Creative game-changers: What our designers can’t live without

Creative game-changers: What our designers can’t live without

We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and there’s no one out there who gets creative workflows the way we do. And, in the past quarter of a century, there’s been a huge amount of technological advancement. So we caught up with our design team on the game changers they’ve seen in the creative industry, and how they couldn’t do their jobs without them…

Xenia, Graphic Designer

“The Wacom Intuos Pro has changed my life. It makes everything so much easier and is always invaluable throughout all stages of a project – I’d never go back! From quickly drawing out ideas in Illustrator, to easily zooming in or rotating an image, to using the Expresskeys customised with my most-used Creative Cloud shortcuts, I’ve found the Intuos Pro to be an essential piece of tech. And with the wireless kit, working on the go is as easy as moving to another room – I just keep the adaptor plugged into my MacBook ready to go.”

Jamie Shaw, Web Designer

“Back in the day, I remember trying to get PC and Mac to work together was very laborious. Now saving and opening things on both and passing work between them is seamless, and saves so much time! Where getting Windows and macOS to work with each other used to be a headache, everything is much easier now that Macs support SMB, and I’m excited for APFS.” (If you’re not quite as prepared as Jamie, we can run through where you are with your kit and where there’s room for improvement to increase your overall productivity – ask us about our Strategy & Discovery Sessions for more details).

Thierry, Graphic Designer

“A biggie for me is having a notebook and tablet, and the mobility that brings for working both in the office and at home. For example if I’m working away from my desk, I can mock up a more refined document using Adobe Comp on iPad Pro as easily as sketching on paper. And when I move back to my desktop, I can seamlessly pick up exactly where I left off without the hassle of emailing files across or swapping software. Very quickly, I’ve got a clear idea of how things are looking and a design that can be presented for approval.”

Liana, Graphic Designer

Creative Cloud is great because I can work from home, and have files readily available rather than getting people to email them across. I’m able to cut out a lot of steps in the image searching process, so I can spend more time designing and less time trawling the web. Being able to search and share images, styles and assets among different applications and computers, as well as with other team members, has really impacted my productivity.”

Simon, Graphic Designer

“On a day to day basis, I often find myself swapping between print and web work. A colour calibrated display, such as the Eizo ColorEdge series, is great for this because at the click of a button I can change the colour mode needed for the current project I’m working on. I know the finished product will look how I want straight away instead of battling unwanted hues by trial and error. I can be confident that colours on screen will reflect the end product, and get more out of my day by not having to waste time on avoidable colour edits. And not only does the colour and tone of imagery look better when working on it, but it translates to the screens of other devices much better as well.”

Want to find out more about being more productive? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

 

Video: My design workflow, from mobile to desktop

Video: My design workflow, from mobile to desktop

In this video, I’m looking at how to combine Adobe mobile and desktop apps to work quickly without compromising on creativity. Using a company newsletter as an example, I take a project from initial concept on mobile to further editing on desktop, right through to delivery. Word of warning: our 70s-themed Betamax meeting room features some dangerously funky wallpaper…

Want to know more? Call us on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com, and keep up with all things Apple by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24

All the news from Apple’s spring event

All the news from Apple’s spring event

It’s not every spring that we see an iPhone launch, so Apple’s ‘Let Us Loop You In’ event from Cupertino took us a little by surprise, with not only the new iPhone SE on the agenda, but also a new smaller iPad Pro 9.7″. We’ve rounded up all the news on those, plus the latest on iOS 9.3, Apple TV and more below (as well as our over-excited live tweeting…)

Apple iPhone SE

First up, in terms of new product at least, was Apple’s new 4″ iPhone SE. Apple are positioning this as both an option for those users who prefer a smaller phone, and who want a more affordable option, coming in at a modest 4″ and $399. Having said that, it doesn’t skimp on features and specs, matching up to iPhone 6 in most departments, but being more akin to the old iPhone 5 in design.

iPhone SE at Jigsaw24

They’re calling it the most powerful 4-inch phone ever, with a 64-bit A9 chip that’s great for graphics-intensive games and their most advanced camera system – 12MP iSight, Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photos and 4K video capture, plus a front-facing cam with Retina flash to help you get the perfect selfie. Hey Siri, Touch ID and Apple Pay are all present and correct, with battery improvements and speedy LTE and WiFi.

Read more about Apple’s iPhone SE here.

iPad Pro 9.7″

The other headliner at the event was iPad Pro, with a new 9.7″ model that takes everything great about the larger 12″ iPad Pro and shrinks it down to a more portable form factor. As with the larger version, the main talking point here is the power-efficient oxide TFT display that’s 40% less reflective than iPad Air 2 and 25% brighter, with a wide colour gamut and 25% greater colour saturation. It now sports True Tone technology which measures colour temperature of ambient light and adjusts to match, becoming warmer for more comfortable working.

iPad Pro 9.7" at Jigsaw24

The A9X chip gives great processor and graphics performance, making it ideal for modelling and rendering, and it also features the most advanced iPad camera ever – a 12MP iSight cam with Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photos and a front-facing 5MP cam too. Then there’s the four built-in speakers which give it twice the audio performance of the iPad Air 2, and support for the excellent Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

Read more about Apple’s iPad Pro 9.7″ here.

And the rest…

Among the other, smaller announcements, we had new bands for Apple Watch (including a woven nylon strap and new colours), and incremental software releases. tvOS gets an update with improved Siri functionality and new folders system, while iOS 9.3 sees a new Education Preview suite designed for students, teachers and administrators, Night Shift mode which switches colours in the evening to the warmer end of the spectrum to help you sleep better, password-protected Notes and other updates in CarPlay, News and Health.

Apple also showed off a new addition to ResearchKit, with new CareKit, an open source scheme to build apps to enable people to take more active role in their care. And they were keen to stress their green credentials too, mentioning that they are operating with 100% renewable energy in 23 countries, using more and more recycled and sustainable packaging among other good stuff.

As it happened

It’s become a bit of a tradition to unleash our Core Operations Manager Charlotte Barton on our Twitter feed during Apple launches, and this time round was a real stream of consciousness belter, touching on iPad, iPhone, yaks and elbow patches…

 

 

Want to know more about the new Apple releases? Call us on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com, and keep up with all things Apple by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24


Introducing the Apple iPad Pro 9.7″

Introducing the Apple iPad Pro 9.7″

We love iPad, and Apple have just unveiled a brand new one at their Spring event in Cupertino! The latest tablet from Apple, the iPad Pro 9.7″, adds another dimension to their iPad lineup and we’re excited to get our hands on it… But what’s new? 

Measuring just 6.1mm iPad Air 2, it still features everything awesome about iPad Pro. Its A9X processor means it’s super speedy, and multitasking between apps will be a doddle. The high resolution Retina display found on iPad Pro is smaller this time round, shrinking from 12.9″ to a more portable 9.7″. iPad Pro also comes with speakers on all four corners that adjust the orientation of its sound output depending on how you’re holding it. The device continues to support the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil (which is great news for designers), while Touch ID returns to ensure your iPad remains safe and secure.

iPad Pro 9.7" at Jigsaw24

Sporting an impressive 1080P 12MP iSight camera (the 12″ version’s 8MP), iPad Pro features an advanced sensor that allows you to shoot gorgeous images and video. Panoramas, time-lapse and slo-mo can all be captured in 720p HD, and the front-facing HD camera with Retina flash allows for great picture quality even in low lighting. Complementing the cameras, the beautiful high-res Retina display means you’ll be enjoying picture and video content more than ever, and with 4K editing capabilities, iPad Pro is ideal for creatives on the go. Apple are calling it “the ultimate PC replacement”, and with all this packed in, they could be on to something.

The iPad Pro 9.7″ is available in Apple’s Rose Gold, Space Grey, silver or gold colour schemes, and will offer 32GB, 128GB and now a whopping 256GB internal storage.

9.7" iPad Pro at Jigsaw24

Want to know more about the iPad Pro 9.7″? Call 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For everything else Apple and iPhone, ‘like’ us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24

Video review: Our design team on… iPad Pro

Video review: Our design team on… iPad Pro

What do actual designers think of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil? To find out, we let them loose with Apple’s largest tablet for a day, to get their views on drawing, multi-tasking and… drumming.

Free event: Hands-on with iPad Pro and Adobe

Want to put iPad Pro to the test yourself? Pop down to our free Hands-on with iPad Pro and Adobe event on 10th February to get a masterclass in mobile workflows from Adobe’s Senior Solutions Consultant Tony Harmer, put your questions to the team and – most importantly – get hands-on with the latest and largest addition to the iPad family, so you can see how it’ll handle your favourite creative apps.

Want to find out more about iPad Pro? Options start at the 32GB model up to 128GB, and it’s available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, with prices from £547 ex VAT. Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Review: A day in the life of iPad Pro

Review: A day in the life of iPad Pro

When iPad Pro was announced in September 2015, we couldn’t quite imagine how it’d fit into our creative workflow. But after getting our hands on one for a couple of weeks and letting the team put it through its paces, we’ve come to understand Apple’s vision for this super-sized, yet super-portable and powerful tablet.

We placed iPad Pro with our in-house creative team, to see how they used the device as part of their creative workflow. iPad Pro seamlessly integrated with our Mac computers and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Here’s how the team has been using iPad Pro this week… 

Monday:

“I kicked things off by taking iPad Pro with me to our weekly creative team catchup. It was great for making quick notes, annotating and sketching out ideas. Initially I thought it would be too big and heavy to take to meetings and brainstorming sessions, but on closer inspection I found it to be quite the opposite and a great portable device. It’s particularly light and thin with a beautifully sleek 12.9” Retina display making it ideal for sharing ideas with the team in meetings and on the go. Being able to handwrite notes using the Apple Pencil was a real bonus, and was a great addition during brainstorming sessions.” – Becky

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Tuesday:

“This week I’ve been working on a new illustration to front an event invite. I used Adobe Creative Cloud mobile application Photoshop Sketch to create my initial artwork ideas. Photoshop Sketch mimics the same visual effects you get when painting and drawing on paper, so using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil felt really natural. I’ve been working with the water colour brush today, which is really responsive, I can watch the colour spread and develop much like the real thing would.

I wasn’t expecting iPad Pro to replace my iMac setup and desktop Creative Cloud applications, but I could certainly get used to switching between the two and would benefit greatly from having the freedom to work on the go, knowing that my projects would synchronise across devices and apps so I could keep picking it up wherever I’m working.” – Xenia

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Wednesday:

“I find that I’m just as productive working on iPad Pro as I am on my MacBook. Although the multitasking Spilt View feature is available across iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, using it on iPad Pro was brilliant. Today I was writing up my work in Pages using Split View with Safari open on the other side. It’s a great way of working and such a time saver not having to flick between applications.” – Shariff

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Thursday:

“I’ve just finished working my way through an Adobe training clip. I like to keep on top of Adobe updates, so today I was working in Split View with half the screen displaying Adobe Comp and the other half open with Safari so I could follow the tutorial.” – Thierry

Friday:

“Today I’ve been finishing off the projects I started earlier in the week. I really enjoy being able to pick up iPad Pro, tap into Adobe Creative Cloud applications and pick up sketches and graphics I’ve been working on, on my desktop in mobile form. I like how weighty the Apple Pencil is, it doesn’t feel like it’s about to fly out of my hand across the room and there’s minimal lag! When I’m sketching on iPad Pro it feels like a completely natural drawing experience, Apple Pencil is thinner than the stylus I usually use with my Wacom tablet, but it was very easy to adjust to.” – Jamie

Additional thoughts from the team:

“The Apple Pencil is awesome, and the iPad Pro is a good size, but it’s not really necessary when you have a MacBook. I can see the appeal if you’re working on an iMac and need something portable though. If the iPad Pro could run the Photoshop desktop app like a Mac did with OS X, it’d be on to a winner.” – Liana

“While iPad Pro impresses most when drawing – the Apple Pencil is a real pleasure to draw with, being incredibly responsive, and also much more natural and comfortable than some graphics tablet pencils – for me, as a copywriter, it’s the screen size that’s the winner. When it was first announced, some balked at the idea of a 12” iPad, but actually using the iPad Pro, it makes perfect sense. You have an almost full-size keyboard at your fingertips, so word processing is a realistic option. I’d still prefer to type on my trusty 13” MacBook Air – I would miss the feedback and clickety-clack of a real keyboard – but I would definitely consider iPad Pro as a tool for word processing on the move.” – Liz

The pros

– It’s far lighter than you expect, which makes it a very portable option despite its larger size than other models.

– The added size just makes everything a little bit easier to do (without going too big!) – everything from multitasking to typing to sketching ideas and making notes is natural.

– The Apple Pencil is a joy to use! Sketching is so much more accurate than comparable tools we have used and very quickly it becomes as fluid as using pencil on paper.

– Split-screen makes sense on iPad Pro, as you basically have two full sized apps running alongside each other in a way that’s not been possible until now.

We’d love to see…

– There’s really only one thing: more heavy duty creative apps that would give it the ability to be a realistic alternative to the notebook. At the minute the Adobe tools available are great for developing ideas and working on the fly, but you’re going to have to have your MacBook with you if you want to do anything more than sketching and basic comping. But that’s more about the tools than the hardware, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on developments in that area.

Want to find out more about iPad Pro? Options start at the 32GB model up to 128GB, and it’s available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, with prices from £547 ex VAT. Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Buyers’ Guide 2016: iPad for Creatives

Buyers’ Guide 2016: iPad for Creatives

An ever-popular choice among consumers, iPad is now also rapidly becoming a mainstay of the creative sector. With the launch of iPad Pro in November, Apple completed an impressive lineup of three tablet devices all designed to cater for different users and purposes. 

Each version comes with your classic iPad essentials – Retina display, a FaceTime HD camera on the front, an iSight camera on the other, a huge database of must-have apps, and a stylish design. When it comes to their creative application, the iPad family are capable of delivering high-quality design-oriented apps, support an array of picture editing apps, and, in the case of iPad Pro, allow for 4K video editing.

With each iPad packing a different set of specs, it’s important to consider which one is right for you and your work. Screen size, processing power, storage and overall performance all differ slightly between models, so take a look below to help you make the right decision.

iPad Pro

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The 12.9″ iPad Pro delivers Apple’s largest-ever Retina display, providing wide, open workspaces on any design app. Working in conjunction with the Apple Pencil (which iPad Pro scans 240 times a second to provide a seamless, lag-free experience), iPad Pro allows its users to scribble, sketch and draw to their hearts’ content using popular Adobe mobile apps like Sketch, Draw and Comp. Similarly, iPad Pro makes an ideal partner for other Adobe favourites on iPad – Photoshop Express and Lightroom among others.

Its expansive display acts as an excellent creative space, displaying every detail and colour in crystal clear high-definition – perfect for editing 4K video. iPad Pro’s screen not only provides vibrant colour and exquisite detail, it’s big, meaning extra keyboard space (great for avoiding those pesky typos and bumbling autocorrect errors) and a cleaner, clearer looking UI. If you’d prefer to work with a physical keyboard, take a look at the Smart Keyboard. Designed specifically for iPad Pro, this unique keyboard-case is both durable and lightweight.

iPad Pro is designed with quick, on-the-go creativity in mind, providing strong graphics performance and rapid functionality thanks to its A9X processor. It gives you a creative experience on a larger scale than its iPad siblings, one that many creatives won’t want to miss.

The specs:

– 32GB or 128GB capacity (WiFi only), 128GB (WiFi and cellular).

– 12.9″ 2732×2048 resolution display.

– A9X chip with 64-bit architecture (2.5x faster than A7 chip with 5x faster graphics).

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Touch ID.

– Apple Pay.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey.

Prices start from £547 ex VAT.

iPad Air

ipad_air_2

With a slimmer, sleeker, more compact build, the iPad Air gives greater portability, making it perfectly suited to viewing content on the move and using your favourite apps to design and create. iPad Air shines when used for presentations, streaming and administration, which is an essential part of almost any work in the creative sector. The lightweight aluminium body weighs in at just 444 grams and packs a 9.7″ display, matching that of the original iPad. Despite its slender design, iPad Air is incredibly durable, exactly what you want for a device that’s constantly on the move.

If you’re after the hottest, most up-to-date tech, it’s worth considering an investment in iPad Air 2 as opposed to the original. iPad Air 2 comes with a number of improvements over its predecessor – a faster processing chip, the A8X as opposed to the A7 (which would improve editing and design performance), Touch ID security technology, and larger storage capabilities (up to 32GB in the original model, and up to 128GB in the iPad Air 2), preferable if you’re storing a large amount of work on the device.

The specs:

iPad Air 2

– 16GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities (WiFi only or WiFi and cellular).

– 9.7″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A8X chip with 64-bit architecture (1.4x faster than A7 chip with 2.5x faster graphics).

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Touch ID.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey.

– Prices start from £295 ex VAT.

iPad Air

– 16GB or 32GB capacity in WiFi or WiFi and cellular.

– 9.7″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A7 chip with 64-bit architecture.

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Available in silver and space grey.

– Prices start from £320 ex VAT.

iPad mini

ipad_mini_4

iPad mini offers a smaller, more portable form than its counterparts, but retains many of their core features, meaning you’ll get a familiar and reliable Apple iPad experience. While it does lack the content creation capabilities of the other two iPad, it’s important to remember the benefits of a small, portable, yet technologically sound tablet device. The mini works great as a digital notebook, ideal for sketches, document management, quick photo and video capturing (thanks to two high-quality cameras), and notes. Think of iPad mini as a handy little companion to your desktop machine back at the studio.

At 6.1mm thick and equipped with a 7.9″ screen, iPad mini is possibly a little smaller than some users may like. Despite this, the lower asking price of iPad mini is worth a thought if you’re looking for a more cost- effective way to view, share and store your creative content on the go.

The specs:

iPad mini 4

– 16GB, 64GB or 128GB capacity (WiFi only or WiFi and cellular).

– 7.9″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A8 chip.

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Apple Pay.

– Touch ID.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey.

– Prices start from £261.50 ex VAT.

iPad mini 2

– 16GB or 32GB capacity (WiFi only or WiFi and cellular).

– 7.9″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A7 processor.

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Available in silver and space grey.

– Prices start from £179.50 ex VAT.

Want to know more about iPad? See the full range here or get in touch with our team by calling them on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.


New demo kit for 2016…

New demo kit for 2016…

We are thrilled to announce several new additions to our media production product portfolio for 2016, all are installed and available for demo at our Soho, London customer experience centre, please drop an email to soho@Jigsaw24.com to book yourself a test drive… 

Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner

Cintel Film Scanner
The new Blackmagic Cintel scanner scans negative and positive 35mm film into amazing quality Ultra HD so customers can unlock the extra resolution from 35mm film that no one has been able to see until now. 35mm film is natively 4K so the extra quality is already in the film. This means there is no easier way to generate Ultra HD feature films and television programming for customers to view on their new large screen televisions than scanning filmed entertainment that has already been produced, including classic hits.

Avid Pro Tools | Dock

Avid S3|Pro Tools Dock 2015

Announced by Avid at AES 2015, the Pro Tools | Dock is a brand new compact, ergonomic, EUCON control surface for integrating the free Pro Tools | Control iPad app. The Dock is based on the advanced touchscreen workflows on the Master Touch Module on the award-winning Pro Tools | S6. Both systems demonstrate the philosophy that mixers need the best of physical faders, knobs, and switches in conjunction with touchscreen technology for things like fast navigation, metering, and on-screen plug-in control – a true hybrid approach. When the Dock is paired with Pro Tools | S3, you gain complementary and enhanced functionality with the dedicated automation switches, transport controls, weighted aluminium jog wheel, colour-coded Soft Key switches, and more. Mixing deadlines have met their match!

Avid S6 Joystick Module

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This master module is an option for both M10 and M40 based S6 systems and offers dual non-motorised, touch-sensitive joysticks for surround sound mixing, enabling you to position sound anywhere within a room. A 3.2″ TFT display shows current pan and joystick locations. The module also features two multicolour LED top-lit encoders, 16 panning mode switches with colour LEDs, and other panning control switches for controlling positioning, divergence, and more with precision. Plus, four OLED displays provide detailed visual feedback and info. The Joystick Module can also be used to control any other knob parameter on S6 to create a wide range of effects.

Trinnov D-Mon

Trinnov D-Mon 8 Angle 2015

We welcome the launch of the Trinnov D-Mon Series, a new range of digital integrated monitoring processors, with the acclaimed optimiser room correction and X-Mon replacement capability for an Avid Pro Tools | S6 control surface. The D-Mon features the Trinnov Optimiser at its core, providing the user with the ability to have perfectly tuned speakers set for the room and an astonishingly accurate listening environment, allowing for faster workflow and higher quality results.

Avid Artist | DNxIO

Avid Artist | DNxIO

Avid Artist | DNxIO is a powerful, professional video I/O interface designed to simplify and accelerate your entire HD, high-resolution, and Ultra HD workflow. Avid Artist | DNxIO enables you to capture, monitor, and output media quickly – in the highest quality possible. And because the interface, which includes hardware by Blackmagic Design, is designed to be open and flexible, you can use it with Avid and other creative tools too.

Avid NEXIS | PRO

Avid_NEXIS_PRO

Get the industry proven performance and reliability of Avid NEXIS shared storage in a more affordable, entry-level system designed for independent editors, audio post pros, and smaller post-production houses. NEXIS | PRO offers real-time editorial collaboration and the high speed bandwidth you need to accelerate media workflow, without requiring you to be an IT expert to set up and manage the system. Plus, get extra peace of mind no matter how challenging the production or schedule with the advanced file management system, enabling you to work the way you want, with both Avid and third party systems, and attain the trusted data protection, flexibility and scalability only Avid can deliver.

We recently achieved Avid Elite Reseller status for Audio, Video and Storage – making Jigsaw24 a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your Avid requirements. Catch up on the news here.

Want to find out more about booking a demo? Give us a call on 03332 409 285 or email soho@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Apple annual roundup 2015: All the news and highlights from Cupertino

Apple annual roundup 2015: All the news and highlights from Cupertino

Apple’s hardware and OS refreshes for Mac, iPad and iPhone have become highly-anticipated annual events. You could say this was an even more landmark year than usual though, with the 12″ MacBook, iPad Pro, a long-awaited new Apple TV, plus brand new ventures into the world of wearables and music streaming in the form of Apple Watch and Apple Music.

MacBook and more

While it was all quiet on the Mac Pro front this year, all eyes were on new Mac on the block, the 12″ MacBook, in March 2015. Thinner and lighter than MacBook Air, it features a brand new faster Intel Core M processor, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of flash storage and a swanky 2304×1440 resolution Retina display. It also features a new edge-to-edge keyboard design, a Force Touch trackpad and sports just one USB type-C port and a headphone jack. Oh, and it was also the first MacBook model to be available in gold, which is great if you need your notebook to match your neckwear.

As well as the new 12″ MacBook, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro also got a refresh at the Spring Forward event. With new fifth-gen Intel processors giving a significant speed boost, a Retina display, and more efficient storage architecture, the 13″ MacBook Pro now also features Apple’s latest Force Touch TrackPad too, as announced on the 12″ MacBook.

There was good news for iMac users in 2015 too. As well as getting bumped up to Retina 4K display with 4096 x 2304 resolution, the new 21.5″ models also feature new colour display technology that widens their colour gamut by 25% and include Intel’s Broadwell processors.

Buyers’ Guide 2015: Mac for Business

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iPad updates

On to September’s Hey Siri event, which focuses on mobile devices, and there was a whole raft of new iOS goodness. Analysts and Apple fans had been predicting this was the event that Tim Cook would unveil a new, bigger iPad Pro, and they weren’t disappointed. The largest iPad to date, iPad Pro features a stunning 12.9″ Retina display, 5.6 million pixels, the latest iOS and new 64-bit A9X chip, giving it enough power to rival most portable PCs.

iPad mini also got a face lift, with a new 18% thinner (at just 6.1mm) profile, and slightly lighter, and is powered by a new A8 processor chip, finally bringing it in line with the power of iPad Air.

What’s the verdict on iPad Pro?

– Apple announce new iPad Pro and iPad mini 4

Buyers Guide 2015: iPad for Business

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iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

It didn’t take Nostradamus to predict that Apple may continue their run of annual iPhone refreshes at the Hey Siri event in September and, true to form, they unveiled iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, while discontinuing the colourful iPhone 5c. As Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said at the time:

“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything – 3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways, and the innovative Live Photos brings your pictures to life. These are the most advanced iPhones ever, with 7000 series aluminum, ion-strengthened glass, the new 64-bit A9 chip, 12 megapixel iSight and 5 megapixel FaceTime HD cameras, faster Touch ID, LTE and Wi-Fi. Customers are going to love them.”

Buyers’ Guide 2015: iPhone for Business

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OS X El Capitan and iOS 9

Back at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2015, the assembled crowds of devs were treated to first glimpses of both the new Mac operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and Apple’s mobile OS for iPad and iPhone, iOS 9.

The focus of OS X 10.11 El Capitan was really on user experience, with new gestures, improvements to Safari and a new, more powerful Spotlight. A few of the new features we’ve found most useful in El Capitan have been: being able to shake your mouse or a finger on the trackpad to locate your cursor; Split View in full-screen mode; being able to pin tabs in Safari; swiping to delete messages in Mail and muting individual tabs in Safari.

iOS 9 meanwhile, saw Siri become 40% more accurate and 40% faster, with new additions like starting your music player when you plug in your headphones, adding invitations to your calendar automatically, and advising you on the time it will take to get to a meeting based on realtime traffic info. She can even suggest who a caller might be by trawling your email for phone numbers hidden in email signatures. Other highlights included Apple Pay, meaning you can now pay for a coffee with your iPhone, better battery life, the News app replacing Newsstand, and more.

Apple TV

It had been three years since Apple updated their standalone set-top box, so Apple TV was well due an upgrade when the all new model was announced in November 2015. Apple TV now has its very own App Store (which, as of December 2015, features BBC iPlayer, which is very welcome news for anyone in the UK), plus a brand new touchpad remote with Siri integration. There’s now support for games too, using the touchpad remote as a game controller. You can also pick up a very fetching Wii-style optional strap for more active gaming, or serious gamers can opt for a third-party MFi game controller.

Apple launch next generation Apple TV

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And the rest…

Earlier in the year, health, fitness and fashion freaks welcomed Apple Watch with open arms. Apple’s first wearable let users track fitness, receive notifications, messages and mail directly from their wrist, and came with a number of different options (we’re still holding out for an Apple Watch Edition from a very loving relative this Christmas). It then got an update to its operating system at WWDC, watchOS 2, which was paired with WatchKit, a set of tools allowing developers access to hardware and software to create native Apple Watch apps.

The same conference also saw Apple unveil a new music streaming service, Apple Music. As well as listening to your own iTunes library, you can stream any of the 30 million songs Apple has access to, or listen to carefully curated playlists based on your tastes.

Anything we missed that was top of your Apple list in 2015? Anything you’d like to see from Apple in 2016? Let us know in the comments below… 

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

What’s the verdict on iPad Pro?

What’s the verdict on iPad Pro?

iPad Pro has finally hit our shores (and in stock at our warehouse) so we’ve ventured into the dark heart of the internet – well, our favourite tech sites – to take the temperature and see how people are reacting to their new über-tablet.

ipad_proWhat’s with all the accessories?

Let’s start with a look at some standout features. Mashable are particularly ebullient about the Apple Pencil, the magically weighted stylus that you can purchase as an add-on for your iPad Pro. The iPad Pro scans for the tip of the pencil 240 times a second, meaning that it has an incredibly fast response time.

“My minor misgivings about losing it [aside], the Pencil is a marvel of engineering and once again highlights the iPad Pro’s excellent screen resolution and design,” gushes Lance Ulanoff.

“The responsiveness is exquisite and the Pencil tip material offers just the right balance between friction and smoothness on the iPad Pro’s touch screen. Pressure sensitivity is about as close as you’re going to get to actually drawing on real paper. It even supports shading, letting me hold the Pencil at an extreme angle to access a the virtual long-edge of a graphite pencil or wide magic marker. What’s more, there is almost no perceptible visual space between the Pencil tip and the digital line that appears on screen. All that combined with the iPad Pro’s impressively large canvas (I have room for a full drawing and reference material) make this a fantastic drawing experience.”

Ulanoff even filmed himself drawing on the iPad Pro versus the Surface Pro 4 – you can see the results here but as a spoiler, it’s game, set and match to iPad Pro.

While there has been some griping about the lack of a top row on the Apple Smart Keyboard, robbing you of the volume, brightness and function keys, but ARS Technica’s Andrew Cunningham notes that: “The keyboard and folded stand sections combine to form one continuous, flat surface that’s surprisingly stable on your lap, a complaint we still have about the Surface tablets despite improvements in recent generations”, and that missing top row is compensated for by “the best software keyboard ever” according to Macworld’s Susie Ochs:

“Like a good digital citizen, I use complex passwords full of letters, numbers, and symbols, even though that kind of password is harder to enter on my iPhone, requiring me to jump between the keyboards for letters, numbers, and symbols in a way I just don’t have to on my Mac. The iPad Pro’s software keyboard has a row of numbers and common symbols along the top of the letter layout, just like the Mac. Shortcuts even pop up per application—in Mail, the options to insert a photo or attach a file are handy to have right onscreen without any tap-and-hold tricks required to find them.”

The on-screen experience

Wired enthusiastically claim that iPad Pro is “the best tablet, and the best case for tablets, anyone’s ever made,” and are keen to emphasise the desktop-like experience you’ll be able to enjoy when using your apps on iOS 9:

“The extra space shows up in subtle but important ways. In iMovie, you can see your library, timeline, and a full-res 1080p view of your final product, all on a single screen. When you play FIFA, you can use the on-screen controls without obscuring any of the actual gameplay. You can comfortably see the entire week in the calendar, from 8am to 9pm. Slack has a new Jumbo Mode that shows you your messages, menus, and files all at once. Many of the first apps to be optimized are analytics tools—you can see so much stuff now! On the iPad Pro you spend less time moving—scrolling lists and thumbing through menus—and more time doing whatever you’re doing. Apps aren’t forced to feel like dumbed-down tablet versions.”

The iPad Pro is the size of two iPad Air 2 side by side, and it’s this that reviewers are finding makes sense of iOS 9’s multitasking mode, with picture-in-picture and side-by-side both making more sense once you have enough space to slide someone’s face into the corner of your Mail window, and now that Slide Over’s third-of-a-screen view is of a usable size. Mashable explain:

“Changing which app is running in the right-hand pane is easy; you just swipe down from the top edge of the screen (over the right-hand pane) and it converts it back into the list of available apps. To change which app is running on the left side, you can use a four-finger gesture which reveals the traditional app tab interface. Select one and it fills the left side of the screen, while maintaining the app running on the right.

“I did have to get used to the two different ways the two panes could interact. If I just dragged over my task pane and selected an app, the left pane would remain in what’s known as “slideover mode,” which means the left app will take over again if I tap to use it. To put the apps in multi-task mode, I have to grab the pane adjustment bar and drag it a bit left and then right to have both panes snap to multi-tasking attention. Apple explained that this is by design, since sometimes you just want to peek at some other bit of content or app information and then return to your main task.”

Power and speed

This is the first time we’ve ever known exactly how much RAM an iPad has had (4GB), and coupled with this A9X chip that is getting iPad Pro rave reviews for its dexterity, graphics performance and gaming and creative potential. Macworld note that:

“Gaming devs love to push the fastest available processors to the edge, and games that harness the Pro’s graphical power should be along before long. And creative users historically tend to favour more powerful machines – the Mac Pro’s main audience is among video editors and other creative-industry workers. But we can’t help feel that business users, who in other parts of the launch presentation appeared to be one of the main target markets, may feel that the Pro is overqualified – and consequently overpriced – for the primarily simple tasks they need it for.”

However, we’re yet to find a creative test that taxes the iPad Pro, so if you’re like our design team and want something that will help you stay genuinely productive away from your desk, it’s a safe bet. The Verge also want you to know that “the Pro’s build quality justifies the price” and that “The tablet’s processing power is even more notable than the display. Apple has rigged the iPad Pro with its latest chip, the A9X, which it claims has twice the CPU and twice the graphics performance of the previous processor. And it has four strategically placed, self-adjusting speakers that wowed me with their sound when I watched videos on it.”

If you want to check a few key benchmarks, ARS Technica have a helpful list here.

The verdict

While the general consensus seems to be that there’s room for refinement when it comes to multitasking and that the Smart Keyboard is likely to be threatened by third party rivals with function keys, general awe for the sound and picture quality, responsiveness and Apple Pencil are all making the iPad Pro a worthy investment, scoring eights and nines across the board.

We’re going to give the final word to the ever-delightful Macalope, though, who points out:

“No one, even Tim Cook, is saying an iPad can do everything a laptop or desktop can do right now. What people are saying is that, depending on your needs, the iPad might be able to do everything you need to do and, when you can pay less for it than a Mac or PC, why not ask yourself if it can?”

If you’re tempted, you can check out the full range here.

iPad Pro is in stock now. Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. To find out more, head to our iPad Pro event in Soho on 10th February. You can see the agenda and get your name on the list here.