The iPad3 or the new iPad arrived in the Indian markets recently but there was hardly the kind of buzz that we had seen at the launch of its previous two versions. “Why?” you might ask. Are its current features not as exciting as the previous iPads? Or is the price really too high compared to the many tablets available today? A close look at the gadget has revealed a good mix of features that users will appreciate. At the same time there are an almost equal number of disappointments.
These features together will determine whether you will go out and buy the gadget. Here I have talked about all the features, labelling them as either ‘Hi5s’ or Lows.
First the Hi5s – features that users liked:
Display – a big Hi5
On the New iPad you enjoy 1080 pixel HD viewing like you never did before on a gadget this size. The screen which delivers 2048 x 1536 pixel images and the retina display, both make viewing movies, videos and playing games such a pleasure. The images simply come alive with crystal clarity and crispness. You’ll soon forget your old laptop! A very Hi-5 for the display, no doubt, made possible by the dual core A5X processor. BTW, you can’t use media players like VLC. You’d have to go for PlayerX from iTunes which will cost you a few dollars.
Camera – another Hi5
This 5 megapixel rear camera is a stride ahead of the previous iPad’s camera. Although we all expected it to be as good as the iPhone 4S with 8mp. Nonetheless, the new camera gives superior picture quality with fine detailing. Features like face detection and image stabilizer complement the 5mp camera. To enhance your photography experience, you may use the iPhoto software from iTunes ($4.99) to edit the pix that you’ve shot.
Video – a big Hi5
The new iPad allows you to shoot full HD videos. You can give your videos a professional touch by using the video editing software iMovie. The visual brilliance of this iPad makes shooting videos perhaps its most exciting feature. iMovie can be purchased @ $4.99 from iTunes.
Battery life – a Hi5
You’d expect the A5X processor and the bright display to drain power faster than the previous iPads. Also you’d imagine the battery to be bulkier. Fortunately that is not the case. The new iPad runs with moderate usage for about 10 hours on a single charge, roughly the same as the iPad2. The battery is only 1.4mm thicker and 50g heavier compared to the iPad2’s battery. Even so, it’s a great improvement from the first iPad’s bulky battery.
Now we shall list the features that users dissed, the ‘Lows’ of New iPad as I call them:
Siri – where is she?
The iPhone 4S had a voice assistant named Siri that took you by surprise. Siri was an artificial intelligence software programmed to answer users’ queries. The same feature was expected in the new iPad. When gadget pundits speculated the possibility of Siri’s inclusion in the iPad’s set of features, they were in a way asking the makers Apple to oblige by adding it. But Apple didn’t and Siri’s absence can hardly by compensated by the current audio assistant that helps you navigate through some tasks. Siri and her smart (and often silly) replies would have made the gadget so much more exciting.
Being 4G-ready in a 2G/3G environment
We hear so many Indian telecom majors tom-tomming about 3G and even 4G as if life would change dramatically after we upgrade to the new technology. But ask any broadband user from Kochi to Kolkata if they are happy with their service and the answer is a big “NO”. I’m not being cynical, but the pathetic bandwidth and so-called 4G speed can only make you wish for data exchange speeds of upto 40MBPS. The iPad is 4G-enabled but Indian telecom cos are a long way from providing that. Moral of the story: you can’t blame the iPad for being 4G ready, but it can mean spending more on your monthly data usage or suffer low speeds.
64GB limit for storage
The disk space options on the current iPad are a sore point. Why, when you have features that compel the user to create more and more content, do you not provide adequate storage space? With the new 5mp camera and the splendid HD video files you will simply keep shooting, editing and collecting pix, sounds and videos. And HD files are known to consume a lot of space. You will have to perforce use iTunes apps for various media files and also seek external storage. Current in-built storage options offered are 16, 32 and 64GB. I would have expected at least 128GB. If one is shelling out upwards of 30K for an iPad, a little more for decent storage cap wouldn’t dent the pocket too much.
Absence of suitable apps
Any New iPad user would want to get the maximum out of its retina display and HD capability. There is however a glaring lack of apps for these two features. Users currently only have apps like iTunesU and GarageBand and would like many more to maximize the immersive experience.
No visual difference between iPad2 and iPad3
Perhaps this may be the reason why folks at Apple do not like to call it iPad3. The latest gadget looks and feels no different from the Apple iPad2. This isn’t such a sore point as some of the ‘Lows’ I mentioned above, but the new device could have been slightly sleeker in design. To be fair, you forget the absence of a distinctive feature the moment you switch on the gadget. The 1080 pixel HD and retina display are enough to make you forget or overlook the similarity in looks.