A Week with the New iPad

 

I’ve had my new iPad for just under a week now, and it is great. I was upgrading from my first-generation iPad, and boy does two years worth of iterative progress make a difference. My original iPad almost feels crude in comparison- a thought that blows my mind. Here is what makes the new iPad great in my book:

The Display

The day I received my new iPad, I almost immediately let several non-technical people I know play around with it for a few minutes. I knew what was in store for me, but I wanted to see what a sample of the general public thought of it. For instance, I showed the device to my mother, a person that cannot send an email on her own. Her immediate response was, ”that’s a beautiful thing”. I also showed it to an older gentleman that I know, he was amazed at how crisp text looked. The point I am trying to make with these terrible anecdotes, is that non-techy, non-geeky, people are immediately noticing the new display.

It goes without saying that the display was the first thing that I noticed as well. Without hyperbole, it truly is an amazing thing. Think of four or five iPhone 4 screens butted up next to each other, as a comparison. Even then, it’s not a fair comparison. One needs to see the display in person to appreciate it. Seriously.

Horsepower

I never owned an iPad 2, but I suspect the performance increase that I am seeing in the new iPad, compared to my original iPad, would be very similar to the jump consumers saw between the iPad 2 and original iPad. For the new iPad, the biggest improvement came in the form of graphics processing, which seems to be one of the biggest bottlenecks facing computers at this time. We have a lot of raw power in modern CPUs, but GPUs have not seen the same strides in increased performance. The new iPad does a decent job in closing that gap.

The biggest perceptual performance increase comes from the device’s increased RAM. The new iPad now has 1GB of memory as compared to the iPad 2’s 512MB of memory. This makes a world of difference when it comes to tabbed web content, or working with multiple documents, in say, Blogsy for instance. Sure, some of this extra RAM is being used by the GPU, but the increase is felt all over, which is always welcome.

My biggest complaint with the device, would be its long charge time. Apple built in a bigger battery, to support the improved internals (mostly LTE I would think). The laws of physics get in the way once again, and as one would guess, a bigger battery takes longer to charge. This could be fixed by the use of a beefier charger, but Apple still includes the same one that they included with the previous two iPad models. Here’s to hoping for an improvement in this area next year.

I did not get an LTE iPad simply because I do not travel enough to justify the cost. However, after hearing the rave reviews of the LTE network, I almost wish I had gotten a cellular-capable model. Almost.

Putting it Together

The nicer display, increased GPU performance, LTE networking, and improved camera, combine to serve one purpose- the further realization of the iPad’s potential. Apple is making strides to turn the iPad, which started life as a kinda chunky tablet, into a pane of glass that lets most people handle their day-to-day computing needs. For me, I can do a lot of work on it. I do not need to force the iPad into my workflow, it just happens to work well there. In fact, the words that you are reading, were written on the new iPad. I get a lot of work done from this thing.

In short, it is a great upgrade for anyone who owns a first-generation iPad, or if you’ve never owned an iPad. Customers with an iPad 2 in hand, needn’t rush out and get one though.

 

 

 

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  • Fred Dombrose

    I don’t agree with Alex Jordan. Although I still love the idea of the ipad and use one for a diverse range of tasks, my upgrade to the iPad 3 from an iPad 1 has been a waste of money. Unless you’re a gamer or heavily into image/video manipulation then most other tasks are marginally improved. The display is nice but I had no issues with the iPad 1’s display. I had hoped for some startling differences but they just aren’t there. Not much lighter either. OK it has the cameras, but with an iPhone 4S why would I want them?

    • Alex Jordan

      You, and people like you, who have purchased several Apple products, are not who the company is currently targeting. They have your money. They are trying to scoop up customers new to the iPad, or even new to Apple.

      Also, I must be an ass and ask this: You dropped a minimum of $500 on a device, and you had no idea what to expect? Or at least, that’s the impression I’m gleaming. Apple is touting an improved screen, they delivered that to you, and you are disappointed? You got precisely what they had written on the tin.

  • Mike

    I have to agree with Fred. This article seems like it is just an ad for Apple. Did you ever show your old IPAD to the non-technical people you listed? I am sure they would be in awe over it. Processing power? Most people use it to surf the web and check their email. How much processing power do you need for that? I am curious what work you do, because I would never want to write a paper, or do web development on it. There is nothing that replaces a real PC and keyboard when you have to do real work. But for traveling, sitting in bed and checking the web or your email, sure. As background, I owned the original iPad and currently own an iPad 2 and I have a iPhone 4. I see no reason for the hype or rush to go buy one unless you don’t own one, or perhaps your son or daughter wants one and you can pass your current iPad down to them.

    • Alex Jordan

      Reasonable people can disagree. First off, I have indeed shown the people I listed the original iPad. Again, they noticed the awesome screen on the new iPad. They were no longer blown away by the concept of the device as they were with the original iPad, they were now in awe of the display in the new one.

      Secondly, I will argue that processing power is still lacking. Your example of web browsing is still computationally heavy task. Notice how a desktop can and will render a webpage faster than an iPad or iPhone simply due to processor differences. In fact, many reviews of the new iPad point out that the LTE network is not a bottleneck. Data is transmitted to the iPad faster than it can render it. There is plenty of progress to be made in this area.

      Lastly, just because you do not want to work on an iPad, does not necessarily mean others do not want to either. I’ve written many term papers, blog posts, and articles on my iPads. And, if you are writing a weighty tome, the iPad can be paired with a Bluetooth keyboard. I can see where this would be an annoyance to some, while being a non-issue for me.

      I think the issues that you bring forward are valid, but, if I had to wager, they are issues that will be addressed with iterative versions of the iPad. Who knows what the next decade might bring.

      Oh, as for this being an “ad” for Apple, I disagree. There is plenty of room for improvement. It is not a perfect device. However, as I pointed out at the end of this piece, and as you did in your comment, this iPad isn’t necessarily aimed at consumers who already have an iPad, but rather, people new to the device.

      • jhrogersii

        I totally agree with you on the “work” point, Alex. I use my iPad and Bluetooth keyboard combo ALL the time for work. In fact, I am currently using it as a secondary display for my laptop using the app DisplayLink. I used the same app occasionally with my iPad 2, but it is light years better with the new model.

        Not only does the improved display make my programs and blueprints clearer and easier to read, but this is where I really see the processor/GPU bump. I only used this app to view “static” screens and elements in the past, because there was always lag. I could watch the cursor blink its way across the screen, and moving windows had to redraw and refresh several times. Now, all of the movements are dramatically faster and smoother, making this app so much more useful.

        So, for the stone throwers out there, maybe you don’t notice a massive difference if you are just checking email and surfing the web, but please recognize that, for those of us who work with photos or video, game, or push the boundaries of the device in other areas, the new iPad IS a substantial upgrade, and is definitely worth every cent.

  • http://augsburg.edu Larry Crockett

    As a long-term professor of computer science, I have learned repeatedly the value of staying current in technology. I have an original iPad which I am “selling” to my daughter and will receive the new iPad Monday. I am confident the new display will be worth the upgrade since pixelation on displays is the principal cause of fatigue in working with monitors. My worry is that I will not like my other displays. Moreover, I look forward to taking and viewing photographs with the new iPad

    I suspect very shortly we will see the entire MacBook line “aired” (my wife has a late 2011 MBA), and the we will see monitors go to the new iPad resolution. The future is here and I welcome it.

  • Patrick

    I also upgraded from the original (what I call the “iPad Classic”) to the 3rd generation. I’ve owned many handheld gadgets going back to the Palm Vx and earlier and one of the common reasons for upgrades over the years has been the screen. This iPad is no exception and I have no regrets even if that had been the only upgraded feature.

    What I don’t see reviewers talking so much about is the ergonomics change. While the 3 is certainly lighter and thinner, what I really notice is the sharpened edges where your hands go, unlike the more flattened shape of the Classic. I guess the feel is similar to the 2 so nobody thinks to mention this, or they don’t think it’s a step backwards as I do.

    • jhrogersii

      I actually really like the tapered edges of the new iPad and iPad 2, but that’s just a personal preference.

      Are you using any type of skin? I haven’t put my new set that just arrived on yet, and I have to say that I don’t like the feel of the back of the iPad nearly as much without them. I much prefer the feel and extra grip that a rear skin gives to the device. A BodyGuards, Invisible Shield, or Best Skins Ever rear skin may take the edge off that sharpness that you speak of.

  • Louis

    I upgraded from the iPad 2 to the New iPad and have no regrets. The selling point for me was the amazing retina display. I use my iPad to do a lot of reading among many other things. The improved clarity in text alone was worth the upgrade. We all anxiously wait for the next generation product to be introduced to find out what’s been upgraded from the previous model. I think we can all agree, no matter what generation iPad we own, we undeniably love our Apple products.

  • Aimeelol

    Alex Jordan, I agreed with you.
    I think there are many people are talking about the new iPad based on Specs and don’t even used it!
    Well, I went to the Apple sale store tried the New iPad, I really like the the retina display and better camera! Im a iPad 1 user, and didn’t upgrade to the iPad 2 just wait for the new iPad, would get my new iPad soon!
    Hope my apps are compatible to the new iPad, and get more surprise with the new iPad and Apple TV!
    BTW, for some cool iPad tips&Apps I found the iFunia iPad Column is very informative and useful.