The Reviews are in for Apple's "New iPad"
March 14, 2012 9:26 PM
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Apple has another solid hit with the "New iPad"
Apple's "New iPad" was
announced last week to much fanfare in San Francisco
. As is usually the case with new iPad or iPhone releases,
launch day pre-orders sold out quickly
and those who were late to get their orders in could end up waiting for a few weeks to get their hands on one.
As a refresher, an Apple A5X processor that has seen its onboard RAM double from 512MB to 1GB powers the new iPad. The A5X is also blessed with a quad-core GPU which boosts gaming performance and helps feed the new iPad's biggest new feature: a 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina display. Other niceties include a 5MP rear-facing camera, and optional LTE connectivity.
On the negative side, the weight and thickness of the iPad has grown to accommodate a new 42.5 watt-hour battery (the iPad 2 had a 25 watt-hour battery). In addition, Apple is once again being stingy with storage capacities on the iPad. Even though app sizes are
doubling or even tripling in some cases
due to Retina support, Apple is holding firm with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities -- the same lineup as when the first generation iPad launched in 2010.
Tonight, however, we're getting our first look at what the new iPad can do courtesy of a flood of reviews. Here are some select excerpts from the reviews that are currently available:
Joshua Topolsky of
gives his thoughts on the iPad 3's gorgeous new Retina display:
Yes, this display is outrageous. It's stunning. It's incredible. I'm not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at…
You literally can't see pixels on the iPad's display when you hold it at a regular distance, and even up close you have to really inspect the thing to see dots. For rendered text or high resolution images, it just looks otherworldly; like a glowing piece of paper.
The difference between the iPad 2's display and the new iPad's Retina display [Source: The Verge]
Walt Mossberg of
fame touched on the battery life of the new iPad. While it's not quite the power-sipper as its predecessor, it still posts some impressive numbers.
Apple claims up to 10 hours of battery life between charges, and up to nine hours if you are relying strictly on cellular connectivity. In my standard battery test, where I play videos back to back with both cellular and Wi-Fi on, and the screen at 75% brightness, the new iPad logged 9 hours and 58 minutes, compared with 10 hours and 9 minutes for the iPad 2. Other tablets died hours sooner in the same test. In more normal use, the new iPad lasted more than a full day, though not as long as the iPad 2 did.
The original iPad didn't have any cameras at all, while the iPad 2 came with a standard front-facing camera for FaceTime and an incredibly subpar rear-facing camera for pictures and 720p video. The new iPad can now features a 5MP camera and bumps video recording up to 1080p. Vincent Nguyen of
gives his thoughts on the new optics:
Apple says it has borrowed the camera technology and optics from the iPhone 4S for the new iPad, though still the 5-megapixel images the tablet is capable of do lag behind the 8-megapixel examples from the smartphone. There’s more visible noise and chromatic aberrations at full zoom, though the quality is far, far better than any stills the iPad 2 can achieve. You also get face recognition for up to ten people per frame, automatically adjusting focus and exposure, but the camera app UI itself is no more complex than before.
While the actual CPU hasn't improved much over the iPad 2, the integrated GPU has definitely been turbocharged, as witnessed by Jason Snell of
That power comes from the X factor in the A5X processor—a new quad-core graphics engine. And sure enough, the third-generation iPad blows away every other iOS device in terms of graphics performance. In our tests using the GLBench 3D graphics testing app, the third-generation iPad could draw a complex 3D scene at the full frame rate of its display, 60 frames per second, without breaking a sweat. And in GLBench offscreen tests, which aren’t constrained by the display’s frame rate, the third-generation iPad had a frame rate 1.6 times that of the iPad 2 (and 13 times that of the original iPad).
Overall, the new iPad seems to be another solid entry into the tablet field for Apple. It holds the line on CPU performance and battery life (at the expense of device thickness and weight) while offering an impressive Retina display, optional LTE, and a tremendous boost in graphics performance. Pricing remains the same as previous iPad model ($499/$599/$699 for Wi-Fi; add $130 for LTE models), but Apple still doesn't have the guts to give users an increase in storage capacities.
To sum things up, Joshua Topolsky offers these words of advice:
Let's be clear: the new iPad is in a class by itself, just as its predecessor was. As the latest product in a lineage of devices that defined this category, the iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition. With the addition of the Retina display, LTE, more memory, and a more powerful CPU, Apple has absolutely held onto the iPad's market position as the dominant player and product to beat.
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RE: Preempting Android fan responses
3/15/2012 4:36:47 AM
Doubletwist airsync isn't comparable to Airplay.
It doesn't allow you to simply mirror your screen onto the television - the main point of airsync. Whether you needed to use it personally is irrelevant to the people who do use it every day.
need your 'closed' Apple standards if you wanted to do this. Because the word 'closed' is really important and relevant to the end user?
If you want to use SD cards on the iPhone or iPad you can buy a plugin adapter for like $5 and have unlimited storage too. The fact is most people don't need this because they have cloud storage and 16gb is more than enough to have everything they need during times they are away from a PC.
I don't think the last two launches were unimpressive at all. The iPad 2 is still, even to this day, a more capable tablet than any Android manufacturer has come up with. The iPad 3 basically quadrupled the resolution, doubled the graphics performance, added 4G and a better camera, without reducing battery life. As the impartial reviews cited in this article prove, this is a very compelling and successful launch.
The reason for the lawsuits are because Apple felt, back in 2007, that they had patented enough to protect the iPhone so that it could never be copied. It has nothing to do with your opinion, in direct contradiction to reviews and the markets, that the launch was 'underwhelming'. Indeed, the iPhone 4S has just broken all sales records and the iPad 3 is set to do the same. Clearly, then, the lawsuits are nothing to do with worries over sales.
RE: Preempting Android fan responses
3/15/2012 5:57:51 AM
Just curious. How is AirPlay a closed standard? It is Apple's? Yes. To my knowledge, however, from the start, it was discussed as being a tech that could be integrated with any number of accessories. It's like saying Apple's "closed" iPod standards prohibited car makers and home entertainment companies from integrating the support for it. The rationale just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
RE: Preempting Android fan responses
3/16/2012 1:30:35 AM
By last two launches I was referring to the 4S and the "new" iPad or whatever it's called. If you really don't think they are underwhelming, you are definitely drinking the Apple kool-aid. If they've done anything with the previous 3 announcements (iPad, iPhone 4, iPad 2 + A5) it's set incredibly high expectations that probably any company would have trouble meeting, but Asus (with the Prime) and Samsung (with the GSII) have done reasonably well with their products. But a 3G (or faux-g) 4S and a 'new' iPad that ups the GPU speed and RAM (and battery size) to merely keep pace with a ultra high res screen (which admittedly is sexy) isn't enough to make me envy my iFriends. The app library is enough to envy though, but that will catch up over time. Android is simply too popular to be ignored in that regard.
As for the closed standard, yes, AirPlay is expensive, and closed. Well designed, for sure. But if Apple really had the best interests of consumers at heart, they would have developed it as an open standard, and we'd all be enjoying AirPlay quality and ease of use on all of our devices.
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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