Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7 March new iPad

Apple has made the same odd choice as Amazon did with the latest Kindle, not calling the new model "iPad 3", but simply "iPad". They continue to sell the iPad 2, at $100 less.  So right now Apple is selling "iPad" and "iPad 2", and the first one is the latest one! (In a pinch, call it "iPad (third generation)" like the Apple store.) What is it with large companies and naming products? I had an Apple laptop once called the Powerbook G3 (bronze keyboard). Seriously.

It would have been cool with haptics (a screen where you can feel ridges and such), but nope, not this time. What we get is basically: 
  • A better screen, 2048-by-1536 resolution, 4x the pixels
  • More power (if only to drive the display)
  • A better camera, 5MP
  • 4G mobile speed (for the models with mobile connection beyond wifi)
  • Dictation
And new software to get, like iPhoto for iPad for the first time, with power and ability to handle up to 19MP images, which is way, way higher than the just-announced, otherwise great Photoshop Touch (which will surely soon be updated). Watch the keynote, iPhoto for iPad is amazingly powerful and quick, very impressive. And the price is symbolic: five bucks!

It's 50 grams heavier, which should be around "just noticeable". It's the same size, except for just 0.6mm thicker, so the iPad 2 cases should fit.
It's about the perfect form and size for the purposes, but I wish one day they'll make one at half the weight, because you really need support for this thing when using it for more than a few minutes. 

I use the iPad mostly for video and reading, and I suspect that the Retina Display, as it does on the iPhone, will make a significant difference, especially with reading. I think it may minimise eye stress quite a lot, I'm looking forward to getting one myself.

(I think I'll wait this time for the UK version to come out, hoping that the time difference will be rather less than the over two months it was with the first model.) [Update: well, times they are a-changing, it seems that in the UK it will come out about the same time as in the US! In a week or two, nice.]

Apple is also strongly stressing the powers of content-creation of this iPad, hitting the "post-PC" button many times. I am not sure how fast and for how many tasks we can get used to going without keyboard and mouse, time will tell.

The 4G networks are just starting to appear around the world, but the connection speeds should be quite a leap up, if one chooses to connect via iPad directly. I prefer to save a contract by connecting via my iPhone in the instances I need to connect outside of a wifi hotspot. The iPhone 4S is not 4G-enabled, sadly, but one supposes that the next one in the fall will be. (Whether that will be an "iPhone 5" or simply "iPhone" is a matter of tense anticipation.)

The dictation sounds wonderful, given the clumsiness of typing on a screen, but I'm not so optimistic about how well it will work for people like me, who are not native English speakers, previous systems have been less than great for many of us. It's very frustrating, you think you have said a perfectly clear English sentence, and still 95% of the time a couple of words are messed up.

Apple again decided not to stream the keynote speech live (I wonder if they have given up that), but amazingly they posted the video less than half an hour after the end. That's some fast editing there!

Sadly, despite all the HD video capabilities (creating or consuming), 64GB is still the largest memory size. I think that's a bit lame. I think the three sizes should all have been bumped up to double. Memory is dirt cheap these days.

Buying on the Apple online store is not easy after a big announcement. After trying to even get in for a couple of hours, it seemed to work, but then I was thrown out a couple of times in the middle of ordering. I did finally get the whole thing done though, in the middle of the night.

Update: Here's a mainstream media commentary, some of it is interesting, thanks to TCGirl.
The new iPad "looks the same as the old one [but] you're getting a considerably improved screen, improved camera and processor," he says. "I don't think they passed the 'wow' factor but I don't think they have to. They improved the iPad considerably over what it used to be and I think that's your 'wow' factor. If you're not happy with that, you might be a little jaded."


Timo Lehtinen said...

In Tim Cook's presentation and in the Apple Store, it is called "The new iPad".

So, now you can choose between "iPad 2" and "The new iPad".

I miss Steve.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I know, it's weird.

And people have to call "Kindle" by "the 79-dollar Kindle" to differentiate it from earlier and concurrent Kindles, but it's really just called "Kindle". They could have called it Kindle 4 or "Compact Kindle".

I think "iPad HD" would have thrown people a bone.

Bruce said...

I haven't heard anybody mention this, but the new iPad is heavier than the 2, although lighter than the first iPad. Not a big deal perhaps, but worth noting.

The slightly greater weight, plus keeping the iPad 2 available at retail, are signs that Apple is happy with the form factor and with many other things about the hardware. Of course they will keep innovating in many areas, but in some areas they have defined the iPad now.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Doubtlessly. Yes, I didn't see any ways to improve the form of the iPad 2, for its purposes.

I still hope they will somehow halve the weight one day, for easier handholding.

TC [Girl] said...

Just bumped into this. Am wondering if either one of you can see this?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Works fine, thanks.
(I guess Yahoo is international, unlike TV channels. I guess this video is only on the web, not TV, anybody know this?)