I’ve been using a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro as my main iPad for several weeks, and it’s been a joy both in terms of performance and capabilities. Also, poking around in my Mac’s Finder reminded me of a bunch of tricks I use to work with files.
Apple reported its quarterly earnings this week, and in addition to making almost unbelievable amounts of money — $45.4 billion in revenue — one surprise was that iPad sales have stopped their multiyear sales slide.
Sales of iPads were up 15 percent from last year, driven by the introduction of new iPad Pro models and by the reduction in cost of the non-pro iPad to start at $329.
This is surprising because with the iPad, Apple may have engineered it too well: The iPads thus far have been generally good enough that customers are holding on to them for several years.
Now, I think, a lot of those old models are finally starting to feel creaky. The third-generation iPad I passed down to my daughter takes a couple of minutes to start up from scratch, and several seconds to completely wake up from sleep.
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The new iPad Pro models introduced this year feel like bullet trains by comparison. I’ve been using a 10.5-inch iPad Pro as my main iPad for several weeks, and it’s been a joy both in terms of performance and capabilities.
The iPad Pro includes a fast A10X processor with an embedded M10 coprocessor and … you know what? That doesn’t matter. Of course it’s the fastest hardware Apple has made available for the iPad.
What matters is everyday response. I’ve used plenty of computers in the past that have impressive specifications but still felt hobbled. Performing common tasks such as switching between apps, waking from sleep using Touch ID and even scrolling are responsive and smooth.
I say this not just comparing it to that third-generation model, or even the first-generation iPad Air that was my main iPad until late last year. It’s a little more spry than the previous-generation iPad Pro I bought in November. Not dramatically — this 10.5-inch model has to go back to Apple when I’m done with it — but enough to be noticeable.
If you’re accustomed to the iPad form factor, the 10.5-inch model doesn’t even stretch you into an uncomfortable size adjustment, the way moving up to the 12.9-inch model does. Although the new screen size is larger than the 9.7-inch measurement that’s been on nearly every iPad since the beginning, the bezel around it is smaller and the case itself is only slightly taller. After switching from last year’s iPad Pro to the new one, I couldn’t tell the difference in terms of holding it.
I’ve also been running the beta of iOS 11 (which is available to developers and as a public beta) on the iPad Pro. If nothing else, I’m glad to see that the annoying interface for switching to apps in the Split View or the Slide Over panel is going away. Instead of scrolling through a slim tower of apps, you drag up from the bottom of the screen to reveal a new two-row app-switching interface. It’s going to take a little adjustment, but it’s definitely better.
On my Mac, it was time to do some housekeeping. Even on the 1 TB drive in my MacBook Pro, my free space was disappearing. I’ve written before about using DaisyDisk to locate large pockets of storage that can be emptied — in my case, removing a lot of old iPhone and iPad backups in iTunes went a long way — but poking around in the Finder reminded me of a bunch of tricks I use to work with files.
At the top of the list is Quick Look: In any Finder window, select a file and press the space bar to preview its contents. That applies to documents, videos, photos, audio files or pretty much anything.
As I was cleaning things up, I also remembered the ability to select several files or folders and collect them into a new folder in one step: choose File > New Folder with [the number of] Items.
And did you know you can rename multiple files at once? Select them and choose File > Rename Items to bring up a window specifying what to change. For instance, if you have a bunch of images named “IMG_1234.JPG,” you could choose to replace “IMG_” to “August Vacation” and end up with the more descriptive title “August Vacation 1234.JPG” (and subsequent numbered files). (For more advanced file renaming, I recommend Name Mangler by Many Tricks.
Sometimes I need to copy a file’s pathname — the full location of a file on the hard disk — in which case I do this: select the file, and then click the gear icon (or right-click); hold the Option key and choose “Copy [filename] as Pathname.”
And lastly, I almost always use the keyboard to navigate Finder windows because it’s so much more efficient. To open a file or folder, press Command-down arrow. To navigate up on folder in the hierarchy, press Command-up arrow. And in List View, my preferred way of viewing files, select a folder and press the right arrow to reveal its contents in the same window.
True, these are actions I’ve internalized over years of daily use, but they quickly become second nature. I hope they help you, too.