Wednesday, March 28, 2012

iPad (3)

So I have a Nuevo iPad in my home. Nice device. Here, after about 2 weeks, is my initial take on it:

  • The feel is essentially identical. Even though it weighs a little bit more, I haven't really noticed.
  • The new Retina screen? Amazing. Today, I worked on an iPad 3 and a original iPad side-by-side while doing a customer upgrade. I started on the new one. When I then went to the old one, it seemed blurry and fuzzy by comparison. Two weeks ago, that display looked state-of-the-art. That says it all in that area.
  • I haven't been on LTE that much. The signal is kinda weak anywhere in Salem but the downtown. I was using it Monday night at a School Committee meeting, though, and it is just as fast as advertised. A few days prior I was at another school for a meeting with it, in a pocket of known bad reception. All I could get there, a half-mile away from where I had great LTE, was a weak 3G signal at best. YMMV.
  • Yep, it runs a wee bit warmer in the back. You can feel it, though barely - it hasn't been warm enough to cause any discomfort. I've played games for at most about a half-hour at a stretch so far. Might warm up more if I played longer, but indications are not so much.
  • Battery life is about the same. But charging time is longer. I'm kind of a battery anxiety kind of guy, so I worry about that. Charging time is longer. As a result, I leave it plugged in whenever I'm not using it, pretty much.
  • Related - you could leave your iPad connected to a regular iPhone power brick before and it would charge OK so long as the screen was off. Not so much now with the new model.
  • The extra 512MB of RAM really helps, especially when swapping apps or tabbing web pages. Way less reloading/relaunching.
In all, a great device. If you have an iPad 1, you likely want one of these. If you have a 2, it's iffy (if you read a lot on it, that's the tiebreaker). If you don't have a tablet and want one, getting anything other than a Nuevo iPad is just trying to make a political point.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Now that I've had a look-see

So "The New iPad"is upon us. Last night's blog post talked about what I got right - an essential part of punditry! Today, I'll talk a little bit about What It All Means (the other ingredient). This will be brief, since nobody pays me directly for this stuff and I have work to do today. But I think it'll get the point across.

First of all - there are already a host of stories out there about how this is an "underwhelming" upgrade. Ignore them. It's mostly page view trolling. Realistically, Apple isn't going to go crazy with spec upgrades in a single year. Why? They don't have to. What Apple is doing as the dominant player is setting the bar. In order to get any traction, competing makers have to meet or exceed the specs of the iPad while undercutting the costs.

Virtually none of them can do that. The Nook and Kindle Fire are competitive, but in a market that Apple is choosing not to play in directly. Apple's way of attacking that market is by keeping the iPad 2 and slashing the price - the iPad 2 is very competitive with the older generation hardware that the 7-inch tablets are mainly built with. So the new iPad model is mainly targeted at tablets that don't exist yet. Just like the iPad 2 was a year ago.

First-mover advantage for Apple lets them skate to where the puck is going, and then already be heading elsewhere by the time the other players arrive. (I know that's a little tortured, but it's early and I haven't had coffee yet - bear with me)

Besides this, is it a compelling upgrade? Well, I think so. If you are a new buyer Apple has the best screen anywhere, 4G capability, and the best ecosystem. They also have the best prices in the 9-inch category. If you have an original iPad this is enormously faster and has a great screen, at lighter weight. If you have an iPad 2 the new model is faster and brings the new screen to the party. Is it evolutionary? Of course it is. But when you get it mostly right the first time you don't have to do a ton from year to year. Just keep it out in front.

In terms of features, we have the added horsepower, the drastically improved screen, more RAM, and Nuance dictation built-in. I'd say that gets us by for now.

One other thing worth noting - Each iPad is basically good for 2 media events per year. One for the hardware, and one for the next version of the software. And the media event for the software won't be until June. This iPad ships with iOS 5.1, an incremental upgrade to last years' iOS 5. And a host of new/improved apps. That's enough for now on the topic. More after I have one in my hands a week from now!

(lastly, for those following my other career - I'm not worried about iPads for the city, because I've already got my own... I'm just worried about the software suite.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

How did I do?

Time to check my predictions from the iPad into today...

- Retina Display: Yep. Nailed it. That was easy.

- More RAM: Not sure until they get into users' hands. But I say 1GB still.

- Form factor: No change. Minor thickened increase, less than 1mm. I'm pretty sure all the old cases will fit.

- A6: I give myself a 50%. The A5X does have 4 cores for graphics, but 2 for processing. Probably up clocked a little, too.

- LTE: I thought they'd hold off when I published this, but a week later I decided I was wrong and they would. Glad that worked out, but I still count it as a miss.

- Better cameras: Nailed it on the rear camera. May have been wrong on the front, we'll see when they ship.

- Storage: Right again. No 128GB model.

- Siri: No Siri (nailed that), but we get dictation. That's a nice feature add.

- Pricing: Got that one right. Got the iPad 2 staying behind with a price cut, too.

That's 6.5 right, 1.5 wrong, and 1 TBD. Could lose another half-point if the front camera is identical. I'd say that was pretty good - punditry, here I come!