Apple’s 2012 iPad was just announced by the new CEO, Tim Cook. The changes over the second generation iPad 2 are significant, with Apple’s Retina Display brought to the tablet level. Should you buy this newly introduced third generation iPad? Should you opt for a cheaper, discounted iPad 2? We’ll dive in to the pros and cons of Apple’s latest iPad below, with a full analysis of upcoming products and other in-market competitors.
|Retina Display||Incremental upgrade?||ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700|
|A5X processor, performance||No Sprint LTE||Rumored Google Nexus tablet|
|Upgraded camera||Expensive||Amazon Kindle Fire|
|Tablet-optimized applications||Necessity of a tablet||Huawei MediaPad 10 FHD|
The folks at Apple did a really nice job integrating the elements we’ve seen on the iPhone 4/4S with the Retina Display. While the iPad’s Retina Display offers only 264 pixels-per-inch (as opposed to the iPhone’s 326), it’ll still knock the socks off of any competing tablet display resolution. At 2048 x 1536 pixels, the 2012 iPad has the best resolution offered by any tablet manufacturer.
It’s not just the amount of pixels, but the display technology, that matters here. Since the new iPad offers a 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS display, you’ll be getting a very bright and crisp screen. It should parallel The third generation iPad features a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating as well. Apple’s touting 44% greater display saturation and a True RGB matrix with the circuitry dropped below its sub-pixels to minimize dot pitch.
This screen is one of a kind, and it’s the best reason to buy the new iPad.
Apple’s A5-powered iPad 2 was never a slowpoke, with a dual-core CPU/GPU combo that rivaled many of the top chips in the industry until last month’s introduction of the Snapdragon S4 and Tegra 3. But, with the third-gen iPad, Apple’s taking the A5 GPU to a new level. They’re calling the system-on-chip the A5X. According to Apple, it offers two times the processor speed of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3, and four times the GPU performance.
Inside of the Apple A5X is a PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU, which is an impressive gadget. This is the same module we see inside Sony’s brand new PlayStation Vita.
Plus, you’re getting iOS 5.1, which is optimized perfectly for Apple’s three flagship iOS devices. With a fully hardware accelerated user interface, the third generation iPad should be the fastest iOS device yet.
Apple’s touting their brand new iSight camera built into the new iPad. It’s a 5-megapixel module with a backside-illuminated sensor that captures great looking photographs in the dark of evening or light of day. Autofocus, tap to focus, and tap to set exposure functions are built into the iOS camera application. Now, there’s face detection for up to ten faces in a frame. That means clearer portraits. The iPad backside camera offers an f/2.4 aperture and five-element lens to capture light efficiently and produce a sharp image.
You can record video in full 1080p HD, and with automatic video stabilization, it should be smooth and shakeless.
We should note that at 5-megapixels, this camera is under-specced compared to ASUS’ new Transformer Pad Infinity series. Of course, we’d like to see some side-by-side comparisons. Megapixels aren’t everything.
Today, at the announcement in Cupertino, Tim Cook boasted about Apple’s impressive 200,000+ tablet-optimized applications for iOS. That’s a hell of a lot more than Google, RIM, or HP can show off in their corresponding markets.
In addition to the thousands of third party applications from the App Store, Apple’s brought their entire iLife suite to the iPad with: iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie, and more. All of these applications have been optimized for the brand new iPad.
External developers will only need to update their graphics in order to get their apps looking as clean as possible on third generation iPad devices. Since the resolution is double the old one, it should make for an easy upgrade job. Text and other UX elements can be scaled easily from their older formats, meaning you’re going to see some great looking tablet apps on the 2012 iPad.
Finally, we’re seeing the addition of 4G LTE to an Apple product. The third generation iPad features 4G LTE connectivity from the world’s biggest LTE providers including: AT&T, Verizon, Bell, Rogers, and Telus. Other networks will benefit from the 21 Mbps HSPA+, 42 Mbps DC-HSDPA, and world-ready 3G bands. If allowed by the carrier, your third-gen iPad can even create WiFi hotspots for other devices.
The best part? Apple accomplished the addition of 4G LTE without sacrificing too much in terms of battery life. The company claims that 4G iPads will still see nine hours of life (ten hours without LTE).
Is this an incremental upgrade from Apple? There were plenty of times during the announcement when journalists noted: “Oh, Apple left that out.” For example, we didn’t get the tactile screen that was rumored this morning. There was no smaller version of the iPad to compete with Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire, and there certainly wasn’t a dramatic form factor change like the one we saw stepping from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4.
Plus, there’s no Siri! Although Apple added voice dictation to the iPad 2012, we won’t get a taste of that iPhone 4S Siri action. It’s possible that iOS 6 will bring Siri to the iPad, but we know now that the third-gen iPad will launch with an incremental iOS 5.1 update.
Sprint is just about ready to launch their brand new 4G LTE network in the United States with phones such as the Galaxy Nexus coming out within the next months. But, Apple’s again leaving the Now Network in the dust. If you want a 4G LTE iPad in America, you’ll be chained to AT&T and Verizon. Both of those carriers use throttling and data limits to imprison your data-consuming soul. Plus, Sprint offers much cheaper data plans on the whole. AT&T and Verizon are both pushing $30 per month for their average 4G LTE data plans.
Apple products are expensive. The new iPad is no exception. It’ll be available with only 16 GB of memory for $499, 32 GB for $599, and 64 GB for $699. If you want 4G LTE (one of the best features of the new iPad), you’ll have to shell out $629, $729, or $829 respectively for the 16, 32, and 64 GB models. That’s a steep price to pay, friends. Can you shell out that much cash for a tablet in this economy?
Other competitors are offering much cheaper tablets. The Amazon Kindle Fire is only $199, and the ASUS MeMo 370T is quad-core for only $249!
There’s still an argument to be made about the necessity of a tablet. Especially with gigantic phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X, etc. Does one really need a 10-inch device that runs the same operating system as their handheld? Assuming all of these applications come in mobile format too, can’t one just use a phone?
ASUS is bringing out the big guns with an upgraded Transformer Pad Infinity 700 tablet set for release sometime soon. The device offers ASUS’ excellent 2-in-1 chiclet QWERTY keyboard accessory for extensive battery life and laptop-like usage. Plus, it features a/an (possibly more) impressive 8-megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture and backlit sensor. Up front, there’s a 2-megapixel camera that shoots HD video for high-definition video calling. That outdoes the iPad’s VGA front camera by miles.
The Super IPS+ display on the Infinity offers 600 nits of brightness, an ultra-wide 178° viewing angle, Gorilla Glass 2, and a high 1920 x 1200 FHD resolution. That screen will certainly give the third generation iPad a run for its money, although the iPad bests it in number of pixels.
For entertainment purposes, the Infinity offers SonicMaster sound technology. And for optimal performance, the product utilizes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 (with LTE) and NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 (without LTE). Note the 64 GB of internal storage, too.
This is probably the closest we’ll get to a solid iPad competitor within a reasonable launch window. And, it’s not bad at all.
Rumors suggest that Google may be working on a brand new Nexus tablet. This Nexus tablet may offer a Google Experience Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich build, or perhaps Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. Supposedly, it’ll feature a portable 7-inch display, NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and a very reasonable $199 price tag. This is all speculation, though.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire may not be a quad-core destroyer or Retina Display-packing beast, but it certainly has its own merits. With an extremely low, subsidized price tag and full Amazon content integration, the Kindle Fire is still an excellent option. Plus, its 7-inch display makes it a lot more portable than the larger iPad.
We shouldn’t count out the Chinese manufacturer, Huawei. With their MediaPad 10 FHD, Huawei is ready to take on the best of the tablet market. It features a 1920 x 1200 FHD resolution, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, an IPS display, and 8/16/32 GB models. But, what really impresses us with the MediaPad 10 is Huawei’s performance-centered guts. This beast has a 1.5 GHz quad-core K3 processor which outdoes NVIDIA’s new Tegra 3 SoC in performance tests. Plus, there’s a full 2 GB of RAM in there. That means you’ll be getting optimal multi-tasking performance like none other seen on Android. In addition, the MediaPad features an 8-megapixel camera and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.