Why you won’t see an iPad 3 in my hands

ipad 3 no thanks - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

So we know what the iPad 3 is now, and have pointed out some things that can’t exactly be called upgrades on the thing. As a long time iPad user and a big fan of what the app selection allows the iPad to do, you’d sort of expect me to stand in line like I did last year and get the new iPad when it hits this part of the world. That simply won’t happen. This is why.

Screen resolution

The iPad screen resolution bump was an impossible situation. Apple knows that the new resolution is pointless. If this had been the first iPad ever released, going for a 1920 x 1200 resolution would have made a lot more sense. Fits available content better, is a standard resolution, and simply makes more sense across the line. However, considering the resolution and screen ratio of the first two iPads, that wasn’t really an option. In my humble opinion, the next best thing would have been a resolution of 1536 x 1152. This may sound random, but it’s 2.25 times the resolution of the first two iPads – 1.5 times the resolution for both height and width. The aspect ratio would have been maintained, and while the resolution wouldn’t scale perfectly, I think it still would have been a better choice. It would have given you a roughly 1.8 megapixel display with a pixel density of almost 200. A clear and extremely noticeable upgrade over the current iPad, yet not much more than half of the resolution they actually went with in terms of number of pixels. An upgrade, but an incremental upgrade. Then, some years from now, when everything from battery technology to video content resolutions have gotten an upgrade, you could bump it the last step.

You might say that “but they managed to get this working now, so why not do it?”. Well, look at the cost. A thicker tablet that weighs more and ends up using advances in processing and graphics power to run a high resolution screen instead of other things. And then the battery, that 42.5Wh beast that is responsible for the size and weight gain as well as the longer charge times that people seem to have not realized exist yet. I don’t know the exact math for power use here, but I’d rather have that 1536 x 1152 screen and a lighter tablet or one with longer battery life than have the iPad 3.

Still, the weight and charging time aren’t dealbreakers, not really. They’re annoyances, and more importantly, they’re avoidable announces, which is perhaps the reason why I’m so frustrated with them. Truth be told, I could live with both of them, and I’m sure I would quickly learn to love the screen resolution as well. Perhaps even admit that it was necessary, or at least a nicer addition that what this article hints to. I mean, it is an upgrade, even if it brings with it some awkward drawbacks. That brings me to the more serious reasons why I won’t be buying one.

Screen type

A 3 megapixel LCD display is still LCD. The reason why the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is my most wanted tablet right now is that it has a Super AMOLED+ display. It’s “only” 800 x 1280 pixels, a third of the new iPad’s screen resolution, but that’s a sacrifice I’d be more than willing to make for AMOLED technology. Heck, an iPad 2 with an AMOLED display is more tempting to me than the iPad 3. I really wish I could show those of you who haven’t ever use an AMOLED device what I’m holding here with me now, my iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy S II showing the same photo. You have no idea how outright broken and pathetic the iPad screen looks in comparison. Think of the difference between a black and white TV and a color TV. That’s the kind of epic difference I’m talking about, and unfortunately it’s impossible to understand how far ahead AMOLED technology is without seeing it for yourself.

So, a 3 megapixel LCD display still loses out to a much lower resolution AMOLED screen in my opinion. Having the Galaxy S II has completely ruined my ability to appreciate normal LCD screens, and I don’t think I’ll be buying a device without an AMOLED screen ever again. Sorry, Apple, but your state of the art screen is outdated.

A Ferrari in lawnmower mode

One of the obvious uses for the iPad 3’s new screen is video. That is why Apple has bumped iTunes video content up to 1080p, and that is sure to look good on the new tablet. As good as something that isn’t AMOLED can look, anyways. That being said, I can pretty much guarantee you that even with the A5X chip, you can forget about playing your own 1080p content without converting it. Apple has locked down access to the hardware too much, leaving third party apps do use software decoding. On the iPad 2, that is close to being enough for types of some 720p content, but once you start comparing that with current generation Android devices that play even high bitrate 1080p content without blinking, it’s pathetic. I so hope I’m wrong here, that something in the new iPad allows it to catch up, but I really doubt it.

The whole lawnmower mode thing also expands to other parts of the iPad. The more I use a game controller on Android, the less interested I am in going back to touch controls. Android is at a stage now where game controllers work on any game that have on-screen buttons, the developer doesn’t even have to allow keys to be bound to in-game features. That’s an immensely powerful feature as far as the entertainment aspect of a tablet goes, and something you won’t get on the iPad. The irony is that the iPad has more games that could benefit from it than Android, so it really is a pity.

Customization is another thing I’ve learned to love on Android, and the iPad doesn’t have that. Both my Android devices feel a hundred times more like they’re mine than the iPad does, simply because of this. It’s one of those things you really get used to on Android.

Priorities change

So far my reasons have been related to a lot of entertainment purposes, while I haven’t mentioned the things I used to use the iPad for – like education. That’s because I don’t use it for that anymore, it being a finished part of my life. Had that not been the case, things might have been different. The iPad is still ridiculously better suited for educational purposes than any Android tablet, because it has more relevant apps. The same goes for many other uses too, in business and things like that. That hasn’t change. My priorities have. The iPad has always been more of a productivity tool than anything else to me, while Android has been exactly the opposite. My moving from being iPad-only to preferring Android is as simple as me changing what I need a tablet to do. Don’t mistake that for changing my mind on what the iPad is capable of to begin with, and for the love of God, don’t make decisions based on what I consider to be relevant features for me personally. You will see me recommend the iPad to lots of people in the future, and continue promoting is as an awesome educational tool.

Upgrade vs. purchase

Another very important thing to remember here is the difference between an upgrade and a fresh purchase. I have an iPad 2, and I have no intention of getting rid of it. It still does most of the things that the iPad 3 does, just with a lower resolution screen. I would pay to upgrade the iPad to an AMOLED screen, to give it hardware video decoding, add an active digitizer and things like that which are important to me. I would not however pay to upgrade to what Apple has put in the iPad 3. At the same time, if I didn’t have an iPad and wanted to buy one, I would of course buy the iPad 3. $100 isn’t nearly enough of a price cut for the iPad 2 to make that a viable alternative. If you’re spending $400 for an iPad 2, you should instead spend $500 for an iPad 3. If nothing else, do it for the resale value, which is sure to cover that $100 nicely.

The Taposé incident

While my view on the iPad “concept” itself hasn’t changed, my view of Apple has. I’ve never been a fan of Apple as a company, as the many angry posts about the company on this site can attest to. However I have understood how the company has worked, maybe even respected what the company has been able to do, and generally been happy with the products. Still am, despite having little interest in the iPad 3. However what Apple did to Taposé, now that is where things changed. We’re into the fourth month since it was first submitted to Apple now, and the last word was that it would be quickly accepted once a small revision was submitted. That was weeks ago, still no app.

Apple doesn’t really care about customers. They make decisions to earn money, which is fair enough. Sometimes that ends up making customers happy, sometimes angry. But holding up an app like Taposé over an insignificant technicality, and spending so much time going back and forth that you start measuring the review time in months, now that is something else. It might have been because the new iPhoto has kind of sort of (but not really) some of the same features as Taposé, but likely it’s just Apple being Apple. That incident alone changed something in me. I disliked Apple before as well, but the Taposé incident has made me not want to give Apple my money. Helping to fund the company has actually become something that I feel strongly enough about avoiding that it becomes a part of the decision making process. At this point in time, I want Apple gone. I don’t want the iPad gone, or the iPhone gone, I just want Apple gone. It’s not rational and not objective, but it’s the result of waiting more than 3 months- and counting – for Apple to accept a revolutionary app that I’ve been waiting for since my $10 helped fund the project a year ago.




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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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