Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The New iPad

images-2012-03-20-20-18.jpegThe iPad is just starting its third year on the market and now the third iteration of the hottest tablet computer in the world. At first glance this revised iPad may seem a little ho-hum. But after a weekend of using it, I just can’t get over how amazing the graphics look. iOS 5 has made this not just a content consumption device but has made this a device that is just as capable at creating content. For most users they may not even need a laptop anymore.

In the announcement just over a week ago, Apple announced they had sold more iPads than HP, Dell, or Lenovo sold computers. This device is perfect for reading email, reading books, watching movies on the go, and creating content.

Equipped with a 42 watt hour battery almost double the battery of the previous generation we still get 10 hours on wifi or 9 hours on 4G. It does take longer to recharge this much larger battery. I just toss it not he charger when I am at my desk or whenever I think about it. I don’t want it to run totally dead anymore due to the amount of time recharging takes. For the enhanced graphics of the retina display and performance of the quad core graphics it is totally worth it.

The Retina display is just stunning making movies look crystal clear on the 9.7” display. Text looks as sharp as a printed page. You truly have to hold on in your hand and use apps that are designed with the new retina display in mind.

The camera while most people might feel silly holding up the iPad to take a picture has an astounding camera. Great if you are caring it along and you need to take a quick shot. The large screen really shows you immediately the quality of your image in a way a small screen on a pocket camera or smart phone just can’t seem to quiet capture. Who hasn’t taken a picture and thought it looked good on the camera screen or smart phone screen, only to load it on your computer and find something wrong with it? The lens process designed for the iPhone 4S paired with a 5 megapixel sensor makes just magnificent images.

Since the device is only 1mm thicker than the iPad 2 existing cases will still work with the tablet so there is no need to give up your favorite case to upgrade to the new iPad. Apple also delighted the press by announcing the 16 GB iPad 2 will be sticking around at a lower price point. People buying their first iPad can now get one for $350.00. I think this will pretty well kill most of the Android tablets slated to come out this year. If Apple shaved another hundred off the price they could likely kill off the Nook, and Fire tablets while they were at it.

Don’t get me wrong I want to see other tablets in the market and would like to see them do well. It pushes Apple to keep innovating and making a better tablet for those of us who use them. I am just not sure any other tablet maker has something ready that can compete with it.

The 4G LTE chipset is smoking fast with 10MB down and 5MB up speeds on Verizon. In a series of surprise tweets over the weekend I was pleased to learn that if you buy an AT&T or Verizon iPad you are not stuck with that carrier. A simple microSIM swap and you can use either carrier. If you happen to travel to Europe you will be relegated to 3G speeds since Europe’s LTE network uses different bands requiring different chips. Hopefully someone will come up with a Global Chip that can handle them all to solve that, perhaps in a future iPad.

In a test a few weeks ago I attempted to spend an entire work day while traveling to just spend it on my iPad and not breakout the laptop computer. I found that on the iPad 2 I was able to work a little over a 10 hour day. Keep up with my email, configure about a dozen airport extremes, remote control several computers, update support tickets, have a few Skype calls, do some writing, and iMessage with several people all throughout the day and had no problem doing it. Once I mastered the four finger swipe left and right to jump between apps or the four finger swipe up to select an app that was used several app switches ago, I got quiet quick at moving around and was able to get a lot of work done. WIth more AirPrint printers being made I was even able to print documents without my computer. During one trip the hotel printer on the wireless network had AirPrint and I was able to print my boarding pass right to it with no hassles at all. I was able to go the whole day without my laptop. With the new iPad this should be even easier.

As far as early reports of heating is concerned, I haven’t noticed a problem. I don’t play a lot of games on my iPad and when I do they tend to be casual games and not particularly graphics intensive. I may pick up a game for testing purposes of course and see if it really does heat up. But I have not yet noticed any such problem under normal usage in average temperature conditions.

So I would say the new iPad is a hit and Apple’s numbers today seemed to prove it. Over three million iPad’s sold on the opening weekend and availability in more countries in the next couple of weeks. It seems Apple is poised to break more records yet.

If you have an iPad 2 don’t worry. Unless you want the higher resolution screen or LTE network capability the iPad 2 is still supported and should remain popular at the lower price for a long time. The original iPad is still supported but with only 128MB of RAM may start seeming sluggish as newer apps demand more memory. So if you are on the iPad 1 this might be a good time to think about upgrading. If you are on the iPad 2 you could give it another year if you aren’t particularly eager for the new features.

Overall I am extremely pleased with my new iPad and look forward to what other announcements Apple has up their sleeves for us next.

One parting question for my readers today. How do you use your iPad? Is it a work tool? It is a toy? Does it replace your laptop? Feel free to leave your comments in the comments field below.

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