The New iPad – First Impressions – Part 1Gadgets — By David Larner
Last night I called the local Apple store to find out when they expected the line to start forming for this morning’s release of the New iPad. They told me that the line had already begun – 12 hours in advance of the store opening. The store was scheduled to open at 8:00 a.m. for the highly anticipated release of the New iPad with the Retina display. I got there about 9:00 a.m. expecting to view the new demos in the showroom and with luck to be able to nab one for myself.
After failing to enter the mall thru the still locked doors at Nordstrom’s and Sears, I finally found a door directly into the shopping center. As I approached the Apple store I expected to hear lots of noise, see long lines and possibly see protestors as had been described in this morning’s L.A. Times, but something was wrong. There was no loud noise; no screaming kids; no protestors. Just a minimally crowded showroom with a ratio of about 1 customer to every 3 or 4 waiting employees. Was the launch delayed? Did the critical shipment of iPads not arrive on time? Were they already sold out?
I carefully stepped over the white chain link plastic that was meant to contain the huge crowds and walked directly to the front of the non-existent line. A cheerful employee was waiting for me with a box of claim slips offering any configuration that I desired. White, black, 16gb, 32gb, 64gb, 4G LTE, AT&T, Verizon, the whole shebang. I told the young techie that I would like to reserve a 32gb unit in black with AT&T’s 4G system, however I wanted to check out the new Retina display first to see how it compared with my iPad 1, which I had also scored on opening day two years earlier. He handed my lucky redemption card to a charming young associate who walked me over and gave be a side-by-side comparison of the two units.
The obvious and most notable difference had to do with the new hi-res screen which has four times the number of pixels as the old screen. The improvement in clarity was quite noticeable when surfing the Internet and the colors and clarity were very good, however the differential was less noticeable when reading plain text, such as in books or email. Additionally, when the brightness is turned to the maximum setting on both the iPad 1 and the New iPad I was still able to see a noticeable improvement in photo quality, but it was not significant enough to wow me. The new unit has a faster processor which probably fares well for gamers, however some other applications appeared to show a minimal difference in speed.
Other differences include a higher resolution camera than the iPad 2 (since my iPad 1 doesn’t have a camera), a higher speed 4G LTE connection, and a minor increase in thickness and weight from the previous version. It was the screen that got me to commit my hard earned cash for this rather expensive upgrade. The 32 gig, 4G LTE unit set me back $729 plus tax and the optional warranty boosting the price up to well over $800, and that didn’t even include a case! Fortunately, my camera accessory with the SD card reader is compatible with the new unit (so I don’t have to buy a new one), however I was told that the HDMI adapter had changed. Then there was the screen protector which Apple doesn’t sell and the sales girl said was not recommended because she claimed that it impairs the sensitivity of the touch screen.
The cost was a lot, but the process of obtaining and setting up the unit was first class. Once I paid for my New iPad the sales girl walked me over to another counter where an eager young technician was ready to assist with the setup and transfer of my account settings including iCloud, email setup, and anything else that was needed. The process was relatively quick and painless with the hardest part being that I couldn’t remember my AT&T login and password. Not to worry, Apple had AT&T techs ready and waiting at the next counter. Overall, I experienced a very smooth, professional, and service oriented transition. Now for the fun!
Part 2 – The New iPad vs the iPad 1. Stay tuned…