I know the fanbois are falling all over themselves today to laud the new gadgets Apple announced. Like them, I sat in rapt attention following the streams of info coming out of SF a few hours ago. Net-net, I’m just not that impressed. I still LOVE my iPad 2 and use it all the damn time. LOVE IT! But I was hoping for more from the iPad 3.
Even the curmudgeons in the crowd (like YT) have to hand it to them re: the iPad 3 display. It truly does look like a thing of immense and impressive beauty. I doff my cap in well-earned respect. However, the thing is, there are plenty of devices that have launched over the past years that have pixel densities similar to (and greater than) the iPad 3. Check out this (incomplete) list on Wikipedia, for example. What Apple is doing with the iPad 3 retina display isn’t about pixel density – it’s about pushing the manufacturers to get larger total-usable-square-inch yields out of their glass. It’s one thing to produce 333 ppi (LG LU1400) on a 16:9 2.8″ diagonal screen that totals less than 3.5 square inches of glass. With the iPad 3 you’re now talking about that sort of level of zero-defect glass totaling nearly 42 square inches! That’s 12X (TWELVE TIMES!) larger – more than an order of magnitude! What’s impressive here is NOT the general pixel density. What’s impressive is that the supplier(s) can produce this glass at this ppi at these sizes repeatably, reliably, and (presumably) profitably. As one twitterer put it about these Apple events: it’s “fun to see what Samsung will be shipping in six months”. If supplier X can manufacture 264 ppi at 42 sq.in. as of 01/01/12, then everybody will have access to that (and better) in a matter of months.
The A5X appears to be impressive. But the Tegra 4 is already in early test runs and will probably smoke the A5X. Moore’s Law happens. Never mind the chips that N other manufacturers are working on to outperform the A5X and the Tegra 4 and so on. Apple leans on multiple global experts to innovate on displays, but Apple is assuming a huge risk in keeping its processors in-house. The competitive market is more likely to innovate faster than Apple can internally over time. I guess they’ve “picked their poison”, perhaps?
The camera update was grossly overdue. The camera in the iPads 1 and 2 was a joke when each were respectively released. It’d be interesting to learn though why they went with this 5MP solution instead of an 8 or 10. My guess is that the camera in my HTC Amaze will out-shoot the iPad 3′s camera. And I can slot SD cards in and out when I need more space to store more pictures!
And, of course, the iPad 3 still won’t run Flash . Sigh. Dear Apple: please feel free to keep your religious beliefs out of my technology needs.
What I wanted to see was a retina display, an A5X, an SD card slot, Flash support, and an 8MP or better camera. LTE is irrelevant – I’ve been and will continue to tether my WiFi tablets to my phone(s). I came this close to buying an ASUS Transformer Prime tablet a couple months ago, but balked as they sort out some radio problems et. al. My guess is that during the summer my iPad 2 will be replaced by an Android tablet and the boss or kids will get the hand-me-down.
The Apple TV updates were purely incremental and grossly overdue to keep up with the Jones’s ($70 for an XD, delivered). The new Apple TV sell well though, since a lot of the uber-geek Apple fanbois wouldn’t buy at 720p and have been waiting patiently. Too bad Apple’s software apparently isn’t keeping up – maybe it’ll bump to iOS next cycle?
There’s always the next keynote…