The new Apple iPad
Apple held a media event yesterday (7th March 2012) to announce several new products and services. In this article I’m going to cover the release of the long-awaited iPad “3”, aka the new iPad. I’ll be taking you through the main feature upgrades and giving you an overall summary at the end.
Where do we start? Well we might as well start at the very beginning, and that’s with the name. “The new iPad” is now the official name of this next generation Apple tablet. Of course Apple does everything for a reason, even if we're not sure what the reason for removing the numbers is.
If you head on over to Apple’s official website you’ll see an image of the new iPad sitting peacefully under the heading “Resolutionary” and no, that isn’t a misprint. So what does that mean?
The new iPad boasts an entirely new retina display. You may recall hearing about this with the release of the iPhone 4. To put it simply, the screen is breathtakingly stunning. The resolution of the screen is 2048 x 1536 (or 256 ppi (pixels per inch)). This basically means if you hold the iPad 15” away from your face, the retina in your eye will be unable to discern individual pixels and the display will therefore look continuously smooth all over.
To put that into perspective, the HDTV that’s on your wall, be that 20”, 32” or even 50”, has what’s known as “1080p” (1920 x 1080) boasting a very impressive 2.1 million pixels in it’s display. If you blow the iPad up to the same size as your TV and keep the display the same, the iPad has 3.1 million pixels... which means it’s more HD than your HDTV!
The display also has 40% greater colour saturation than the sceen of the previous iPad, so colours appear sharper and more vivid than ever before.
As with all the latest Apple mobile products, the new iPad has had its camera updated. Going from a VGA in the front and a 1.3MP in the back to a brand new type of iSight lens on the front and a 5MP lens on the back. “What’s an iSight camera?” you may be asking. It's a new kind of lens fitted to Apple Mac computers that is “so crisp and clear, it replicates human eyesight”. When coupled with the new iPad's Retina display, the iSight camera should make for a great video calling experience.
Unfortunately there’s no sign of any sort of flash on the back camera, so it's going to be restricted to daylight only photography. They’ve massively increased the Megapixel count from 1.3 to 5 and included all the great optics from the iPhone 4S (backside illumination, 5 lens and a hybrid IR filter), so you'll be able to capture crisp, clear photographs that look stunning on the new display. Of course, it also means that you’ll be able to shoot in full 1080p video, and with the new video stabilization software they’ve incorporated into the new release of iOS, the iPad will automatically stabilize those hand trembles, bumps and shakes that happen when taking a video.
This all sounds great, but how do you manage to throw in all these new features, including a display that's almost double the resolution of the iPad 2, and still keep everything running smoothly?
The answer to that is the new A5X chip. It’s Apple designed and boasts double the speed of the old A5 processor in the 4S and the iPad 2. Now don’t be fooled by what everyone is saying. The processor is Dual Core with Quad Core graphics. The processor is not a quad core processor. Of course, like all Apple products, the processor is underclocked to 800MHz in order to save the battery and ensure your device stays running for longer. (That basically means Apple limit how fast it can run). The new A5X chip packs a lot of power into the device while still providing 10 hours of battery life.
4G (LTE) Ready
Now, I’ll touch on this slightly as Apple have included it as a major feature, but this doesn’t really apply to us over here in the UK for now.
The new iPad supports 4G internet technology as well as LTE (or long term evolution) technology. This will allow it to receive up to 73mb per second download speed on US carrier networks. Of course, over here in the UK we don’t have 4G, nor are we anywhere near releasing it. So we have to take this feature with a pinch of salt.
We were all expecting Siri to make it’s way onto the new iPad and I’m happy to tell you.... it didn’t make it. There's no full Siri solution available for iPad as yet, which may ruin your dreams of telling your iPad to remind you to pick up some milk or iMessage someone.
However there is a sliver of hope! Do you remember there were actually 2 parts of Siri? The one you told to remind you of things, and the one you dictated to when constructing an email or SMS? Well I’m happy to tell you that this has in fact made it into the new iPad. Say hello to Siri Dictation. This is a step forward to getting Siri onto other devices, and for now I'm content with dictation.
iLife for iPad
If any of you have a Mac you’ll be familiar with the term “iLife”. “iLife” is a suite of tools made by Apple to do all the everyday tasks, and also to wow you with some amazing tools. For example “Garageband” which allows you to make your own band, record your instruments and compile your own songs together comes as part of it. There’s also “iMovie” which allows you to create home movies with professional quality. These applications are outstanding on the Mac, and now Apple have brought them to the iPad.
Garageband and iMovie have already made their way onto the iPad in previous updates boasting some impressive features. Now iMovie has been updated to allow storyboarding and themes, which will make an already great app even better. Finally, after a long wait they’ve also released iPhoto for iPad.
iPhoto is an amazing editing tool (not as good as photoshop, but still really impressive) that allows you to edit, organise, send, file and even get information on all the photos you’ve ever taken. Take a photo and if your iPad is connected to the internet it’ll be able to tell you where you took the photo (this is known as geotagging), the exact time you took it, what the weather was like, and even what the lighting conditions were like! How cool is that? iPhoto also has built in editing features, including one touch auto enhance, red eye reduction, contrast and colour editor. Finally the entire iLife suite is available on the go.
Whichever way you look at it, the new iPad's Retina Display is amazing and you can’t really experience it until you hold it in your hands. I know quite a lot of Agents that are anxious to get their hands on a new iPad just to see the display!
So, what’s the price? Well I'm happy to tell you the pricing scheme hasn’t changed. It’s still £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi Model. Apple are continuing to make iPad 2 models and will sell them at a reduced price, starting at £329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version. All of the rest of the pricing can be found on Apple’s official website.
So I’m going to close this article with a quote from Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO) that closed the presentation yesterday: "2012 is going to be an amazing year... and we’re only just getting started."