Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Upgrading My Technology


It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Apple products. I kind of feel like once you have one, it only makes sense to get more, if you’re choosing between Apple and non-Apple products, because they all work together seamlessly. I can pair my AirPods with my phone, my laptop, or my iPad seamlessly. I also really appreciate that they build accessibility into so many of their designs. Their packaging is made so that you can open without scissors, sure, but it’s also made so that someone with limited mobility/strength (like me!) can putt it open easily at the tabs. And their accessibility options on their devices are a streamlined way of adapting to many different types of disabilities. These things are all simple, but all show that Apple is designing with accessibility in mind, and I’m on board.
I’ve written before about how, for me, technology can be more than just something fun - it can be a tool, something that makes it easier for me to be more independent. I got my first iPad (the original Mini) back in 2012, and it’s something that definitely falls into that category. When I was young, I’d come back from the library with a stack of books so high that I could set them on my lap and rest my chin on them! But as I got older, it got more difficult to carry around physical books all the time, and hold/balance them. So being able to read ebooks on my iPad has made things so much easier for me. And when I started grad school, I realized that it was great for taking notes in classes, too. I could download the slides my professors posted and then take notes on them on the iPad itself. It was so much easier for me than having to print slides before each class and carry them, plus any other note paper, previous notes, or other things that I needed to bring.

School starts again for me next week, and I decided that it was time to upgrade my iPad before the semester started. They’ve come a long way since I bought mine six years ago. Technically, mine still works, but it wasn’t going to make it through a semester of note-taking. I did some research to figure out what model I wanted to get next - for me, a bigger size isn’t necessarily a good thing, because I need it to be small and light enough that I can lift it and carry it around with me. So I was deciding between the iPad mini and the regular iPad, and ultimately decided on the regular iPad.

What sold me? The compatibility with the Apple Pencil. When I used my Mini to take notes, I bought multiple styluses to try out, but none of them worked really well. The Apple Pencil works so seamlessly; it’s really amazing. Plus, there’s an app that one of the employees at the Apple store showed me, Nebo, that translates what you handwrite in the app into text documents/PDFs - and it only works with the Apple Pencil. I also got this great Bluetooth keyboard/case, which basically makes my iPad into a small laptop! The typing feels the same as typing on a regular keyboard - your fingers don't feel cramped (or, at least, mine don't!).

I’m sure there are a lot of other features that I don’t know about yet, but I think my new iPad will be perfect for me as a student, and is also still light enough for me to use when I’m reading outside! It was a big purchase, but something that I definitely think is worth it.

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