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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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RE: Competitors
By Solandri on 3/15/2012 5:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering how long it would take for Apple fans to flip-flop and declare the high resolution screen as a superior feature. Remember, the iPad and iPad 2 had the worst DPI of any tablet. When Android fans cited the higher DPI on Android tablets as a compelling feature, Apple fans dismissed it saying the iPad's DPI was "good enough".

Now that Apple has the higher DPI screen, they've flipped-flopped and suddenly DPI is an important metric by which to compare tablets. Same thing happened with the iPad 2's thinness. When it was announced, all the Android tablets were "trash" because they were thicker. Then several of the Android manufacturers came out with thinner tablets and suddenly thinness wasn't an important factor anymore.

You can't cherry-pick features like that if you want to do a fair comparison. If the iPad's low resolution wasn't a good reason for you to consider an Android tablet before, then the iPad's high resolution isn't a good reason to consider an iPad now. If the iPad's thinness was a good reason for you to favor the iPad, then the Galaxy Tab's thinner-ness is also a good reason for you to favor the Galaxy.

You have to completely ignore what features each of the competing products have, and come up with a list of features which are important to you. Then compare that list to what the products have to offer. Instead, all too often I see people pick the product first, then rattle off a list of features it has which are superior. I think it's a psychological coping mechanism. You've made your decision and spent your cash. You don't want to find out you made the wrong decision, so you subconsciously block out the negatives of your decision.

It's for this reason that I find critical reviews (i.e. ones which list all the flaws of a device) to be much more helpful. If a review is entirely positive, I figure the reviewer is either a paid marketdroid, or has these psychological blinders on. No product is perfect. If you can't come up with a list of things which could be changed or improved, things which competing product(s) do better, that's a pretty good indication that you're not being objective.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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