New iPad (3rd gen, 2012)
The latest Apple iPad is not called the iPad 3. Apple has decided to call it the new iPad. The new iPad boasts a 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display and a new, Apple-developed AX5 dual-core processor and a quad-core GPU. Apple claims a 4x speed boost on the iPad 2.
The new iPad also has a 5-megapixel camera with auto exposure, auto-focus and face detection. It records video in full high definition (1080p). Battery life lasts 10 hours, or nine hours using 3G. Prices start at £399.
The new iPad’s Retina Display is far ahead of any tablet out there. When it was launched, Apple claimed that text is sharper to read than on a newspaper. It’s hard to disagree. Not a single pixel appears out of place. Such is the quality of the Retina Display, that app developers are already scrambling to apply the make-up brush to their apps to get them looking spick and span, ready for the best tablet screen around.
Films, too look glorious. The experience of viewing HD movies on the new iPad is just like watching on a full HD television, albeit a pint-size one you can cradle in the palm of your hand.
Games look superb. The potential of the iPad as a gaming platform is such that the new iPad is gradually being considered as an alternative gaming handheld even to Sony’s PlayStation Vita and Nintendo’s 3DS. App Store games are beginning to look that good. The recent arrival of games such as Grand Theft Auto 3 will only cement the new iPad’s growing gaming rep. Add to that the many thousands of apps available from Apple’s App Store, and the new iPad is guaranteed to entertain.
Prior to the launch of the new iPad it was thought that a Retina Display would have a severe impact on battery life. Apple has managed to make it work. Apple is still able to provide better battery life than most of its rivals. Lower the brightness, and switch off maximum settings and you can easily squeeze out around 11 hours of life out of it.
And as ridiculous as using a tablet to take photos is, the rear-facing camera is a big improvement. Its 5-megapixel photos show plenty of detail and sharpness. The video camera also does a sterling job of recording full 1080p high definition video that you can edit on the new iPad itself.
The new iPad is around a millimetre thicker than the iPad 2, and 50g heavier. In the grand scheme of things though, this makes little difference. Slightly more pressing is that Apple is still offering the same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models.
As apps become optimised for use on Apple’s Retina Display, so does the space they take up. If you’re planning on getting a 16GB model, be warned. You’ll run out of storage sooner than you think.
Besides that, the usual quibbles remain. There is no USB or an SD card slot to expand the new iPad’s memory. And unless you purchase a stand or prop your new iPad against an object, you’ll be forced to watch movies with the new iPad resting in your hand - a recipe for wrist ache.
The new iPad still has no Flash, so some videos from some sites will not play. Although as websites adapt so that they can be displayed on Apple devices (such is Apple’s impact), this is becoming less of a problem.