Apple’s new iPad Pro looks like a winning tablet

May 12, 2024

Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 37, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome, send me links, and also, you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.) 

This week, I’ve been writing about iPads and LinkedIn games, reading about auto shows and typewriters and treasure hunters, watching Everybody’s in LA and Sugar, looking for reasons to buy Yeti’s new French press even though I definitely don’t need more coffee gear, following almost all of Jerry Saltz’s favorite Instagram accounts, testing Capacities and Heptabase for all my note-taking needs and Plinky for all my link-saving, and playing a lot of Blind Drive.

I also have for you a thoroughly impressive new iPad, a clever new smart home hub, a Twitter documentary to watch this weekend, a sci-fi show to check out, a cheap streaming box, and much more. Let’s do it.

(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What are you reading / watching / cooking / playing / building right now? What should everyone else be into as well? Email me at or find me on Signal at @davidpierce.11. And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, and tell them to subscribe here.)

The Drop

  • The new iPad Pro. The new Pro is easily the most impressive piece of hardware I’ve seen in a while. It’s so thin and light, and that OLED screen… gorgeous. It’s bonkers expensive, and the iPad’s big problem continues to be its software, but this is how you build a tablet, folks.
  • Animal Well. Our friends over at Polygon called this “one of the most inventive games of the last decade,” which is obviously high praise! By all accounts, it’s unusual, surprising, occasionally frustrating, very smart, and incredibly engaging. Even the trailer looks like nothing I’ve seen before. (I got a lot of recommendations for this one this week — thanks to everyone who sent it in!)
  • Final Cut Camera. This only got a quick mention at Apple’s event this week, but it’s kind of a huge deal! It’s a first-party, pro-level camera app for iPhones and iPads that gives you lots of manual control and editing features. It’s exactly what a lot of creatives have been asking for. No word yet on exactly when it’ll be available, but I’m excited.
  • The Aqara Hub M3. The only way to manage your smart home is to make sure your devices can support as many assistants, protocols, and platforms as possible. This seems like a way to do it: it’s a Matter-ready device that can handle just about any smart-home gear you throw at it.
  • Battle of the Clipboard Managers.” I don’t think I’ve ever linked to a Reddit thread here, but check this one out: it’s a long discussion about why a clipboard manager is a useful tool, plus a bunch of good options to choose from. (I agree with all the folks who love Raycast, but there are a lot of choices and ideas here.)
  • Proton Pass. My ongoing No. 1 piece of technology advice is that everyone needs a password manager. I’m a longtime 1Password fan, but Proton’s app is starting to look tempting — this week, it got a new monitoring tool for security threats, in addition to all the smart email hiding and sharing features it already has.
  • The Onn 4K Pro. Basically all streaming boxes are ad-riddled, slow, and bad. This Google TV box from Walmart is at least also cheap, comes with voice control and support for all the specs you’d want, and works as a smart speaker. I love a customizable button, too.
  • Dark Matter. I’ve mostly loved all the Blake Crouch sci-fi books I’ve read, so I have high hopes for this Apple TV Plus series about life in a parallel universe. Apple TV Plus, by the way? Really good at the whole sci-fi thing.
  • The Wordle archive. More than 1,000 days of Wordle, all ready to be played and replayed (because, let’s be honest, who remembers Wordle from three weeks ago?). I don’t have access to the archive yet, but you better believe I’ll be playing it all the way through as soon as it’s out.
  • Black Twitter: A People’s History. Based on a really fun Wired series, this is a three-part deep dive Hulu doc about the ways Black Twitter took over social media and a tour of the internet’s experience of some of the biggest events of the last decade.

Screen share

Kylie Robison, The Verge’s new senior AI reporter, tweeted a video of her old iPhone the other day that was like a perfect time capsule of a device. She had approximately 90,000 games, including a bunch that I’m 100 percent sure were scams, and that iPod logo in her dock made me feel a lot of things. Those were good days.

I messaged Kylie in Slack roughly eight minutes after she became a Verge employee, hoping I could convince her to share her current homescreen — and what she’d been up to during her funemployment time ahead of starting with us. 

Sadly, she says she tamed her homescreen chaos before starting, because something something professionalism, or whatever. And now she swears she can’t even find a screenshot of her old homescreen! SURE, KYLIE. Anyway, here’s Kylie’s newly functional homescreen, plus some info on the apps she uses and why.

The phone: iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The wallpaper: A black screen because I think it’s too noisy otherwise. (My lock screen is about 20 revolving photos, though.)

The apps: Apple Maps, Notes, Spotify, Messages, FaceTime, Safari, Phone.

I need calendar and weather apps right in front of me when I unlock my phone because I’m forgetful. I use Spotify for all things music and podcasts. 

Work is life so I have all those apps front and center, too (Signal, Google Drive, Okta). 

Just before starting, I reorganized my phone screen because 1) I had time and 2) I knew I’d have to show it off for David. All the apps are sorted into folders now, but before, they were completely free-range because I use the search bar to find apps; I rarely scroll around. So just imagine about 25 random apps filling up all the pages: Pegasus for some international flight I booked, a random stuffed bell pepper recipe, what have you.

I also asked Kylie to share a few things she’s into right now. Here’s what she shared:

  • Stardew Valley took over my life during my work break.
  • I actually started 3 Body Problem because of an old Installer. Also, I loved Fallout and need more episodes. 
  • My serious guilty pleasure is Love Island UK, and I’ve been watching the latest season during my break.


Here’s what the Installer community is into this week. I want to know what you’re into right now as well! Email or hit me up on Signal — I’m @davidpierce.11 — with your recommendations for anything and everything, and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every week. And if you want even more recommendations, check out the replies to this post on Threads.

“I have always found Spotify’s recommendation algorithm and music channels to be terrible; wayyy too much fussing and tailoring required when all I want is to hit play and get a good diversity of music I will like. So I finally gave up and tried Pandora again. Its recommendation / station algorithm is so wildly better than Spotify’s (at least for me), it’s shocking how it has seemed to fade into cultural anonymity. Can’t speak for others, but if anyone out there is similarly frustrated with Spotify playlists, I highly recommend the Pandora option.” – Will

“Everything coming out of Netflix Is a Joke Fest has been 10/10.” – Mike

Mantella mod for Skyrim (and Fallout 4). Not so much a single mod, but a mod plus a collection of apps that gives (basically) every NPC their own lives and stories. It’s like suddenly being allowed to participate in the fun and games with Woody and Buzz, rather than them having to say the words when you pull the string.” – Jonathan

“The Snipd podcast app (whose primary selling point is AI transcription of podcasts and the ability to easily capture, manage, and export text snippets from podcasts) has a new feature that shows you a name, bio, and picture for podcast guests, and allows you to find more podcasts with the same guest or even follow specific guests. Pretty cool!” – Andy

“I have recently bought a new Kindle, and I’m trying to figure out how to get news on it! My current plan is to use Omnivore as my bookmarks app, which will sync with this awesome community tool that converts those bookmarks into a Kindle-friendly website.” – David

Turtles All the Way Down! Great depiction of OCD.” – Saad

“With all the conversation around Delta on iOS, I have recently procured and am currently enamored with my Miyoo Mini Plus. It’s customizable and perfectly sized, and in my advanced years with no love for Fortnite, PUBG, or any of the myriad of online connected games, it’s lovely to go back and play some of these ‘legally obtained’ games that I played in my childhood.” – Benjamin

Rusty’s Retirement is a great, mostly idle farm sim that sits at the bottom or the side of your monitor for both Mac and Windows. Rusty just goes and completes little tasks of his own accord while you work or do other stuff. It rocks. Look at him go!” – Brendon

“Last week, Nicholas talked about YACReader and was asking for another great comic e-reader app for DRM-free files. After much searching myself, I settled on Panels for iPad. Great Apple-native UI, thoughtful features, and decent performance. The free version can handle a local library, but to unlock its full potential, the Pro version (sub or lifetime) supports iCloud, so you can keep all your comics in iCloud Drive, manage the files via a Mac, and only download what you’re currently reading — great for lower-end iPads with less storage.” – Diogo

Signing off

I have spent so much time over the years trying to both figure out and explain to people the basics of a camera. There are a billion metaphors for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, and all of them fall short. That’s probably why a lot of the photographer types I know have been passing around this very fun depth of field simulator over the last few days, which lets you play with aperture, focal length, sensor size, and more in order to understand how different settings change the way you take photos. It’s a really clever, simple way to see how it all works — and to understand what becomes possible when you really start to control your camera. I’ll be sharing this link a lot, I suspect, and I’m learning a lot from it, too.

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