The “New iPad” event: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh
As with all big Apple events, I once again find people turning to me for my opinion on the announcements from Apple’s “New iPad” event. Honestly I can’t blame them, as my opinion is often the only correct one when it comes to such things. I seem to have the uncanny ability to cut through the hype with laser beam-like precision, and somehow categorize the day’s events into one of three categories: Good, Bad, and Meh. Here’s how the “New iPad” event broke down:
The new iPad: Apple surprised no one in announcing the updated iPad, and while there are not that many new features (don’t tell Apple I think updates aren’t “new features”) there’s still quite a lot to be excited about here. First, as expected, the screen got a VERY nice update. It now runs at 2048 x 1536, at 264ppi, which Apple says qualifies it for wearing the “retina display” title. Inside, the processor got a bump up as well to the A5X processor with quad-core graphics, bringing what Apple says amounts to a 4x improvement over the last version. Likewise the camera got a bump as well to match the iPhone 4S camera’s optices (albeit 5 megapixels vs the iPhone’s 8), and the iPad now supports 1080p video recording. So if you’re into shooting photos and video on such an awkwardly-shaped device, this is great news.
I suppose the big news to some is that the iPad will now support LTE speeds (in both Verizon and AT&T flavors) and can be used as a WiFi hot-spot now (for a price). This should be nice for those Washington fat-cat millionaires, but personally I can’t see spending money on a data plan for two devices, and the iPad is still not as versatile as the iPhone. So if you are buying me an iPad, get me the WiFi only model, please.
Rounding out the new features of the iPad is voice dictation, which, after playing around with Siri, I will write off as totally useless, assuming you are not handicapped and desperate to find some way to get something SORT of close to what you said onto the screen.
Price drop of the iPad 2: $100 off the ancient, now-unusable iPad 2, ideal for schools. This should be nice for all those poor inner city kids, but I certainly hope MY ids don’t get stuck with such out-dated technology.
New iPhoto: The new iPhoto app looks quite nice, and at only $4.99 seems like a steal for most people, as it should be able to handle the majority of their photo editing needs. In fact, it looks like an official version of the countless other 3rd party photo apps on the iPhone, but more tied into your iPhoto library. The new “double-tap to find similar photos” seems like a cool idea, although if 90% of your shots are of your kids at your house, it might be a bit less useful. I’m still not entirely clear on how it ties into your home iPhoto library, but if you can call up pictures on your iPad that are stored on your home computer, edit them, and then have them fly back to your main library, I am sold.
Apple TV Update: Hooray, I guess! 1080P is now supported, so if you are big into buying iTunes movies and TV shows, you’re in luck. Personally I use my Apple TV pretty much solely to listen to music and watch the photo screensaver, but it’s always nice to see Apple updating its “hobby”, since you KNOW in two years they are going to take over television.
Same Price as the original iPads: I didn’t honestly expect the price of the new iPad to drop from previous years (Apple has a hard-on for prices that end in “99”), and I suppose we should be happy with the iPad 2 price drop, but still…
iLife updates: iPhoto was the clear breakout star of the iLife world today, and with good reason – you really shouldn’t use iMovie and Grarage Band on an iPad. So this is a bit of a mixed bag depending on which, if any of these apps, you use on your iPads. Garage Band gets a small update, more or less tying it in tighter with iCloud, and iMovie has more dumbed down, “professional” templates that should make the 8-14 year old crowd feel like they’ve accomplished something.
The word “Amazing” was apparently thrown around even more than usual. Apple may have actually broken the word through overuse, especially given that there was nothing overly unique or mind-blowing announced today. This is not to say the updates weren’t “nice”, and I would kill to see a giant Keynote slide behind Tim saying “the new iPad is nice”, but let’s maybe cut back on “amazing” by about 30% next time.
Worst name ever: Is this really being called simply, “The new iPad”? I guess Apple will give it a real name once the NEXT one comes out and they need to reference it.
No 128 GB model: Seriously? If you’re going to make a device that is meant to shoot full HD video and take high-res stills AND edit both, there is no reason not to offer a 128 GB capacity version. Same goes for the iPhone 4S by the way. Looks like we’ll have to wait for the iPhone 5 and the “NEW new iPad to see that.
So, that’s it, the Good, the Bad, and th eMeh from today’s “New iPad” event. Feel free, as always, to tell me how dead-on correct I am in the comments.