Upcoming changes in Apple iOS 9.3 will Affect Education

images from Apple.com of iOS 9.3
A group of students can be set up as a classroom to use any iPad

Apple announced changes aimed at education that are coming in iOS 9.3. The changes allow a group of students to share iPads. Faculty will be able to set up profiles for each child in a classroom. Those profiles can then be used on any classroom iPad.

Students log in to any iPad and have access to all their apps, books, and documents.

With Apple iOS 9.3, teachers can guide students through a lesson, see individual progress including what’s on the student’s screen at the moment, and keep them on track. Teachers can project a student’s work on a classroom television equipped with Apple TV with AirPlay.

Images from apple.com of shared iPad use
Teachers can show everyone the same thing at the same time during a lesson

Teachers can launch everyone’s apps at the same time, then guide what students are looking at on their devices.

On the administrative side, there are tools for creating accounts, setting passwords, managing enrollment information, making bulk purchases of books, and creating and delivering lessons with iTunes U.

I think these changes will be important to educators from the primary school through college level.

Images via Apple.com

The UI Improvement that Wasn’t

An iPhone 6. Image from Apple.com
An iPhone 6. The lock button is directly opposite the volume buttons. Image from Apple.com

I recently got an iPhone 6. As I’m sure you know, it’s bigger than the previous version of the iPhone. I assume that is the reason why Apple moved the power/lock button from the top to the right side. Makes it easier to reach with your thumb.

Since I frequently want to darken and lock my iPhone before putting it in my pocket or purse, this button is a big deal for me. But with it directly opposite the volume buttons as it is now, I have a hard time using it. I can’t comfortable hold the phone in one hand and click the lock button without clicking one of the volume buttons at the same time.

When I click both the lock button and a volume button at the same time, the volume changes. The phone does not lock.

I have to grab the phone with two hands so I can get my thumb on the lock button without also holding a volume button.

I’m sure Apple thought they were doing us a big favor moving that button, but for me, it created an annoying problem.

Useful Links: Resolution Resource, iPad Air, Usability

Device Screen Resolutions Ordered by OS is a very useful resource from David Storey.

Bryan Cranston now pushing iPads to Apple addicts. This funny headline gives me the opportunity to make a comment on the new iPad Air. I have a regular iPad and an iPad mini and I much prefer the smaller one simply because of weight. I applaud the arrival of a lighter full-sized iPad.

Designing for Usability: Three Key Principles comes from Measuring Usability, a blog by Jeff Sauro with many helpful articles.

Useful Links: Usability, Text resize, Twitter IPO, Siri

The ABC’s of Usability, Part 9 is at Usabilla. They are defining terms in a move to teach you the basics.

Support a user’s ability to resize text. This is from Simply Accessible. One thing it talks about is the uselessness of text resize widgets.

Twitter loses money, as many have reported. Yet it’s going to try to raise a billion dollars in an IPO. In a lot of ways that doesn’t make sense, but I recall Amazon losing money for many years before it started turning a profit.

The voice talent behind Siri has spoken out. Her name is Susan Bennett. She’s going public now in an effort to make sure the right person is recognized for the famous voice.

Intuitive – not so much – and other iOS 7 thoughts

Have you tried using the new Air Drop sharing tools in iOS 7? I have. A few points.

  1. It is so not intuitive. I had to look up directions to even get started.
  2. Even with directions I couldn’t make it work.
  3. The option I wanted – to send images from my iPad to my computer – never worked for me even though all my devices confirmed that they saw each other and were ready to receive.

In addition to that frustration with iOS 7, I want to register the complaint that the dull grey color scheme doesn’t help me find anything and the white text on a grey background is hard to read. A little color would be useful to help find the important things – everything looks alike.

I get it, Apple wanted to move away from the skeuomorphic elements in their look. The pendulum traveled a bit too far. Let’s bring it back to the middle, okay?

Useful links: new iPhones coming, letterforms, privacy in email

The new iPhone release is set for September 10. Related to that, I recently got a PR pitch from uSell.com. Since I no longer work for BlogHer – the people pitching are hoping for exposure on BlogHer –  I normally delete most PR pitches without even opening the email. This one caught my eye because it had iPhone in the subject line. The email talked about selling your old iPhone on uSell.com, and said, “iPhone sellers can earn an extra $72 by taking action before Sept. 10.” I want to quote some info supposedly based on research by uSell.

To measure the effect of a new iPhone model on the used iPhone market, uSell.com examined hundreds of used iPhone sales on its platform following the 2012 iPhone 5 launch.  Notable findings include:

*  1 week after a new iPhone launch, old iPhones lose about 5% in value.
*  2 weeks after launch, old iPhones depreciate about 12%.
*  By weeks 3 and 4, old phones are worth about 20% less.

But by locking in a sale price BEFORE an upcoming iPhone launch (many platforms like uSell.com offer 30-day price guarantees), consumers can substantially increase the value of their old phones:

*  iPhone 5:  Potentially worth $72 more (compared to 3 weeks after launch)
*  iPhone 4S:  Worth $46 more
*  iPhone 4:  Worth $29 more


I upgraded my phone not too long ago at AT&T and received $118 in credit for my old iPhone 4. I’m not sure uSell can beat a price like that, but I thought you might be interested in checking it out if you plan to upgrade immediately on Sept. 10.

Must reading is this beautiful post by Dan Mall about letterforms.

No, Google did not say that there is no privacy in Gmail. TheNextWeb looks at the statement from yesterday in context.

2 Ways to Get a PDF onto an iPad

I wanted to save a PowerPoint presentation I had prepared as a PDF and transfer that PDF to my iPad. If I could make that happen, I could travel for a presentation without having to drag my computer along.

I emailed it to myself and opened it with my Xfinity email app. There was no way to do anything with it there except print. The problem was with Xfinity. Downloading from Gmail seems to present similar problems.

I found two ways that worked.

  1. I put it on Dropbox and could open the PDF file with my iPad from there. This was super easy, but if you don’t have a Dropbox account all is not lost.
  2. I mailed it to my Mac Mail account. There were several options for saving it from the Mac Mail app.

Mac Mail Tips

In Mac Mail I could tap and hold the icon for the PDF file and a menu opened up with several options. The options you see here are reflections of what I have installed on my iPad. You would have at least iBooks in your options. Note that the document was attached in the body of the email.

Mac Mail Options

I chose to open the file in iBooks. To find it in iBooks, I had to click the collections button so I could choose between books and PDF files.

the collections menu

Now I can give a presentation with my iPad in hand and leave the computer at home. That’s a relief.