iPad

Apple's third-gen iPad: Analysis from Hiner and Detwiler

Here is TechRepublic's analysis of the newest iPad announced by Apple on Wednesday. Jason Hiner and Bill Detwiler provide the commentary.

Photo credit: Donald Bell/CNET

Apple unveiled the third-generation iPad on Wednesday in San Francisco. The updated Apple tablet packs a much higher resolution display, 4G LTE capability, a much better camera, and updated apps for creating content. Interestingly enough, Apple didn't give the new product a new product name. It's calling it "the new iPad," and so it looks like the company is going back to the simple iPad branding.

We have a summary of the new features and important details and then TechRepublic's Head Technology Editor Bill Detwiler and I provide our analysis of the latest iPad from an IT and business perspective.

Details

Here are the details about the new iPad:

  • "Retina Display" with 2048x1536 resolution (264ppi)
  • 9.7-inch screen remains the same
  • A5X processor with quad-core graphics
  • 4G LTE (72Mbps), DC-HSDPA (42Mbps), and HSPA+ (21Mbps)
  • Both Verizon and AT&T LTE chips
  • New Personal Hotspot capability (if carrier supports it)
  • 5 megapixel camera with a 5-element lens
  • 1080p video recording
  • 10 hours of battery life (remains the same); 4G = 9 hours
  • Updated apps for iWork, iMovie, and Garageband; and, Apple launched iPhoto as a new app for iPad
  • Still 9.4mm thick and 1.5 pounds
  • Still offered in storage increments of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB
  • Price still starts at $499
  • 16GB iPad 2 will now be sold for $399 ($529 for 3G)
  • New iPad arrives March 16

Jason's four big takeaways

  • It's all incremental - This is a solidly incremental upgrade. Apple is in the pole position in the tablet market so it didn't have to do anything bold or drastic, and it didn't. The new iPad is faster, it has a much better display, and it now includes 4G, but the overall design and form factor remain the same. That means all of the great accessories that business users already love about the current iPad -- such as the keyboard cases -- will work right out of the box (instead of having to wait several months for updates). The bottom line is that the average user won't notice most of the changes that were announced today, except that the screen looks a little nicer and things seem to load a little faster.
  • 4G is huge - One of the more hotly-debated updates was whether the new iPad would include 4G LTE chips for Verizon and/or AT&T, and if that would affect the device's excellent battery life (one of the killer features for business travelers). In the end, Apple did load the new iPad with 4G LTE for both Verizon and AT&T (as well as HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA) and it claims that the battery life remains the same at 10 hours, and 9 hours on LTE. While LTE is mostly a U.S. phenomenon for now, it is a huge upgrade in Internet performance and will eventually become a worldwide standard. Having built-in 4G on the iPad will be a reason to choose the iPad over a laptop for some highly-mobile professionals.
  • Productivity software - Apple is trying hard to get us to see the iPad as more than just a consumption device. It clearly wants this to be a viable option for more and more users to consider instead of a laptop. As such, on Wednesday, Apple showed off major updates to its iWork, iMovie, and Garageband apps, and it launched the iPhoto app for iPad at $4.99 (undercutting the newly-launched $9.99 Photoshop Touch app). Apple is essentially holding these up as examples to show what the iPad can do as a creation machine. I still don't view the iPad as a device for doing a long succession of heavy creative work, but I think Apple is continuing to make it a great viewing device that can ably do creation work in short spurts. For executives and project managers and sales professionals -- in other words, people who spend most of their days in meetings -- I think the iPad keeps getting more attractive as an almost-full-time PC replacement.
  • No presentations via Apple TV - Apple also announced a new Apple TV on Wednesday, but it didn't include the one business feature that I've been championing: Integration with iPad (and iPhone) so that professionals can easily run a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation from an iPad and have it output to a big screen TV or projector connected to the Apple TV.

Bill's hardware analysis

  • A5X Processor - As I wrote last month, a photo posted to WeiPhone.com appeared to show the new iPad's motherboard with a processored labeled "A5X." The photo surprised many industry watchers as Apple was expected to use a quad-core A6 processor. At the time, I put forward several possibilities: the image was a fake; the motherboard wasn't from an iPad; the motherboard was from an early iPad prototype; or the the image was authentic. Apple put the mystery to rest during today's event. The new iPad will have an A5X processor. Unfortunately, Apple's Phil Schiller didn't provide many details about the new chip, other than to say that it offers "quad-core graphics," which according to Apple, translates into four times the graphics performance of the NVIDIA Tegra 3. Well have to wait until we get our hands on a new iPad before seeing how fast it really is.
  • Retina Display - Apple was more forthcoming about the new iPad's Retina Display. It will have a resolution of 2048 x1536 pixels and a total pixel count of 3.1 million. Given the screen's size (9.7" diagonally), this gives the iPad a pixel density of 264ppi. This is a lower density than the iPhone 4S (330ppi), but as the iPad is typically viewed a greater distance (15 inches) Apple said the new display crosses the retina threshold and the pixels won't be distinguishable at the average viewing distance.
  • iSight Camera - Given how poor the quality of the iPad 2's camera is, I'm glad Apple improved the camera on the new tablet. The new iPad's camera will have the same optics as the iPhone 4S. It will offer a 5MP sensor, backside illumination, 5-element lens, hybrid IR filter, and Apple-designed ISP. Those looking to shoot video on the new iPad should be pleased with the device's support for 1080p video recording, video stabilization, and temporal noise reduction.
  • Storage options - Unfortunately, Apple decided not to increase the iPad's storage capacity. Like the iPad 2, the new version will come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. This is a bit of a disappointment. I would liked to have seen the entry-level iPad come with 32GB of storage and the top-end model offer 128GB, but this was likely a cost/benefit decision on Apple's part.
  • 4G LTE support - Another "expected" feature, the new iPad will support AT&T and Verizon's 4G LTE networks. This will enable data transfer speeds up to 72Mbps. And if the carrier allows it, you'll also be able to use the new iPad as a personal hotspot. This upgrade helps the iPad compete with Android tablets that already support 4G, such as the Motorola Xyboard.

Photo credit: Donald Bell/CNET

Photo credit: Donald Bell/CNET

Photo credit: Donald Bell/CNET

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

205 comments
rstdi
rstdi

adornoe - get out of the ice age. if it wasn't for apple's great innovations (they have been the top innovator for the past several years), you would still be using a blackberry and a laptop. you are right, there is nothing in the pc world that is like an ipad, NOTHING! they are 2 different devices. the user apps on both the ipad/iphone/ipod touch and the mac are more user friendly and they just plain work. IMO, the majority of the people (non-IT people and the heavy core gamers) don't need anything more than an ipad. for sure, they don't need a laptop or a pc. ask yourself what do your parents, kids, and grand kids need in a device to do what they want or need to do? 99% of the time the ipad can do these tasks. you think that the apple stock is going to fumble because all there are is fanboys buying apple products? you are so out of touch with reality! walk into any APPLE store in a mall and walk into a microsoft store and compare how many people are in the store. i have NEVER seen an apple store not crowded with at least 100 people ages from 3 years old to 80 years old playing around with the different products. there is a reason for this. i would bet you have the zune instead of an ipod! the ipod was so superior to its competition that a whole line of vendors started making products that worked for the ipod. go into best buy and look at ipod and zune accessories. there are maybe 50 ipod accessories to 1 zune accessory. i work on linux, unix, and very little windows for my daily work, but i own nothing but apple for home. i don't have the latest imac, or iphone, or the apple tv. but my 4 year old imac running lion will blow away anything near from anybody else! i did buy the new ipad and i still have my ipad 1. bottom line, nobody is forcing anybody to go out and buy any apple product. they do it because of their functionality. when you watch cnbc's fast money or the weather channel, why do they have ipads in their hands? because it's a novelty? go out and buy a laptop and pay $100 for an app that would cost you $.99 for the same usable app for the ipad. use your laptop to watch a movie on a 10 hour flight. you will need 3 batteries. ipad can handle it. there is a reason that nobody waits in line for a non-apple product because there is not much innovation, pretty much ho-hum.

jcartan
jcartan

I don't understand your complaint that Apple hasn't offered this yet. I do it all the time using airplay mirroring. Extremely easy and works great!

techno0001
techno0001

A Google fly touch II have 64 gigabyte SD card! And it was replaceable! SHOCKING :-)

Gudufl
Gudufl

Add a little gimik and a bit more functionality with each generation of a device and sell millions, keep the stock price up, exploit deminishing resources etc. etc. We have all seen this formula for many years but please do not put a device on the market that will consolidate usefullness and have the end user in mind. I would like to see a device that I can plug into my cell phone, using the existing socket, which is about the size of the phone with a 500GB SSD (Solid State Drive) or so storage capacity and which has at least ENet, VGA and USB ports, allowing me to use the device as a phone, tablet, laptop (netbook) and PC (Network Workstation) when ever I want in whatvere environment I am in at the time. Its a little like having a moble cloud which no one can tamper, access or damage while its not connected unless they use it as a sinker on a fishing line.

suncatTR
suncatTR

1. No memory card slot like my Windows and Android tablets. 2. No full OS. 3. No easily usable files system. 4. No standard ports. 5. No HDMI port 6. "Retina" display is just Applespeak for HD, like its competitors have. 7. Glad I got an iPad as a premium because we never would have bought it otherwise. 8. Will it last longer than an iPhone that breaks after the contract is up?

chipsta040365
chipsta040365

No presentations via Apple TV - Really?? Look at airplay and mirroring with apple tv lately?? http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/airplay/ I am not an apple fanboy, but, you should research before writing.. I just recently went with an Apple setup for Home Theatre Project and the airplay options with AppleTV are Amazing just my 2 cents

andrew232006
andrew232006

The retina display was a fraud from the beginning. But this is just false advertising.

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williomshab123

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jackworm
jackworm

Cant say i am a fan or im not a fan of apple. Had an iphone for many years before moving over to Android Apple release these 'upgrades' to keep the focus on their products (and it works, look at all these comments!) Couple that with the apple marketing that you can do anything on an ipad and some people buy these instead of a netbook or laptop (my dad nearly fell for this) You have to bear in mind as well that apple makes an incredible amount of money through its store selling CD's, books, videos etc at con man prices Overall, the apple strategy is incredibly simple yet unbelievabley effective, keep people interested, get them on an apple device then fleece them of cash if they want to do anything with it. Then again, if people had any sense, then there wouldnt be any phishing/spam emails in my inbox

rhonin
rhonin

Question - anyone know what the internal RAM will be? That is my single biggest issue with my iPad2...,, LTE - the single most critical watch out formthe new iPad. Can you say "overage"? Ouch.

to_be_announced
to_be_announced

Oh wow. A 5 MP camera. My android phone that I've had for 2 YEARS has a better camera than that. With Apple, your paying for the name. That applies to iPads, iPhones, and all Macs.

tony.drake
tony.drake

re 4G LTE support - why is this big... i never have by mobile (the 3 platforms all do wifi hotspot) away from my ipad when out of home wifi. Who need 2 contracts and bills and consolidating data in one is much more cost effective. 4G is a waste.

rsprik
rsprik

We've been presenting from iPad2 via AppleTV in our classrooms all semester. Not sure what the authors are referring to here. Aside from that, thanks for the article!

winward
winward

Puzzled about this one, since Airplay Mirroring permits anything on the iPad screen to be projected onto TV via AppleTV. What additional feature were you hoping for?

ospreyint
ospreyint

While I welcome the new additions to this third generation of Ipad, yet a lot needs to be desired. Seems Apple is taking users hostage as they have tried to control the amount of storage space one can have or add to the new IPad. 64gig is not much in today's world. While there is a work around to attach a USB drive to the IPad, yet its a cumbersome process. I wish Apple had a slot to slide a micro card to increase the storage capacity on this gizmo. I believe that Apple did not include the extra storage capability to the new IPad, because that would had degraded the battery life. I think I am going to wait for either Samsung or Ipad to come out with more storage. Storage is so cheap, I wonder why Apple did not add 150 gb to the gizmo [as I would like to call it]. But then how would it improve its bottom line if it added all these features in this release. So Apple once again slowly and deliberately picks the pockets of its users :( by not adding some basic and not expensive storage, either built in or addable by user.

markm52
markm52

IPADS or their clone are the future. That future isn't here yet, but it's coming.

TNT
TNT

I'm disappointed in the comments in this thread. Can we stop the Apple/Microsoft bashing and get back to the product this thread is really about? Please? Yes, this is mostly an unremarkable upgrade over the iPad 2, however, that display is drool-worthy. I do not own a slate device yet (can't think of what I'd do with it that my phone and netbook don't already handle), but I have to say that screen is beautiful. When I do buy a tablet, it will likely be something more than an Android or iDevice but I'm hoping it has as high a resolution as this. Oh, and not that I think it matters, but the explanation for the iPad having a lower pixel count than the iPhone is bunk. Yes it's true that the further away something is the lower the resolution needs to be for the eye to make sense of it, but I don't buy that people are holding their phones any closer than they do their pad device when playing angry- ahem - when working on it. At least not while its being held (maybe with the keyboard attachment it is).

tompratt
tompratt

4G is HUGE all right - for Verizon. They must be foaming at the mouth, thinking of millions of "new iPad" users watching 1080p videos off of the new iTunes, hitting their data caps in the first week of the month and coughing up $10 a gigabyte for the next 3 weeks.

tpopoff
tpopoff

I agree with adornoe. What it comes down to is bragging rights. Apple has somehow ingeniously put the majority of their users in a zombie trance, willing to shell out hundreds of dollars almost every year for a mildly improved product. It stuns me that I know people who will purchase an Apple product mere months before a new release and then go out and immediately purchase the new product when it comes out. I just don't get it. It's American consumerism gone sorely amuck.

rjmiller51
rjmiller51

Two specs that were not mentioned is speed of the A5X processor and amount of memory for the OS. Both I hope Techrepublic can determine when they investigate " The New iPad". I am going to guess the Memory has stayed the same otherwise it would have been mentioned in the presentation. If it has stayed the same it will be to bad. It would have been nice to see 1gb of DDR3 memory.

kschlotthauer
kschlotthauer

I am not an Apple Fanboi in the least. I think they make cool products. I own a 3rd gen iPod TOUCH and it has been collecting dust as of late. The only reason I use it is because it has some music programs on there that I use....BeBot, Guitar Reference, Ampitube. I would like to buy the iPAD for the rason the music notation programs so I can load up my sheet music and with the swipe of a finger change the page. I can make notations to the music itself. I just with the price points where a little more in my price range...single father of 3....a little tough to justify a $500 product when the kids need food and clothes....LOLOL. Maybe I willget a 1st gen iPad.

f.sprenger
f.sprenger

An incremental upgrade at best, should have been called iPad2s. A $700 device for watching movies on a small screen. Some people have way too much money. The Apple sheep (fanboys) lining up to get sheared again.

MycroftUK
MycroftUK

I am intrigued by the complaints that the camera on the new iPad is [b][i]only[/i][/b] 5 megapixels. How many out there are going to print the images taken by the camera? The overwhelming majority of these images are only going to be viewed on the iPad itself, or on a computer monitor. 5 megapixels translates to about 2581 * 1936, ie. 26% higher than the linear resolution of the iPads screen. Or, for a 16:9 display, 2981 * 1677. And how many of you have (or need) monitors with that resolution?

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

Pads are fun and can be useful but in NYC seem to be mainly used by rich kids to waste time.

splinters
splinters

If I understood the announcement correctly, Schiller said there will be 2 models of iPad with 4G, one for Verizon and the other for AT&T - you have to choose one or the other. Did I hear wrong?

David McGavock
David McGavock

Jason - FWIW, you can project your iPad to the screen for presentations, through the AppleTV. It is very handy and easy to do.

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

I can run out and get 16gb of memory for under $15, but Apple charges $100 for it. Interesting. Another reason I won't be owning an ipad any time soon.

sistemas
sistemas

Just sold my iPad 1 and purchased an Asus Transformer Prime, ICS is clearly eating the heavily locked IOS. Maybe the "nomal" users don't mind but I really enjoy ICS features.

Spannerz
Spannerz

I recently got given an iPhone 2G and to be honest, it is still good. People gasp when they see it and treat it like a museum piece! Mind you, I connect to wifi when I'm not travelling, and when I'm travelling I LOOK AT THE ROAD (Or at the scenery), not check my Facebook. Apple should release a new product.. iSue - you take a photo of a new product from another company, it gets emailed to Job's Coffin where an iSteve processes it and forwards it onto their Law department...

semoore
semoore

What do you mean "No presentations via Apple TV?" We've been doing wireless presentations from the iPad2 and iPhone 4s since the release of iOS 5 last October. I would consider AirPlay extremely simple. Am I missing your point?

pdore
pdore

Still topping out at 64gb. Memory chips are not that dear and addressing that much memory... wow.. so hard to achieve! Camera a miserable 5 mp. Such a nice piece of kit, and so underdone!

adornoe
adornoe

Look, silly, it might be true that, there are people who don't need anything more than simple media consumption device, or an internet-dependent device, but, the majority of people are still purchasing more PCs than are purchasing tablets, iPads or whatever. And, the fact is that, Apple has not "invented" any of the devices which are very popular right now. What they did do, is to take things that already existed, and made them better, and marketed the hell out of them. I give them credit for that. But, those are still limited capabilities devices, even if they do have an audience which doesn't need much more than that. However, Apple hasn't done anything that can't be improved on, and in fact, the competition is already gearing up to take on Apple and all of its iGadgets. In fact, iOS won't even be in the same class as Windows 8 when it finally comes on scene. Many people believe, including myself, that Windows 8, even in beta, is already much better than iOS or Android. The hardware is not there yet, but, the main component to make the gear work, and which people interact with, is the OS, and if the OS is superior, then the consumers will have a much better product to choose from. Now, get your head out of Apple's rear end and get with the reality. Right now, you and Apple are the iGadgets winners, and, that might continue for a year or two, but, time is not on Apple's side, and neither are their limited and crippled devices. Why would anybody choose to purchase a limited use device, when they can have a much more usable product in more or less, the same form-factor? What you see right now in people's hands, is because, of the current state of the market, with not much competition, but, if the competition had been there all along, do you honestly believe that, CNBC or any other corporation would prefer to use a crippled device when something much better, and likely less costly, is also available. Time will tell, and the iPad and iPhone won't be the only game in town anymore. So, why are you so religiously dedicated to that Applemania? Applemania could rightfully be called a new religion. It has some of the symptoms of the fanatically devoted people who can't seem to see beyond their deity, Apple. It's like the new "Taliban", but the god in question here is "Apple", so, we could call it "Applelogy", or "Jobsology". ;)

paul.ob.tech
paul.ob.tech

I'm sure they choose the Apple brand as in the 70's the Apple record brand(very very similar logo) charged a premium for all of its products, in fact almost to the ridiculous. Back in the 80's when I had an Aniga, there was a very good paint program for the Amiga which cost approx $100, the developers ported it to the MAC(same processor) with less functions and charged Mac users $1000, why, because unless the product cost a lot they considered it "no good". They sold a lot to Mac users. Check out the difference between Kindle and iTunes for ebook prices.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

This has been proven time and again. The quality of the optics can make or break any camera, no matter how large or small.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Or Chinese? Apple offers what people want; everybody else offers what they think people need. It's seems there's a very big difference.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I haven't needed one in two years so far.

andrew232006
andrew232006

Why shouldn't people be able to make high quality prints of their images if the technology is out there and affordable? Sure most of them will never be printed but the few you want to print might matter.

pwmowers
pwmowers

Deathstar and HearMeNow use different network protocols and thus require different configurations to communicate. This is why you can use the att phones internationally (GPRS) and not Verizon(CDMA).

GAProgrammer
GAProgrammer

iPads are not user serviceable and to put in a SIM card for a provider would require opening it like a phone. Therefore, your assumption makes perfect sense to me.

allan
allan

The ipad has interactive children's books (like Thomas the Train Engine), my grandchildren love it. A three year old happily uses it. There is nothing like that for Android that I can find.

RichardBirdsall
RichardBirdsall

Try to keep your pron collection on your desktop instead of packing your iPad full of everything you possess.

neil.postlethwaite
neil.postlethwaite

The miserly 5Gb Free @ iCloud will be filled even sooner, leading to much more upgrade options. 10Gb should be the free, and "100 for 100" - 100Gb for $100 bucks annually, to be used as you see fit - IOS, Webshare, PC/Mac backuup. FTP etc...

danbi
danbi

So, you know how to do better than Apple? This is the great business opportunity for you -- build a better device and sell it cheaper than Apple. The millions of people who would purchase an iPad would buy your device and you might become rich man. No?

JamesRL
JamesRL

External HDs, Thumb/Flash Drives, cameras, keyboards etc. Yes you can get camera connect kits etc, but I don't want to have to buy special accessories when I already have these things for my desktop.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Then you have never had someone hand you a USB thumb drive and say, "I would like you to take a look at this document." or "Would you put that document on a thumb drive so I can bring it to the client?" in two years. You have a very different job from mine. Obviously, as an iDevice user you can't use a microSD card to store files (music, documents, pictures) so you would have no need for a $10 USB thumb drive / microUSB card reader to copy files to and from a PC/tablet/smartphone. It is so handy and so fast. It eliminates the need for the cloud or an application like iTunes.

GAProgrammer
GAProgrammer

You obviously didn't look very hard. I found plenty of children's books within two clicks in the Android Market. Nice try though!

RichardBirdsall
RichardBirdsall

...nobody has been able to predict just how successful Apples products will be, and 'professional' analysts are constantly forecasting doom and decline for Apple. Of course things will slow down eventually, but with such a track record, you may want to give them the benefit of the doubt for once!

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

As a semi-pro photographer (among other things) it's real easy to download my photos to the iPad and show the draft images within seconds of shooting. An novel work I may do is immediately accessible between my Mac and my iPad without even needing to manually synch them. The same is true for several other applications; even to the point of printing them from the iPad to a wireless printer in my office from any Wi-Fi hotspot or even over 3G if necessary. In other words, the SD card is simply not necessary for me.

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