After the Mobile World Congress Event, held in Barcelona, the most anticipated event to have unfolded in the first quarter of 2012 was the one that took place on the 7th of March at San Francisco. The reason for this highly expected event was none other than the launch of the next generation iPad. The build up to the event was as usual as excitable as any other Apple announcement, but the details about the product release were very un-Apple-like. Post Steve Jobs passing, revelations of the product had surfaced, leaving little to the imagination as to what one should expect from the third generation of the tablet that is widely expected to be the year of the iPad.
Let’s take a look and see how the rumours held up and what Apple had to surprise us with.
Prior to the announcement of the newest tablet, rumour mills were abuzz with the notion that the next tablet coming out from Apple’s stable would be called the iPad 3 or the iPad HD. The brand surprised us all by dropping the suffix and went back to their roots by announcing the new ‘iPad.’ That’s right. It is just that no numbering or a name that describes the major feature of the new iPad.
The new iPad, Yes that's what it's called
One may argue that journalists and bloggers or even sources had coined up a better name for the iPad by calling it the iPad HD; but Apple has every right to name it whatever they like. After all, the iPad 2 is nothing but an iPad, whether it came with the design change or not. The only difference is that now when anyone who purchases the new iPad, for the span over the coming year will have to refer to their third generation iPad as the new iPad, even though a year later it may be old, scratched and probably not in a ‘new’ condition.
Rumours, prior to the launch of the latest iPad had hinted that the camera optics on the slate would receive a makeover with it being said to come with an 8 Megapixel camera. Well, this did not turn out totally false as the first part of the above statement turning out true with the camera being bumped up from 1 Megapixel to a 5 Megapixel rear shooter. Apple has done well by not increasing it to 8 Megapixels, and 5 Megapixels should certainly be enough for one wanting to click pictures from a tablet.
Better snapping capabilities
Alongwith the upgrade in the optics of the camera, Apple have also added some interesting features, such as a Backside Illuminated sensor, which is great for clicking pictures in low-light conditions, Auto focus and face detection with the ability to recognize upto 10 faces. Another neat feature of this tablet’s camera is that one can record videos in full HD at 1080p and possess the attribute of having video stabilization. All this together make the iPad’s camera great for everyday photography, but the question begs as to how many of us would really want to capture images or videos using a tablet? Only time will tell, as far as this is concerned.
The major selling point of the iPhone was undoubtedly, Siri, the voice recognition assistant. All the features and functions of Siri were expected to feature on the new iPad, however, it seems that Apple were not so Siri-ous about implementing these features here and have just stuck with the ho-hum feature of voice dictation.
During the keynote, Tim Cook boasted about Siri being everyone’s new best friend, but without the ability to set reminders or actually get Siri to respond back to you, everyone’s favorite artificial intelligence software seems to be basically a gimmick.
This rumour from unnamed sources, from numerous websites turned out to be spot on and with a couple carriers in the U.S now having 4G LTE capabilities, Apple have implemented this new feature in the new iPad. Those running on an AT&T network are already seeing the new 4G logo appear on their iPhone 4S smartphones and it is only matter of time when the iPad launches, that this symbol will be found on it, too.
But what does it say for countries, such as India, where we are just coming to terms with 3G. Basically nothing. We will still be at the mercy of carriers and somewhat slow Internet speeds, as opposed to our western brethren and in short, it won't be a game changer for us till the likes of Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, etc. start upgrading to LTE.
There had been a lot of debate as to which chipset would feature in the new iPad. Screenshots had pointed to the fact that it would feature a quad-core A6 processor, while leaked images showed off a dual-core A5X SoC. It seems that the latter had turned out to be true and Apple have launched the new iPad with an A5X chip that uses two cores. However, the brand instead bumped up the GPU and added two extra cores making it a quad-core GPU.
With this one can expect it to perform really smoothly and handle the upgraded display. Gaming should be a cinch on this tablet and with it a range of new games have been released, the most notable one being Infinity Blade: Dungeons.
It seems that Apple have chosen to hold their quad-core A6 chipset close to their chest and release it when the next iPhone gets revealed. Fingers crossed on this one!
The biggest and arguably the best feature on the new iPad is its Retina Display capabilities. Apple have virtually doubled the resolution of the iPad and have increased it to 2048 x 1536 with a ppi of 264. One can argue all their want about it not featuring 326 ppi, as found on the iPhone 4/ 4S or the latest iPod Touch, but its all about the distance, which one views the iPad.
A feast for your eyes
The iPad being bigger in size is not held at the same distance as the iPhone, and since Apple coined the term Retina Display, they can choose to call the new iPad with the resolution of 2048 x 1536 as Retina Display as well. This seems a bit misleading and some may point it out as false advertising, but if one takes the above point into consideration, i.e. the distance, then Apple is right in calling the display – Retina Display.
There had been a lot of debate as to what Apple would price the iPad at and given its Retina Display capabilities and bumped up specifications, many dabbled in the notion that the new iPad would be costlier than the iPad 2. However, given their track record, Apple does tend to keep the same pricing for their new devices on par with their previous models and this time around it is no different.
The iPad will sell at the same price as the iPad 2, but it also depends on the rate of the dollar in other countries, so one should expect some amount of fluctuation here. The only question that remains a mystery is when the tablet will go on sale in India. If the last couple of announcements are to be considered, then we should expect the new iPad to make its way here within a month of its U.S. launch.
In recent years Apple have rarely launched a product that has not sold like hot cakes and this slate could be no exception. Truly, the only interesting feature of the iPad is its Retina Display capabilities and Siri to a very minor extent. Other than that the camera and LTE are features that various other manufacturers have released long before the new iPad had been announced.
The new iPad
No matter if the iPad is a tad bit thicker and slightly heavier, the iPad is going to sell because there are enough of fans, out there who will want to grab it and be a proud owner of the latest iDevice from Apple. Are there any other tablets that can compete with this offering? The answer is a resounding yes. The Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Transformer Pad Infinity are two tablets that immediately pop into mind. Given the specs they have to offer. But will they outsell the latest iPad? Probably not as Apple have steam rolled the competition in the past, it seems that the same will likely happen again this year.
But with the introduction of the new iPad, this only paves the way for the competition to step up their game and launch a product that can rival the present king of tablets.