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.

A New Podcast…

Hugh Sung, who was a co-founder of the AirTurn Bluetooth Pedal, recently launched a new podcast series entitled, “A Musical Life.” You can find that podcast at

Mr. Sung has a remarkable bio which can be seen on his website He calls himself a pianist, author, and musician. I would also add “teacher” and “good guy” to the list.

As a “techie,” Hugh has excellent insight on technology integration with music (not “just” music education) and has been an exceptional source of information for me, particularly with non-iOS devices.

Mr Sung describes his latest podcast this way:

Every week I’m going to be sharing stories about making music and the things that move our souls. Thanks to my work as a professional pianist and tech entrepreneur, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many amazing musicians and music lovers from all walks of life

As a music educator with young children that cannot find time to participate or attend professional music events, I am looking forward to Mr. Sung's podcasts as a way to rejuvenate my musical soul (I don't say that as a theological concept, but if you are a musician, you know what I mean) until I can be involved in professional music again.

So…check out the new podcast,and best wishes to Mr. Sung as he puts together weekly episodes!


Recent Presentations Online

I finally had the chance to convert my latest presentations from October into PDF files, and they are now visible on the “Past Presentation” page on the blog.

These presentations include:

MNSOTA “Technology and Orchestra”

NAfME “30 Apps in 60 Minutes”

NAfME “forScore: A PDF Music Reader”

WISCONSIN MEA “The Latest and Greatest with iPads – 2015”

iPad 1 and unrealBook

If you have an iPad 1, you are operating with a dinosaur.  The iPad 1 changed computing as we know it (and arguably led to large Phones), but the iPad 2 was an evolutionary jump over the iPad 1.

The iPad 1 stopped receiving updates for iOS some time ago; and most developers do not write apps that can run on the iPad 1.

It is too bad that Apple doesn’t offer a “legacy” store for these older devices–which still work.  Sadly, that option does not exist.  When a developer abandons the device, the old apps can no longer be purchased.

There has been one PDF music reader on the market–unrealBook–that has remained compatible with the iPad 1.  Most developers gave up on that device long ago–and that means every other PDF music reader.  Yesterday the developer, Aron Nelson, announced that he had reached the point that iOS 9 is now so complicated that it is nearly impossible to keep developing for the iPad 1 at the same time.

In other words, this last version of unrealBook will be the last update that works on an iPad 1.

If you know anyone with an iPad 1 that wants to use it as a PDF music reader, they need to buy this app now, or they will not be able to do so in the future.

NextPage Newsletter

Scott Kantner is the developer of NextPage, a PDF Sheet Music Reader for the iPad.

I describe NextPage as forScore-lite, or unrealBook-lite.

As a middle school choir teacher in a 1:1 setting, I found that the best-of-class PDF music readers offered too many features for my students.  Instead of singing, they would be using the metronome, searching the web, or playing the piano.   While I can lock them into an app with our MDM, the apps did too much.  Even the free option, PiaScore, did too much (they did not understand why I asked for YouTube to be removed from the core of their app).

NextPage was a good solution, and we bought 300 copies of it.  The program offers all the basic things you need in a PDF music reader.

We eventually moved away from NextPage as Showbie could be used as a PDF viewer with annotation.  NextPage would be a better solution, but it is easier for me to put students into one app for the whole hour rather than to try to change apps throughout the hour.  Every time you re-focus an app, strange things happen to some student iPads.

So…I like NextPage and recommend it, even though we are not currently using it.  Some users might find NextPage a good, uncomplicated option for music reading on the iPad.

Scott is starting a blog about NextPage 3, and sent out a newsletter.  The newsletter is short and talks about the status of NextPage–and it also has some performance tips at the bottom of the newsletter.  I wanted to share it with you.

NextPage November Newsletter


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