Twelvesouth PencilSnap A Quick Review

Where and how to store your Apple Pencil is ongoing first world problem for iPad Pro users. Apple’s cases and covers don’t include a home for your pencil; except for the eye wateringly expensive Leather Sleeve.

Apple make a very nice looking Pencil Case, but I could never understand why it wasn’t magnetic allowing it to stick to your Smart Cover or Keyboard.

I guess Twelvesouth had the same thought and thus created the PencilSnap – a leather sleeve for your Apple Pencil that sticks to your Smart Cover through the wonder of magnetism.

When I saw the PencilSnap I ordered one immediately. Now, the PencilSnap isn’t cheap; it cost me £35 including shipping, and then there was a further £5 in customs charges, so £40 in all. Suddenly Apple accessories seem almost reasonably priced.

When I removed the PencilSnap from it’s rather nice box I had to check the box for details of the case as I was confused over the PencilSnap’s construction. The PencilSnap is made from leather, apparently, but it looks and feels like pleather or dare I say it vinyl. It certainly isn’t the same quality or feel as Apple’s Smart Cover, and so doesn’t match well visually.

The PencilSnap holds the Apple Pencil securely, very securely. I hope that as the PencilSnap wears in the leather will soften making it easier to remove the Pencil and a better visual match for my Smart Cover.

And speaking of holding securely – the PencilSnap’s magnets are excellent, adhering to the Smart Cover very strongly indeed, there’s no risk of the case falling or slipping off.

The magnets hold the PencilSnap in one location, which causes another issue with the case – it sits proud of the edge of the Smart Cover when I had expected it to sit flush and parallel with the edge. It’s not a deal breaker as I tend to hold the iPad by the side where the Smart cover attachs, but it’s a little annoying. Again I’m hoping that as the PencilSnap wears in it will be less noticeable.

The PencilSnap is a great idea and functions well, but is perhaps a little let down by the materials and final design, which given the cost is a little disappointing.

Should it improve with wear I will of course update this review.

The Epitome of Cool

Slipping The Surly Bonds of Earth

I’ve just returned from the excellent Pixel Pioneers conference in Belfast. I flew from Heathrow to Belfast City, a quick hop over the Irish Sea.

On the way out the weather was misty with very low cloud; just moments after we left the ground we were above the clouds, emerging into bright, beautiful sunshine.

I never tire of this experience, every time I fly it feels like magic to be above the clouds, experiencing a view that nobody beneath you can have.

I was reminded of one of my favourite poems.

High Flight (An Airman’s Ecstasy)

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of; wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air;
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark or even eagle flew;
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

– John Gillespie Magee 1922–41

John Magee was a Canadian airman flying with the RAF in the Battle of Britain. High Flight was in a letter to his parents, received the week after he was killed in action.

The Return – London by Air

On my return we were treated to the most fabulous view as the sun set over one of my favourite cities in the world – London.

We flew in over North London with views of Wembley, then turned back to the west and flew right over Central London.

Following the Thames from the O2 and Olympic Stadium, over Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the London Eye and finally Kew Gardens. Fabulous.

Originally published in my newsletter – subscribe now…

Spotify Stranger Things Easter Egg

Rummaging through Spotify’s settings today I stumbled across ‘Stranger Things Mode – Automatically enter the Upside Down when listening to compatible playlist’.

“Totally tubular” I thought as I fired up the Stranger Things soundtrack, and was magically transported to the Upside Down…

There’s no setting, but the Upside Down can also be entered via your Mac…

Spotify Stranger Things Easter Egg

Nice work Spotify.

Bellroy Passport Sleeve Unboxing

Those of you that frequent my blog on a regular basis will know that I am a big fan of Bellroy’s lovely wallets and leather goods.

I was chatting with the lovely Nashata from Bellroy about their new range of bags – the Duo Work Bag is on my Christmas list – and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to check out their Passport Sleeve.

I’m not due to fly for a couple of weeks, which makes it sound like I fly far more than I do, so in advance of a full review I thought I’d do one of those new fangled unboxing so beloved of YouTubers.

Here goes…

I always enjoy the understated elegance of Bellroy’s packaging – the outside belying the delights within.

Classic Bellroy attention to detail; the refill for the mini pen has its own slot within the packaging, most other manufacturers would have either not included one or just tucked it inside.

The Bellroy Passport Sleeve in all its glory.

Loaded and ready to fly.

Next stop Pixel Pioneers in Belfast

Logitech Keys to Go Review

Logitech Keys To Go Review

I’ve tried a number of keyboards and keyboard cases for the iPad, and my favourite by far is the Logitech Keys to Go keyboard. I’m typing this very sentence on it now.

So what makes the Keys to Go so good?

I prefer a keyboard that is separate from the iPad, as it gives me more flexibility when I’m typing. I can raise the iPad up closer to eye level for example, and keep the keyboard where it needs to be for typing.

A separate keyboard allows me to use the Smart Cover on the iPad, keeping it light and easy to hold when I’m not typing.

These two things alone make the Apple Smart Keyboard a non-starter.

The Keys to Go has another significant advantage over the Smart Keyboard – an extra row of control keys including media and volume controls, a home button, even a screenshot button.

It’s beyond me why the Apple Smart Keyboard doesn’t have these.

Which just leaves the all important feel of the keyboard.

Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to keyboards, and I really like the Keys to Go. I find I type more accurately on my Keys to Go than on my Magic Keyboard.

The keys have a surprising amount of travel given the very flat design; there’s a very positive feel on pressing the keys, not a click, but reassuring tactile feedback.

Oh and did I mention it’s splash-proof? Handy should you spill your Flat White.

The Logitech Keys to Go makes the iPad a genuine laptop alternative for when I’m away from my desk.

And it appears to be on offer on the Logitech site – order one now, thank me later.