The iPad Pro is the first iPad that has native support for a pressure sensitive stylus. The Apple Pencil is the best stylus we’ve seen for iPad bar none. The accuracy, precision and speed are simply the best. While there are several apps that take advantage of Apple Pencil on iPad Pro there’s one that promises to be a game changer. Astropad Graphics Tablet is an app for iPad and iPhone. It has preliminary (beta) support for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Wth this App you can mirror your Mac’s display and use your iPad as a graphics tablet for your Mac. Astropad can connect to your Mac via USB or WiFi. If your Mac has multiple displays you can choose which one to mirror.
Here’s a video of how it works:
The Bottom Line
The iPad Pro is a cool device on its own. However, adding the extra benefit of using it as a graphics tablet on the go means that I can take my Wacom Intuos Pro Small out of my bag. It’s one less piece of gear weighing my bag down.
You can get Astropad for iPad from the
I am a fan of Instagram. I use it daily as a method of sharing my photography and seeing what others are shooting/posting. I totally get why Instagram is a phone App. Most people snap pictures and videos with their smartphones. However, I can’t think of any reason why the good folks over at Instagram haven’t saw fit to release a tablet version of their app yet. I’m often browsing Instagram on long flights and typically I’m using my iPad Air 2 in this situation. It feels really silly viewing the iPhone app on the iPad. It never occurred to me to check for 3rd party Instagram iPad apps until I saw Padgram mentioned in the comments on another site. I immediately downloaded it and thought to myself “I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out this long.” This is the kind of app that I’ve been wanting. Imagine your Instagram feed on a big beautiful 10″ display.
When i’m at home I have my MacBook Pro connected to two additional displays. A Dell 4K display and a Wacom Cintiq HD 24 display/tablet. However, when I’m on the road I can’t bring those other displays with me. However, I almost always travel with my iPad Air 2. Well with the Duet Display App my iPad can serve as a second display to my Mac when I’m not using it as an iPad. I was blown away with the performance of this app. This is not the first time someone has attempted to do this. However, the previous attempts relied on WiFi and there was always a lag. With Duet Display it’s just as fluid as connecting a regular display because instead of using wireless they use the Lightning connector/USB instead. See it in action in the video demo I did:
One of the things that I’m asked at tax time each year is how many miles did I drive for business? A few years ago it was a struggle for me to come up with that answer and I knew that I cheating myself because I just couldn’t remember all the trips. That all changed when I started using mileage tracking apps on my iPhone. I love Automilez because it was one of the first ones to take advantage of the GPS in your iPhone and not only provide you the distance in miles that you traveled, but it would even document the route.
I traveled to New York City for an event this week and I usually stay at either a Hilton or Marriott in Times Square. However, this time I choose the W Hotel Times Square since it was in the same price range and located right next to the Marriott I would have chosen anyway. The current version of the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) App offers keyless entry on your iPhone and Android phone. It also offers it via Apple Watch. I wanted to give it a try. Before you get started on your travels you will need to join the SPG frequent stay program. It’s free of course and if you stay enough nights in Starwood property you’ll earn perks. Next you’ll need to download the SPG App and register your iPhone for Keyless entry. I actually did this months ago. My work travel is booked through an approved travel agency. As it turns out this interferes with the automatic nature of the keyless entry process. If you book via their app or website then you’ll automatically receive your digital key in the app 24 hours before you arrive. This way you can go right to your room when you arrive. Since I booked via a 3rd party I had to go to the reception desk upon arrival and check in in the usual manner. The staff issued me a regular plastic card key and I requested Keyless Entry. The computers were running slow so she instructed me to go on up to my room and the key would be pushed to my iPhone. I got the push notification about 20 minutes later. Of course I wanted to try it. Here’s a video:
As you can tell from the video above it takes a few taps to get to the key. The staff person actually told me that I would probably want to start brining up the key on my device in the elevator. That way the key would be on the screen by the time I hit the door. That’s pretty good advice whether you’re using your smartphone or Apple Watch.
Real World Use
Sometimes the digital key just wouldn’t show up on Apple Watch
I left my room and went out for a few hours. When I returned for whatever reason the key didn’t show up on the watch. I’m not sure why, but I said no problem I’ll just use my plastic key. I pulled out the key and held it up to the door only for it to flash red. Yep, it had demagnetized. Argggh, then I remembered that it was on my iPhone. I pulled up the SPG app on my iPhone and it worked perfectly. Over the next couple of days using the SPG App on Apple Watch was hit and miss. Sometimes the key was there sometimes it wasn’t, but it worked on the iPhone 100% of the time. Hopefully these kinds of issues (bugs) can be fixed. It would also be nice to have the key as a “glance” on the watch to jump right to it. This would allow you to get to the key much much faster than the way it works today (when it works).
The SPG app also does a good job with Push Notifications as you near the property. You can also add a card to Passbook with your stay information. The push notification offered to bring up the key on my iPhone as I walked near the hotel from dinner.
The Bottom Line
We’re on the cutting edge with this technology. Most hotels have only just started rolling out this technology across their properties. Once the kinks are worked out it will be so nice to have this option on our mobile devices. It was also nice to have it work when the regular key didn’t.
You can get the SPG app here from the