Why the new iPad is great, but it isn't

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ThatsMeRight, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

    Sep 12, 2009
    This is my personal opinion. I'm posting this for the sake of discussion. I'm not a native English speaker, I apologize upfront for any grammatical errors.

    Wednesday Apple announced the successor of the iPad 2: the third generation iPad ("The new iPad", from here on: "iPad 3").

    The iPad 3 is a solid and decent upgrade. The biggest new feature is the retina display. Not only is the text extremely crisp and look images crystal clear, Apple also claims that the iPad 3 offers 44% greater colour saturation. In combination with an amazing pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, the iPad 3 will show us the best tablet display so far.

    Apple also gave us a newer, faster A5X chip, LTE, a 5 megapixel rear camera with the lenses of the iPhone 4S and 1080p video recording and voice dictation.

    This sounds like a great upgrade, doesn't it? It isn't. It is a solid, decent upgrade. That's it. And I'm going to tell you why.

    Retina display
    Let's dissect the iPad 3, starting with the retina display. The retina display is the real upgrade here. It's extremely sharp and gives us great colour saturation. The iPad 2 didn't have a terrible display, but ever since Apple showed us the retina display, we all knew we wanted one in the iPad as well. So far, so good, so great.

    iSight camera
    Let's take a look at the cameras. Apple gave us, what they call, an iSight camera.

    "On the back we have a camera, and when that camera gets of such quality and capability that you're proud to use it as your everyday camera for photographs, we call it an iSight camera. And the new iPad has a great iSight camera."

    And it's true from what I've seen. The iPad 3 appears to have a great camera and thus we can all it an iSight camera. According to Apple it's got similar optics like the iPhone 4S, and the iPhone 4S takes beautiful pictures for a mobile phone. You could argue that it is 'only five megapixels', but that doesn't really matter. The iPhone 4's got 5 megapixels and the iPhone 4's camera isn't bad. It's the perfect compromise between costs and image quality: the same great optics from the iPhone 4S, with a decent amount of megapixels.

    So, at first glance everything seems perfect. What's the catch? The catch is the front facing camera. Apple seems to have forgotten that people are more likely to use the front facing camera than the rear camera: primarily because the iPad is ideal for video calling. Apple did not upgrade the front facing camera. What is wrong with them? I expected at least a 2,1 megapixel camera for HD video calling. Apple could have given us FaceTime HD, like on the Mac. And perhaps, Skype would have thrown in support for Full HD video calls.

    Instead, Apple choose to give us the exact same, terrible, front facing camera. It might be just me, but I would rather have had a full HD front facing camera and the same 720p rear facing camera like found on the iPad 2, than the same crappy camera at the front and a 5 megapixel camera at the rear.

    Voice Dictation
    To be honest, I love it. This feature is rather basic: you simply talk and text appears on the screen - we've seen similar technology for years now, even in Apple's own App Store. The best thing is that this works in every app.

    So, again, what's the catch? Well, first of all, it's Siri but than without the personal assistant. The iPad is a different device than the iPhone, so it's understandable you can't bring over all of Siri's functionality but they could have at least given a part of Siri to us. I somewhere read a theory that Apple might have decided not to implement Siri because it requires an internet connection - and WiFi only iPads do not always have an internet connection which brings me to issue number two.

    Voice Dictation also requires an internet connection. Voice Dictation should happen locally, on the device itself. It's unlikely I want to use Voice Dictation if I'm not going to do something internet-related (sending e-mail, twitter, Facebook, etc.), but it could still happen.

    The third, and last, issue is that it only supports a number of languages. Now I do realize this doesn't matter to anyone living in an area where English is the number one language, but there are also a lot of countries on Earth where English isn't the main language!

    So, voice dictation might appear to be great, but it isn't: it's Siri... without the personal assistent, it requires an internet connection and it only supports four languages so far (English, Japanse, French and German).

    iOS 5.1
    iOS 5.1 was really disappointing as well. iOS 3.2 gave us the first iOS-version for iPad. iOS 4.2 gave us multitasking and some great new apps. iOS 5.1 gives us... a camera button at the lockscreen?!

    Scott Forstall usually comes up to stage to show us some great new iOS software. This year he didn't.

    iOS 5.1 is a stable version of iOS, but it doesn't offer us anything new.

    Finally Apple has added true 4G LTE. It gives us amazingly fast data speeds, sometimes even faster than your own Wi-Fi network. This is the thing everybody wants. So, what is the catch?

    Well, first of all: there are two versions. One for Verizon and one for AT&T. This doesn't really make it a world tablet, does it? Even more notable is that, with the Verizon 4G version, you can roam on both GSM and CDMA networks abroad. You can't roam on CDMA networks when you own the AT&T version. Oh, and you can't connect to Verizon LTE with your AT&T LTE tablet or vice versa.

    Than there's the second catch. Apple completely ignored Europe. The iPad 3 can't connect to LTE networks in Europe. There are some very decent LTE networks in Europe, even more reliable and faster than those in the United States. Apple, unfortunately, has decided not to build in any support for LTE networks in Europe.

    Third is the actual data speed: it's disappointing. In the United States, both AT&T and Verizon have average data speeds of about 25 Mbps. AT&T appears to be a little bit faster and can reach up to 40 Mbps or more. The iPad 3 supports up to 72 Mbps. The disappointing thing here, is that, in Europe, there are already LTE networks that offer 100 Mbps in real-world usage. Now, as mentioned before, the iPad 3 doesn't support LTE in Europe, but these European speeds will definitely expand to the United States as well. What if LTE speeds in the United States are going to cross 72 Mbps this year or next year? Than your iPad 3 is actually a limiting factor.

    A5X chip
    The A5X chip is build for the retina display. The A5 chip would not give us the same, graphical performance we know from the iPad 2... so that's why the A5X chip was invented. The amount of cores were doubled (from 2 to 4) for a smooth graphical user interface.

    That's it.

    And that's the problem. The A5X solely and alone exists purely because otherwise the graphical user interface would stutter. And that's just it. It doesn't do anymore than that. It doesn't give us any additional performance. It's most likely the same GPU as utilized in the iPad 2 (except for the amount of cores).

    I at least expected Apple to give us some sort of an improvement. I think they could have done two things for the A5X chip:

    - Switching from architecture (from Cortex A9 to Cortex A15)
    - Increasing clock speeds

    Both would be great options to give the iPad 3 a better performance over the iPad 2, especially when it comes to simple tasks like browsing or opening an app.

    The Cortex A15 architecture gives us huge performance gains at lower clockspeeds. To give you an example: a dual-core 800 MHz Cortex A15 processor blows away a quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A9 processor (like the Nvidia Tegra 3).

    An increase in clock speed would also have been an option. It wouldn't give us quite the performance gain like with a Cortex A15 processor, but it would definitely make everything even smoother.

    It's really disappointing they didn't do anything else with the chip. I wasn't expecting a quad-core chip, but some kind of an improvement would have been welcomed by everybody.

    The iPad 3 is a solid upgrade missing out on some features. The performance of the iPad 3 shouldn't be on par with the iPad 2, it should exceed it. FaceTime video calls shouldn't be the same on the iPad 3 as it is on the iPad 2, FaceTime calls must be in HD - make use of this beautiful retina display.

    The iPad 3 seems to do everything just fine. And that's just it: it does everything just fine.
  2. KeithJenner macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    On a site like MacRumors everyone is looking at the difference from last years model. That is just irrelevant.

    For every unit that Apple sells to the likes of us they sell hundreds to people who are just not as interested in specs and such like, and who are just never going to buy an upgrade every year.

    Apple has to do two things:

    Encourage the general public to buy an iPad in the first place.
    Give those people a reason to upgrade every few years.

    People who are even considering upgrading every year are likely to be in a very small minority.

    Given all that, I think your points are very valid, but for the majority of people who are considering getting a new iPad, irrelevant, as we don't have an iPad 2.

    That's my opinion anyway.
  3. master-ceo macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2007
    The SUN
    +1 on the A5X. That and the Poor iOS update are my only gripes. I still want a shared media folder that all apps can access.
  4. Bradllez macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2012
    I was expecting an uneducated troll thread.

    But you gave a great "review".

  5. unobtainium macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2011
    Maybe I am the only one, but the iPad 2 seems lightning fast to me. Opening apps is smooth and stutter-free. Browsing is slick too, the only limiting factor usually being data speeds. So I don't really see where there was any pressing need for a faster processor.

    More RAM was needed, yes (which we probably got with the new iPad) and, as you said, a better GPU to deal with the retina display, and Apple took care of that as well. This is a very good upgrade, but it's not "future proof" if that's what you're looking for. That's because Apple wants to give people a reason to upgrade relatively frequently.

    Having said that, look at just how well the original iPad runs with iOS 5.1. It's amazingly quick still.
  6. iHuman1337 macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    How do you know that they didn't raise the clock speeds or change architecture? All Apple said was that they changed the GPU. They didn't release any information about the processor at all and never do.
  7. PCClone macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2010
    OP blah, blah. Don't buy it. Face.palm.troll.fail.
  8. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    I think with the "A5X" chip, people need to remember that Apple wouldn't have put it into the iPad unless it was sufficient enough to do it's job. They are obsessed with the end-user experience and wouldn't put in an underpowered chip that could ruin that. As long as it replicates the speed of the iPad 2/A5 then I'm sure it'll be fine. Lets not forget that the iPad 2 is very fast and smooth already.

    Also, a more powerful chip might either a) cost more, thus cutting into their profit margin , or b) not be as power efficient.

    Price/battery life are two things that are very appealing about the iPad, Apple wouldn't risk losing ground on those fronts.

    Just my 2 cents anyway.
  9. dukeblue91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    Well first off the iOS 5.1 update was not a main point update and just an addendum for iOS 5 nothing more or less and would have been rolled out irregardless of the iPad 3.

    As far as all those different radios for LTE, well maybe it is just not possible and or cost effective to do.

    Here in the US all these different networks have always been a bag of hurt and now you add all the network for the rest of the world, well duh of course it won't be perfect or useful for everyone.

    I'm coming from the original iPad and I have to say after 2 years it really needed a upgrade at least for my use.
    I was actually thinking again this morning what a great deal the refurb iPad 2 is right now and I could save quite a bit of cash, but that retina display keeps calling my name :D and I believe this is where they really hit it nice and out of the park.
  10. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    If I'm not mistaken, this is already possible. The apps can access your photos and videos as well as your music. It's up to the developers to implement it.
  11. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Wow...some people are NEVER happy. Be grateful we even got a upgrade. Apple could have waited many months if they wanted.
  12. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    How can you say the A5X is only improved enough to deliver the same exact performance of the iPad2 - all because of the new resolution? The new resolution will be leaning mostly on the new quad-core GPU.

    Nobody knows - yet - that the A5X doesn't have it's dual-core CPUs clocked higher at this point, which would improve any CPU calculation performance immediately.. In a somewhat linear fashion. Not enough to match a A15 or A9 quad core but a clock increase will perhaps say, improve web page load times by a few more seconds. Where say a webpage might take 15 seconds to render on the iPad2, now renders in 10 seconds or less on iPad3. This is huge for mobile browsers.. Considering mobile browsers can't come close to desktop speed (yet) shaving more seconds off is definately appreciated.

    Benchmarks like Sunspider and Browsermark aren't out yet for the iPad3 so it's all just spectulation at this point.

    If the iPad3 has no increased performance for CPU calculation based items, like web browser rendering/etc. I will be really disappointed. Android tablets with the S4 chip and even the new Galaxy Tab 7.7 with old Exynos1 SoC is scoring 1440~ms in Sunspider. Which bests the iPad2 by 400ms. Granted, that's .4 seconds overall faster, 400ms faster in this particular bench is HUGE.. For example, rendering benchmarks started out around 2250ms~ on the iPad2 when it first came out - Apple was able to optimize Safari even further to get it down to 1800~ms by iOS 5.0.1

    Anyways - spectulation is fun but i'm hoping Apple increased the clocks here.
  13. blue43fan macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    ...at the same price, with the same excellent battery life as the previous model.

    Not to mention, since no one has actually used one yet, I don't think speculation on its performance is fair. Judging by the speed of the iPad 2, I don't think it will be a problem.
  14. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Also - regarding the new battery in the iPad3.. It's NEARLY double that of the iPad2's battery. They quote battery life with the screen on at about 50% brightness.

    I'm imaging standby time on the iPad3 can possibly extend to 2 months instead of 30 days or so that the iPad2 has. This is going to be amazing allowing you to use your iPad3 for possibly 2 weeks before needing a recharge if you're using it casually like most people do.
  15. jovadele macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    New iPad? Opportunity for other Tablet Companies to make tablet personal assistant?

    if siri functionality of the iPhone 4s was on the iPad i would be very happy. It would allow me to use the device as personal assistant. Something that i would value more than a upgrade in display resolution. By not releasing today Siri on iPad but only dictation it seems that the iPad fail the mark in progress if you compare it to the development of the iPhone4s.
    In my opinion the iPad should have more functionality features than the iPhone, logically if the tablet market is taking over the pc market. For me as user i have to wait till Siri is fully adapted into iOS for iPad before i feel comfortable buying it. Just because the iPhone 4s offers more a better camera, also retina, complete Siri while the iPad have lesser camera quality and no siri.
    Not knowing what Steve job will do but if apple is stretching their technology knowledge advancements which can be adopted into products on the shelf to generate more money by just releasing minor features. Something that would go against apple's philosophy in the time apple versus windows. Seem their is oppurtunnity in the tablet market for Siri like service, how longer apple is holding out on their iPad device with Siri other tablet makers could start releasing such innovation.
    They can prove to court that iPhone works with sire but not iPad. Which mean apple could hold back this technology advancement. Holding back technology in devices is aloud but if another company produce a tablet with Siri like technology they could convince court that apple is holding back so that other companies can not compete wit their iPad product.......What will Steve Job think....?

    Note someone told me that siri is not on the iPad because the iPad needs 24/7 data 4g connection like the iPhone 4s.

    Did is what i found as reality of the iPad versus iPhone 4s using Siri or not.
    How you have automatic switching for graphics on mbp. How hard is it to create such fuctionality for wifi and 4glte on iPad. When you start speaking with siri it switch from wifi to 4glte.
    iPhone 4s data usage for use with Siri is not as much as people may think. Therefor 1-2gb bandwidth allowance should be sufficient enough in the most extreme way of usage.

    it is a fiction excuse that full-time connectivity is needed to have Siri working. iPhone 4s is capable of switching between wifi and 4g also.
  16. bufffilm, Mar 8, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

    bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    wishful thinking if you think the new model will extend general use runtime to 2x. if you saw the presentation, apple is saying that the new ipad has the same 10hr runtime under *general use*. the nearly double capacity of the new battery is to power the retina display and the gpu.

    wait til the reviews come out - i wouldn't be too surprised if they discover that the new ipad might have less battery runtime compared to the ipad2 for graphics heavy use.

    as for the OP's remark, i agree with many of your points but the new ipad still offers a lot of bang for the buck considering that it's the same price as its predecessors. what is true is that upgrading from the ipad2 is less compelling for those who don't particularly care heavily about the nicer display, especially if the device RAM stays at 512MB.

  17. Wayfarer macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2007

    'til you've tried it.

    That is all. :mad:
  18. thaghost macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2010
    Winter Garden, FL
    second that....new apple products will never live up to everyone's expectations. You will always have complainers such as the OP. doesn't have this, doesn't have that, iPad 2 is just as good, etc. Just as the guy above me said, DON'T BUY IT!
  19. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    The new iPad is definitely a worthy successor to the 2. But the OP review is one of the best I have seen. Accepts what is good, and points out some very glaring omissions. Good work! I still dont get why someone would want a great camera on an iPad :confused:
  20. thaghost macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2010
    Winter Garden, FL
    haha I was at the rainforest cafe restaurant downtown Chicago the other week with my lil one and nephew. This couple was going around everywhere taking pictures with their iPad. couldn't help but laugh.
  21. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2011
    Your post reads like this to me:

    Apple upgraded X. And that's it.

    And they upgraded Y. And that's it.

    And they improved Z a bit. And that's it.


    You do realize that all of those upgrades are going into the same device, right?
  22. LanEvo macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    Same here, was hoping for Quad-Core.
  23. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    What would be the point of a quad core tablet, when the software isn't optimized to utilize all 4 cores? IMO, quad core will not come until

    a. iOS 6; which may be designed for it
    b. Maybe longer if Apple decides to stick with dual core but with higher clock speeds.

    Frankly, as long as the tablet does what it does smoothly, I dont see the need for extra cores. Apple is not in a mindless race with android afterall
  24. Bernard SG macrumors 65816

    Bernard SG

    Jul 3, 2010
    And why exactly?
  25. SteveAbootman macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2008
    OP - I appreciate the fact that you took more time to express your thoughts than most of the "new iPad sucks" threads. You also have a better grasp on the English language than you give yourself credit for.

    That said, Apple can't upgrade everything to the absolute max and:
    a) maintain price points
    b) keep the general public and techies alike interested in what's going to come with the next upgrade.
    c) maintain the quality performance we expect from Apple

    If they gave us everything possible, the iPad 3 would cost 600 bucks as a starting price point and have a few hiccups as Apple worked to optimize the software.

    I'm very pleased with the upgrade (coming from a 1st gen iPad) and can't wait to get my hands on it.

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