The iPad – what a great device. Back in 2010, Apple saw the tablet as more than just another way to browse the internet and read books. They saw something different, something that would change the way we define portable computing. No, the tablet has not yet replaced notebook computers, but it’s well on its way!
With the unveiling of the third-generation iPad, Apple has reset the standard.
In 2010, the iPad had ever so much potential. Now, in 2012, its burgeoning popularity poses a serious challenge to the conventional PC market. When you talk about the iPad you’re talking about the start of a revolution in computing.
This is an iPad review, but it also aims to answer the question; what is the iPad? I’m going to take an in-depth look at Apple’s new iPad and explain how I believe it’s the beginning of a change that will shift everything you know about technology, from the web to gaming. With everything you’ve heard about the iPad over the last few weeks you’re probably wondering how the new iPad stacks up, what makes it significant?
Keep reading to find out.
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Please note that I am reviewing the Wi-Fi model of Apple’s new iPad since I don’t have 4G LTE in my area and didn’t purchase that model.
It's not much thicker, as you probably can't see.
Let’s start with the design of Apple’s latest device. In short, not much has changed.
Apple increased the thickness of the device by 0.6 mm, which is barely noticeable to the naked eye. Other than that, it’s now 51 grams heavier, which is actually quite prominent when you’re used to the iPad 2. But if you’ve been using an original iPad, then you’re most likely not going to notice this difference at all. Oh, and if you have an iPad 2 case, then it’s likely to be able to hold the new iPad as well.
Lastly, I’d like to point out that Apple has modified the camera opening to be significantly larger than that of the iPad 2. This is because the new camera is 5-megapixels and f/2.4, whereas the older iPad had a 0.7-megapixel camera – and I can’t seem to find the f-stop anywhere. I’ll talk more about the camera later on in this iPad review, right now let’s talk about the most significant change.
The Safari icon on Apple's iPad Retina display.
This is the highlight of the new iPad.
There is really nothing like it out there. If you want to know what it’s like, then just imagine being able to do everything that you’re doing on your iPad 2 on a piece of paper – it’s that clear!
The text is astonishingly crisp, there are no pixels to be seen.
With the new iPad’s Retina display, there’s really no need for paper. I’m excited to see every device out there, including our ‘HD’ televisions, get this kind of technology. This is the future.
I’m looking forward to the day when you can walk up to your television and still not be able to see the pixels on the screen. It’s digital paper. That’s the day I’m excited for, and Apple has begun building the road to it with the new iPad. You see, this device is more than just another tablet – it’s the redefinition of high definition.
As Dr. Seuss said, “It’s not about what it is. It’s about what it can become.”
Seeing is believing. There’s really nothing more to it than that. Go to your local Apple store, Best Buy, or other miscellaneous retail store and try one of these devices out to really see what I mean. It may not be noticeable to some, but try to compare it to the iPad 2 and you’ll really understand what pixels are.
Just an AppStorm article in Safari.
With a beautiful display that measures 2048 by 1536 pixels, you’re probably worried that the new iPad has a hard time not lagging about, but everything works surprisingly smoothly. In my five days of testing to write this iPad review, the new iPad has been much faster than the iPad 2 in multiple areas. I’ve been able to keep every app on my device open at once without any lag whatsoever, thanks to the 1GB of RAM in this device (The iPad 2 had 512 MB of RAM). I even had five tabs open in Safari while composing a small piece of music in GarageBand without any slowing down whatsoever.
The startup time on the new iPad is only slightly faster than that of the iPad 2 and isn’t all that noticeable. Other than that, only a few things seem to have issues with the new device – one of these issues was with Amazon Mobile, which slowed the whole thing down for some reason. However, since two days ago, they have updated their app with support for the new tablet – well, they left out Retina display optimization, so it’s not finished yet.
Overall, everything has been stable and navigation has been swift. No major problems here.
The rear-facing camera on the new iPad.
As I said before, the new iPad’s camera is 5-megapixels, whereas the iPad 2 touted one of less than a megapixel – which took horrible, grainy pictures and video. I’m one for quality photographs and good video, so this new iPad definitely appealed to me and I must say, the camera is actually very good when compared to the iPad 2, but it’s no DSLR.
The camera on the iPhone 4S is terrific, it’s a slight shame they couldn’t go the whole way and put that camera in the new iPad.
One particular issue with it is that the iPad has a hard time processing the live image as you’re moving it around, so it lags when you’re trying to take a picture. It’s a strange issue that’s probably related to the software, but it could also be the hardware, so I’m not sure.
It's about the quality of the camera on the iPhone 4.
I’ve managed to take a few photos with my new iPad, one of which is directly above. It hasn’t been edited, so you’re seeing the raw photo itself. You can view the original full-size image by clicking it. Other than that, here’s another one in lower light:
My MacBook Pro's keyboard backlit with all the lights in the room off.
You can see that there’s a lot of noise due to the high ISO, but overall it’s not a terrible image.
Lastly, I’ve taken two short videos showing the capabilities of the new iPad’s 1080p video capture at 30 frames per second. The first is outdoors and the second indoors with a bit of low-light testing. They mostly look great and don’t have an unbearable amount of noise, so you get the basic idea of what it’s capable of. The colors look pretty good, but photos seem to come out better in my testing.
Battery percentage in the top right corner of the screen.
Now here’s one of the big questions about the new device. Everyone wanted to know how on earth Apple could include such a high-definition display without losing all the battery life. Well, their solution was a battery that has nearly twice the capacity of the iPad 2’s. This new battery is a 42.5-watt-hour specimen, whereas the iPad 2 had a 25-what-hour one. Even though it shouldn’t really increase the battery life at all, I’ve noticed that my iPad has lasted a bit longer than my iPad 2 did.
However, when it comes to charging this battery, it takes quite a while. I had it plugged in for six hours and it finally finished charging. More capacity means a longer charging time, which can be inconvenient for some people, so I just thought I’d warn you about it in advance.
Pressing the Siri Dictation button to dictate a note.
The only new piece of software on this new iPad, aside from iOS 5.1, is Siri Dictation. Even though this is a great feature, I don’t see myself using it much because;
It requires an Internet connection.
It’s not quite as accurate as I’d hope for when dictating something to my iPad.
If I am to actually write down a note, then I’d prefer it to be readable and understandable to anyone, not just me. I’m sure Apple will work out the quirks in this eventually, but until then I probably will just remove the extra button from my keyboard.
If you’d like to remove Siri Dictation, just head over to the Settings app, go to General, tap Keyboard, and slide the Dictation button to Off.
HD Video Playback
iTunes video's aspect ratio is still different than the iPad's.
I thought I’d go over this really quick because the iPad 2 wasn’t able to play back 1080p video. I’ve found that the 1080p content from iTunes plays back very nicely and the screenshot above shows the first episode of Doctor Who Series 5 (although it has to be seen on an 1080p device for the full effect). It’s crystal clear and plays very smoothly with little or no lag at all. When there are explosions, it will get a little fuzzy, but that’s mostly because of the iTunes compression.
Browsing my Twitter timeline with Tweetbot.
Does it warrant the pun on the word revolutionary? I believe that it does. I’d recommend upgrading to this new iPad over keeping the old one any day, whether you have the original iPad or the iPad 2. There’s just no comparison when it comes to the display, and what is a tablet without its display?
Other than that, this new model seems to be much faster and has 4G LTE, which is lightning fast if you’re in the city – I haven’t had a chance to try it myself, but had an HTC ThunderBolt for a few months last year and loved the network speed.
This is the iPad coming of age, making a very strong case that it is the future of personal computing.