Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPad has been reviewed, dissected, cracked open, criticized, and praised by supporters, haters, the media, and anyone with an opinion on the third generation model since it hit shelves Friday morning. Even though changes in Apple’s iPad successor are subtle, the new model is unquestionably a revolutionary device, or at least consumers seem to think so, taking the tablet market by storm. In the first weekend of its release, 3 million devices were sold, with more shipments headed to Apple stores to help meet demand.
So what exactly makes this device so special? How is it better than the iPad 2? Here is a breakdown and comprehensive review of the new device:
Apple touts a 9.7-inch multitouch display with a Retina Display and faster processor. The iPad includes better graphics performance, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 support, a built-in microphone, front- and rear-facing cameras, and offers ten hours of battery life. The device comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, and augments 3G wireless data support with LTE. The new models support full 1080p video. The iPad still comes in black or white.
The device is roughly the same size as the iPad 2, though slightly thicker and heavier to support the new screen. At first glance, the new models are practically indistinguishable from the iPad 2. The new iPad weighs in at 1.44 pounds and 0.37 inches thick, while the iPad 2 weighs 1.33 pounds and is 0.34 inches thick. That difference may seem rather small, but it does mean rigid iPad 2 cases do not fit the third generation model.
Pricing has not changed, but budget-conscious shoppers can now find the iPad 2 for $100 less than the new iPad. The new WiFi-only models start at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB storage. For another $130, buyers can get a 4G iPad at any storage capacity.
Apple puts its new dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphic and includes 1GB RAM in the new iPad. Both the new model and its predecessor run at 1GHz. The extra RAM and the pumped up processor give the iPad a little extra “oomph,” and does away with the frustration of having to wait a few extra seconds for common tasks. Mobile Safari pages load much faster, email is faster to access, and system-wide searches are more fluid in comparison to the older model. However, the speed isn’t anything out of the ordinary, and it won’t blow your socks off. In terms of performance, the new model is only slightly better than the iPad 2.
The Retina Display screen is the iPad’s most talked about feature, and its clarity is worthy of the praise. The resolution is four times that of the iPad 2 at 2048×1536, with a screen density of 264 pixels per inch. High-definition video and photos are stunning on the device. Images are not overly sharp and colors are lifelike.
The upgraded screen is the new iPad’s main selling point, though the 4G capability is likely to encourage a few upgrades as well. Developers are no longer restricted by the limitations of older model’s screen. Text that was once too small to see and too difficult to read is now perfectly readable, granting absolute design freedom to developers.
The new iPad also has a built-in microphone and Voice Diction, a feature that converts speech into text. The feature is surprisingly accurate, though might have a bit of trouble with certain regional dialects.
The new iPad also sports a nicer camera. The iPad’s rear-facing camera is essentially the same as that in the 5 megapixel iPhone 4. It has an IR filter and a back-illuminated sensor that allows for better performance in low light. This camera takes more lifelike photos.
Users have noticed that the new iPad heats up more that the iPad 2. While it may be nice for warming hands on a cold day, some are concerned about the generated heat, claiming that the device gets hot after just 30 minutes of use and is almost too hot to hold. A few tests conducted by Dutch website Tweakers that compared the new model with its predecessor, revealed that the new iPad has a ten degree warmer operating temperature than the iPad 2. While the new device does heat up, it is not burning surfaces or scorching fingers, and sales are still strong.
Whether users opt for the new iPad or the iPad 2, they’ll still be getting a pretty sweet deal. The iPad has a 90 percent hold on the tablet market for a reason. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android tablets and Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire can’t hold a candle to Apple’s tablets, and now with the 20 percent price cut on the entry-level iPad 2, Apple is taking steps toward making the devices more affordable as well. Whether you’re a gamer, an executive, or a social-media junkie, there’s no doubt the iPad will meet your needs. With dozens of new apps hitting the market each day to take advantage of the new tablet’s features, it really is a revolutionary device.