Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

From iPad to the New iPad

The New iPad launched in Singapore on 16 March 2012. That’s a good six weeks ago, a little too late for me to write yet-another-review of the most exciting iPad yet.  But there’s always an opportunity to share personal experiences, even though, then again, I’m sure there are many others like me who are jumping from the 1st generation iPad to the 3rd generation iPad.

So here I am, with the new 3rd generation iPad. Coming from the original iPad, the most significant change are physical in nature. It’s lighter and slimmer. The slimness, in my opinion, makes it slightly harder to hold than before.

The retina display is really nice too. I didn’t really think the original iPad’s display was bad, or that its resolution was lousy. But when you examine the new retina display up close, it’s really awesome.

Then, when you start using the new 3rd generation iPad, you find that it is so smooth, so sleek, so much more fun to use than the original iPad. That’s all thanks to the greatly improved CPU performance that already came with the 2nd generation iPad. I skipped the 2nd generation iPad, so I never really got to experience it very much, not counting fleeting moments when I borrowed someone else’s iPad to play around with.

You already knew all that. Or at least you should.

For me, the upgrade from 1st generation to 3rd generation is still mostly an evolutionary experience. It’s really nice. Very nice. But not earth-shatteringly-nice.

If you’re coming from the 2nd generation iPad, the 3rd generation isn’t really much of a big deal. Here’s why:

  • The CPU performance is the same. Sure, the 3rd generation’s GPU is much more powerful, but it’s needed to drive more pixels on the retina display, so the end experience remains the same.
  • Physical size and weight remains roughly the same.
  • The retina display is really nice, but it’s not like the increased resolution provides more functionality.
  • 4G LTE speeds are irrelevant. Not just because it doesn’t work with the LTE frequency bands in Singapore, but also, seriously, just because it is LTE doesn’t mean you really get a better network experience than 3.5G can deliver. (I’m talking about bottlenecks in other parts of the network.)

So you see why the new iPad is nice, but not superbly great. If I had the 2nd generation iPad, I’d sit out the 3rd generation. The 2nd generation was a bigger jump, in my opinion, from the 1st generation, and I sat out the 2nd generation upgrade. The 3rd generation is a worthy upgrade if you’re coming from the 1st generation iPad.

As an Android user on a daily basis (my phone is an Android), I wished I could have Ice Cream Sandwich on that 3rd generation iPad hardware. Or, can some Android device manufacturer please, for goodness sake, learn to create great hardware like Apple does?

On another topic: What is it about the name for the “new” iPad?

It looks like Apple basically wants the iPad to be known as, well, the iPad. They don’t want version numbers in the name. Think about it. All other Apple products, apart from the iPhones, don’t have version numbers in their names. MacBooks, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, iMacs, Mac Minis, etc. The same applies even to their mobile products like the iPod Classic, iPod Nano, and iPod Touch.

I think they would have ran out of steam if they continued to play with version numbers. Everyone would expect a huge improvement in the iPad 3 over the iPad 2. If there isn’t, they would have to name it something like iPad 2S. Sort of like how there the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4S succeeded the iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 respectively. The tablet is just a tablet, each version is going to get a little better over the previous. It’s an iterative, evolutionary upgrade. People have come to expect too much from reading version numbers.

So next year, there won’t be a “Newer iPad”. It will be just another iPad.

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