Apple Announces New iPad
It’s hard to believe that it has only been two short years since Apple introduced the iPad. Before the original iPad existed there were other tablet computers but they found limited success in the marketplace. Somehow Steve Jobs found a way to capture the exact user experience that the public wanted and the iPad became an immediate success. Now it is hard to imagine my life without my iPad.
I was one of the early adopters of the iPad. I initially purchased one out of curiosity and to see how difficult it would be to develop software. What I found surprised me. I quickly reached for my iPad rather than my laptop to do general work. When I was called to Grand Jury Duty, which lasted three months, I took my iPad with me to read or write columns during breaks from the courtroom. I was amazed at how much I could do with this small portable device as compared to my more bulky laptop.
Within a few months I had moved into the post-PC era and only looked back when I was doing serious development with tools that did not exist on the iPad. When the second-generation iPad 2 was released last year I eagerly ordered and waited along with thousands of others hoping to get one during the initial release. My back order lasted nearly a month but it was worth the wait to get an even more robust device with features such as a camera that allowed FaceTime and video conferencing.
Like most of the free world I waited and scoured the Internet to find any rumors on the next generation iPad that Apple was supposedly announcing in 2012. There are nearly as many Apple psychics as there are customers. It seems everyone has an inside source that is dishing out details of what this secret device has.
On March 7th Apple unveiled the latest generation in front of a packed crowd in San Francisco. This was the first major product release since the passing of long-time CEO and company founder Steve Jobs and people were curious if there would be any differences in Tim Cook’s presentation versus Jobs, the master of product introductions.
It didn’t take long for attention to turn to the new iPad. Within 15 minutes of the presentation the device was unveiled. Most people assumed the latest generation would be designated as the iPad 3 but Apple seems to be moving away from the numerical designation referring to this as “the new iPad”. This will likely cause some confusion since we have the original iPad, the iPad 2, and now the iPad again. I understand Apple’s reasoning but you will have to be a little more definitive to differentiate between the various devices now.
The new iPad is an amazing piece of technology from a specifications perspective. Apple has brought the Retina Display to a larger form factor with the new iPad having an incredible 2048 by 1536 pixel display at 264 pixels per inch. To put this in perspective the 9.7 inch screen now has higher resolution than a 40-inch high definition television.
Photos and text are crystal clear and movies look amazing on the new screen. No more jagged edges to type or fuzzy edges around photos and movies. Instead the new iPad is like looking through a window into a magical world.
The Retina Display would be nothing if the iPad could not drive that many pixels in a timely fashion. Apple understood this point and specified the dual-core Apple A5X chip as the brains. Besides having dual-core for most processing the A5X also includes quad-core graphics acceleration to make the frame rate incredibly smooth whether you are playing games, watching movies, or surfing the web.
From a networking perspective the new iPad continues to support Wi-Fi as well as 3G cellular networking. Apple did not stop there, they also included 4G LTE network capabilities to give the device much quicker response to the new standard with downloads being much faster. The availability of 4G is still spotty in the United States but if you happen to be in an area that has the new network the iPad will take advantage and give you an even better user experience.
Dimensions of the new iPad are similar to the iPad 2. It is slightly thicker but maintains the curved form factor. The Smart Cover that Apple announced last year with the iPad 2 continues to work on the new iPad. The new device also uses the same home button located on the bottom of the bezel and the same docking port on the bottom that other models have used. In these cases the rumor mill we not exactly accurate since many suggested the dock would be replaced with a Magsafe plug or some other connector.
The new iPad comes in the same configurations as the previous models with storage options of 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. You can get any of these with just Wi-Fi or for $130 more you can have 4G LTE along with Wi-Fi for the ultimate in connectivity.
Apple has set March 16th as the official launch day for the new iPad but surprised everyone by taking pre-orders on March 7th. As expected, Apple’s online store was crushed by the masses all trying to get into the pre-order queue before delivery times stretched from days to weeks to months.
Surprisingly, for the first 24-hours of pre-sale the delivery date stayed at March 16th meaning that Apple obviously has been manufacturing the new device for a while to keep up with anticipated demand. It took me nearly 2 hours to complete the pre-order process as the web site went down several times during the ordering. I was able to finally complete the purchase and have an anticipated delivery date of March 16. At that time I will post a review of my impressions once I have the new device in hand.
From everything I have seen and heard about the new iPad I may have a sleepless night on Thursday waiting for delivery of my new tablet. It will definitely be worth the wait.