Not the iPad 3, or the iPad 2S, or the iPad HD. Just the new iPad. I like that. I believe Apple has decided to change their naming convention after the small backlash they received with the iPhone 4S not being the iPhone 5. It somehow made some crazy people think that the new upgrade wasn’t big enough that it was worthy of a new version number on its own. Which is nuts, because a name is just a name, and the simpler it is, the better for everyone. I always liked how, whenever there is a new iMac, it’s simply “the new iMac”. It may look different, but it is the same product you already know and love. It works, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t do the same for all their product lines.
So, the new iPad. Good improvements all over the place, but the not-so-hidden gem here is clearly the new Retina Display. If the difference is anywhere near as good as it was on the iPhone, this new iPad is going to be an absolute joy to use.
Yet, for some reason, I’m not feeling an immediate, unrelenting urge to upgrade. Yet. Wait till I get my dirty hands on one and then we’ll talk. That display, oh my.
The rest of the improvements were largely expected by pretty much everyone on the Internet, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 4 months. They include: a better processor (the Apple-designed A5X, with quad-core graphics to drive the new Retina Display), a better rear camera, now labeled iSight and with the same optics as the iPhone 4S (here I am a bit surprised, I wasn’t expecting that big of an upgrade on this camera, to be honest), and of course 4G LTE (which must be great if you’re willing to pay extra, but considering I prefer the WiFi-only version, this really doesn’t tell me anything).
Everything else stays the same, prices included, which is nice. The most impressive claim? Even with the new Retina Display, quad-core graphics and LTE, the new iPad still retains the same 10-hour battery life, or 9 hours if you’re on LTE. That’s huge, considering how much power the LTE radio alone uses.
Of course, Apple has one of the best engineering teams in the world to make this possible, but as of today they don’t yet have magicians in-house, so in order to achieve all this, the new iPad needs to be slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. However, the difference is small enough that you’re not likely to notice it, unless you’re doing a side-by-side comparison.
All in all, a nice set of improvements that make a great product even better.
Oh, and one last thing: they’re keeping the 16GB models of the iPad 2 around, with a $100 price drop. The WiFi model is now $399, and the 3G model is $529. This should help make the iPad an even more attractive choice for many people, and may very well be the final nail in the coffin for all those Android wannabe’s. By the way, this could also be the slight opening Microsoft desperately needs to finally gain traction in the tablet space. With Android looking bad, if they’re able to make their Metro UI shine, they just may have a shot at success. Not iPad-like success, of course, but something that goes beyond being a footnote and starts being a legitimate contender in their own right.
Of course, many analysts and industry observers will be disappointed by the new iPad. Stock may even take a small dip after the announcement, just like it happens after every Apple event. Oh well. Let them laugh nervously with their calculators and their charts. Meanwhile, everyone else in the world will be happily using it. Because the magical part of the iPad is that people get it. They see it, and they instantly get it. Its appeal cannot be measured by numbers or statistics, you just get it, or you don’t. That’s what drives the analysts crazy. No amount of market research can ever decipher that effect. Because it’s magic.