Posted by: Brett
After months of speculation, rumors, and talk of a new iPad, Apple finally delivered it during today’s event, announced last week through an invite with a subtle hint. “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”. Today, we found out that the message typed onto a blown up photo of the iPad 3’s hardware meant a fairly large upgrade to a device category Apple pioneering in 2010 with the original iPad. We were treated with a ultra-clear Retina display, powered by an A5 chip on steroids, and LTE connectivity, enhancing the speed of what use to be just 3G on it’s predecessor. Of course that’s not everything, so keep reading for all the details.
As leaked last month, the iPad 3, being marketed as “the new iPad”, features a more powerful A5 dual-core processor, now known as the A5X. Apple says the souped-up processor has 4 times the performance of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3, found in quad-core Android devices, as well as being two times faster performance-wise than the iPad 2. The processor has a quad-core graphics processor, although the main CPU is a slightly upgraded dual-core chip. It’s unknown whether a speed difference is significant enough to be noticed during day to day use.
The A5X processor is used to power the Retina display on the iPad, which has four times the pixels where one pixel fits. So that one pixel is essentially cut into four small pixels, producing enhanced clarity and color production. There are 264 pixels per inch with a resolution of 2048 by 1536, giving the display an astounding 3.1 million pixels. That is a higher resolution than most HD television displays, all condensed onto a 9.7 inch tablet. The color really pops on the screen and they are not as washed out as they were on iPad 2. You can hold iPad 3 roughly 15 or less inches away from your face and you won’t be able to discern a single pixel out of the 3.1 million on the display. Apple updated every part of the OS to take advantage of the Retina display.
Hardware and Software
The new iPad is .07 pounds heavier and .6 mm thicker than the iPad 2 from last year, most likely due to the new processor, camera, LTE radio (in the 4G version), and the new display. Otherwise, then entire casing is the exact same as before; no new switches or buttons (yes, the home button is still there) that weren’t present before. On the software side, the iPad is running iOS 5.1 which was released to the masses today, surprisingly, without a gold master release to developers. For the iPad 3, it features a clearer experience, with all built in interfaces updated for the Retina display. iPad 3 has Siri Dictation, the keyboard function allowing you to use speech to text, not Siri in her entirety, unfortunately. There is a redesigned camera app, as well as the other bug fixes and improvements included by Apple.
The new iPad features a vastly upgraded camera, being called an iSight camera by Apple, with 5 megapixel capabilities and support for shooting full 1080p video. It has the same optics as the iPhone 4S including image and video stabilizations, better quality in low lighting conditions, a 5 lens camera system, IR filter, white balance, auto-focus, and face-detection. The image quality and video quality are leaps and bounds better than the iPad 2.
Connectivity and Pricing
The iPad 3 comes in a WiFi variant with 16, 32, and 64GB (nope, no 128GB model) with the same price points as the iPad 2; $499.99, $599.99, and $699.99 respectively. If you opt for the 4G LTE model, you’ll get faster speeds when browsing the web, downloading apps, and more. It’ll run you $629.99, $729.99, and $829.99 for the same storage options as above, respectively. You’ll also require a 4G or 3G plan, depending on the service you choose. The 4G model will operate on AT&T or Verizon, again, depending on the model you choose.
“Should I get one?”
Well if you really want one, then yes, get it. No one can stop you. If you’re indecisive, think about what you need vs. what you want. Do you need the better camera? Do you need the slightly better processor? Is the better screen necessary? If you answered ‘no’ to those questions, then the iPad 2 will probably be your best bet.You can even purchase a new 16GB iPad 2 from Apple for $399.99 or $349.99 refurbished. They are not selling the 32GB of 64GB models on their site as new; only refurbished, which generally run about $50 less than the full price. If it’s your first iPad, definitely start off with the newest one, without a doubt, if you’re not on a budget.
Apple calls the device “resolutionary” and I’m quite confident it will live up to that name. What do you think?