The new iPad – my review.

Short version:
THAT SCREEN!

Long version:

Those who care about software should make their own hardware. – Alan Kay.

Unpacking, etc.: I barely noticed the additional weight and “thickness”. It feels like an iPad 2, but once I turned on the screen…all hell broke lose in my brain. More on the screen below.
It’s nice of Apple that the smart covers they introduced with the iPad 2 still work with the new iPad. At least the official covers do. I’m thinking about getting a different one though. The one I have is the red leather cover, and while it’s nice and does it’s job, I think it looked better on the black iPad.

A little bit about the “thickness”: I suspect it’s the Retina display and the LED’s needing the bigger battery, not the 4G/LTE. I only have the WiFi version, but it get’s the same battery life as the 4G version by all accounts, so it must be the display. This is interesting, because it all but confirms LTE in the next iPhone. If Apple managed to get the same battery life out of the 4G iPad as it did on the WiFi-only iPad, it means that they have a chip/software that can get the expected battery life with a 4G chipset. This is bad news for their competitors.

Setup: Setup was easy. Answer a few questions, and you’re off to the races. I didn’t use my iPad 2 backup in iTunes to restore, because I wanted a “clean” install, giving me the chance to re-evaluate all the apps I have bought so far. Most didn’t make the cut, because I almost never use them, but with iCloud and the “purchased items” in iTunes it will be easy to get an app if the need should arise. So far it hasn’t.

About iCloud: Man, this is a godsend. I plug my iPad in overnight, and in the morning it’s fully charged, and iCloud has backed up all my apps, settings, photos, everything. Truly magical.

I don’t like folders on the iPad. I use them on my iPhone’s secondary screen, for apps I don’t regularly use, but I really think folders takes away part of that iPad Retina display, so I group them by category on different screens. I like this much better. On the iPhone I don’t use folders on my primary screen, because those are the apps I used most often – I will write a post about that in a while.

I mentioned in my initial thoughts, that I wasn’t sure if 16GB would be enough, and I still am not. What I am sure of is that I love the white iPad, and I’m glad I went with this color choice. It’s just so elegant, for lack of a better word. My 11-year-old doesn’t feel as excited about my color choice as I do, but he’ll get over it…change is not something he values highly.

The screen and the touch responsiveness, along with the ecosystem, is everything:
The screen is underrated in most reviews. This is a game changer. Tablets are, by definition, all about the screen. All other aspects, read: specs, do not matter. What matters ist the harmony between the screen, it’s underlying hardware, and the software that powers it, gives it it’s life.
Colors pop out. Apple says that the saturation has been improved by 40%, without distorting the reality of the colors, and I believe it. Colors are vivid, gorgeous.
Display Mate said this about the screen:

Our lab tests and visual tests agree with Apple’s claim that the new iPad has the best display ever on a mobile device…the new iPad’s picture quality, color accuracy, and gray scale are not only much better than any other tablet or smartphone, [they are] also much better than most HDTVs, laptops, and monitors…with some minor calibration tweaks the new iPad would qualify as a studio reference monitor.

See their full review of the screen here.
Yep, that’s how good it is.

This is the best consumer screen money can buy. Anywhere. For 479 Euros and up. You can spend 10.000 Euros or even more and you won’t get a better screen. Period.
Recommendation: If you like, or even love, your first- or second-gen iPad’s screen, avoid an Apple store at any cost for the next 11 months, because if you do not, you will never look at your iPad in the same way.

Reading: Holy cow! Look at that text in iBooks! This is amazing! It’s fine print quality. I don’t think I will ever buy a paper book again.
While I will agree that the iPad is still not great for reading outdoors in bright sunlight, it is much improved over the last version. Maybe because the brightness level is higher. This, to me, is no dealbreaker. I suspect most people who read this review will feel the same way, as we work and live indoors, mostly.
As for reading in dim light: The dimness control on the new iPad goes much lower than it did on the previous version, so this is good for reading in low, or no light.

Games: The graphics for optimized games, like Air Supremacy, are astonishing. Never mind that I completely crash and burn (read: suck) at it. Just the graphics alone are worth the purchase.

As for “heat”: This has gotten a lot of attention in the link-bait press as of late. My own observations do not align with them. I have played the above mentioned game for hours (and I still suck!) and the device never got to a level that I would call “hot”. Not even close.
Does it get warm? Sure. Warmer than the old iPad? Yep. Warmer than my girlfriend’s Macbook Air on Handbrake? Nope. Not by a long shot. And that’s that.

Video playback: I have watched a few HD trailers and some movies. Stellar playback. No hiccups at all. There’s really nothing else to report, besides that full HD vidoe looks extremely sharp, even with the big black stripes above and below the video…this is also a good reminder of just how many pixels this device can push.

Cameras: Front-facing VGA is good enough for Skype, FaceTime, etc. Plus, once Apple allows these services over your data connection, you will thank them. Rear camera is 5MP, but with Apple’s great sensors doing the real work your pictues actually look good. I understand that Apple uses the iPhone 4 lenses, and the iPhone 4S sensors. Combined with iPhoto for iPad, this is a vast improvement over any other tablet and most smartphones.

Work: I do some work on the side for friends, like writing long documentation, scripting, presentations, etc. I use Apple’s iWork suite of apps to do this, and I like working on the new iPad even more than on the iPad 2. The screen is just so immersive. I also enjoy it because the thing you’re working on is exclusive. There are no distractions. This helps my productivity, and if I really need to jump to another app quickly I use the three-finger swipe to the right, or left respectively. Multi-touch on these devices is a joy to use.
iCloud sync keeps all my important stuff current on all my iDevices, which is just awesome – that’s how a cloud should work: A minimum amount of user interaction.
Some thoughts on typing with the iPad: I never really got the idea of why you would want to pair a Bluetooth keyboard to an iPad, and I still don’t. Granted, I don’t type for a living, but then again who does. In my experience I have never had the need for a tethered keyboard.
This review was written, and edited, entirely on the new iPad btw.

Battery: As usual, Apple under-promises and over-delivers. I get at least 10 hours of heavy usage out of a single charge. I have always charged my iPads overnight, so there’s no change for me in charging patterns. It seems to charge at a rate of about 17-20% an hour. I unplug the new iPad at around 6:30 am, use it all day, and when I call it a day at 11pm I have used it for 16,5 hours. Of course this is not constant use, as I have a day job, but it’s fairly heavy use with iMessage, Twitter, Safari, Facebook, Reminders, Mail, the occasional game, and Calendar being used most often. This routine drains the battery to about 25-35%, with the screen brightness set to auto.
When idle the new iPad seems to lose about 1% of it’s charge per hour.

iOS: This is the part that makes the iPad come to life. iOS’s biggest advantage over rival OS’s is it’s touch-responsiveness. It is instant. It feels as if you manipulate the app itself. There’s no lag, no jerkiness, no freezes. Apple is leaps and bounds ahead on this. There’s no other way of saying it.

Conclusion: Apple has executed this second device introduction since Steve Jobs passed away beautifully. Almost no lines on launch day made some jump the gun, declaring it a failure, but instead Apple has demonstrated to the nay-sayers that they are in a league of their own managing the supply chain, with over 3 million units sold on opening weekend. I predict that the new iPad will be a compareable “failure” as the iPhone 4S was.
I actually spent 105 Euros on my new iPad, because I got 374 Euros for my iPad 2 a week before the new one was announced…one of the perks of following Apple closely. 105 Euros for another year with this beast. What a bargain.
Two years ago nobody knew where the iPad would fit in. Fast forward to today, and people like me, IT people and everyone else, are using iPads all over the place. Post-PC.

Should you buy it? This is the real question, and here’s my answer:
If you belong to the 99% who use their computing device to surf the web, do mail, play the occasional game, write documents, look at pictures. etc. the answer is a resounding yes.
If you have an iPad (first-gen): Yes.
If you have an iPad 2: Depends. If you’re like me, and upgrade every year for a minimum cost, then yes, but if you’re happy with your 2nd gen iPad then wait for the next one, where Apple will probably move to an improved SoC (A6), which will very likely, use the less power-hungry A15 architecture, compared to the A9 now used.
If you understand this
#!/bin/bash
echo "Converting "$1".dmg to "$1".iso:"

hdiutil convert "$1".dmg -format UDTO -o "$1".iso

mv "$1".iso.cdr "$1".iso
the answer is no. The iPad is not for coders, yet. Yeah, I know, this is pretty basic, but you get the point.

The new iPad. Later this year: The new iPhone. Numbers are for nerds.

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2 comments on “The new iPad – my review.

  1. Riley says:

    I love the new Retina Display on the new iPad. I upgraded from a first generation iPad, so there was a huge difference in the performance of it. I have the white 16GB LTE iPad, since I don’t save very much to it; the memory is not a problem. Having LTE has been great. I was at the airport a few hours early last week, and I just took out my iPad and started watching live TV in HD using the DISH Remote Access app. I use this app a lot; usually while on lunch at DISH where I work, and it was nice being able to catch up on my shows while waiting for my flight. I’m very happy with my iPad!

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