Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Wow, that title is long!  I’ve used the Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Case (Qode for short) since last December and it’s been put into service on a daily basis.

I get pulled into a lot of meetings at work and client sites and I always grab my iPad to take notes in Evernote.  Having a fully functional keyboard makes that task so much easier.  I can type pretty well with the on-screen iPad keyboard but the physical alternative is so much better.

The Qode offers good protection of the iPad, front and back.  One of the things I really like about the keyboard is it’s a separate piece so you can easily detach it and use the iPad on its own.  You can also attach the Apple Smart Cover as an alternative while leaving the back of the iPad covered and protected.

As with any portable device there are usually some compromises.  The only one I can think of with the Qode is the keys are a little on the small side, but nothing drastic.  Switching back and forth between the MacBook Pro and the Qode is pretty effortless.

The Qode offers multiple backlight levels as well as two angles of viewing for the iPad screen.  Battery life is rated at 1-year with normal use and I can honestly say that claim is conservative.  9-months of regular use and I’m sitting at around 50% battery capacity.

When activated (by propping the iPad into one of two magnetic slots) the Qode instantly connects to the iPad.  It has a lot of shortcut keys you can program as well as dedicated keys for cut/copy/paste/volume etc.  You can even pair it up with a second device (phone?) and toggle back and fourth with dedicated buttons.

All in the Qode ads about 1-pound of additional weight to the iPad.  not bad when you consider you are getting a nicely padded rear shell and a fully functional backlit and aluminum clad keyboard on the front.

This has been an awesome addition to my daily carry and you can pick one up yourself for around $100 on Amazon.

First Impressions – iOS7

It’s been a few days since Apple released their latest mobile operating system and now that the dust has settled I thought I’d post some of my first impressions about iOS7.  This is not a complete review, of which you can find all over the web by better writers than myself, it’s just a summary of my initial thoughts after using it for a few days.

Dynamic-TypeiOS 7 was unveiled at last Septembers World Wide Developers Conference and has been eagerly anticipated ever since.  With this new OS Apple has introduced a new look and feel which gives new life to some of their older devices (iPhone 4 and above is supported).  Visually everything seems somewhat flat and less cartoonish.  The typography used throughout (mostly Helvetica Neue Ultra Light) is clean and easily legible, although I did need to bump up the font size a touch to help with my aging eyes.

We all have our likes/dislikes with various products.  I’m going to focus more on what I don’t like about iOS7 (it’s a pretty short list).

Dislikes:

  • Smaller folder screens
    • You can only have 9 icons on a screen vs 12 in iOS6 (but you CAN have more than one page!)
  • Takes up more storage
    • 3.1GB needed to upgrade and you only get 2.8GB back
  • Parallax Effect
    • Not very smooth on the iPhone 4S or iPad 4th Gen, I ended up turning it off
  • No AirDrop on pre iPhone 5 devices
    • I was really looking forward to this feature but DeskConnect provides an alternative
  • No weather app for iPad
    • Plenty of 3rd party options but it’s odd not to have it on the Notification Screen
  • Spotlight
    • Only searches local data, no more Web or Wikipedia searches

With the negatives out of the way there are PLENTY of things to like about iOS7.

Likes:ios-7

  • Fresh new look
  • Bug fixes
  • Control Center
  • iTunes Radio
  • Slide anywhere to unlock
  • Multi-page folders
  • Safari Improvements
  • Camera improvements
  • Photo Collections
  • App Switching
  • iMessage Timestamps
  • Siri Improvements

Overall iOS7 introduces a lot of new and updated features.  I’m not sure where Apple is going to go from here but I think we have a few years before we’re going to see anything truly unique and revolutionary.  I have an iPhone 5s on order & I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the restricted features work on it (AirDrop, new camera, etc.).  I’ll be sure to post an initial look at the 5s once I get it in my hands & have some time to put it through the paces.

Is the iPad Compromising the IT Industry?

It’s kind of like the perfect storm…  The Internet has exploded in growth and its ubiquity directly corresponds to the Commoditization of “Connected Devices”.  It started with devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry and it’s spiked again with the introduction of the iPad.

Gartner announced this week: Without Proper Planning, Enterprises Deploying iPads Will Need 300% More Wi-Fi.  This is pretty serious if you’re the one responsible for making sure these enterprise systems work reliably.

I’ve been in the IT industry for a while now and I can tell you from experience the adoption of new technology has ALWAYS been a hard sell to upper management.  Then the iPad hits the market and the drive for adoption starts coming  from the TOP of the orginization.  The “Cool Factor” of the device made it the “thing” to have in the board room.

The fact that the iPad is NOT a laptop replacement is lost on the CEO, CFO, COO, etc..  I’ve seen people who once had to have perfection in their “productivity tools” all of a sudden accept the major limitations of their new toy.  These limitations are not only limited to the iPad, all the tablets being wedged into the corporate world have limited features and poor security.

To be fair, I’ve tested the iPad & it was a fun toy.  If you just want to surf the web and check your email it will do that just fine.  If you want to use your accounting applications, ERP system, or edit complicated spreadsheets it’s going to have its challenges.  I’m now testing the Blackberry Playbook which has similar limitations and a lot less available applications.

The only “Tablet” that I’ve ever used that, in my opinion, was worth anything was a Tablet PC where the screen could be rotated and reversed allowing you to use its 14″ touch screen.  This, to me, is the best of both worlds.  Full featured, powerful, and completely compatible with your existing workflow and environment.  Is it a little bigger than the iPad?  Sure it is but that difference is 100% worth it to me.

Do you have an iPad (or other tablet)?  Does it do everything you expect?