Apple’s third generation tablet simply called iPad, is an iterative upgrade rather than something completely new yet the upgrades seem to be solid and much more than a marginal change. Much like our mobile phones, which people tend to forget, it takes time and the right available technologies to completely redesign a product in order to make it look and feel like a totally new device.
It should also be remembered that just because a new product maintains the same form factor as it’s predecessor the internal upgrades are really the most important items to pay attention to. This new iPad contains a 265ppi 2048×1536 high resolution “retina” display, a quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU, 5-megapixel rear camera, Bluetooth 4.0 and a larger more powerful 42.5 watt-hour 11,666 mAh battery.
Although, I’ve never owned any of the previous iPads, I will say that on specs alone I believe this is a very decent upgrade, especially for anyone coming from a first generation iPad. Is it necessary for everyone… of course not. Unless your hardware is truly outdated; meaning it can’t run either any of, or even just one of your most critical applications. Upgrading to a new device everytime a new version is released for most people is never a necessity. It usually takes two or three iterations for your hardware to truly be outdated and it’s still dependent upon the software you’re running and how you use the device.
My usage thus far has been everything except disappointing. The CPU, although, being the same 1GHz dual-core A5 that’s in the iPad 2; still seems quite sufficient at the moment. Web pages load quickly. Games and applications seem to perform quite well even with a last generation processor. Infinity Blade for example, a graphically heavy hack and slash type of game plays flawlessly with no signs of lag or stutter.
The display itself is nothing short of fantastic. You really notice how gorgeous the display is when looking at high resolution, high quality photos, images, videos and when reading. High-definition movies are probably the best example of just how fantastic this display is. Outside of viewing media the screen’s brilliance seems to almost disappear as you perform regular day-to-day tasks as that is no longer what you’re focusing on. What you may notice in some applications is how crisp, clean, and print-like the graphics are which far exceeds the already great display of former iPads. As far as color representation, let’s take a step back for moment and I’ll preface it with this first. Like any another display (TV, phone, laptop, etc), it is not professionally calibrated, and expecting such is a little absurd. The display is designed and setup to be as close to accurate as possible. The color gamut and contrast are calibrated in a generalized fashion and not on a screen by screen basis. There will be slight variances in every display but in general they are fantastic. If yours seems way off then take to an Apple Store to have it looked at.
While I doubt most people use the rear camera on an iPad on a regular basis I do see its usefulness, and obviously so does Apple. Finally, Apple has included a more decent 5-megapixel camera, their custom designed five element lens system and also adding true full 1080p recording. No game changer here, but having much better picture and video quality than you get from the iPad 2 brings the iPad on a more even playing field and makes it feel like a more complete device.
The iPad’s battery should get you through an average day of usage. As with all things, your mileage will definitely vary, so don’t go taking that 10-hour battery rating to heart. Also, don’t expect the battery to charge quickly either. That 42.5 watt-hour, 11,666 mAh battery is massive and dense. It will take the better half of a good nights sleep to fully recharge it, depending on how much the battery is depleted.
The amount of memory you need solely depends on how you use your device. I opted for the 64GB capacity because I have a tendency to store a lot of media on my device for when away from any type of wireless connectivity and I use quite a few applications and games on top of that. iCloud aside, if you are the type who isn’t really into applications or storing music, video or other file types on your device then 16GB may be a good choice. Now, if you’re even a moderate user of applications, games and store even some music, videos and files then you should probably be looking at the 32GB version. If you do anything more than that the 64GB is more likely what you’re going to need. In the end, be honest with your usage and don’t skimp because you’ll just end up returning it for a higher capacity one anyway.
Wireless connectivity as also been fantastic. WiFi has worked flawlessly; no dropped, slowed or intermittent connectivity issues of any kind, so streaming should be a non-issue. The new Bluetooth 4.0 is no longer the battery hog of the past. Connections as still good and and backward compatible with all devices using the Bluetooth 2.1 and lower protocols. As with WiFi I’ve experienced no connectivity issues here either. Hopefully, new accessories will soon become available to take full use of the new chipset.
So what have we got here? A gorgeous display that really shines when playing games and viewing media especially pictures and video. A much improved graphics processor that should usher in a new level of iOS gaming and better Air Play functionality. A better camera allowing for a much improved picture taking experience and full 1080p recording. Wireless connectivity with both Bluetooth and WiFi as been excellent; no flakiness at all so streaming is a go. You loss nothing in power due to the massive and dense battery packed inside and even non-updated applications still work as usual, although they may be a little less visually stunning. All this in a slightly larger, slightly heavier package but in the same form factor as its predecessor. So it’s well designed almost by default yet it’s still well balanced when holding it even though it’s a bit heavier. If you are still on the fence about upgrading, look at which iPad you currently own and check how your applications are running. This is a good upgrade with no trade offs. So my only question is what are you waiting for?