anyway–her latest blog post is about her use of the Surface Pro 3 for music versus the iPad (3rd Generation).  It is a great read…and I am looking forward to seeing a future post from her about using Xodo Docs as a sheet music reader (she used to favor One Note).

My New eBook – Chromebooks in Music Education

If you follow technology in education, it is clear that the Chromebook has become a primary device in our schools. Many schools are going 1:1 with Chromebooks, sometimes after a multi-device pilot, and sometimes after choosing not to update existing iPads to a newer version of the iPad.

After purchasing a new Chromebook this fall, I decided to write a book about how to integrate iPads in music education. I don't sugar coat the truth–there are better devices for music education, and it can be tricky to integrate Chromebooks into music education. The book includes a list of web apps that can be used in music education, as well as some broad technology integration strategies that can be used in music education. I also included discussions about the exciting developments in the Chromebook, as well as the recent news that might signal the end of the Chromebook as we know it (by Google) as soon as 2017.

At the moment, the book is short and a quick read (79 pages on Kindle). I plan on adding to the book in the future, as I have with my other books. If you buy the book, and you have additional web apps that you would like to see included–or strategies, please send me an e-mail. Additionally, if you see any glaring mistakes, please let me know, too.

Since the Chromebook is not an Apple device, I have published the book on both Amazon (Kindle edition that can be read on any device) and the iBooks Store. The links below are referral links. When you sell a digital book on Amazon or the iBooks Store, you earn 70% as an author. The referral links do not add to the cost of the item, but direct a further percentage of the sale from the company to the individual who refers the book.

Amazon Kindle Store: Chromebooks in Music Education ($4.99)

iBooks Store: Chromebooks in Music Education ($4.99)

And if you are interested in my existing books:

iBooks Store: Practical Technology for Music Education ($9.99)

iBooks Store: iPads in Music Education ($8.99)


iPad Pro Thoughts – On Location

I am currently at the Apple Store at the Mall of America. My boys like to play the demo games in the kids area (my wife and I take turns looking at things), so that gives me a chance to try new products.

 The iPad Pro is simply huge. The tech columns simply can’t make it possible to understand how big it really is.  You need to see it and hold it for yourself. forScore is a demo app on the device, and it looks GREAT on the iPad Pro.  The home screens need to be thought out more–there is simply too much space between the apps.   This will get figured out over time.   The device is fast (I would love to see audio rendering time with Notion).

The Apple Pencil feels great. I only used it for a few minutes, but it works perfectly on the screen, and it is angle aware.  It is a pencil as pen replacement. The only thing I worry about is losing a $100 stylus. 

The new iPad Pro keyboard cover is okay. It works, and you could certainly do real work on the device. I don’t know if I would buy it. With the keyboard cover, the device is bigger than most notebook computers. 

If Apple can put  missing productivity apps on this device (iBooks Author, XCode, Final Cut, and Logic Pro)–which is faster than the new MacBook–this really could become a notebook replacement. 

I think Notion on iPad Pro will be wonderful; you have the potential for much more workable space (compared to the iPad, the iPad Pro version could use less equivalent space for keys and stil have larger keys). 

For me, though, music reading is going to be my primary use for the iPad Pro–and that is why I will eventually buy one (although I would still like to see 3D Touch on the device). It is a good thing that I still need to wait a year. 

The iPad Pro

The iPad Pro is now available. Am I going to get one? No. I am selling all my iOS and Apple devices and going 100% Chromebook.

Okay, that last line was a lie–I am feeling under the weather and a joke made feel a little better.

I'm still not buying an iPad Pro. There are a few reasons.

  1. My wife would kill me.
  2. See #1 (Christmas is coming, meaning finances will be tight)
  3. I bought my iPad Air 2 in March from T-Mobile and still have 16 no-interest payments to make on the device.
  4. I feel strongly that the next generation of iPads will come with 3D Touch. While a recent survey of iPhone 6S users showed that most owners do not use 3D Touch, this is partially because we are not yet used to using it, and partially because app developers have not integrated the feature. In time, 3D Touch will be a standard gesture, like pinching today.
  5. I will eventually get the iPad Pro from T-Mobile on the Jump On Demand plan.

Should YOU get the iPad Pro? 3D Touch won't likely be the issue for you. I read today, quite accurately, that the iPad Pro is cheaper and faster than Apple's new MacBook (I also need a new MacBook). I expect Apple to address the speed issue soon…but put another way, the iPad Pro is almost two times as fast as the iPad Air 2, which I own. That is crazy-fast. Apple's Pencil is back-ordered, but that will be a nice device (I am asking my parents for the non-Bluetooth Adonit Jot Dash for Christmas), and Apple iPad Pro keyboards and other devices will be out soon.


forScore tweeted today that music looks GREAT on the iPad Pro, and that the sound is better than a laptop (four speakers on the iPad Pro). forScore also reminded us that the original Music Pad Pro was $899…the 32GB iPad Pro plus the Pencil is still cheaper than the Music Pad Pro, plus it can do so much more.


I don't think of the iPad Pro as a MacBook replacement, at least not until all of Apple's apps can run on the device (or more specifically, iBooks Author, Final Cut, and Logic Pro. While these programs cannot run on iOS (at least not yet), the iPad Pro has the power to run them.


Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) has taken some recent shots at Microsoft about the Surface Pro 4, calling it “deluded.” I don't think that is fair–the device itself is fantastic, but it is really, really hard to make any device–and a device that is both laptop and tablet has to make some sacrifices. Some of that will come in the operating system itself, other sacrifices occur with developers. While the Surface Pro has Staff Pad as a unique music solution (there are other solutions, such as PhotoScore Ultimate with NotateMe), that program generally only works best with the Surface line of devices. Most programs are not created with the Surface (or multi-touch) in mind, Microsoft has finally figured out that to provide the best experience, you have to control both the software and the hardware. If I had an extra $1400, I would certainly buy a Surface Pro 4 to work with (I only have my $230 Asus T-100).


While Apple has been introducing parts of iOS into OSX (and vice-versa), they are trying to do so when it makes sense to do so. Years later, they are finally getting the hang of cloud computing (although I do believe if Dropbox had agreed to be purchased by Steve Jobs, Apple would have taken the lead in cloud computing). Still, Apple is committed to iOS and the Mac. And that's okay.


So…if you want an iPad Pro, go for it. It should be functional for five years (if not more), as tablet speeds are catching up with (or surpassing) notebook speeds. You just might miss out on some of next year's features, unless you get your iPad Pro with T-Mobile's Jump On Demand. In that case, you would always have a monthly payment, but you would also always have the latest and greatest device at your fingertips.


Note: I do not get a referral bonus from T-Mobile.


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