A Quick Look At The New iPad

Apple products, their annual refreshes somehow both exciting and financially crippling, seem to have managed to grab a lasting hold over tech fans that other brands can only dream of. The oft-criticised ‘walled garden’ approach ultimately meaning that developers can rest easy because there’s only a limited array of devices out there and ever more extensive (and easy to use) application production tools mean that, if you want the widest range of games and apps, for consumers iOS is the way to go.


That small, controlled range of hardware has now increased by one, of course, with today’s launch of the new iPad. It’s not an iPad 3, at least by name, Apple’s intentions made even more clear by the retention of the iPad 2 in the stores, albeit reduced in price by £80 or so.

[drop2]After enduring the somewhat ridiculous display by Glasgow’s endlessly chirpy, cheering and clapping store staff this morning, I had walked away with one, bouyed by the promise that a friend would be taking my iPad 2 off my hands for half the price of the new device. So, ignoring the fact that this was now my third iPad and I’d paid in total nearly a grand and a half, my head tells me this one only cost £200.

You can appreciate my line of thought, right?

The problem I have here, though, is that I’ve spent most of today with what I assume must be approaching buyer’s remorse. Compared to the iPad 2, this thing just felt a little less snappy, things felt higher res for the sake of it and – naturally – the things that aren’t currently in ‘retina’ for the iPad stand out like a very blocky sore thumb. And as you’d guess, this is well over 99% of the current content of the App Store.

Sure, Apple’s own applications are now razor sharp and super crispy, but the stuff I use on a daily basis, the music apps, aren’t. The text is, but the graphical elements aren’t, and it’s jarring. I’m hopeful they’ll be updated in time, of course, but as it stands there’s considerable disparity, even within individual software.

That’s a sign that the new iPad’s screen is so damned sharp, of course, the resolution truly mindblowing when you think about it. Indeed, text now looks as good as printed material, comics leap from the display and photos, assuming you can find some large enough, are hugely impressive. The camera itself is much better, too, but it’s hardly bleeding edge, and it’s still next to impossible to not look crazy holding up an iPad to take a shot.

Elsewhere, there’s a weighty battery keeping the improved spec ticking over (although it now takes longer to charge and the cable supplied didn’t work at all for me, forcing me to resort to an old iPhone wire), and if you opted for the 3G version a speed boost when you’re away from a wi-fi router. Other improvements are under the hood: more RAM and a doubled up GPU that now runs at four cores rather than the two core one in the iPad 2.

Whether developers are planning to splinter their processes (and markets) further to provide retina visuals for their games and apps is something we’ll have to wait and see on – current flagship titles like Real Racing 2 HD sport an increased resolution and a bit of filtering but otherwise look and feel indentical, presumably a sign of a forced release date but hopefully token gestures that’ll make way for real gameplay improvements as the months go on.

Going from an original iPad will see users blown away by this new model – no doubt about that – but the changes from an iPad 2 are presently little more than cosmetic nips and tucks. Yes, the screen is stunning but it’s not essential by any stretch, the old resolutions more than adequate for most. Indeed, games that retain the 1024 x 768 resolutions and up the effects will probably look more impressive than those that retain polycounts and shader tech just to meet retina specifications.

We’ll see, of course, and I’m happy to be proved wrong, but right now I’m just waiting to see if Apple’s high res approach this year will really pay off long term.



  1. I honestly dont see what all the fuss is about over apple products. I have an Android phone that kicks ass all over anything apple have brought out (depends on your metric of course).
    I do have an iPad 2 and I love it’s design and simplicity, I love the app store and the ability to purchase WITHOUT a credit card, but thats it, I dont rave all apple products, and I certainly dont like their extortionate prices. I hate their upgrade path even more… It has been replaced with X model, now you have to buy that or suffer with no OS upgrades soon.

    Then there’s the human cost in China, with hundreds dead and the rest treated like slaves.

    I doubt I’d buy another apple device anytime soon, but then again if my iPad 2 dies…

    • Device choice is obviously personal, but I’m not sure how you can criticise Apple’s OS update policy given how it’s handled on Android. Yes, it’s because Apple controls all the hardware, but the 3GS is 2.5 years old, and the first iPad now 2 years old and both are still on the latest OS.

      Presumably they will be dropped from support with iOS 6, when that’s released this Autumn, but that’s still 3 years of support for the phone and 2.5 years for the iPad. Ignoring the reams of phones with custom modifications from manufacturers which have held back ICS deployment for half a year, the Nexus line of phones is also seeing a poor return with updates. The Nexus One, released around the same time as the iPad won’t be getting an official ICS release.

      As for the human cost, it’s not particularly wonderful, no, but I feel that Apple are unfairly taking nearly all the blame here, and this is letting other manufacturers hide in the shadows without showing their own working conditions. It certainly doesn’t help when so called “reporters” like Mike Daisey applied “dramatic license” to his reporting on conditions and labour that was used by New York Times, MSNBC and many others.

      He did not see under-age workers. He did not see people with hands destroyed from repetitive motion and carpal tunnel syndrome. He did not see “a man whose right hand was permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn”. He’s a damned liar, and his tales are being taken down by any publication that previously published them.

      • I’m not denying that over the current life cycle of a product, apple do support devices, but once they release a new device that support dries up. The only reason for this is to force demand onto the new product.
        android does have its problems with a massive array of software and hardware iterations, and google needs to bang heads with software and hardware developers to close this gaping hole.

        I do think that apple SHOULD bare the brunt of bad publicity though, after all they have their name on the product. Foxconn should be made to clean up their act by apple with a simple ultimatum, clean up or else.

        on the subject of daisey, the man should be made to work in china for his sins.
        Alex jones has discussed the working conditions at these factory’s for years and now he’s been vindicated at last.

      • i don’t have any knowledge apart from what I’ve read in this comments section about mike daisey and apples working conditions but despite telling blatant lies to get publicity and probably for self gain he’s also raised awareness of what sounds to be quite a serious issue that need’s to be addressed by apple and the only way to do this is by damaging apples reputation. yes he may of hugely exaggerated the truth but there must be at least some substance to the story for it to existed in the first place.

      • I can see your point on support, but I’ve not felt it so much. There’s been a few updates where there have been issues, but 3 years of support is long enough that the underlying tech has moved on huge amounts. Since the phone world now revolves around 24 month contracts, so everyone has to do this to have a newer, more attractive product to sell.

        If the state of play is genuinely as bad as it’s made out to be, then yes Apple AND everyone else need to take it on the chin. Whilst I don’t believe we know the full story (thanks, in part to over exaggerations) about the working conditions in the industry’s factories, I do believe that Apple and Foxconn are near the top of the scale. Apple can push on from here, and work harder to get better standards, but they need to be visibly joined by other companies in trying to improve the industry as a whole.

        It’s no good simply laying all the blame and press at Apple’s door.

      • phones I understand but iPads?
        the only parts to upgrade are the screen, ram, CPU and gpu, and as Alex pointed out there’s no need to upgrade yet as there’s no killer app.

        we vote with our feet, but apple do such a good job of marketing that sheeple will just obey. The media need to take a tough stance on this, to get people outraged enough to snap them out of their hypnotic state.

      • I don’t think there’s been a single review that’s said this is a must buy if you’ve already got an iPad 2. It’s more of an upgrade for the original, but also there to appeal to new customers.

        If they didn’t release a model each year, then they’d lose their edge versus competitors, but they’re not saying that you must upgrade every year. That’d be like upgrading your computer every time a new part comes out.

      • Urgh, ‘sheeple’ – I hate that word

      • The suicide thing is a fallacy. The suicide rate at Foxconn is well, well below the national average. The recently opened a new section and people were cueing for miles for an interview. Also, Apple aren’t the only company that use Foxconn. Xboxs, kindles and Wiis are made there too.

    • Your posts are epic fail. I hate people who use the word sheeple. We buy Apple products for a reason!
      Android sucks. I don’t want inferior ugly apps and wait forever for a update and then support dies for it after a year.
      Don’t blame Apple for the working conditions.

      • I don’t blame Apple, I blame people who buy Apple products without being more questioning, especially as so many people who do buy Apple products are so keen on such matters when its closer to home eg. in this country.

      • You buy Apple products for a reason? is it because your told too?

      • i own a galaxy s 2 and a transformer prime. this is AFTER i owned the iphone3g and an OG iPad.
        Android most certainly doesnt suck Awayze, it works for many different people, those who prefer customisation over the “Walled garden”.
        Honestly dude with games like Shadowgun etc i cant see where you inferior apps comment comes from nor “waiting forever” for an update from someone whos only ever going to get a tiny incremental update to his OS rather than the huge steps forward we got from HC to ICS.

        Enough. Fanboyism.

      • You’re all wrong in your Android v Apple debate.
        Nokia wins. If we all took our phones and dropped them on the floor repeatedly until only one is left working, we all know it’ll be a Nokia.
        Plus, they’re by far the best cameraphone makers too.

      • Fighting fire with fire… Fanboys…

      • Haha I love colmshans comment. Nokia sure do last the longest and shock horror if your battery is knackered you can change it yourself?! I currently have an iPhone but I think my old Nokia had many plus points too.

      • Too bad Nokia couldn’t get into the Smartphone industry and are losing their market share, their phones are the best in terms of hardware quality.
        Sad to see Nokia like this.

      • Nokia is the buisness that made did more for mobile phones then anyone else. They made the mobile not just a device that everyone wanted, but needed.

        PS Nokia did have a working Android phone in the labs. The only reasion why I don’t have Nokia now is because of Windows. I turly do hate Metro, or as I call it “Just Plain UGLY”

      • I love the look of Windows phone, but I’m going to stick with the Symbian Nokia phones- the N8 is a classy piece of kit, and the Nokia 808 just looks ridiculous- a camera that sends texts, at 41 megapixels.
        Probably my next phone.

  2. nothing saying buy it to me this year will give it a miss.

  3. Might buy this one day. My iPad is getting worse and worse. Webstites get blurry while zoomed in on, and apps closes all the time.

  4. Although I’m still not entirely convinced by tablets, I’m toying with the idea of getting one to use as a photography portfolio. Just getting back into it so if I do some good stuff I might get a wifi iPad instead of buying photobooks and stuff. The screen does look gorgeous.

  5. Also Alex, is it your goal to sneak a Journey reference into every article possible for the forseeable future? :P

  6. So Resolutionary is fine, but Revengeance isn’t?

  7. Really want to upgrade from my original iPad, but unfortunately just can’t find the funds quite yet. The screen looks fantastic although it would’ve been nice if they upgraded the front camera for better FaceTime.

  8. Well at least Apple are past this 1080p phase and hopefully with the sheep like support of many of their customers bring 1080p+ resolutions to the mainstream market (again). We have been going backwards in terms of pixel counts old CRT monitors can beat 1080p easily.

  9. This article totally supports my view on Apple as a company.

    They are incredibly clever at harnessing that “‘keeping up with the Jones'” mentality by offering slight progression that may not be required by the majority of the user base but the hype train runs their common sense into their ground and a luxury overpriced item becomes a necessity.

    I am currently waiting on a new generation of iPod touch as it appears that the newest one is barely a step forward from the one I contemplated buying for about 6 months.

  10. I have an original iPad and I’m still happy with it.
    The iPad 3 still doesn’t have that killer feature that would make me upgrade.
    I’m more interested in an Android tablet like the Transformer Prime ;)

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