Thoughts and Observations Regarding Yesterday’s iPad Event



Resolutionary

Apple is calling the Retina display the most advanced display you’ve ever seen. It has 3.1 million pixels — a million more than are in my HDTV.

I’ve had a Retina display iPhone since the 4 came out last summer and it is still amazing to me. I have no doubt the new iPad’s display will be absolutely stunning. My question though is if it will it be as stunning as the iPhone’s display? The iPad is a bigger display — 9.7 inches compared to the iPhone’s 3.5 — but also worth noting is that the new iPad’s display has less pixel density than the iPhone does. 264 PPI and compared to 326 PPI respectively.

Will a 66 PPI difference make a difference? I don’t know. And my guess is that it won’t. Ryan Block’s comments on the new iPad’s Retina display make it sound just as stunning as (if not more so) the iPhone 4/4S. Jim Dalrymple seems to agree.

I use my iPad for reading more than anything else. And so I’m greatly looking forward having a tablet device that sports a (nearly) print-resolution screen — as if reading Instapaper and Reeder, surfing the Web, and browsing Tweetbot on the current iPad wasn’t already great enough.

Moreover, for websites, breaking out of the standard Georgia and Verdana fonts means your site will look fabulous on an iPad.

4G LTE

My original iPad and my iPad 2 were both Wi-Fi-only models. In the two years I’ve been using my iPads I’ve never felt the need to have 3G connectivity. However, this time around I still chose to order the 4G version. I did so for two reasons:

  • In part because it’s a new technology for Apple — this is their first 4G LTE device — and I think 4G devices are a really big deal. Android phones with 4G LTE are a big deal but their battery life is abysmal. Apple touts that when using 4G data the battery life is only dinged by one 10-percent.

  • Secondly, I have a hunch that owning a 4G connected iPad will prove to be far more useful than I thought. But this is something I won’t know for sure until I’ve got it. Like Marco discovered when he went from his Wi-Fi-only original iPad to the 3G-enabled iPad 2:

    I went Wi-Fi-only on my iPad 1 and regretted it, so I got 3G on my iPad 2. In practice, I found that I brought the iPad 2 more places and used it more because it was always internet-connected. This greatly improved the value of the iPad for me. If you see yourself bringing the iPad outside of your house very often, it’s definitely worth considering the 4G option.

Over the past two years, if and when I’m going somewhere to work and I have to pick between taking my Wi-Fi-only iPad or my MacBook Air then I take the Air. But if the iPad were guaranteed connected (with a speed that rivals broadband) then who knows if I’d take the iPad instead.

There is little left that I can’t do on my iPad that I can do on my Air. From my iPad I can read, browse the Web, answer email, check Twitter, even write and post articles and links to my website. But without an internet connection my iPad feels slightly less useful. It’s a device that is meant to be online.

When I went to San Francisco for Macworld I didn’t crack open my Air one time. I did very little writing on that trip, and nearly all the work I did do (reading, email, posting links to the site) I actually did from my iPhone. But if my iPad had been Internet connected then I would have done a lot more work from it instead. My next trip to San Francisco (for WWDC) it’s likely that I’ll leave the Air at home.

To sum up, though I’ve gone sans-3G on iPads for two years in a row, I bet that a few months from now I’ll be very glad I went with the 4G iPad.

Sans-Siri

Sadly the new iPad doesn’t have Siri. Though it does have voice dictation. This will making typing easier (I wonder how much you can dictate before maxing out the service?) I would love to see Siri come to the iPad.

On my iPhone I use Siri quite a bit (assuming it’s available), and it’s primarily to send text messages, and set reminders. As the iPad grows more and more into a work machine, it will be nice to have the ability to quickly create appointments, send an email, set up a reminder, create a note, search the web, etc. No doubt it is simply a matter of time until Siri does make its way to the iPad — if that will be with iOS 6 or with the 2013 model of the iPad I don’t know. Perhaps the only thing holding Siri back right now is that it’s a service with is still very much in beta, and Apple isn’t ready to expand to further devices.

The $399 iPad 2

This is a huge deal if only for the fact that now the entry-level price for an iPad is $100 less than it used to be. Apple is driving the prices down on a device that they don’t need to drive prices down on. As usual, they are going for mass market share. Could the iPad reach as large of a market-saturation point as the iPod has? Remember how iPod growth curve flatlined because pretty much everyone already owned one?

The Apple TV

In the Blanc house we have one of the current little black Apple TV boxes and we love it. We don’t have cable and so anything we watch is via Netflix or iTunes (or Redbox on occasion if we can get it on Blu-Ray).

But I ordered one of the new Apple TVs because to me it’s worth it get the upgrade to 1080p iTunes and Netflix content. For $99 I think anyone with a Mac and a television should own an Apple TV.

What I Ordered

Black, 16GB, with 4G via AT&T.

  • Black, because obviously.

    (Though I do imagine the White iPad looks much better now with the new Retina display. Something I never quite liked about the white iPads was that the screen felt even further from the glass than on the black models.)

  • 16GB because I’ve always purchased the base model devices and have never once maxed out an iPhone or iPad. And I wanted to spend my extra money on 4G rather than getting the 32GB version.

  • 4G because of the reasons stated above. I went with AT&T because they have fantastic 4G and 3G data service in Kansas City and Denver (the two cities where I spend most of my time). Verizon has great 4G coverage here as well, but if and when the iPad doesn’t have 4G connectivity and it needs to fall back to 3G, AT&T’s network is much faster than Verizon’s.

Additional Miscellany

  • Apple is calling the new iPad the same thing everyone else is going to call it: “The new iPad”.

  • The new iPad has Wi-Fi, GSM, UMTS, GPS, CDMA, LTE, and Bluetooth connectivity. During the presentation yesterday Phil Schiller said, “This new iPad has the most wireless bands of any device that’s ever shipped.”

  • Being thicker and heavier is surely a direct result of the battery.

  • What is Condé Nast going to do with their magazine apps? Their current issues (which use images even for text) are going to look horrible on the Retina display and if they start making their files 4x bigger then the downloads will get even more ridiculous — growing into the ballpark of an 800 MB file. At that size, after few back issues of The New Yorker and Wired your iPad’s storage will be maxed out.

  • Since you can’t see the beauty of a Retina display if you’re looking at pictures of it on a non-Retina display, it seems the only real way to try and compare a non-Retina display against a Retina display is to pixelate the “non-Retina model” so it looks a bit blurry by design. This is what Apple is doing on their side-by-side comparison of the screens on the iPad 2 and the new iPad.

  • Phil Schiller said: “As you’ll remember, when the iPhone 4 went to the Retina Display developers didn’t have to do anything to make their applications run on the Retina Display. Everything will still look great, but if developers take a little time, as with the iPhone, they can do stuff that looks amazing and incredible on the new iPad.”

    But that’s not true. Text will look sharp and native API elements will look sharp but the rest will look very grainy. Non-Retina optimized apps look worse on a Retina display.

  • In the presentation yesterday Tim cook called iOS, “the world’s most advanced operating system and the easiest to use.”

  • Also from Tim Cook: “Our post PC devices made up 76% of our revenues. We have our feet firmly planted in the post PC future.”

  • Yesterday’s was the first iPad event with no armchair on the stage.

  • It’s a bit hard to be surprised when you already knew something was coming. Yesterday’s announcement contained nearly everything we expected. We pretty much knew there’d be a new Apple TV, iPhoto for iOS, and all the main specs about the new iPad. However, being savvy to a spec sheet and feature list is much different than using a device.

    If you’re like me, you too have yet to get used to the iPhone’s Retina display. And so, though it won’t be until next Friday that I am able to start using my new iPad, and it won’t be for another few months before I know how often I do (or don’t) use the 4G, I suspect this new iPad will be amazing for the long haul.

    Could the new iPad end up being the finest device Apple has made yet? And it raises the question: what’s in store for the new iPhone?