Final Words

The new iPad represented Apple’s largest tablet launch yet, and according to their sales figures, three million units were moved over the opening weekend. That’s nearly $2 billion in tablets...in three days. Hotcakes are selling like iPads these days.

The new iPad is externally very similar to the iPad 2, but my feeling is that there's a much larger step in usability from the iPad 2 to the new iPad than there was from the original to the iPad 2. It's a difference that has nothing to do with form factor and everything to do with the Retina Display. The iPad 2 took the original iPad and made it better or more refined in every way—thinner, lighter, faster—but the experience didn't change radically. The Retina Display represents a fundamental change in how you visually interact with the device. The display is really the center of a tablet's experience, and with a display that drastically improved, the experience is correspondingly better. 

It really is something that you notice in every single way you use the tablet. Text, whether you're reading it or writing it, is rendered far more accurately. High resolution graphics look fantastic, and UI elements look sharp in a way that the iPad 2 simply cannot match. Compared to the original iPad, the difference is stark, and it’s impossible to emphasize how huge a step up from the original 9.7" XGA display the Retina Display really is. It's a bit like the jump from SD to HD television, or from DVD to Bluray. Functionally, it's not terribly different, but it's a fundamental leap in technology. And once you take that leap, it's difficult to go back. 

If you pay for and frequently use a cellular data plan on your iPad, the new iPad is worth the upgrade for LTE alone. LTE is very impressive on a smartphone but you're limited by how much downloading/browsing/multitasking you're willing to do on a very small screen. On a tablet, you're much more likely to treat the device like an ultraportable notebook, in which case an LTE iPad has a huge advantage over most WiFi-only ultraportables. LTE on the iPad is just like having awesome WiFi wherever you go. It's great.

I prefaced all of this with a question about your willingness to pay for the data plan, because even though you're not bound by any sort of a contract, the cost per GB transferred over LTE on both AT&T and Verizon is just unreasonable. If these carriers don't raise their data limits soon, they'll be directly responsible for stifling the growth of the mobile market. Can you imagine what the Internet revolution would've been like had we remained on hourly billing for cable/DSL?

Apple continues to push the envelope on the SoC side as well. Shipping a 163mm2 SoC on a 45nm LP process is something I never expected Apple to do, but it's here and will hopefully encourage other, actual SoC vendors to start behaving like good chip design companies and not like commodity peddlers. We need faster CPUs and GPUs in a major way; Apple can't be the only company aggressively pursuing these needs if others want to be successful. No one ever won by being the slowest on the block.

With all of this said—should you buy the new iPad?

If you are an existing iPad owner, the question is whether or not you should upgrade. If you don't use your iPad all that much, the upgrade obviously isn't worth it. Even if you do use your iPad a lot, unless you're going to use LTE, there isn't a functional or performance advantage to the new iPad. As is always the case, if you can hold off there's always something better around the corner. In this case, next-year's model should bring with it better performance and an increase in power efficiency thanks to 28/32nm silicon. There the decision really boils down to how much you'd appreciate the Retina Display—and as we already mentioned, there's a lot to appreciate.

If you have an iPad 2 you actually end up making a bit of a battery life and portability trade off if you choose the new iPad. It's still not as bulky as a MacBook Air (which already isn't bulky) but it's noticeably heavier than the iPad 2. The new iPad is nicer to use, but it's not as nice to carry. If you're still on the original iPad and use it frequently, the upgrade is a no brainer—you get a faster platform, a lighter chassis, better display and better cellular connectivity (optional).

If you're not a tablet owner, are in desperate need of one, and are looking to buy one now—the new iPad is as good as it gets today. This is Apple's halo iDevice. It has the fastest and best of nearly every component inside and out. It's got everything but the kitchen sink. As long as you're ok with iOS, there's no reason not to get the new iPad.

Vivek's Impressions
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  • PeteH - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    I have to be honest, after reading through that link I didn't see anything that even implied working conditions had anything to do with the suicides of the factory workers. The only suicide for which there was any real information provided was that of the worker who killed himself after losing the iPhone prototype, and in that case the victim wasn't a factory worker, but someone in logistics.

    Did working conditions have anything to do with the factory worker suicides? Maybe, maybe not. There doesn't appear to be evidence either way.
    Reply
  • mr_ripley - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I posted the Wikipedia link for all the links in the reference section.

    Here's a more direct report: http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/report-...

    And a companion video: http://vimeo.com/17558439

    The video includes an interview of a survivor who is now paralyzed waist down.

    You can choose to patiently read and watch this report or just turn a blind eye like a lot of people do.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I did read the report. It details unbelievably miserable working conditions in the factories, which I don't think anyone is disputing, and concludes that the way to change those conditions is to pressure the electronics companies making the bulk of the profits. None of the above comments dispute any of this. However it does not link working conditions to suicides among factory workers.

    And yet you continue to insist that there is a link, with no evidence to back it up. You make statements like, "over a hundred of them have committed suicide over the working conditions," "...scores of people killing themselves citing poor working conditions," and "there is no disputing the fact that these deaths are related to working conditions," but you provide only conjecture to back it up, no proof. When you do this people start dismissing everything you say out of hand, even the things that are accurate. And worse than that, you run the risk that other people arguing for better working conditions will be tarred with the same brush. Look at what happened to Mike Daisy.

    Again, I'm not saying working conditions didn't contribute to the suicides, I'm saying there is no evidence one way or the other. Until you have evidence (in the form of suicide notes, higher suicide rates among factory workers, etc.) please stop. You may actually be hurting the very movement you're trying to help.
    Reply
  • mr_ripley - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Well, I'm sorry if it is inconvenient for you that these individuals have not said it in so many words. Should we expect them to?... Hey, by the way, I know you're going to kill yourself but why don't your write down an explanation first so we can conclusivly say what the reasons are. And even though you are under a lot of stress right now and are clearly not thinking straight SPELL it our for me please...

    Evidence can come in different forms. Not all of it is directly incriminating, in which case the attention turns to the circumstances. So if these reports don't establish a reasonbly clear coorelation to you, then I am sorry but I disagree.

    You can nitpick on specific words in my comments and quible about words such as evidence. But what are you accomplishing here? Are you justifying your own guilt of purchasing a device manufactured here? Are you an Apple or Foxconn mouthpeice? Do they pay your for spreading lies like Foxconn factories are actually a good place to work (which has been said in the previous comments)? Really, it is people like you need to STOP.

    I'm not going to stop saying what I believe is right!! And unlike Mike Daisy I have not fabricated any evidence. At the most, you can complain that I have drawn incorrect conclusions and I am saying the same about you.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    It's inconvenient for me that you are lying. You're the one saying that there are, "...scores of people killing themselves citing poor working conditions," not me. Either show me a case where those people who killed themselves cited poor working conditions as the reason, or cease claiming it is fact. You do damage to the movement that's trying to improve things.

    People hear the news reports about Mike Daisy lying to Ira Glass and what they take away is not the specific lies (claiming to witness things had actually happened but that he had only read about), it's that he's a liar and the story wasn't true. They dismiss the whole issue of poor working conditions out of hand. That's what you risk when you lie to get people to listen.
    Reply
  • mr_ripley - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Go ahead, nitpick on specific phrases and completely lose the meaning. But the problem is easily corrected. One can argue that citing something does not have to be done on paper as you would in a professional article. To me the workers "cite" the existence of a problem through their actions as words have failed them.

    Still if you want me to rephrase I'll say "scores of people killing themselves in midst of poor working conditions.." Can you prove that this statement is inaccurate??

    And while you ask me for evidence have you ever bothered to see if you can find evidence that these deaths are not related to working conditions. Prove it to me and I'll take back everything I said.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I think you missed the places above where I stated, "I'm not saying working conditions didn't contribute to the suicides, I'm saying there is no evidence one way or the other." That was my whole point. And I did explicitly state that there's no disputing the poor working conditions. So no, I have no problem with your revised statement.

    However, I don't think what I did was nitpicking at all. Nitpicking would be pointing out that a score is 20, so scores would imply at least 40, and I've only seen documentation of 17 suicides (I haven't seen numbers pre-2010). But that's not what I did.
    Reply
  • shompa - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Manufacturing employees?

    Look at the world! There are about 20 countries in the world that are democratic and have great living standards. Its just 100 years ago since these countries had child workers and harsh condition.

    BTW. My county is on the "top countries" in the world. Still we have the largest suicide rate in our population in the world. Why are you not fighting against the Swedish government that drives thousands to kill them self each year? We live like slaves here with 80% taxes.

    BTW. Do you care if other companies use HonHai/FoxConn or is it just Apple? Are you writing the same thing about Dell/HP and all other companies that use FoxConn?

    What have you done?
    Have you donated money to a chinese worker? Or is Trolling the only thing you manage to do?

    Reply
  • grave00 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I was curious about this statement. Could you elaborate. What inconsistency is there?

    "On the iPhone Apple has been entirely too lax about maintaining consistency between suppliers. If it wants to be taken seriously in this space Apple needs to ensure a consistent experience across all of its component vendors."
    Reply
  • loboracing - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I remember an ad that touted something new to "see and touch". The retina screen is the "see" part but what about the "touch"? Was that just a gimmick meaning you could touch the screen, or is there some sort of different feel to the screen? Reply

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