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 12:42:22 PM
Uhhh so it's a gimped Xbox Media Center or PS3 with an Apple logo on it? Again, no thanks. Not for me.
Or a better analogy is Apple TV is a crippled Western Digital Live TV Plus with no browser, slaved to iTunes, and less than stellar codec support. You can't even stream from your OSX machine to the Apple TV, wtf is that all about? A $50 Roku does more stuff, and better, than this Apple TV. Apple TV's Netflix app also performs at an unacceptable level. 13 seconds to start a video? Unacceptable.
Once again I simply cannot consider buying yet another Apple product with the arbitrary walled garden environment they want to place me in. The device is so irrevocably chained to iTunes, a service I don't even use, there's simply NO WAY you can recommend this device. Anandtech said it best, as always:
Apple imposes basic limits on what you can play on the Apple TV. The problem I have with the Apple TV is it feels like a product with a lot of wasted potential. You can make arguments for OS X, the iPhone and even the iPad, but with the Apple TV despite its lower pricing it’s just not complete enough. You can watch some TV shows but not others, so you have to keep cable. And those that you can watch don’t stream live, you get them 24 hours later - so you might as well use Hulu or wait for the Boxee Box. I get that this aspect isn’t Apple’s fault, but the others are.
There’s no way to stream your OS X desktop to the Apple TV. That alone would be a killer feature, the Apple version of Intel’s WiDi.
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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