Apple recently announced the New iPad and we have to say that overall we’re very happy with the sound of it. Other than the name, which is actually “New iPad” we feel any huge disappointments or mind-breakingly confusing issues with the announcement. Yes, the New iPad only sports a dual-core processor, unlike the quad-core of many Android tablets that are on their way, but we’re actually happy about that. We’ll tell you why in the next post but right now we’re going to go over some of the basic specs and upgrades found in the New iPad.
It's a shame that Apple didn't see fit to make any major design changes to the physical appearance of the iPad, but it's not particularly suprising. Many reviewers and fans held out high hopes of a super-thin, or even non-existent bezel. There was even talk of Apple ditching the single Home button that has been a part of iOS since its inception with the original iPhone. But bezels are still necessary for many reasons, one of which being structural integrity, and the Home button is such a useful feature that it's unlikely Apple would consider removing it at this point in the game. Thus a change in appearance would have been nice, but also unexpected and certainly unnecessary as far as functionality goes.
What's New With the New iPad?
By far the most exciting addition to the New iPad is the awesome display. At 2048 x 1536 pixels, the New iPad has a higher resolution than not only 1080p TVs, but a higher resolution than any Apple screen on the market. Period. No 27 or 30 inch desktop displays or laptops made by the iconic company can rival the amazing clarity of the New iPad. Backing up this incredible display is a quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU). The new GPU should not only be able to handle the huge resolution, but also deliver a smooth and unhindered experience for graphically intense games and apps. It’s a great and necessary step forward in tablet evolution that a lot of the competition has so far ignored.
Where most people seem to be faulting the New iPad is over its dual-core processor. The A5X chip isn’t as powerful as the Android-adopted Tegra 3 when it comes to raw processing power and as such Android fans are starting to draw comparisons. On a purely subjective note we’d have to say that we don’t really care. It would have been nice to see a quad-core CPU in the New iPad, but we’d take a 9.7 inch retina display with a quad-core GPU over a quad-core CPU any day of the week.
The rear camera of the New iPad is only a 5MP, which is a little disappointing. It does use the same optics as the iPhone 4S, which is definitely something and as such it should still provide adequate photos. It’s also apparently capable of 1080p video-capture. We’ve warned our readers before about being taken in by taglines like “1080p video-capture” so be warned. We highly suggest checking out online videos taken using the 5MP camera of the New iPad before making any judgements. 1080p only refers to the number of pixels that have been crammed in to an image and not the quality of the image itself.
Let's Talk Software
One interesting issue we’re hearing crop up is that developers are claiming that app design for the New iPad will be problematic due to its massive resolution. It’s a fairly simple problem when you think about it. If no-one’s screen has an equal or higher resolution to the New iPad then how can they accurately test software designed for it? We’re hoping someone comes up with some easy fixes for this problem soon, as we’re really looking forward to getting our hands on some amazingly crisp apps.
Software-wise the New iPad is issuing in the iOS 5.1 update. This update is already rolling out to all iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. It might take a little while to get to your handset, so remain patient and keep an eye out.
The iOS 5.1 update is a relatively small one. There’s an update to iPhoto, Japanese language-support for Siri and users can now delete individual photos from Photo Stream. Our personal favourite is that the camera shortcut is now always displayed on the Lock Screen for iPhone and iPod Touch owners.
Connectivity and Networks
What should prove to be a big factor for some folks is that the New iPad supports 4G LTE connectivity. Unfortunately right now this new 4G service is only available to US iPad customers, with unconfirmed rumours of Global LTE versions being made available.
Of course the New iPad also supports traditional 3G connectivity, so non-4G users won't be affected and anyone who does have a 4G plan that travels outside of a supported area will automatically revert back to a 3G connection until they're in an LTE zone again.
When All's Said and Done
Overall the New iPad looks to be a great upgrade to the iPad line. We’re definitely not keen on the name and one has to wonder what the next version will be called. The New, New iPad? But overall we love the display, are big fans of the GPU upgrade and the new camera is nice enough to appease our expectations. In our opinion it’s a bigger step forwards than we saw between the iPad and iPad 2, although as usual whether or not it’s worth the upgrade is totally up to you.