Apple New iPad review
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Apple just made the new iPad official and it comes with a Retina Display that goes up to 2048 x 1536 resolution with a pixel density of 264ppi. Apple’s existing apps will be scaled up to the high-res display and will be encouraging developers to do the same
Review On : Apple New iPad
30 March 2012 - It’s the new iPad, and it’s in our offices! Apple has taken away the numerical designation for the device but we will call it the iPad 3 for brevity sake. Name changes aside, the device looks very similar to the old one, but did receive upgraded hardware, a 4G LTE receiver and an upgraded Camera. But the main and arguably most noticeable upgrade must be its display, where Apple managed to one-up everyone as far as tablet screens are concerned. So should you buy it? Let’s take a look.
At a glance:
+ Retina Display
+ Tried and true design
+ Good Battery life
- No LTE for most of us
- No major changes
In the box:
- Apple iPad
- USB Dock Connector
- 3.5mm headphone
Exterior, Controls and Screen
As we mentioned before, there are not much significant changes in terms of design, but the moment we hefted it we could feel that it is heavier than last year’s model. And it is, at 662 grams, that is 55 grams heavier than the iPad 2. It is also slightly thicker at 9.4mm compared to the 8.8mm thick iPad 2. But we can still work with the iPad 3 with one hand. That aside, the edges of the iPad 3 does taper off compared to previous models.
Speaking of which, the iPad 3 has its ports and buttons are where they used to be - a home screen button, a sleep/wake button on top, a volume rocker and a mute/orientation lock trigger on the right side. The lock trigger will fix the screen at either the horizontal or vertical orientation.
The major and the most noticeable upgrade here is the 9.7-inch display which gets a Retina display which has four times as many pixels compared to the iPad 2. That is 2048 x 1536 pixels on the Retina Diplay, and Apple touts the display being as fine as print. With 264ppi crammed on the display, it is hard not to notice how clear everything is. Colours are brilliant, and watching 1080p videos are very enjoyable. With the IPS display, your friends can enjoy the same display from an odd angle.
Apple boosted the Performance on the iPad 3 - there is a boosted A5X chip which is a dual-core chip similar to the one on the iPad 2, but with a quad-core GPU to help boost graphics while gaming. Apple also worked on the RAM, it is a full 1GB now. According to benchmarking tests, its performance is similar to the iPad 2.
Battery life is similar to the iPad 2 which stands around 10 plus hours, however with the Retina Display and improved Internals, we are impressed that Apple has manage to maintain the same lifespan in the battery.
As usual, they are three versions of internal memory on the iPad 3 - 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. With the powerful camera capturing 1080p videos and Apple nudging developers to create Retina Display apps, we think you have to be economical in terms of your apps on the 16GB version.
Software, Application and Games
Out of the box, it comes with iOS 5.1. There are not major changes from iOS 5, but for the iPad 3, you get the ability for dictation - meaning you can take notes and write text messages all by speaking into the onboard microphone. It is surprisingly accurate with words and our accents, but you have to be attached to the Internet for dictation to work.
However, there is no Siri support for the iPad 3. So you will still have to rely on good old fashion gestures and flicks to get things done. iOS 5 supports multitasking gestures and so does the iPad 3, with four or five fingers - swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, pinch to return to the Home screen, and swipe left or right to switch between apps.
But for intents and purposes, most of the iOS you haveve come to know is unchanged. There is still that easy to use interface, and apps like iMessages and iReminder that comes with the update. Apple also threw in a few new apps for iOS 5.1 called iPhoto for $4.99, which is essentially a scrapbooking app with geotagging support.
Apple’s iWork, GarageBand and iMovie should cater to the more productive or creative amongst us. Photo Booth is back too, which allow simple photo tweaks.
As before, the iPad 2 retains its use as an e-book reader and with Apple trying its best to turn it into a device for learning – you will notice a new Textbooks section, which is organised like the rest of iBooks. It integrated seamlessly inside iTunes so there is a Featured section, and a New York Times bestseller list.
You have a standard medley of connectivity options here, we say standard, because aside from AT&T and Verizon in the US, most LTE networks in the world are either non-compatible or unavailable as in the case in Malaysia. That said, the iPad 3 still works with HSPA + networks in Malaysia. There is also Bluetooth, and WiFi support. As usual, you cannot make voice calls.
Camera, Video and Audio
Apple gave the 0.7-megapixel on the iPad 2 a boost to a 5-megapixel imager similar to the camera on the iPhone 4. And while we will rant on about how hefting up a tablet to take a photo is wrong, the iPad 3 does take some nice looking photos with that f/2.4 aperture.
It records 1080p video and that looks very nice too. Video stabilisation is noticeably helpful for our shaky hands, or if you are moving and recording.
Upfront there is still that VGA lens for FaceTime, but prepare to look blurry when speaking to your family and friends. And if you really want to, you can take still shots with it.
The iPad 3 still lays down the benchmark of what a tablet should be, and improves on a proven design with an upgraded processor, Retina Display, and a better camera. But with the iPad 3, we would reiterate something you may have heard before. If you own the iPad 2, then the iPad 3 is not that much of an upgrade. This is especially true if you do not mind sticking to the iPad 2’s already impressive screen, and will not need a 5-megapixel shooter.
How about the price? Presumably it will be the same price as the iPad 2 when it was initially released which starts at RM 1499 for the WiFi version, and starts about RM 2399 for the WiFi + 3G version.
At this point, we sound like a broken record, but if you are in the market for a new tablet or jumping from another platform, then the iPad 3 is for you. One new thing we will say about the iPad 3 is how Apple managed to make the iPad 3 more attractive than last year’s model and its display alone should win you over.