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.

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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.

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[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.

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73 Comments

  1. I work with an lass who has an iPad and iPhone , I explained to her Im getting the new Sony Xperia S and she said “but it won’t be as good as a 4S ” and I explained that it was actually a lot better in many respects and that there are several phones already out there which are better . She just couldn’t believe me , Apple make a fortune out of idiots like her and for that I can only applaud them !
    The iPad though I agree is the best tablet out there but not worth that kind of money. The cheap 100 pound Hong Kong tablets posted on HUKD recently have got me interested though .

    • Your friend is right.

      iPhone 4S has better GPU and a better OS. Xperia S is already out dated, it’s running Gingerbread, fail. By the time you even get ICS, Jelly Bean will be out. The fact it’s running Android makes it inferior to an iPhone.

      • Xperia S has a lot going for it, actually. The lack of ICS at its launch is disappointing.

        Not sure your comment could have come across any more like an irrational fanboy, though.

      • Awayze your fanboyish comments need to stop. I know for a fact they are annoying me and im sure there are many more. Otherwise in my experience I prefer the more free feel of Android than the locked in one of iOS but I will never buy a mobile phone ever again because im a cheapskate or a tablet as I feel they are useless. Honestly though every single Apple product is extortionately priced compared to what you are actually getting. I always use this example my PC high end and water-cooled total cost (with all peripherals) £750. cheapest iMac is £1000 and comes with a rubbish i5 with a laptop GPU where has that £250 gone? On a brand. Rant over anyway. :P

      • Awayze, this is not a place for fanboy comments (referring to your “Android sucks” comment on page 1 too).

        You have an opinion, feel free to share it, but please dont spout your opinion as fact, as it’s not, and please try to express your opinion in a less inflammatory way because it’s quite horrible to read and there’s completely no need for it.

      • I really hate people who complain about iPhones. I want one, and will be getting one July. Everyone tells me they are rubbish and there are other phones that are better out there. People just dont understand that its down to personal preference and I actually really want an iPhone. I too dislike Android phones.

      • Wait… you hate people who dislike iPhones and then say that it all comes down to one’s opinion? Do you not see the contradiction in your comment?

      • No there isn’t. People say they are rubbish without even having one – that isn’t a valid opinion. It is down to personal preference but when people say its rubbish without even experiencing one its a different situation.

      • ‘The fact it’s running Android makes it inferior to an iPhone’
        Yeah, fuck your fanboyism Awayze. I’ve respected some of your comments in the past even if they were controversial but it’s obvious you’ve said that just to 1) annoy people and 2) try and cause a fuss.
        Go away if you’re gonna be like that.

      • @Origami Killer It’s very much the same the other way around though, id say you’re probably more likely to find iPhone users who have never used an Android than an Android user who has never used an iPhone. I think the Android users get annoyed that iPhone users will often claim to be the best despite no experience at all with Android (or a decent Android) and iPhone users get annoyed at the hate thrown at iPhones. Pointless arguing.

      • Awayze – I would dearly love to know how old you are as some of your comments on here are shockingly immature and do nothing for the TSA community or article you post on. Please engage brain before opening mouth. :-)

      • dont you just love this topic and it’s responses?
        It’s just like Xbox 360 Vs PS3 all over again.

        Like I said before, I have an iPad 2 and an Android phone, so I can see pro’s and con’s in both.

        I do think Apple do make overpriced hardware, good, but could be a little more open and cheaper. But this closed off system works to their advantage. Apps dont need constant updates due to hardware restrictions.

        Android on the other hand is a pain to create apps, so much different hardware and software, even different providers have different software iterations on the same phone, and some even customise android.

        Again like I said earlier, google needs to get everyone in the industry together and start tightening things up… but thats just the sort of openess that some people love about android.

        Damned if you do, damned if you dont.

    • Pros and cons to both platforms. My iPhone is lovely and I may well stick with them when the iPhone 5 comes out but it still needs to win me over. However, I know of a few good Android phones and am sure I’d have no real trouble migrating across but it’s my choice not to. The iTunes store is phenomenal (with content as the shop itself is as clunky as hell) and the device is a joy to use.

      You enjoy yours, I’ll enjoy mine. Anyone who can’t agree with that sentiment needs to grow the motherflipping hell up!

      • Well you never know when Google’s new music service really takes off iTunes may finally have a proper competitor. iTunes has really annoyed me lately as it took me hours just to find a decent free program that could get music off my iPod on to my PC. iTunes should offer this service but nope, typical in my eyes. I used to love Apple but have really gone off them they certainly do make beautiful pieces of hardware but its not worth the hassle of the fenced in feel or again its because im a massive cheapskate…

      • “You enjoy yours, I’ll enjoy mine. Anyone who can’t agree with that sentiment needs to grow the motherflipping hell up!”

        easily the best post on the entire site right now.

      • brilliant sentiment Mike.
        I love both my htc evo 3d and my iPad, but I’d like to see android mature a little more into something like iTunes.
        the app and music store is just fantastic, good work from apple for that.

        at the same time I like the flexibility of android, total contradiction I know, but theres something both camps can learn from each other.

      • If only everyone understood that everyone has their own opinions and likes different stuff. I can’t understand why someone feels the need to insult you for liking another platform or ram their hate of a platform down everyone’s throat. :(

      • Bit surprised what people say about itunes and I agree with you Mike. I’ve found itunes to be a easier to find new music or get stuff thats similar plus add the apps and podcasts and it there on one spot, shame it is clunkly at time.

      • I love what apple does to revitalise / revolutionise and push forward areas of technology. I love their design ethos and the quality of their hardware. I still have my 15Gb 3rd Gen Ipod, kept alive by a chunky 4xAA battery pack.

        However, a couple of annoyances still get me with their tight controls. Why is it so difficult for me and the wife to share music on an external HDD between 2 laptops? Some of the DRM is so restrictive that it stops me doing some things that I feel I should be able to do.

        And so, thus far, I have avoided the iphone and ipad, despite the lure of their lusty sheen. Android is doing much of what I want but still falls short of the mark, in different ways to Apple. It lets me do more of what I want but lack that cohesive polished feel.

        If the new Google Play Music works the way I’d like it to then I might be waving goodbye to iTunes. Then again I said that about Google+ and Facebook, and the latter still has me.

        For me brand loyalty is overrated, whoever has the best product at that time has my vote but I’ll never rule out someone upping their offering to lure me over.

      • itunes and htc phones work great together, i can even sync everything wirelessly with the use of a free app.

        also @ edjpm. there something in itunes called home share, it’ll let you copy all music to up to 5 diffrent computers connected to your home network. you’ll have to highlight all the songs while pressing ctrl for the import button to copy more then one song though.

  2. If i could use ‘Logic Pro 9’ on it i would buy it :P (don’t think you can tho + Garage band is not professional enough for me really)

  3. This forum/site is slowly getting more and more like other sites. Which is a real shame.

    • Agreed dude…

    • The percentage of unwelcome characters never really changes, but when a userbase is relatively small, the few can be drowned out by the many. At a certain point though, as the userbase increases in size, the negative effects in the open nature of “Web 2.0” become apparent, and the same percentage split between “contributors” isn’t enough to quell an ever louder voice of negativity and unstructured, argumentative approaches.

      Unfortunately this tends to be at the cost of the original userbase, thus worsening the community ideologies of what it used to be. This is the internet ladies and gents.

      • I’ve liked TSA for a few years now and while most of the discussion is argumentative, it’s generally done in a nice way and not combative.
        but now and again, as with any site, some people come along who want to upset the balance.
        The lold adage still stands true today, unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

        constructive critisim is always a good thing, but sometimes it needs to be tempered with other peoples feelings in mind.

    • I don’t know it may attract a few bad sort or be less active but I don’t see it to be becoming like the “other sites”

    • Well if you were only reading it cause it was cool and niche to, and not cause of the content and people…

  4. I’ve had 2 android phones the last was a htc desire which after a year of having found that there was no updates because the phone didn’t have enough memory to support it so htc released the update on there website and basically said update at your own risk so I cancelled my contract and got an iPhone 4 a week after the 4s came out I got an upgrade to the latest OS the best android phones to get are google made phones cos they get upgrades first other android phones get left in the lurch

    • i had a HTC Desire too mate, was not a happy bunny, i know they set a lot of store on their UI but i found it unmanageable so i quickly went for the 3GS but after a few months of all the things that Apple use comes with (itunes etc) i just found that for my needs an android phone fit perfectly.

      Plus Me Hatey DropBox hate hate hate :D

    • “the best android phones to get are google phones”

      as much as this is true for updates i wouldn’t recommend geting one because of it, theres far far better alternatives that’ll get a update only weeks later if its a popular phone. also there’s beta releases up to 8-9 months before a os update is released. the last three months will be pretty much identical to the finished version since it takes that long for it to get through the your network provider and for them to add all there bloatware.

    • I’m a tech savy guy and my HTC Desire is currently running ICS and has been for quite a while now. But it’s actually not rocket science. There are one click root programs and after that you flash a new bootloader and then the new rom. I think it took me around 10 minutes the first time I flashed a custom rom on that beast of a smartphone. :D
      Coming June I’ll probably switch to the Galaxy Nexus. Mobile World Congress was kind of disappointing…

  5. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments, apart from a few obviously immature ones, but I’ve yet to see anyone stick up for their personal preference. Does it matter which product is better, isn’t it more important that you enjoy what you’ve paid for? I personally enjoy the quality and styling of Apple products, but whole heartedly agree that some Android products do the same for less. I just like my iPods :)

    • I enjoy my preference, since 2007 it’s all iPhone and Android in the common folk, i don’t see the point in either; want an iPad though. :)

    • Why can’t just iOS or just Android be a valid choice? I’m all Android by my own personal choice because I’m a huge fan of the open approach. While iOS is a decent experience, I can’t overlook the downsides of the walled garden. It became very apparent when I got an iPhone from work. Others will think about it the opposite way and that is fine as long as nobody shoves their opinions down the other’s throat.

  6. there is no denying that the ipad is a sexy piece of kit but realistically its over rated and over priced..sure its trendy but so are calvin klein knickers but i dont wear them (primarche specials for me)

  7. Since everyone else is giving their opinion and stance, heres mine.

    I own an iPhone 2g and macbook pro. I like the UI of apple products and in my eyes that seem to always be innovating. I’m also aware that competitors are doing the same e.g. flash where the iPhone does not support it. The reason for me sticking with apple is that I know how the use the software and everything is so streamlined. With android devices I just don’t know enough about them since there are loads of mobiles with the same operating system which is a bit confusing.

    I think a lot of “casual” apple users are in the same boat as me.

    • I don’t like the UI. :( The overuse of cheap aqua gradients that look like they came out of a PhotoShop 4 tutorial from the ’90s with no customization; the worst thing is the “back” button though, just can’t stand it. It’s neither simplistic nor beautiful, more like “pimped up to make it seem cool” to me.

  8. Not enough of a change to make me want to change from my iPad2 .

    • Agreed. Apple last product iPhone4S wasn’t much of upgrade. Simpley it was cashing in updated are going to hurt the Apple brand in time.

      It going to be seen as Vista from XP, as in nothing much has change now move along.

  9. I’ve never been interested in an Ipad due to my hate of touchscreen tech and the yearly update of the hardware(It feels like it). But i can see Apple adding in Software features on a yearly basis and minor hardware tweaks. For example, they could make it easier for developers to port their existing games over to the Ipad.

    But i’ll stick to my laptop mainly due to it using buttons.

    • That makes sense.

      • Actually, i think it’s quite a surprise something coming from you does. ;)

  10. I’ve only got a Ipod touch and thats it really. Not sure why I’d need a tablet yet maybe useful for magazine and stuff

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