Apple announces iPad 3 (“new iPad”)
The best thing about the release of an Apple product is that all those tech blogs that seem to have nothing better to do that report on rumors will finally go back to reporting on something else. Seriously, why not just wait to see what a device will be like instead of spending a year guessing? Sigh… Anyways, Apple just held its iPad 3 event, so now we know exactly what it is. Read on for the highlights from an our and a half’s worth of Apple patting itself on the back.
First off, the amount of bull**** that Apple spews out during on of those announcements is amazing. What got me pissed off was the image of a Galaxy Tab 10.1 running Twitter, an app that isn’t tablet-optimized. While it’s true that that specific app isn’t tablet optimized on Android but is so on iOS, there are situations where the role is reversed. Considering that iPhone apps don’t scale properly on the iPad and require a jailbreak to even use the maximum resolution version available, this difference between Android and iOS is perhaps one of the last I would dare point out.
The new iPad also doesn’t seem to have a name. Not iPad 3, not iPad HD. It was just being referred to a s”new iPad”, which is confusing at best, but is even the term used on the just-launched Apple site. It is the third iPad though, so that’s what I’ll be calling it.
Anyways , to specs. High resolution display. What a surprise… This is the year of resolution upgrades, and the iPad 3 is no exception. I refuse to use Apple’s marketing term for this screen “technology”, which really is nothing but higher resolution. The bull**** continued here too, with statements such as “to this day, no-one has yet matched that display technology”. Which is of course just not true, as there are phones with higher pixel density, better screen technology, and well, just better screens. Apple also called the new 2048 x 1536 resolution “the most ever in a mobile device”. Another truth with modifications, as the rumored similar 4x increase in resolution for Android brings it to 2560 x 1600, a nice megapixel or so more than the new iPad’s display. We’re still waiting for confirmation on a device with that resolution though, so I’ll give him that one for now. Anyways, the new displays brings the PPI to 264, a nice bit lower than the iPhone 4/4S’ 326. How does Apple excuse that? Well, the iPad is supposed to be held at a longer distance. I won’t even comment on that one.
The screen was not a big surprise, but the camera is a nice one. 5 megapixel back-lit sensor, hopefully capable of taking some better photos than the camera in the iPad 2. Auto-focus and auto-exposure is in there, as well as 1080p video recording. 1080p recording is very nice, and will look nice on the new screen if the quality is good as well, however I can’t help but point out what I pointed out in my resolution article a month back: It’s not enough to fill the screen. The new iPad is the first high end device in years that has a camera too low resolution to fill its own screen. Which is of course another way of saying the screen is too high-res for there to be content to fill it, though in all fairness, 1920 pixels wide is close enough to 2048 that it won’t really matter. I just love pointing out how ridiculous – and not in a good way – these resolutions are.
The new iPad also has a new chip, the A5X. Apple calls it twice as fast as the Tegra 3, and offering four times the performance. The iPad has always been better to manage resources than Android devices, so while I’m wondering about the exact benchmark, I don’t have any problem believing that one. Of course the speed of the chip is very much needed with the new display.
Voice dictation was also announced as being a new feature on the iPad 3’s keyboard. This is however just a polite way of saying “no Siri”, which I’m sure won’t go over too well with a lot of people. The feature supports the same languages as Siri, which includes Japanese which was announced at the beginning of the event.
4G is something that a lot of people have been waiting for, and it’s there in the iPad 3. Which markets will see this aside from the US is unclear though. Personally, I’ve never had any use for speeds higher than what normal HSDPA can give me, but perhaps I’m missing some desperate need for 73Mbps on the go. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s a nice feature either way, and at least with 73Mbps to go on you won’t be stuck in the 90s if you only get a third of that speed. The new iPad also has a WiFi hotspot feature, meaning it can share that connection – if the carrier allows it.
As for what all this new tech is doing to the device, the battery life is the same. However that comes at a cost: a heavier and thicker iPad. 9.4mm and 652/662 grams (Wifi/3G & 4G) is a significant bump from the 8.8mm, 601 gram iPad 2, and compared to the Tegra 3-packing Transformer Prime’s 8.3mm, 586 grams, it’s starting to sound like something that Acer came up with. At least the price will stay the same, $500 for 16GB WiFi going up to $829 for the 64GB 4G version. No 128GB model, and no expandable storage of course.
The new iPad is launching on March 16 in US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. Anywhere else? Who knows.
A number of app updates were also shown off, like Garage Band and iMovie updates, but nothing really any more important than any other app update. And there will be a need for a lot of updates with the new iPad 3 to support the new resolution. Text will automatically be higher resolution, everything else has to be updated by the developers. No word on iPhone app resolution though, so that link I posted to the jailbreak workaround might be something a lot of new iPad 3 owners wish they could take advantage of – which they of course can’t until the new iPad is jailbroken. So unless Apple is indeed using iPhone 4/4S resolution apps for the scaling now, the ipad 3 will have to upscale the apps 16 times.
A completely new app that was shown off is iPhoto, Apple’s own editing software. It has a lot of various photo editing features, but perhaps more importantly, it supports images up to 19 megapixels. “More importantly” because it helps support my decision to call Adobe’s Photoshop Touch app a “thumbnail editor”. The app is said to be available today, and works on the iPad 2.
iPad 2 lives
As with the iPhone line, Apple is now letting the older version stay on as a cheaper model. You only save $100 on the cheapest model, making it a rather pointless trade-off, but at least the option is there. No iPad mini was announced, which was rumored to be a budget model of the iPad. The iPad 2 is instead that budget model.
The amount of useless rumors that goes around before any Apple release is just ridiculous, and once again, these rumors failed to accurately predict the iPad 3. Some were correct, like the screen resolution (very obvious) and the new chip being the A5X, not A6, but still, a lot was wrong.
- No Siri
- No new dock connector
- No active digitizer pen
- No 3D screen
- No 8 megapixel camera
- No iPad mini
- No 8GB model, no dropping the 64GB model, no 128GB model, no SD slot
- No iOS 6
- No A6 chip
- Not called iPad HD