Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Taking the Brompton to the Apple Store

I am considering buying an iPad2. I have been thinking about it for ages but other priorities have come up. I went to look again to have a look. I am mainly worried about the word processing apps that I can use on the iPad. If I can’t get acceptable word processing then I might as well stick with my iPhone and get a notebook. (When will Microsoft just ‘get over it’ and produce Office apps for the iPad?)

I usually go to the Apple Store on Regents Street but the area is so crowded and I remembered a new Apple Store is now open in Covent Garden. Much more space to just sit down and look at the products without someone looking over your shoulder. Plus the lift works. (The lift at Regents Street is often out of order when I visit and I have to carry the Brompton up and down busy stairs.)

The photos above are of the Brompton in the glass lift of the Apple Store and on the third floor by the iPad accessories.

I have decided that I will get an iPad2, but not just yet. I can’t get one anyway. Everyone is out of stock.


Anonymous said...

"Pages" is the word processing app. the iPad uses. It will blow you away once you learn how to use won't ever want to go back to Word.

Leslie said...

You may have done this already, but also look at the Macbook Air 11". It's a complete miniature Apple, with no compromise about suitable software like the iPad. It's also tougher (better for cycling), and has a physical keyboard (better for me!), although the battery life is not quite so good. Whichever you get is cool, though - just keep posting interesting Brompton adventures!

Miguel said...

If you intend to type a lot count on some sort of typing aid in the form of an external keyboard or even this device, which is being funded on Kickstarter, an aid for the onscreen keyboard:

(I have posted a fair amount using the onscreen keyboard on the iPad and I can't begin to tell you frustrating it can get.)

For external keyboards you've got the Apple Bluetooth keyboard which is really nice but, for me, it's too much to tote around; the Freedom i-Connex, foldable, portable, slightly modified key layout (I have it and it's OK, not as good as the old Stowaway mentioned below) and the upcoming Jorno; the Zagg which is a case/keyboard combo that kinda turns the iPad into a laptop and weighs somewhat under a pound, the Adonit which is a variation on the same idea, and the Rightshift;

I had a non-Bluetooth version of the Stowaway keyboard for my Palm years ago and it was outstanding, light and sturdy. The best I ever tried. The current version is the one by Palm (now HP) and it works with the iPad, it's this one:

Had I known this before I bought the Freedom, I would've bought it instead.

As far as software is concerned, if you all need is plain old text, there are lots of options. If you need true word processing you're best off with Apple's Pages. If you need MS Office (Word) compatibility you can use Quickoffice or Documents to Go. Quickoffice is better. Pages can read and write Word but you'll be going back and forth and may encounter formatting issues and such. Both Quickoffice and Documents to Go also incorporate access to Dropbox which is useful.

Wow, I just realize I've written a boatload. Well, it'll be useful for others, too, perhaps.

Cycling in Heels said...

Thanks to all for the info on Pages. I have been trying out this app when I have been testing the iPad but I wasn't sure if it could handle my Word docs.

I looked at the bluetooth key board but I wasn't happy about the size. I will go and look at the ones mentioned.

Leslie, I have also been considering the Macbook Air. Because it would be just as easy to carry but does it come with the ability to get a 3G sim installed and how long does the battery last?

Leslie said...

I'm not technical, but I understand you can get 3G on the Air using a USB modem but not (yet) a SIM. (Wifi is already built-in.) Your phone company probably supplies a USB whatsit. Battery life is quoted as five hours on the Air 11", seven on the 13". Altogether, it's a very close call between the Air and the iPad. A good keyboard is my own priority, so the Air is prime candidate, but on the other hand, the iPad/Zagg combination is really close. Your dilemma is also mine!

Miguel said...

The Macbook Air is a different animal. Neither it nor any model of the Mac line take 3g sims. I know a couple of people with the 11 inch Air and they say the battery performance is wonderful. I'm sure, however, it's nowhere near the performance of the iPad.

I have a Macbook Pro and an iPad. I use the MBP as my high-horsepower machine at home (for music making and such) and my iPad as my go-to computing device for all other occasions (browsing and such). Even at home, I use the iPad far more than my MBP.

It all boils down to what you need to do on the device. If you're going to type a great deal a fixed keyboard like the Air's is worthwhile; also, if you need access to software that only runs on the Mac. Otherwise, I would go for the iPad.

If you have an iPhone remember that iPhone 4s can now serve as hotspots. A wifi-only iPad can piggyback on the iPhone's 3g connection for browsing and email. However, it's up to your cell phone company to determine what's appropriate use and what's not. I have a wifi-only 64g iPad myself.

Cycling in Heels said...

I already have a 'dongel' which I rare use on my MacBook. But I keep it because there have been a couple crucial times when my broadband at home has crashed. (All sorted out now.) And I have still been able to get online rather than go to the librayr.

I am not going to do a lot of typing on the iPad but there are times when I need to write on the go. I think I will go with the iPad because of the battery time. I had heard about the iPhone4 acting as a piggyback and my contract is now up and I will try and get an iP4.

Anonymous said...

I have an iPad, which I didn't "need" at all, but received as a generous gift. Now, I am interested in the iPad 2, and may pass the original on to one of my sons attending college.
I will be interested in hearing your updates, as you decide.
GREAT BLOG! I enjoy your brompton escapades!

Ian Banner said...


I found your blog because I have just bought a brompton, electrified.

I am a serious MacBook 11inch and iPad3 user. My advice is that your will be better buying the iPad, than the MacBook Air, to supplement you MacBook.

Pages is quite good, but there are also lots of specialist writing apps that work like a dream on the iPad as well.

Battery life and always on network are wonderful. But with the right apps it does be ome an absolute charm

BTw Microsoft will be launching office on the iPad in october, but honestly there are better apps, if it are a serious writer then scrivener is brill and there will be an iPad versions of that soon that will sync up, so you can work on your MacBook or your iPad, and updates are copied across. If you want more info then reply or email me

Grace Black said...

Hi. I did get an iPad and yes I love it. I didn't know that Microsoft had finally agreed to produce Office for iPad. I agree that Pages is good but I have to work with a lot of Word docs made by others and some things are lost in the translation. I am now saving for a new MacBook as my current 4 year old one has a dodgy track pad and it so slow especially since I upgraded to Lion.

PS, Welcome to the world of Brompton.

Miguel said...

My understanding is that Office on the iPad remains a rumor. Has anyone seen confirmation?

Questions said...


I use a modified super reflect white S6L-X Brompton with a highrise MTB bar twist grip shifters, ergon grips, and a Rotor RS4X crankset with a 46T cog 12/16 sprockets, instead of a car.

I am also using an iPod 4 32BG, a left over from a friend who upgraded from an iPhone 3 (waiting for 5) and the i7 1.8MHz processor 128gb flash drive MacBook Air 11 (Summer 2011 version) updated to Mountain Lion and they are all an integrated wonderland.

I just gave my sister 1/2 the resources for the iPad 3 as she was recovering from surgery for a 1.5 months and we both loved it. Yet the long writing out of things gets stuttery on the iPad and I use Pages 11 (as I am now) for quite everything on both Pad and Mac.

The instant three finger dictionary/thesaurus and other touchpad magics on the MacBook Air are wonderful, and with slightly over only 400gm more of weight from the iPad. I will pass along the iPod 4 and iPhone 3 to my niece and nephew when the iPhone 5 arrives. I am quite content with the MacBook Air 11/iPhone tethering combo. All I have to find out now is if the MacBook Air will fit in an Brompton Mini O Bag by Ortlieb, so I may downsize from my S-bag.

Update: The MacBook Air 11 now comes possible with a 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache processor, up to 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory, 512GB of flash drive and still can read other machine's drives untethered as well as USB or Thunderbolt a drive in. Wow!

Cycling in Heels said...

The only thing that stops me from getting a MacBook Air 15 inch to replace my MacBook is the need for a separate drive.

Miguel said...

I finally gor the Touchfire a few weeks ago and given it a decent test. The bottomo line is it's worth it. It makes the onscreen keyboard usable for longer texts. You need to get used to it but it's a quick transition.

Cycling in Heels said...

Just had a look at the Touchfire video. I'm impressed, but it doesn't seem to be available in the UK yet. I use the iPad keypad a lot and I don't always have the space to carry the separate keyboard so I will be putting 'Touchfire' on my wishlist.