5 things to know about Apple’s new iPad Pro

The Free Press WV

The first thing you need to know about Apple’s iPad Pro is that it’s, well, giant.

About an inch longer than a standard sheet of paper, the Pro features a 12.9-inch diagonal display, giving it 78 percent more surface area than the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2. At nearly 1.6 pounds, the Pro is heavier than current models, but not much more so than the original iPad from 2010. There’s room for four speakers, compared with two on other iPads.

The price is supersized, too. The iPad Pro starts at $799, compared with $499 for the standard-size iPad Air 2 and $269 for the cheapest iPad, the 2-year-old iPad Mini 2. A physical keyboard from Apple costs $169 extra, and the Apple Pencil sells for $99.

Designed with professionals in mind, the Pro is Apple’s way of reaching new consumers as sales of iPads - and tablets in general - decline. Here are some things to know as the Pro starts appearing in stores this week:


Many people will be fine with the standard iPad Air, while others will prefer the portability of the smaller iPad Mini.

The Pro is for those who need the larger screen, including people who write, build spreadsheets or edit graphics and video rather than primarily reading or playing games. These are people who might otherwise be lugging around a laptop. If you’re using a tablet just to watch Netflix, the Pro might be overkill, though movies and TV shows look and sound nicer.


For writing, the Pro features Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages. But do you need a tablet for that? The desktop version of both apps can do far more, including keeping multiple documents open at once. The Pro is more for those times you want to leave the laptop behind, but might still need to write an email or touch up a report. The physical keyboard makes all that faster.

Where the Pro has the potential to excel is with artistic apps. Doodling, sketching and painting work better with fingers and a stylus than with a keyboard and trackpad. But apps on tablets have streamlined features designed to let you complete specific tasks quickly. More advanced features require a PC.

The iPad lacks a USB port, though you can buy an adapter. And it’s designed for one user. Many other tablets and laptops support profiles, so many people can share a device with separate settings and even restrictions for children.


The Pro has plenty of screen space to work with - nearly two standard-size iPads side by side. Photos, video and magazines come to life on the larger screen.

But in other respects the Pro doesn’t make the most of the extra space. You can’t, for instance, display more apps on the home screen. And when you open apps, often enough they’re just blown up to fit the larger screen.

That’s not universally true, and it’s bound to change as software developers update their apps. The collaboration app Slack, for instance, creates a new column with menu options on the Pro. But for now such apps are more the exception than the rule.


Although they’ll push up the cost, you’ll want to buy the Apple Pencil and a physical keyboard. Many of the Pro’s unique characteristics require one or both. Otherwise, you’re effectively buying a crippled device that’s capable of so much more with the right tools.

Apple’s Smart Keyboard serves as both a cover when stowing the iPad and a kickstand when using it, though you can’t adjust the angle. Typing is much easier with a real keyboard, and having it restores many shortcuts common on Macs, such as command-C for copy. The keys don’t feel as natural as they do on a laptop, but that could simply take more than a few hours of testing to get used to. One nice touch: The keys are completely sealed, in case you spill a drink on it.

The stylus, meanwhile, resembles a digital pencil that, for instance, can do shading when held at an angle. (Most draw only with the tip.) One neat trick: Hold two fingers on the Notes app to unveil a ruler, and use the pencil to draw a straight line.


Microsoft’s Surface Pro comes closer to being a laptop replacement, particularly with a new keyboard cover that’s studier and feels more natural on the lap. It runs standard Windows 10 apps and displays many windows at once, not just two. On the other hand, not all of those apps are designed with touch controls in mind, something that’s fundamental to tablets.

Another alternative is Apple’s “new” MacBook laptop - the minimalist model released in March, without Air or Pro in the name. It doesn’t have a detachable keyboard, but the overall unit is light and thin, more like a tablet than a laptop.

Generally speaking, the Pro is designed primarily to extend the iPad’s touch-optimized experience to office use; as part of that compromise, it just can’t do everything a Mac can. So you can be disappointed and consider it a laptop-wannabe - or you can look on the bright side and think of the Pro as a giant iPad with benefits.

In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

Teen Explains Relativity With Popcorn, Nabs $400K

To most people who aren’t physicists, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity is probably just a vague concept that somehow explains why Matthew McConaughey doesn’t age in Interstellar. But to 18-year-old Ryan Chester, it’s easy to explain—which is exactly what he’s done in a seven-minute video that’s earned him $400,000, reports the Daily Dot. At one point, he uses a bowl of popcorn inside a moving SUV to illustrate the laws of physics. For submitting the winning entry to the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg, the Ohio teen will get a $250,000 scholarship, $50,000 for his physics teacher, and $100,000 for his school’s science lab, reports CBS News. Learn a little something from Chester in the video.

Farthest Object in Our Solar System Has Been Found

Think Pluto is far from us? It’s a hop, skip, and a jump away compared to what may be the most distant object in our solar system, which is “three times farther than Pluto is from the sun,“ astronomer Scott Sheppard explains. Sheppard and his colleagues used the Hawaii-based Subaru telescope to search for (and take photos of) far-off objects circling the sun, and the dwarf planet V774104 was identified in mid-October, reports NPR. A computer program created to highlight photos that possibly contained a moving object pointed Sheppard to a traveling speck of light. “When this popped up on the screen, my eyes opened up,“ he says. V774104 appears to be 9.6 billion miles from the sun, reports the BBC, outpacing the previous record-holder for distance, a dwarf planet called Eris, which at its most distant is 9 billion miles from the sun.

How did a planet smaller than our own moon get so far away? Sheppard has two theories: that it hails from another star system or was booted out of our solar system. “If a large planet formed in our solar system and got tossed out, it could pull objects out with it as it was leaving our solar system,“ he says. To know for sure, Sheppard will need to study V774104’s orbit. If the planet moves inward, the latter theory is most likely, reports New Scientist. If it moves outward, V774104 would become the third known member of the inner Oort Cloud. Currently, 2012 VP113 and Sedna “are the only object[s] in the known solar system whose orbits cannot be explained by things in the known solar system,“ an expert says. We’ll have to wait and see if V774104 is “just a gee-whiz record holder or something super cool,“ he adds. “I’ve got my fingers crossed for super cool.“

Microsoft Knows Just How Happy, Disgusted You Are

Our faces have long betrayed our emotions to other discerning humans, and now the machines are catching up. Microsoft has just released the public beta version of a new Project Oxford tool that uses artificial intelligence to recognize “eight core emotional states” on people’s faces in photographs. If you express anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, or surprise and you show it, the tool will catch on, reports Microsoft; the eighth state it registers is “neutral.“ Project Oxford has been working on machine-based learning for a while now, reports Ars Technica. There’s even a Movember-related sub-service,, through which users can upload images of their mustaches and get rated.

Several users are already tweeting out the results of their own photos or those of famous people, reports the New York Daily News. For instance, one image of Hitler is calculated as mostly neutral (0.82048) but with smaller amounts of sadness (0.10757) and anger (0.07123) and trace amounts of contempt, disgust, fear, and surprise. The smiling cat owner next to him in the tweet, meanwhile, is 100% happy. Not all examples appear to get it exactly right, however; a forlorn-looking Keanu Reeves (aka “Sad Keanu”) on a bench is only 0.01831 sad and actually 0.00035 happy, reports the Verge.

Woman Donating $1 for Every Hateful Tweet

“Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is better.“ That’s the line from the Koran that Dr. Susan Carland says came to mind as she sat one day mulling the best way to deal with online trolls attacking her because she’s Muslim. She writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that she endures a regular litany of abuse, including jeers at her hijab and even death threats. “I’d tried blocking, muting, engaging, and ignoring, but none of them felt like I was embodying the Koranic injunction of driving off darkness with light,“ she writes. Then Carland—who converted to Islam at age 19 and is now considered part of “Australia’s Muslim power couple” with TV host husband Waleed Aly, per Australian Women’s Weekly—hit on a way she could repel that darkness: give money to others each time she was attacked.

“I donate $1 to @UNICEF for each hate-filled tweet I get from trolls,“ she tweeted on October 21. “Nearly at $1000 in donations. The needy children thank you, haters!“ She writes in the Herald that UNICEF seemed like the natural choice as her recipient, since the group often helps kids “in horrific situations that were the direct outcome of hate—war, poverty due to greed, injustice, violence.“ Many are praising her idea, with Mashable calling her efforts “inspired,“ and UNICEF Australia tweeting: “You’ve turned hate into something wonderful: education, health care and protection for kids.“ Carland’s mission has even had an effect on how she responds to nasty postings. “Now when a ghastly tweet comes my way, I barely bat an eyelid,“ she writes. “It represents nothing more than a chalk-mark on my mental tally for the next [installment] to UNICEF.“

5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

A bearded mystery man and strange stuff going on in the pyramids make the list:

  • Weird ‘Anomalies’ Seen in Egypt’s Pyramids: A project to scan Egypt’s pyramids is turning up “anomalies” that may lead to hidden passages or more. Two weeks of thermal scanning have revealed signs of internal cavities and structures in several pyramids, thanks to telltale temperature differences in adjacent rocks. This might just turn up a long-lost queen.
  • Mosquitoes Hate This Sexy Scent: Researchers from New Mexico State University tested various remedies to figure out what worked best against mosquitoes. Three repellents that included the chemical DEET worked best, but the scientists also found that two DEET-free substances—including Victoria’s Secret Bombshell perfume—worked fairly well. Another fragrance made the cut, too.
  • More Bad News for Meat Lovers: On the heels of the news that bacon is apparently a carcinogen and hot dogs contain human DNA comes this: A new study finds that people who eat more grilled meat are at a higher risk of kidney cancer. And not just grilled red meat; even grilled chicken reportedly raises the risk. Switching to pan-frying might not help much, but Reuters offers up some cooking advice.
  • Introducing an STD You’ve Never Heard Of: There appears to be a new STD in town. Doctors have actually known about mycoplasma genitalium, or MG, since 1981, but researchers have now found the strongest evidence to date that it can be transmitted through sexual contact. Most who have it don’t even know.
  • After 20 Years, ‘Dead’ Doctor Found Living as Hermit: For years, locals had seen a “silent stranger” in the forests of Tuscany. His ID may finally have come to light after two mushroom pickers say they found the camp of a man with a “dirty face and large beard.“ Who the mysterious stranger apparently was: a young Spanish doctor who had taken off during a depressive bout in 1996 and was thought to be dead. His ecstatic family was in for a disappointment, however.

In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

Facebook Is Blocking Links to Competing Site

The social media platform has garnered more than 4 million users since its 2013 inception, but Facebook would have you believe it simply doesn’t exist. Since late September, Facebook has blocked (and retroactively deleted 10 million) mentions of and links to from any of its platforms, including Instagram and Messenger, reports the New York Daily News. “You can post PornHub links on Facebook, but not,“ Tsu founder Sebastian Sobczak says. And while he claims that the reason for the block is having a model that is “dangerous to them,“ Facebook rep Melanie Ensign says it all boils down to user experience: “We do not allow developers to incentivize content sharing on our platform because it encourages spammy sharing and creates a bad experience for people on Facebook.“

While Facebook keeps all profits from ad revenue, Tsu keeps just 10%; the remaining 90% is shared between users who’ve created content and the chain of friends who invited said user. CNNMoney has spoken to a dozen users, most of them artists and models who have yet to make any money on the site, but they overwhelmingly agree that Facebook’s block is unfair. “I don’t believe that Facebook and Instagram want Tsu to go viral,“ one user from Colombia says. “It would cost them a lot of money.“ After posting a link to a video on Facebook, for instance, 50 Cent had his mention removed as well, reports the AP. Facebook, meanwhile, says it will lift the block if Tsu no longer allows its users to post simultaneously to Tsu and Facebook. For now, mention and you’ll likely be met with this error: “The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe.“

Google Self-Driving Car Stopped for Going Too Slow

Apparently Google’s self-driving cars have yet to learn how to evade cops. One of its bubble-shaped autonomous vehicles was pulled over during a traffic stop in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday, though it managed to avoid a ticket, reports NBC News. An officer spotted the vehicle traveling 24mph in a 35mph zone, with traffic backed up behind it, police say, per the San Jose Mercury News. “The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways,“ authorities say in a blog post, noting “it was lawful for the car to be traveling on the street.“

According to the California Vehicle Code, the cars can operate on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or under. However, “we’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 mph for safety reasons,“ Google Self-Driving Car Project explains. “We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets.“ The project notes “people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project,“ but “after 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!“

In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

New Discoveries Shine Light on Stonehenge

The New York Times has an interesting roundup of recent discoveries made at and around Stonehenge that could shed new light on the famous monument and the people who built it nearly 5,000 years ago. Last month, archaeologists dug up an ancient house at an area called Blick Mead about a mile from Stonehenge. Built around 4300 BC, they believe the house is one of the oldest in England. In September, a team of archaeologists using radar imaging found what they believe are 90 standing stones buried at another nearby site called Durrington Walls. Teams also think they’ve found where Stonehenge’s builders lived around 2600 BC. Fatty acids still inside ancient pots show the people of the time had a “very meat-heavy diet” of grilled and boiled pork and beef with some apples, berries, and hazelnuts.

But despite the recent discoveries, the major question remains: Why was Stonehenge built? Some archaeologists believe it was a “land of the dead” used to honor the builders’ ancestors, the Times reports. Others believe it was the opposite: an area renowned for its life-giving healing properties. A team used an isotope contained in ancient cattle teeth to deduce people came to the area around Stonehenge from far and wide. Archaeologists are also left wondering if Stonehenge was built atop a site that was already revered by ancient peoples. For example, charcoal and bones found in nearby pits left by large posts—possibly totem poles—date back to nearly 8000 BC. “The stone monument is iconic,” one archaeologist says. “But it’s only a little part of the whole thing.” Read the full story here.

Click Below for More...

Page 224 of 277 pages « First  <  222 223 224 225 226 >  Last »

The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXVIII The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved