We got another Apple event yesterday. Rumors were flying even up t the event itself. Just over an hour later, once all the dust settled we ended up with a new iPad, an old iPad at a lower price, a new AppleTV and a bunch of new apps. Want to know what that all means?
Let me break it down for you.
“the new iPad”
So first off the bat, it’s “the new iPad” (3rd Generation), much similar how iPods are identified. Not iPad 3, or iPad HD… looks from here on out the iPad is just that… iPad.
So what’s in it? There were many predictions (my own included) and a lot were dead on. Price point among them. Used to the old prices? No changes there. In fact they even kept the old iPad 2 16GB around for $399 (wi-fi) & $529 (3G) price points. The iPad is basically the same size and weight as before, clocking in slightly thicker (0.37 inch vs 0.34 inch) and slightly heavier (1.33 lb vs 1.44 lb). Battery also is about the same in terms of hours, even though it has almost twice the capacity (42.5 watt hours vs 25 watt hours). So what makes “the new iPad” special?
- “Retina” Display – as expected the new display is twice that of the old one clocking in at 2048 x 1536. For the techies out there, it comes in at 264PPI… not as amazing as the iPhone’s 326, but the bigger screen is meant to be held at a further distance. Retina is all about if your eyes can see pixels from a certain distance based on screen size. In this case the iPad is meant to be held at 15″ from your face (the iPhone is measured at 12″). Technically most TVs are “Retina” quality, just aren’t marketed as such.
- Upgraded Engine – Inside you’ll find a dual core A5X but with a quad core graphics chip. It’s a low powered chip, but still has the power needed to run the screen and make things snappy, even at the high resolution. Why they went with A5, vs A6 I’m not sure, but perhaps its the same specs just with the graphic chip add on. We’ll know more when it ships. No specs on RAM are available but chances are they’re in the 1GB range. All that combines to something that
- 5 Megapixel rear camera with extras – The iPad (sorry… “the new iPad”) gets a hybrid between the iPhone 4 and 4S cameras. It gets the megapixels of the 4 with all the bells and whistles of the 4S. This means a backside illuminated sensor, 5 element lens and a hybrid IR filter. This allows the new iPad to record HD movies at 1080P, even though the iPhone 4 can’t. The front facing camera stays at a VGA quality, but for Face-Time or Skype calls is more than enough.
- LTE – Yes it’s true. LTE has finally come to Apple via the iPad. Well to North America. And if you are fine with Verizon and AT&T in the US, and Telus, Rogers, and Bell in Canada. So in theory you can get 74Mbps on a strong 4G connection. You also still have 3G to fall back on with included support for 3G HSPA+ (21Mbps), and dual-carrier HSDPA(42Mbps). Want to share this blazing fast connection? Hot spotting is available so long as it’s ok with your carrier.
- minor updates – Bluetooth 4.0 (vs 2.1), Dictation (aka Siri Light), and AppleCare+ for iPad. The iPad can connect to any new low power bluetooth device, such as tags, watches and even medical devices. Very nice. Also the iPad got a taste of Siri, but not the whole thing. Users can press a microphone on the keyboard and use Siri to dictate anything as if you were typing. Also along with “the new iPad” is being rolled out accidental damage coverage Applecare for $99. You get two incidents, and each has a $50 fee, but beats buying a whole new iPad because you dropped it from the table.
Along with the new retina display, Apple needed a new way to send that HD signal to the TV via Airplay. Enter the new AppleTV.
- Same form factor – For those familiar with the old AppleTV, nothings changed here. Same small puck – 3.9″x3.9″x.9″. Lightweight at .6lbs and easy to be placed in any travel bag if you’d like to take it with you.
- Same ports – The back is the same as the 2nd gen AppleTV too: HDMI for video/audio, Optical audio jack, 10/100 Ethernet (sorry no gigabit yet), and Micro-USB (which is still only for service and support, and jail breaking of course). On the front is the IR port. There was some talk about a new remote, but it uses the same remote as before.
- Hardware – The AppleTV isn’t identical of course. Inside there is a new single core A5 chip. Chances are it also has more RAM and probably the Bluetooth 4.0 chip the iPad uses… which much like it’s predecessor probably will be disabled for “future” use.
- 1080p output – Unlike it’s predecessor which could only get 720p out of its own HDMI, the new AppleTV has the hardware to allow for full 1080p. That means all that iPad 3… “the new iPad” (that’s getting old) content can be streamed over to it in all it’s glory.
- iOS updates – PhotoStream from your iOS Cloud devices come to the AppleTV, as well as being able to stream anything you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store. If you have iTunes Match, that works on it too. Also on the movie front, Netflix now brings 1080p video to your TV. Best of all for you generation 2 AppleTV users: all these updates are also available for the 2nd gen models.
New iOS Apps
With all these new features comes some new apps. Gorgeous photo apps to take advantage of the retina screen, some solid fixes from the new iOS 5.1, and
- iOS updates – No you’re not seeing things, for those on ATT you might now see 4G on your older devices. This is reflecting of the “4G” speeds of HSPA+ which the iPhone 4 (& up) and iPad 2 (& up) can take advantage of. There’s a camera icon for iPhone users on the home screen permanently now, and for those holding out on Photo Stream due to the fact everything got uploaded – you can now delete individual photos from the stream! Siri now has a few more languages under her belt. Also there have been some tweaks for iTunes Match users.
- iPhoto – A brand new app that i think actually does more things than it’s desktop counter point. You can compare images side by side, apply default effects, and even brushes to soften, sharpen or any number of things in a specific area. Want the sky more blue? Place your finger on it and drag your finger till it’s a shade you like. Have a favorite image on your iPhone? Use the beam function and send it to the iPad, or vice versa. You can also create journals of events with captions, and automatic maps, dates, and weather. And share everything via Airplay to your TV.
- Garage Band – Garage Band got a few updates. First is that it now is able to handle the retina screen. But in addition it now has integration with iCloud. It also now can do “Jam Sessions” in which multiple iOS devices can pair up and sync in time, recordings, same key and tempo. There’s a wider range of “smart” instruments. Want to share your masterpieces? Now you have even more options including directly to Facebook, YouTube, and SoundCloud.
- iMovie – Garageband wasn’t the only big updated app. iMovie got the general retina boost, and speed enhancements. But it also now takes the trailer concept one step further and introduces templates for movies. The story board will map out whole sequences for you, you just need to supply the video. Add some text and your all set. You can add photos, and even move your projects from one iOS device to another.
- iBooks, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and other apps – Many apps have been updated to take advantage of the new retina screen. Any apps with text will have it automatically rendered at the better resolution with everything else scaled at 2x. Got your favorite app? It’ll still look great. Perhaps even better.