Entries in iPad 2 (44)
The iPad 2 is just hours old, but it already seems to us like the definitive iPad. While the original iPad was nipping at the heels of 'real computers', the iPad 2 looks like it will scare the life out of highend netbooks and even cause the mighty MacBook Air some sleepless nights!
What Apple did today was provide a near perfect upgrade to a near perfect device, they also paved the way for a relatively straightforward iPad 3 announcement next year.
Here is our first look at the iPad 2, we have had zero hands-on time with the new device (hopefully Apple will invite us to future iPad related announcements), but we can glean quite a bit from just the specifications alone.
Makes no mistake this is a serious hardware upgrade
9x 3D graphics performance. Apple made a very big deal about this massive boost in polygon pushing power and for good reason. A 9x increase over the iPad 1 puts the iPad 2 in broadly the same league as the newly announced (but not yet shipped) Sony NGP (or PSP 2), a device which Sony claims is almost as powerful as its PS3. The iPad 1 uses the same graphics core as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, the PowerVR SGX 535. The SGX 535 is theoretically capable of pushing out around 28 MPolys/s (polygons per second). Multiply that by a factor of 9 and you are looking at the best part of 252 MPolys/s. Remember that this is a theoretical peak performance figure and that real world performance is likely to be significantly less. Even so, the iPad 2 is a polygon munching monster!
The Sony NGP uses the SGX543MP4 (four cores) and can produce a theoretical 133M polygons/s. The only conclusion that we can form based on the available information is that the iPad 2 is using either the exact same GPU configuration as the NGP or possibly the higher specified SGX544MP4. Whatever the iPad 2 is using, is seems likely that it is more than equal to anything that Sony's new handheld console can muster. Game developers will not have to compromise polygon performance when choosing the A5 powered iPad 2.
As an aside, this bodes well for the iPhone 5 in June and the iPod Touch 4 in September. If they only manage half the polygon performance of the iPad they will surely produce home console quality graphics.
2x CPU performance. To be fair the iPad 1 is no slouch, it handles a variety of tasks with almost no slowdown, but there are an increasing number of applications that appear to push the A4 powered iPad 1 to its limits. Take ArtRage as an example. The A5 powered iPad 2 could reduce the painting lag in ArtRage by half or more, making for a much more natural painting experience. Every firsthand account of the iPad 2 suggests that it is 'blazingly fast'. More raw CPU power is never a bad thing, it will mean slicker multitasking, faster load times and a generally more pleasing experience.
Lighter and thinner. We have no problem with the thickness of the iPad 1, but it is a tad heavy. As the irrepressable march towards paper thin computers continues we can expect the iPad to get ever thinner and lighter. As long as this progression is not at the expensive of battery life you'll hear no complaints from us.
Cameras. The iPad 2 sports a front and rear facing camera. The front facing camera is for FaceTime, a stunningly simple video chat client, while the rear facing camera offers 720p video capture. As we have already mentioned the inclusion of these cameras was inevitable. We can only begin to imagine the possibility that a full 720p HD video camera opens up. Yes, we know the idea of using your iPad as a video camera seems slightly ridiculous, but honestly, we think many will do just that, especially as you can now edit and upload that footage using just one device.
HDMI out. There are many reasons why this is a big deal. We will return to this feature in a future post, but let's just say this for now, 1080p output with PS3 level graphics. Oh yes!
iLife is on its way, bit by bit
The announcement and subsequent demonstration of iMovie and GarageBand for iPad had us smiling from ear to ear. We have long believed that iLife would find its way to the iPad platform, but to see it reproduced to such an extent on hardware with such power was the highlight of the entire announcement. If there was ever a clear signal that Apple see the iPad as a content creation device, this is it.
But where is iPhoto?
Simple. iPhoto has been held back to form a significant part of the iPad 3 (or iPad Pro) reveal. What better application could there be than iPhoto to demonstrated a new Retina class display? iPhoto is coming, make no mistake, it will arrive at the same time as the iPad with Retina display, perhaps this year, but certainly before April 2012.
Cheaper iPads for everyone
Right now we are buzzing with the prospect of what the iPad 2 is capable of, but almost as exciting is the prospect of the iPad 1 becoming that much more affordable. At the time of writing the original iPad 1 is listed in the UK Apple Store at just £329, that's a wonderful deal for those looking for their first iPad. We have no idea if this will last, but even if it doesn't there will surely be plenty of iPad 1 units available on eBay for quite some time.
We have plenty more iPad 2 commentary arriving shortly. Stay tuned folks!
We are just 4 hours away from seeing if the next iPad is merely a dull revision of the original hardware, as many have assumed, or something a bit more gutsy. Though we don't fill the pages of iPad Creative with speculation and rumour, we have made our fair share of speculation as to what technologies might find their way into Apple's revolutionary tablet computer.
While you wait patiently for the official reveal, why not amuse yourself with our ramblings from the last few months.
Enjoy. See you on the other side!
Remember the first time you saw the iPhone 4's Retina Display with its 326 PPI pixel density? Though not everyone agrees, for us the difference between it and the previous iPhone display was like night and day. Put the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 side by side, turn the brightness up to full and compare the quality. The 3GS looks like a small LCD backlit display and the 4 looks like a smooth piece of film hovering just under the surface of the glass. Photographs look better than they do in print and text is readable at almost any size. Going back the iPad display with its 132 PPI pixel density takes some getting used to.
Recent rumours point to the possibility of Apple endowing the next iPad with a Retina class display (Retina Display being the term Apple use for a screen with no visible pixel steps when viewed at normal viewing distance). We've been saying for quite some time that when Apple increase the resolution of the iPad display that it will increase it by twice the linear resolution of the current iPad display, in other words 2048 x 1536 pixels. What we had not foreseen was that Apple might introduce such a display so soon.
Would an iPad with a Retina Display really be that much better? Yes. In fact, we think it could be a game changer. Here's why.
Better than a laptop display, better than print
The clarity of the current iPad IPS display is roughly comparable to a quality laptop or netbook display. Watching a movie, looking at family photos, browsing the web, all these activities look almost identical on an iPad or a good laptop. Of course the iPad experience is greatly enhanced by its unique user interface and industrial design, but in essence, it looks the same.
Print still has the edge over the iPad display in terms of pure resolution. The fine text in a printed magazine or book is reproduced at a remarkable 2400 dots per inch, massively higher than the 132 dots per inch of the iPad display. The pixel antialiasing that iOS employs smooths out this roughness, but still, the gap in resolution between computer displays like the current iPad and ink printed on paper is vast.
Bumping the iPad display up to Retina Display quality will make all laptop and netbook displays appear like they have been constructed from Lego blocks. Using a laptop again, even one as nice as a MacBook Air, will seem like a huge step backwards in screen quality. Full HD movies (1080p) will look sharper than on any other display available. Photos will be almost indistinguishable from high quality prints. Viewing web pages, especially in portrait mode, will be the best web experience available.
An iPad with a Retina Display would be a much closer match for printed material. A 260 PPI display with pixel antialiasing will render even small intricate fonts in all their glory.
The iPad with Retina Display will have a 2048 x 1536 resolution
Just as Apple doubled the vertical and horizontal resolution of the iPhone display, so must the iPad display be doubled. There are quite a number of technical reasons for this, not least of which is the need for existing iPad apps to run smoothly on the new display. It worked for the iPhone and it will work for the iPad.
As you can see in the comparison diagrams above, an iPad with a 3.15 mega pixel display would be in a class all of its own; notice how it would take a staggering 20 iPhone 3GS displays to match it in resolution. The benefits would be significant, but there is one massive technical challenge that may prevent such a display from making it to the iPad this year.
Check back later in the week for speculation on this challenge how Apple may have risen to it.
We were quite stunned by the performance of the PlayBook as demonstrated by Matthew from the web browser group at RIM, but not in a good way.
As we mentioned in an earlier article, the PlayBook is packing some state of the art hardware. The dual core Cortex A9 processor alone should give the PlayBook a huge speed advantage over the iPad when rendering web pages, this just doesn't seem to be the case.
Watch the video again, but this time mute the volume. Watch closely for the actual completion of page rendering on the PlayBook, you'll notice that it completes on average 2 seconds before the iPad. Not quite the speed demon that Matthew would like as to believe. In other tests the PlayBook is shown to render Flash and HMTL 5 content in a more complete and speedy fashion. We can't argue with the results, the PlayBook does indeed appear to be way more useful for those looking to access Flash content or HTML 5 based web sites and services.
Nice, but what will the PlayBook actually be up against?
The biggest problem with Matthew's PlayBook video is that it's clearly a case of vapourware verses hardware, a preproduction unit verses hardware that shipped about 8 months ago. The PlayBook's main competition will most likely be the iPad 2 not this current model.
Although iPad Creative is focused on Apple's 'magical' tablet we are eager to see what the competition can do with a similar form factor and for a comparable price. A few years from now we imagine that tablet computing will be the predominant class of computers in homes and business alike. Will BlackBerry be a part of this next wave of computing? It's hard to tell, but by the end of next year we should have a clear indication of who the main players will be.