Entries in iPad 3 (16)
A recent survey showed that people are actually more excited about the iPad than the iPhone. Why might that be? Let's explore...
1. A shared experience
As a type this, a father and his teenage daughter sat opposite me on the train are playing a simple multiplayer game on an iPad, previously they were collaborating on a fun drawing. Where the iPhone is very much a personal computing and communication device, the iPad is often about a group experience and shared computing.
2. Ten digits, trump five
Having enough screen real estate to support eight fingers and two thumbs makes the iPad that much more capable as a creative device. The iPhone version of GarageBand, for example, may have all the capabilities of the iPad version, but the overall experience is somewhat diminished. This is true of many creative apps.
3. Cutting edge mobile computing power
Most, but not all, of Apple latest and greatest computing hardware makes it to the iPad first, then many months later, arrives on the iPhone. The A5 and A5X, with their industry leading graphics coprocessors, debuted on the iPad. It's seems likely that this trend will continue into 2013 and beyond.
4. Total cost of ownership
The 16GB iPad third generation iPad cost 25% less than a 16GB iPhone 4S without a contract. For some, an iPad and a cheaper phone, perhaps one with a significantly better camera than the iPhone 4S (Basically, that means the Nokia 808), would prove to be a better mobile computing solution.
5. Consuming media
Watching a feature length movie on the iPad, even with two people viewing, is perfectly possible, not so on the iPhone.
Further Reading: See all our posts relating to the new iPad
After performing a clean sweep to bring in all three medals at the 200M finals last night, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir stopped to pose for the cameras. At one point, the three huddled together to pose for a woman taking photos (or shooting video?) with her pink iPad. As we recently demonstrated, the camera in the new iPad is quite capable, with video capture being especially smooth and detailed.
If you've watched much of the crowd footage from the 2012 Olympics you'll no doubt have seen quite a number of spectators merrily taking photos and shooting videos with iPads. This has generated a fair amount of ire amongst some it seems. Why do seemingly normal folk, who most likely already own a good pocket camera or smartphone, resort to the iPad? We honestly don't know. But might it perhaps be a combination of 'good enough' quality, that huge three mega pixel display and the simplest controls of any camera available?
There's a real surety that comes from that gorgeous display. From just a quick glance you can immediately tell if you've captured something worth treasuring. With almost all other cameras you don't see the image or video in its final quality until it's transferred to a computer. With the iPad you get to see, in realtime, by far the majority of the pixels being captured. Not only that, but you can edit and share the results immediately.
We hope the lady with the pink iPad was happy with her video and photos of Usain and lads, and if she's reading this, please get in touch, we'd love to see the results!
Further Reading: All posts related to the new iPad.
Nothing will hone your iPad skills quite like rising to a creative challenge. I wanted to get a better understanding of GarageBand's new Smart Strings section, plus I still felt that there was more to explore with the new iPad's camera.
With the in mind, I decided to shoot, edit and score a short film about a pleasant subtropical garden that's not too far from me. Abbotsbury Gardens is lovely this time of year, I knew that there would be lots of colour on show and that all the extra pixels of the new iPad, both in the display and the camera, would help me get those macro flower shots just right.
Smart Strings turned out to be extremely powerful, deceptively so in fact. Getting just the right expression of each note was tricky at first, but once I realised that there are three ways of playing the instruments using the onscreen controls, things began to fall into place. For example, when playing chords, you can either tap to play pizzicato, swipe up and down to bow slowly, or quickly swipe to get a chord with much more attack, it's genuinely ingenious.
Why not set yourself a challenge over the weekend. Shoot, edit and score your own movie - perhaps just some footage of your favourite local spot - you'll be surprised how quickly it all comes together. When you're finished, be sure to let us know and we'll share your film with our readers.
PressReader has become a part of my daily routine. Every morning I fire up PressReader and download the latest copy of my chosen newspaper to read during my train commute to work. All the formatting is preserved, everything appears exactly like it does in the print edition of the newspaper, this is a key benefit of PressReader, especially on the new iPad.
I've dabbled with various newspaper apps, but few seem to preserve the character of the original publication. There's something quite comforting about the familiar tight column based layout of a regular printed newspaper or magazine that seems to be missing from many newspaper apps. PressReader is an elegant solution for those looking for the instant delivery of digital technology without having to abandon the familiar pleasure of flicking through traditionally formatted newspaper pages.
Retina display support
PressReader recently gained full support for the Retina display. If you have reasonable near sight vision, even a page of a large tabloid with be fully readable without the need to zoom in on a particular article. This makes the reading experience much closer to a regular printed newspaper reading experience. As shown in the two images below, in many ways the quality of the text and photos is superior to the printed editions. Newspaper print, though higher in resolution than any computer display, is often printed on cheap paper and suffers as a consequence. Those same pages look vibrant and and pin sharp on the new iPad display.
Your very own newsagent
Once you have subscribed to a newspaper, you'll receive a notification every time a new edition is available for download. New editions are downloaded as soon as the app is launched. On a reasonably fast connection, I found that entire newspapers downloaded in under a couple of minutes.
Perhaps more importantly for those using the app without the latest iPad, PressReader can reformat the content of any newspaper, though this means you'll lose much of the feel of picking up a regular newspaper. However, it does mean that those with a non Retina display iPad can read even the smallest of text without eye strain. It's also worth noting that PressReader can read many articles aloud. The quality of the voice synthesis is very good indeed, not the best I've heard, (that accolade belongs to the stunning Ivona voice synthesis) but certainly better than anything else I've heard on the iPad of late.
Room for improvement
PressReader isn't perfect. Even though it offers 2,100 newspapers, It needs a bigger library of publications. Also, the user interface is not as slick as it could be. But even in its current form, it could well be an ideal solution for those looking to read their favourite newspaper on the iPad.
PressReader is free and you currently receive 7 free issues with each download, so you have nothing to lose from giving it a try.
We mention PressReader on iPad Creative simply because we feel that it represents an important milestone in the life of the iPad. With the Retina display Apple is providing the hardware to compete with the quality of traditional print, PressReader is the app that bridges the gap between the old and the new. You get the best of both worlds, near instant delivery combined with traditional page layouts.
App Store Link: PressReader
In the second part of our iPad vs iPhone 4S camera shootout we concluded that the iPad 3 shoots video that is of a similar quality to the iPhone 4S. This is a good thing. There is, however, one area where the new iPad handily beats the iPhone 4S.
The world of the tiny
When focusing on subject matter that is close to the lens, the depth of field is very much decreased, so much so, that moving the device even just a few millimetres can make a difference to the final image quality. Sure, the touch to focus ability of both the iPhone and iPad should help you to focus on the correct portion of the scene, but if you move, even a small amount, your subject may be just in front or just behind the focus plane and hence, out of focus.
The new iPad, with its Retina class display can display every last pixel of the 1080p live video preview. It contains well over three times more detail than the screen on the iPhone 4S. Because of this extra detail, placing your iPad at the exact distance from the subject to ensure perfect focus at all times is quite possible.
A wasp awakes!
To demonstrate this, I captured the wasp video seen above. As the wasp awakes and goes through it's morning cleaning ritual note how I was able to maintain the focus on the correct part of the wasp, first the abdomen, and then the head. I could see the full extent of the depth of field at all times.
In short, the new iPad gives you the perfect tools to capture stunning macro photos and video. No smartphone or tablet computer currently available comes close. This winning camera and screen combination highlights another intreging use for the new iPad, but we'll focus on that in a future post.
If you've capture some interesting video with your new iPad, be sure to let us know either in a comment below or via email. You can also catch us on Twitter.
In part 1 of this camera comparison we considered still photography, could the new iPad with its 5MP sensor compete with the iPhone 4S and its 8MP sensor? Not too surprisingly, both devices produced very similar results. Be sure to check out the entire article, which includes plenty of sample shots, for the full story.
1080p v 1080p
With video, things are a little different. Both the new iPad and the iPhone 4S capture 1080p video with decent stabilisation. We were expecting the iPad and iPhone 4S to be very evenly matched, and indeed they were. The samples from each device are almost identical. So much so, in fact, that it would likely take someone who is very familiar with iPhone 4S video quality to spot the differences. But there are differences.
The processed look
Just like with the photographs, the new iPad video capture has a slightly more processed look. We are not quite sure what's going on here. Why should the new iPad have a more processed look than even the iPhone 4 which also features a 5MP sensor? We are fully aware that minds sharper than ours are suggesting that Apple is simply reusing the 5MP Omnivision sensor as last seen in the iPhone 4, but the actual results seem to suggest otherwise. The iPad samples show some kind of edge enhancement that neither the iPhone 4 or 4S exhibit. It's not a deal breaker, in fact you may prefer this new look, but it does seem a little odd to us.
Is it possible that the new iPad is packing the exact same optics and sensor and the iPhone 4S, yes an 8MP sensor, but that the camera software is binning those extra 3 mega pixels in order to give a final 5MP image? It seems unlikely, but then it also seems unlikely that Apple has deliberately chosen to give the iPad photos and video a more processed appearance. The truth is, we just don't know the answer, and for most people the video capture from both the iPad and iPhone 4S will be indistinguishable, we really are just splitting hairs here.
Audio capture differences
Perhaps it's because the microphone on the new iPad well clear of our hands, or perhaps it's just a bit more sensitive, but whatever the reason, we are quite convinced that the new iPad picks up a little more ambient noise than the iPhone 4S. Play the video sample above through a decent set of speakers or earphones and hear it for yourself.
An end to end experience
There simply isn't another consumer video camera on the planet that has a display quite like the new iPad's display. It's also true that there is no camera available that has the video editing and soundtrack creation goodness that iMovie and GarageBand bring to the iPad. As an end to end video capture, editing and distribution solution, the new iPad is in a league of its own making. People will produce stunning videos using nothing more than the new iPad and a couple of cheap apps. Yes, the new iPad is a bulky device for capturing video, but you have to remember, this isn't just the camera, it's the entire solution, and an extremely powerful one at that.
Would you even consider taking photos or shooting video with an iPad? That's the big question, because if the answer is no, then the huge increase in camera quality that the new iPad has over the iPad 2 is a moot point.
It's clear to us that the current trend is to treat the very idea of tablet computer photography and video capture with utter derision, almost every iPad 3 review that mentions the camera includes a comment or two about how stupid you would look doing so. We are reminded of the reviews of early smartphones. 'Who would be so stupid as to take pictures with their phone', they said. Now less than ten years later the iPhone 4 is the most popular camera on Flickr. Conventional wisdom often misfires.
If you're still reading this then there is a good chance that you are open to the idea of tablet photography and video capture. It's also quite likely that you already own an iPhone or another brand of high-end smartphone. So, do you have anything to gain by using the iPad as your camera instead of another device? Perhaps.
iPad vs regular smartphone
Some of the latest smartphones from Nokia, HTC and Samsung are equipped with cameras that should easily outperform the new iPad. We have seen 8MP shots from some very popular smartphones that struggle to match these iPad 5MP photos, but in the main, the very latest smartphones are more capable at capturing stills. However, things are not so clear when it comes to video capture. Apple have done a sterling job with the video stabilisation, so much so in fact that it's quite hard to tell the difference between iPad 3 footage and dedicated video camera footage. The new iPad offers 1080p video capture with superb stabilisation at very high bit rates and with clear mono sound capture. If you are a proud owner of the new iPad, it's also worth noting that you just purchased a first class video camera too.
iPad vs iPhone 4S
In theory the iPhone 4S and the new iPad should be very close in terms of general camera performance. In some ways this is true. For example, both the new iPad and the iPhone 4S have similar dynamic range of luminance and colour balance. However, the iPad has a more processed look. The iPhone 4S shots have considerable more fine detail when viewed at 100%. Our guess is that Apple engineers have fine-tuned the iPad camera so that its stills and video look their best when viewed on the iPad display. This makes sense, though we would have preferred a slightly inferior iPad viewing experience and a cleaner final image. In short, the iPhone 4S captures cleaner, more detailed, images and video than the new iPad, though you'll need to zoom into the frame somewhat to notice the difference. The iPhone 4S takes the lead, but it's not by a country mile.
An end to end experience
One area where iPad photography and video capture makes perfect sense is when looking for a complete end-to-end experience. Consider this; the iPad 3 has a higher quality display then any consumer camera. It also takes great quality 5MP stills and top spec fixed lens 1080p video with stabilisation. Add into the mix iPhoto, iMovie and any number of the superb photo and video apps available for the iPad and you have a pretty compelling end-to-end solution.
There's one market for which the new iPad camera makes perfect sense. The education market is going to adore this new iPad. We can't wait to see how students of all ages put this new camera/computer combination to use.
Anyway, enough of our rambling. Be sure to check out this Flickr set for direct comparison shots. You'll find iPad photos first followed by iPhone 4S shots taken a moment or two later. In each case we have made sure that we've focused on the same area of the scene. They are all available at full resolution, so why not download them to your iPad or computer and examine them for yourself. We would love to know what you think, so please be sure to leave a comment below.
In part 2 of this series we'll be looking at video capture.
Further viewing: iPad vs iPhone 4S Flickr set
Let's make one thing clear before we begin, we are more than happy that websites, blogs and mainstream media keep Apple at the top of their game by revealing potential issues with new Apple hardware and software. No company is infallible and it's right and proper that genuine mistakes or problems are pointed out to prospective customers.
However, what concerns us it that a potential customers might miss out on some genuine innovation because of a few sensationalist headlines. That leads us to three potential issues with the new iPad that have recently caught our attention.
Some have said that the new iPad gives off considerably more heat than the old iPad. We were surprised by these claims, so much so in fact that we decided to put them to the test. We put our iPad 3 through a series of graphics intensive testing, starting with an hour of Open GL benchmarking and finishing with 40 minutes of Real Racing 2 HD. At the end of our 2 hour test we could discern no significant increase in temperature on the back on the iPad and only a small increase in temperature on the display. The increase in temperature on the display was noticeable, but by no means uncomfortable. We don't doubt that the new iPad runs slightly hotter than the older model under certain conditions, but we do doubt any claims of it being hot or uncomfortable.
Resolutionary is not so revolutionary
This is a tricky one. There are clearly some users that will not be able to spot a Retina display apart from a standard display in a busy street, but does that make the Retina display less revolutionary? No, the iPad is a giant leap forward in pixel density and hence, genuine image detail. The new iPad display contains four times the amount of pixels as the old display. The difference, to those that have used the new iPad for any length of time, is like night and day. Fonts that were previously collections of anti-alaised pixels are now rendered to a degree of quality that reveals their true beauty. Photos and HD video looks spectacular! In our opinion the new display is a game changer, and if you can afford it you should certainly pick the new iPad over the cheaper iPad 2.
The new iPad is 51 gms heavier than the last version, but still lighter than the original iPad. Over the last couple of days we have seen comments that describe it as 'too heavy'. We are big fans of Jason Bradbury, co-presenter of Channel Five's 'The Gadget Show', but even Jason seemed to be looking for issues with the new iPad, describing it as "… too heavy! & … too hot!". We're sorry Jason, but in our book an extra 50 gms (roughly the weight of a packet of gum) is a small price to pay for the four times the increase in pixel density and a camera that rivals almost any smartphone, not to mention LTE support.
Of all these complaints, it's the overheating accusation that's most worrying as it implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with the design or construction of the new iPad. Just to reiterate, in our CPU and GPU tests we have not managed to raise the temperature of the new iPad to anything close to uncomfortable levels. Be that as it may, we will continue to test other aspects of the iPad to see what bearing they have on the temperature of the case and screen.
Photo Credit: Nicky Coleman
Just a quick note about understanding thermal images like those used in the Consumer Reports article.
The white areas are not white hot, anymore than the blue areas are freezing cold. Take this thermal image of me (the chap on the far left), I can assure you that my forehead was not uncomfortable to the touch, merely that is was warmer than other parts of the scene.
Like us, you may have read a lot of complaints from owners of the new iPad claiming that the extreme high resolution of the new display makes graphics on the web look poor. Though text looks much sharper, we have to agree, graphics (including our own logo!) that have be produced with regular computer displays in mind, do look pretty poor.
Someone had to push web design forward, and it should be no surprise that it was Apple that took up the challenge. Regular displays have very poor resolution, even the 2009 MacBook Pro that I'm typing this on looks blocky. If display technology is to replace printed paper it has to get much better. The new iPad is a giant leap in the right direction.
So, until web designers make proper provision for much higher resolution displays, what can new iPad owners do to make everything look pretty again?
A simple fix
Use your new iPad in portrait mode. That's it! That's all you have to do. If you have fairly decent eyesight you'll have no problem at all in reading the smaller text. As a extra benefit you'll also see a lot more of the webpage.
To test this we took screen grabs from both the new iPad in portrait mode and the MacBook Pro when viewing the same website. Both screen grabs can be found here. We then compared both screen grabs in Photoshop to check the pixel detail. Amazingly, because of its massively high resolution, the new iPad has more pixels across its shortest edge than the MacBook Pro has across its longest edge!
The result is that even in portrait mode there is more detail on display on the iPad than on a MacBook Pro with its 1440 x 900px resolution. However, because everything is quite a bit smaller in portrait mode, those graphics that have been designed for older displays look much nicer.
Split keyboard to the rescue
Thanks to the split keyboard that arrived with iOS 5, it's possible to type at perfectly respectable speeds in portrait mode.
The new iPad with its Retina display creates possibilities, it has transformed the iPad into the best web browsing device available. Simply rotating the iPad into portrait mode still leaves you with more pixel detail than the web viewed on a MacBook Pro, but with twice the viewing area.
We'll bring you more unexpected uses for the Retina display soon.