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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 The Verge 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 AllThingsD 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 SlashGear 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 MacWorld:
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).

[Source: MacWorld]
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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So to summarise
By Tony Swash on 3/15/2012 10:04:49 AM , Rating: 1
So to summarise a lot of the comments here:

The iPad is bested in numerous ways by numerous competing products.

Nothing Apple has done with the iPad in general, or the new iPad, is special or original.

There is no good reason to buy an iPad

So lots of comments arguing that the iPad should fail.

But it won't. And that's what needs explaining.

You know as well as I know that this new iPad will outsell the old iPad and that the iPad in general has been and will continue to be a gigantic success, sell in the tens of millions and will continue to dominate the tablet market in 2012.

And it's explaining the success of the iPad that is the interesting and challenging problem. Here is a clue: any explanation that is based on the notion everyone else in the world and particularly those buying Apple products are stupid or that Apple's success is based primarily on some sort of magic voodoo marketing, is itself clueless and a sign of an embarrassing intellectual collapse.

RE: So to summarise
By RaV3NNN on 3/15/2012 11:31:34 AM , Rating: 1
you just don't get it. These are simple devices that play games and go on the web, it doesn't matter which one you use or want. Neither does anything better than the other. There is not one feature an apple tablet has that an android doesn't. There is actually MUCH more a person can do with an android tablet depending on their knowledge.

RE: So to summarise
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2012 11:57:44 AM , Rating: 1
You will never reason with this iTool. It's not worth the breath or effort.

RE: So to summarise
By Tony Swash on 3/15/2012 12:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
You will never reason with this iTool. It's not worth the breath or effort.

You remind of these guys

don't ever change :)

RE: So to summarise
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2012 12:49:52 PM , Rating: 1
You remind me of an iTool...

RE: So to summarise
By Tony Swash on 3/15/2012 12:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
you just don't get it. These are simple devices that play games and go on the web, it doesn't matter which one you use or want.

It matters quite a bit to those that make billions of dollars from them. It matters quite a bit to those PC OEMs seeing their sales eroded by tablets. It matters, apparently, enough to Microsoft such that they have completely reengineered the next version of Windows around tablets.

Neither does anything better than the other. There is not one feature an apple tablet has that an android doesn't. There is actually MUCH more a person can do with an android tablet depending on their knowledge

That doesn't answer my question. If all the tablets are more or less equal in utility why does the iPad outsell all other models combined?

Here are some clues and they involve concepts and ideas that those still trying to understand todays markets for computer devices through the backward looking lens of the old PC world will find a bit novel: sales channels, value stacks, media and content libraries, cross device consistency and integration, supply chains, brand value.

RE: So to summarise
By pav1 on 3/18/2012 7:45:20 PM , Rating: 2
There is an opinion that Android tablets are abysmal compared to IPad, it must be related to OS/app quality? Or is it that people have not seen ICS yet? (If you leave hardware out of the equation).

I know that app developers prefer to target IOS first, its easier as the platform is not fragmented.

The tablet market is now maturing, Apple's products are getting more controversial. More questions are being raised with every new product launch.

Regarding Voodoo marketing, my theory is that Apple and Apple stores went on to influence a whole new set of consumers. These consumers are very loyal indeed. They see Apple as their champion. The voodoo arises from amazing customer relations, high credibility and engagement resulting in brand ambassadors to cult levels.

Apple's products are very 'shiny' and the 'shine' helps to eclipse the product deficiencies, and helps in the delivery of new technology, overcoming new product risk aversion, converting that to excitement. It also helps justify the choices the company has made for it's consumers. Today Apple is so big and powerful, 'if Apple cannot do it, no one else can'. If Apple has gone with the A5X, it's probably because 'nothing else would work'. By rejecting Flash, the company has increased it's credibility tremendously.

It remains to be seen whether some of the Apple practices (eg. lack of visibility in operations) will work in mature markets, when competitors are constantly snapping at its heals.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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