iPad 4 (Late 2012) Review

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 12/6/2012 4:40 PM EST
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  • s44 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    First pixel density is everything, now color calibration... Coincidentally when Apple starts promoting their selling point. Reply
  • zanon - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    None of this is new stuff kid. Pixel density has been something that a lot of us have wanted for a long time, it just somehow never was a priority for anyone. I can easily remember being awed by the IBM T220 (a 22" 3840×2400 [WQUXGA] screen) back in 2001. It used multiple dual link DVI, and the launch price was around $18k, dropping to around $8.5k a year or two later. I hoped back then that it would rapidly proliferate and descend at least to the mere "high end" level, rather then "stratospheric", but it was not to be. Similarly, color has also always mattered for a lot of us. I'm sitting in front of an NEC display built with that in mind, but there has been a whole market of higher end displays and calibration hardware since practically the dawn of color.

    Just because it's only now that, at long last, the industry is moving out of its previous equilibrium doesn't mean there's some conspiracy or "moving targets" or whatever other stupid BS you think of. It would have been nice to see this getting pushed harder and wider literally 10 years ago. Better late then never though. Excellent color and density should be the standard, not the exception, and I'm delighted to see everything suddenly leaping forward again. Density came first, as the most obvious, lowest hanging fruit. Color is next, first with tighter filters, hopefully next year with IGZO and quantum dot films. 120 Hz becoming standard everywhere would be nice too. Whoever helps make that happen gets a hearty thanks from me, even if I never buy any of their stuff directly.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    You are so right here! The introduction of the LCD set us back at least a decade, in terms of color quality, refresh rate, and pixel density.

    I'm not a great fan of Apple the company, but some things they do right, and do better than the PC industry. Displays in portable devices is one of those things. I'm not in the market for anyone's tablet, but I am tempted by the Retina Display notebooks.

    PC portable computer manufacturers take notice: even a somewhat anti-Apple person is considering buying Apple over your junk displays. Time for you to step up your game!
    Reply
  • Arbee - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    I would kill for a 20" or 25" 4:3 LCD panel with something like 2048x1536 resolution on a good quality IPS panel with decent color fidelity.

    Heck, at this point I'd like to see any new LCD display that's 4:3 other than what's in the iPad. 4:3 is still preferable for a lot of actual work on computers (programming, word processing, spreadsheets, etc) but the industry decided unilaterally we were all just content consumers and we need a screen optimized only for movies.
    Reply
  • tim851 - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    This is the "logic" of the anti 16:x crowd that I don't get.

    So you would kill for a 25" 4:3 panel with 2048x1536 pixels.

    Why?

    You are aware that a 30" 16:10 panel with 2560x1600px is
    1) physically higher by almost an inch
    2) has 64 more vertical pixels

    Why the dislike for an extra 512 horizontal pixels?

    Also, if you are willing to accept a 20" 4:3 screen: a 27" 2560x1440 screen that sells from 300$ on ebay is also physically higher (by more than 1 inch) and only has 94 viewer vertical pixels (6%)...
    Reply
  • londiste - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    who said anything about dislike for horizontal pixels? it is dislike for lack of vertical pixels.

    anandtech site we're on fits just fine into half of my 1920 horizontal pixels, but the 120 extra vertical pixels that my 1920x1200 screen has over 1080p are extremely useful.
    Reply
  • tim851 - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    The guy I responded to would "kill" for a display with 2048x1536 pixels.

    I wonder why, when he could have bought a display with 2560x1600 years ago.

    That is MORE VERTICAL PIXELS and MORE PHYSICAL SCREEN HEIGHT.

    Also, Anandtech is a very vertical site, I don't see how 120 extra pixels is helping you much there. Is scrolling 10 screens down instead of 9 really bothering you?

    I use Firefox with the tree-style tab addon which puts the tabs in the sidebar, freeing up vertical space and practically using horizontal space. A lot of applications these days are optimized to use horizontal space.
    Had a 21" 4:3 CRT until three years ago and let me tell you I gladly accepted a 16:9 24" LCD.

    I for one prefer using two 'shallow' windows side-by-side instead of once very deep window.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    1600p being 5x as expensive as 1080p is the real problem.

    Yes, more vertical pixels really matter in some cases. It's a bit like running out of memory and having to use swap, it's much slower.
    Reply
  • Arbee - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    I don't dislike the extra horizontal pixels, I just want more vertical pixels to go with it. I am a programmer; it is a *substantial* productivity boost to be able to see an entire function on the screen at once. Seeing more width is comparably of very limited benefit.

    And a $300 27" anything is unlikely to have a good-quality panel in it. I am so done with screens that go purple if you don't keep your head perfectly still (that on a $1800 Toshiba laptop) or have a weird tint to them that you can't get rid of.
    Reply
  • xyzzy1 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Much like Digital/CD set back musical reproduction. Digital is still trying exceed what top end analugue playback achieved! Off topic but couold not resist.... Reply
  • cheinonen - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Color quality has always been a target, just not one that was possible for us to easily measure before. Now that we can, it's in almost every review. If that seems to favor Apple, that's only because other vendors refuse to care about it, and they aren't going to start caring until consumers understand and demand better. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    It's not that pixel density is no longer important. It's that Apple has already satisfied people's needs for high pixel density. Most people already won't notice individual pixels on the iPad's 264 dpi display. So either Apple continues to improve pixel density for very little actual benefit, stops improving displays altogether, or they find another aspect of displays to improve. I think most people will be happy Apple choose the latter option and are improving color gamut and calibration. Reply
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    I'm glad somebody else notices this. Taking a page straight out of Apple's Marketing dept. Reply
  • teiglin - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Does Apple actually market their products this way? It's not like he's harping on it, but the S.S. Pixel Density set sail a year ago and all the high-end tablets are sufficient for most people (even the TF700, in my opinion--the steps from that to the iPad 4, then to the Nexus 10, are fairly incremental). Apple continues to differentiate its displays with proper calibration, and Anand is just pointing that out. As displays get better, it requires more attention to find the differences.

    The color accuracy on the Nexus 10 is objectively bad. I say this as someone who wants Google to step it up in this area--I have a Samsung tablet and my primary phone is HTC and have never owned an iPad or a Mac. Superior color accuracy isn't going to make me buy an iPad, but a dE over 8 on the Nexus 10 does make me think it's worth waiting for the generation of Google tablet.
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Check out their marketing materials and yes, even some of their commercials. When the coined the term "retina display" they immediately began publishing PPI measurements (and comparisons) in their marketing materials. The reason why this is significant is because other displays eventually caught up and surpassed in sheer resolution, but because the iPhone was smaller, the PPI measurement still stayed on top...even though, ironically, the benefits of such a high PPI and a much smaller display are harder to benefit from. Reply
  • cheinonen - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    The value of PPI has nothing to do with screen size, but distance relative to PPI. Just like an 84" 4K LCD has benefits if you sit 5' from it but no benefit if you are 25' from it compared to a same size 1080p display. The half-inch viewfinder of the camera I just bought has a 2.4 million dot OLED display. If that used the same PPI as a retina iPhone, with 3 dots per pixel, then that viewfinder would only have 0.2 million pixels and would certainly not be as sharp.

    However, as my eye is literally right next to that, a resolution way beyond 300 PPI is useful, despite the incredibly small size of the display. It's all about the distance relative to the PPI, not the size of the screen.
    Reply
  • teiglin - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    I wasn't asking if they market PPI; I know that's the theme of the whole "retina" marketing. I was asking if they market the color accuracy and how their calibration is better than the competitors'. I've seem them mention the iPad's gamut (albeit briefly) but never its accuracy or calibration. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    That's called avancement. The basis of technological progress. There Should always be something better to pursue. That is good for everyone. No matter how much your bias against Apple is. Reply
  • cheinonen - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    One more note on this. CalMAN 5 is used for measuring smartphones and tablets (and likely monitors in the future) since it supports measuring grayscale, gamut, saturations, and Gretag Macbeth charts, at any targets that we want, and with manual patterns instead of only internal pattern generators. Most solutions only allow for internal generators, which is why previous tablet and smartphone reviews (many of which were done well before Apple made a deal out of this) lack these charts as those programs don't run on an iOS or Android device.

    CalMAN 5 wasn't even released until September of this year, making most of these measurements impossible to do before then. So you can enjoy the conspiracy theories, but had these measurements been possible for me to do 18 months ago, I'd have done them 18 months ago.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    On a related note, we've been discussing the importance of color accuracy on our LCD and laptop reviews for... oh, let's see... May of 2007.
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2237

    You'll notice that of all the laptop manufacturers, only Apple is consistently getting the display quality right (or at least, more right than others) for the MacBook Pro. And even that took a few years after my rant.
    Reply
  • vkn - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    I for one appreciate these tests. There is no easy way to judge displays in showrooms. I now have a system of playing the the same hd videos on each device and evaluating subjectively (which sucks) Reply
  • darwinosx - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    You don't know anything. Apple has been doing this on displays for a very long time. Since you are obviously a teenager, probably longer than you have been alive. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Yes funny that.

    I saw this with NFC.

    Before the finer points of the iPhone5 came out tech journos were all "NFC!!! NFC!!!! ITS THE FUTURE!!!"

    Then the 5 came out with no NFC and it was overnight a switch to "Oh......NFC isn't really all that important! Whats NFC again?"
    Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Really? Show us RESPECTED tech journalists who were, to use your language "all NFC! NFC! NFC!" about the iPhone5.
    I don't remember Gruber obsessing about this. I don't remember Anand saying this was an essential iPhone5 feature. I don't remember Horace Dediu caring about this.

    Apple has made it quite clear, since they shipped the iPhone 4S, that they view BT4 as a better solution for most of the things that NFC is supposed to do. Given the extreme lack of interesting things being done with NFC, that seems like a good call.

    Your claim is as ignorant as being surprised that the new iMacs shipped without an optical drives.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    Me personally, I don't agree with Anand. The eyes are pretty good at adapting to colors. So unless you have a calibrated PC monitor or something to compare to, you will not notice when colors are off, unless they are off by a big, big margin. I haven't seen a lot of that in the android camp and when it crept up, there were easy fixes by the community. Reply
  • cheinonen - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Eyes are very adaptable to what is put in front of them, just like ears are with sound over time. That's why all the measures are done by instruments that aren't subject to the adaptability of our vision system. The dE numbers are designed to tell you how visible an error is. With the older 1976 and 1994 formulas, any dE below 3 was thought to be invisible in motion, with < 1 invisible when side-by-side. The dE2000 formula used in these charts is more accurate (in terms of weighing luminance, hue, and saturation errors), but smaller errors are more visible, so a dE of 3 is now worse than a dE of 3 in the old formulas. The dE numbers have a basis in vision science, though, and let you know if an error is visible.

    How well you'll notice, or care, about a color error likely depends on your exposure to correct colors. If you've spent years looking at a calibrated display, then you'll notice the errors almost instantly. If you've never seen one, you won't notice as you have no idea what it should look like. The whole point of calibration is just so when you see something, or design something, everyone else sees it the same way.

    Also, a global fix for color errors isn't likely to work well, as all displays are slightly different and would need to be calibrated individually. You could make some adjustments, but not make them perfectly accurate.
    Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    To add to this point, I am not an obsessive about color. I don't do design work, or know Pantone numbers by heart or anything. But it was obvious enough to me that colors (in particular photos of faces in Contacts) looked different on my mac and my iPhone 1 that I submitted a bug to Apple about it.

    This is, to put it bluntly, the difference between Apple and other people. Other (supposedly technical) people see that a photo of a friend looks slightly different on their phone from their computer --- it's a little too dark or too red or whatever --- and they shrug and say "well, it's always been like that". Apple people say "Why the hell should we put up with this? It's possible to do better." It's this mindset that leads to useful improvements based on actual use cases, as opposed to useless improvements based on spec-boasting.
    Reply
  • Focher - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    Not sure what the problem is. Everything is tested and reported. It's up to you to decide which attribute(s) matter to you.

    If anything, we should really appreciate that AnandTech reviews those attributes. In addition to Apple actually making the display quality a market differentiator for vendors who play in this space, AnandTech deserves credit for ensuring we see which manufacturers are delivering improved display attributes.
    Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    It's silly to claim that Apple has "just started" promoting color calibration.

    Color calibration was added to the original Mac OS in 1993 (ie WAY before OSX) and every year since then Apple has worked to move it a little pervasively into the system as CPU and GPU speed increases have allowed for more on the SW side, and as tighter control of manufacturing have allowed for more on the HW side.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Screw the ipad. We want the Nexus 10 review! Reply
  • whodakat - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Whats a Nexus 10? Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    http://google.com/nexus/10 Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    The screen is too small on the Nexus 10. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    A device with barely enough horsepower to drive its display and a nearly non-existent tablet optimized app library. Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    agreed! well, kind of. I did enjoy this review. But I do want to see Anandtech's impressions on the Nexus 10, for whatever they're worth.

    Notice that Engadget published their iPad 4 review on October 30th. It is now December 6th. At this rate, expect the Nexus 10 review around Christmas. I'm not complaining though -- they take their time and do a good job of it.
    Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Fast, in-depth, accurate. Pick two of three (i should note that fast and in-depth only happens if you have full access to Apple's data AND get pre-release units). Reply
  • hughlle - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Heres a review. Its fantastic :-) Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Fast and accurate. Well that's two out of three, nice review. Reply
  • Alucard291 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Fast inaccurate and pointless. Just like engadget then? Reply
  • Pazz - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Very impressed that the review is so detailed given the relative small improvements Apple have made on the iPad 3 (Early 2012).

    I also agree with the phrase "augment what you already have." That really summaries my use of my personal iPad.
    Reply
  • Pazz - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Just noticed grammatical correction required for "An Matter of Cost and Timing". Reply
  • Alucard291 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    "Produce boring products" that really summarises apple in the last half a year or so. Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Really? Not "produce products that will sell twice as well as their predecessors"?

    I'm sorry Apple is not entertaining you --- perhaps you did not realize they were not in that business? You might prefer to follow MS whose ups and downs over the next year should provide ample entertainment.
    Reply
  • danielfranklin - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Sorry Anand, ive just noticed the Ipad resolution on page is is listed as 2408 x 1536 instead of 2048 x 1536.

    Other than that thank you again for your reviews, your in-site and true technical breakdown is the best on the internet, you have been my favorite reviewer since this site started.
    Reply
  • danielfranklin - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Page two that is meant to read.
    Looks like its going to be that kind of day.
    Reply
  • whodakat - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Google really impresses me. It has to be hard work to pack in all the best specs and still get your ass handed to you. Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    in what way? I would argue that the Nexus 10 is a much better tablet. Stereo audio instead of mono, support for multiple separate users (excellent for families), a Proper aspect ratio... one appropriate for actually consuming media, unlike that iPad. A dedicated HDMI out is a nice touch. There are many, many things I could list. I'm really not even sure what you're talking about in your comment -- color calibration? I'm sure that will be the first thing most consumers check... Reply
  • EnzoFX - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    There isn't one that is clearly better. The iOS and app store is the biggest thing the iPad has for the average consumer. Proper aspect ratio? Who are you to say what's proper? lol Seriously though, it depends on WHAT you're consuming. 4x3 is ideal for reading, that is books and web browsing. THIS is why Apple sticks with 4x3, and it makes COMPLETE sense. Most of what people do is consume webpages, not videos. Webpages are the focus, and rightly so. I always say, if you want a more serious movie device, watch them on your TV. haha. Color calibration isn't something to check, you notice it right away by looking at it, that it's a more realistic representation of photos, etc. Your arguments are severely flawed, but yes the Nexus 10 is a comparable device and worthy of consideration. Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Tablet is for reading, LCD in living room is for TV and movies. The iPad and HP Playbook at 4:3 are doing it right. 10" 16:10 is ok, just not after adding in soft keys and notification bar that cut down landscape height. Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    HP doesn't make the playbook. Making random observations doesn't impact anything, as reading on 16:10 is extremely feasible. Reply
  • Zink - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    HP Touchpad, oops. I live in that place RIM is from so I at least know how hard the PlayBook is failing. I wasn't trying to impact anything, just give my opinion on tablet display sizing. Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Reviewers of Surface, for the most part, disagree. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    I use my tablet for playing games and watching my movies and shows when I'm on the train. Why are you telling me how to use my tablet? Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    How is 4:3 just amazing for books and web browsing? You're not *used* to browsing in a different aspect ratio so you say it's worse. I owned the iPad 1 and used it for a full year as my primary compute device. I even typed a 10 or more page document on the touch screen. I'm very familiar with it. But I can tell you that browsing on a 16:10 display is a wondeful experience, and now that I've gotten past the 'weirdness', I see numerous advantages for it. Reply
  • headrush69 - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    What makes it's so wonderful?

    I find it funny because on the desktop with that same ratio, most web sites don't really seem to take advantage of the space and a full screen web browser is mostly wasted space.

    Maybe you go to site's optimizing for a mobile browser, but for me, I want the normal site on my tablet, I'm not on a small screen phone.
    Reply
  • eallan - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Numerous advantages that you didn't list for what reason? Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    It IS wonderful if the primary material you read on your iPad is technical PDFs. Use a decent PDF reader to crop the margins, and you'll find that the content of pretty much all technical PDFs is at 4:3 ratio. Reply
  • darkcrayon - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Well, the 3rd gen iPad got dinged for not having enough GPU to drive its pixels... And here we have the Nexus 10 with even more pixels than the 3rd gen iPad, but even less GPU muscle. "Much better tablet"? Ehh not seeing it. And no points for "proper aspect ratio", it was even explained in the article that it's a tradeoff. If you can't see why it isn't helpful to have an aspect ratio that is close to that of typical paper documents, I don't know that to say... Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    The Nexus 10's GPU muscle isn't properly represented by some benchmarks. It is honestly a cross between the iPad 3 and iPad 4 in terms of performance -- far from being worse than the iPad 3.

    What is the aspect ratio of legal pad? When you need paper that gets stuff done, you don't use anything resembling 4:3.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    A4 paper aspect ratio is about 4:3. I know because I read PDFs on my iPad for work all the time, fits perfectly in portrait mode.

    Landscape is ideal for web browsing and applications, the extra vertical space is always a good thing. Its the same reason my desktop and laptop monitors are 16:10, much better than 16:9.

    All 16:9 is good for is video, and I do way more than just that on my tablet.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Ok that was pretty funny. "When you need paper that gets stuff done".

    Most documents in existence electronically are closer to a 3:4 aspect ratio. I'm sorry, but it's true. And they will fit an iPad sized screen more conveniently. But please, feel free to show me the treasure trove of ready made documents that are 9:16 or even 10:16 long.

    Also, show me the benchmarks where the Nexus 10 GPU is better than the iPad 3 - not that that disproved my point. The one in the iPad 4 is quite a bit more powerful, so it's a legitimate area where the Nexus 10 is *not* a "much better tablet". And of course don't even get us started on 10" Android tablet apps.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Any estimate on the SGX554MP4 clock speed? Since the 16% pixel fill performance difference is supposed to be largely clock speed related and the iPad 3's SGX543MP4 was clocked at 250MHz, that works out to 290MHz. Previous Apple SoC used a 4x multiplier between CPU and GPU. If the A6X changed to a 5x multiplier, then a 1.4GHz CPU works out to a 280MHz GPU, which seems to match what is being seen here.

    And process improvements for SoC power and thermals don't have to wait for 20 nm. Samsung has a 28 nm process, which they claim uses the same design rules as their 32nm process allowing a quick and easy transition, while offering power or performance benefits over their 32 nm process. I'm guessing 2013 iDevices will use a combination of shrinks and new SoC on the 28 nm Samsung process, which with all the TSMC rumours, may be the last SoC Apple makes with Samsung. 2014 iDevices would then use TSMC 20 nm.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    So it seems that in terms of gaming performance (which is really what matters when you evaluate a GPU), the devices compare as it follows:

    Ipad 4, Nexus 4 and iPhone 5 have the same performance in games - compared as devices, running at their own native resolution.

    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6472/51760...

    As for the GPU's themselves, it seems the A6X GPU is 42% faster than Mali T604, while Mali T604 and Adreno 320 are about 10-20% faster than the A6 GPU (iPhone 5), and than the A5X GPU (iPad 3)

    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6472/51761...
    Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    from one perspective. Honestly, benchmarks are just benchmarks. I'd agree with that assessment as far as these benchmarks go though. I'm not sure how much it matters -- suffice it to say they're all very fast. Reply
  • Alucard291 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Very slow surely? As this is STILL about 10 years behind desktop gpu's Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Well the Nexus 4 having the same gaming performance as the iPad 4 and iPhone 5 depends on how often people take their phone into a freezer to play games. Reply
  • michal1980 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    amazing. Apple must be paying for this coverage, and it was a week or two ago I was told that something was coming soon.

    should have figured, another sligthly updated apple product
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Just as we should've figured you'd be in the comment section whining about it ;) Reply
  • vision33r - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Why would Apple be interested in marketing to PC enthusiasts on a site like this? It's a waste of money if they did pay Anand.

    In case you ever opened a male or female fashion mag or financial magazine, Apple advertisements are everywhere. Clearly they are more interested in marketing towards rich casual computer users.

    So your theory of Apple paying for this coverage as usual trolling and Apple hating. That's ok, they don't mind you hating them on a website they have little interested marketing on.
    Reply
  • pliablemoosethebanned - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Yep, Anand needs to focus more on crap products like the Surface tablet. Reply
  • seapeople - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    How late would this review have had to be for you not to post that comment? In fact, I bet I you typed that comment up the moment you heard about the Ipad release, saved it in a Word document, and patiently waited to post it on the Ipad review that would obviously be coming.

    The fact that Anand is practically the last tech site on the planet to actually post a review of the new Ipad makes it extremely ironic that you use this action to insinuate that Apple is paying Anand off.

    Oh well, it makes sense considering you can't even spell your own name right.
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    It would be great to see the same image/resolution/detail comparisons that you did with the iPad iterations done with the iPad4 vs the Nexus 10 when it's ready. Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    I agree. You don't need to do it with every new tablet but it is a good opportunity to do some really in depth head to head iOS vs Android on 10" tablets. We all know this iPad is basically like the last one. What is harder to understand and get data on is completely different products. Reply
  • daar - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Would be nice to see in future reviews, can help get an idea of quality control and calibration, despite what Apple guarantees. Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    "I no longer have a 45nm iPad 2 so forgive me for the incomplete dataset here (it's safe to say that the iPad 2 would at least equal the iPad 4 in battery life, if not exceed it)"

    That doesn't seem safe at all from the numbers you gave. The 45nm iPad 2 only hits 10.1 hours in the 4th gen battery rundown and it is going to take a big drop with the new test. The iPad 3 sees a 12% hit to battery life with the switch to the new smartphone web browsing battery life test. Both tests should use the same screen settings so the increased energy consumption is coming from the 45nm silicon and radio. Screen res and GPU energy consumption does not significant contribute to this decrease in runtime because it is a browser test. The iPad 4 is also able to improve on the newer test despite its high res. Crunching the numbers, the iPad 3 is using 600 mW more to run the new test. The iPad 2 uses a bit older tech inside so I would assume it needs a similar increase in energy, putting the 45nm iPad 2’s performance in the new battery life test at around 8.2 hours, possible worse.
    Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    I didn't see you had the iPad mini numbers there too. Even it sees a small hit on the new test so the iPad 3 GPU isn't what is hitting battery life the hardest. I would be surprised if the 45nm iPad 2 can do even 8.5 hours, assuming these battery rundown tests are fairly accurate. Reply
  • Velius - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Author states, "I've viewed the divide there as a line separating a computing device from an appliance. There's overlap in capabilities, but the overall experience tends to fall along those lines for me."

    This is a false meme that keeps getting propagated. Android is just as much of a walled garden as iOS, and I'm not talking about the App Store. I mean the functionality of the OS. Android is usually touted as having a lot more customizability than iOS, but this is an illusion. Sure, there are context-sensitive menus which are nice and all, but what you can and cannot do with them are a function of the app maker. It's like having a choice between Coke and Pepsi: you think you have a choice, but your options have been severely constrained. I've used both iOS and Android, the latter mainly to see what all the hype was about (as I am a Linux geek too, though prefer OS X for day-to-day), yet was astounded and shocked when I eventually tried it (on a SGS3 which I am now selling). Where was the full customizability? Where was this amazingly flexible system with tons and tons of features, bells, whistles, and doodads? It's just a copy of iOS! You have apps, and you run one at a time. That's just about it!

    As in many other things, Apple leads, and the rest (Google, Samsung, et al.) follow. Everyone forgets that when the iPad was first rumored, speculations were rife with regards to the capabilities of its OS. Many in the tech world wanted a full-blown OS X experience on the iPad (the name wasn't revealed back then of course). Yet they got the "appliance" that iOS on the iPad is. And yet, instead of forging its own path by introducing a full-blown Linux system on a tablet or phone, Google chose to copy and reproduce the appliance aspect of iOS in Android. Only now is Canonical actually moving to port Ubuntu to phones/tablets, well it's really an Android/Ubuntu hybrid but you actually get a full desktop when you dock it. *That* I'm looking forward to.

    So Android is just as much of an appliance as iOS, and iOS is just as much of a computing device as Android, if not more so. Yes, I'm talking about the superiority of the App Store - both in terms of quantity and quality. I have never seen a "killer app" in the Play Store that is also not present in the App Store (or with a better version). But ooh boy is it the case the other way around. There are some specialized scientific apps I use for research that just plain don't exist in Android. E.g., X-Windows Phase Plane (XPP) on the iPad:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xpp/id433859546?mt...

    Furthermore, of the apps that do get released for both Android and iOS, they generally work better in iOS. These considerations are in fact the main reason why I stick to Apple. The Nexus 10 et al. may be sexier in terms of hardware, but without good software, they are just not as functional.

    The level of Android fanboyism on the Internet truly astounds me. The gall, to claim that Android is a "computing device", and iOS an "appliance"! Like it's Cray supercomputer vs. a toaster! How astoundingly ridiculous! Unfortunately, even though this meme is groundless, it will keep getting propagated, ironically mostly due to the tech/geek "cred" that Android fanboys confer onto themselves, failing to realize that they are not the only ones with such cred. Heck, iOS fanboys are also Linux users. (You're looking at one right here.) I wonder, though, how many Android fanboys are *really* computer savvy?

    Comments like the ones the author made, and that inspired this post, make me wonder otherwise.
    Reply
  • Velius - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Sorry about the vitriolic nature of that post. I'd erase and restart if I could.

    All I wanted to say is that modern tablets are pretty uniform in their capabilities and interfaces, so "computing device" vs "appliance" is a false distinction. Either they are all appliances, or all computing devices. (I see it as both.)

    In any case, great review. I will echo what someone else said, that it's a real treat to have a review of the iPad 4 in particular especially as it's not that different than the iPad 3.

    Keep up the good work. :)
    Reply
  • DeciusStrabo - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    What exactly are you missing in terms of customization of Android? I mean, you can go and switch out basically everything you want, Kernel, drivers, UI, functionality. You can add any software you want from any point you want (alternative App shops, your own developers, your own Linux/OS X machine). You can add your own codecs, drivers, functions. You can automate basically any part of the system if you so desire. So what are you missing exactly? Reply
  • Sufo - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with DeciusStrabo. You really aren't getting the most out of your android device if you can't see the distinction between iOS and Android (this coming from someone who thinks both are pretty shitty). There are many many things you can do with Android _devices_ that you can't do with an iphone. Try flashing custom roms for example. You _can_ change pretty much every aspect of an Android device - assuming you can root it. Can you run full OS VMs in iOS? I don't know, but I know you can with Android. In terms of apps, mxplayer is better than any iOS video player, and poweramp is better than any audio player - I'd say these are pretty good wins (at the same time, iOS default audio player shits on the Android default). That's not to say I disagree with you - iOS certainly has the edge often (app-wise), but your conclusions about Android are unfair and not accurate.

    So yes, a stock manufacturer Android experience is much closer to iOS than many people would like to admit (though it *is still* more of a computing device for sure). However if you know how to leverage the most out of an Android device, then there are certain powerful things it can do than an iOS device simply can't. It's essentially trading killer apps for specific device use cases, which leaves the two pretty equal overall, but with a clear favourite for most people depending on what you want out of your device.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    "Can you run full OS VMs in iOS? "

    Well iOS is perfectly capable of running emulators if that's what you mean. I start up Windows 3.1 on mine every once in a while for a laugh ;)

    If you mean run at some metal-level virtualization then no, but then that wouldn't really be running on Android so much as on the hardware of the device.
    Reply
  • antef - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    If you think Android is just as appliance-like as iOS then I feel there are major things about the platform that you are uninformed about. Not saying that in a demeaning way, just saying perhaps you never discovered these aspects of the system.

    iOS cannot be considered a true "computing platform" when you can only get apps via the App Store, they can only do what Apple approves of, and they can't truly run in the background, instead being able to only do certain things when not in the foreground. It's a large set of restrictions limiting what can be done with the device, thus it's an appliance, regardless of what functionality apps may or may not provide. It's no different from a set-top box or any other CE device, except it offers way more apps.

    Android, on the other hand, even without rooting or messing with custom ROMs, lets you install any app, from any source, that does anything the developer wishes it to do. You don't have to use any app store or pay Google any fees if you don't want to. Apps can touch almost any part of the system or replace any part of the system. Apps can do absolutely anything in the background with almost no restriction. You can browse and manage files like on a PC. The list goes on and on.

    Same thing regarding customization. Without rooting Android, you can change its keyboard, default browser, default mail handler, and the entirely of its home screen (icons, dock, app drawer, all can be replaced with alternate launcher).

    Android has very few restrictions above and beyond what a typical desktop platform like Windows has. It's essentially Linux with a special app container format and custom UI, that ships without su by default. Yeah, maybe the typical user just using web, texting, and Facebook will think both platforms are equally appliance-like, but that doesn't change the fact of what Android can do. I believe Anand's analysis is spot on.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    It seems Android can only do "certain things" in the background as well. Or maybe you can tell me how to play youtube audio from the browser while Chrome is suspended (You can do this in Safari on iOS).

    iOS is a true computing platform - it's your definition of "computing" that is the problem. You *can* enter code and run software on it that did not originate on the App Store (not that if you couldn't, it would somehow cease to be a "computing platform".)

    It's certainly easier to do more "mucking around" with Android - iOS just has a more security oriented approach while Android has more versatility. Of course for 99% of users for either platform, none of that matters in the slightest as they buy the device to browse the web, play media, and find useful software to run.
    Reply
  • Velius - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    First, I have to thank everyone who responded to my original post. I was shaking my head afterward submitting my post since the way it was originally written was definitely flamebait. Kudos for being respectful and *helpful* in your responses, when I most certainly deserved an ass-kicking.

    These are all good points (especially antef with respect to my original points) and well expressed. You are right, there are more things that can be customized in Android, but I think you can do it in iOS too - just have to jailbreak it first. The difference, IMO, is that with Android, you *have* to replace most of the defaults because the defaults are really not good. When I used my SGS3, the default keyboard was horrendously slow. SwiftKey 3 rectified that to a large extent, but was a paid app. Why should I have to pay to have a usable keyboard?

    Same with the music player - I disagree, first of all, that Poweramp is better than the iOS music player. I found Poweramp to be underwhelming, with player buttons and icons that look like really badly designed bitmaps. Along these lines, any music player on Android lacks the fine-grained seek capabilities that iOS has (which is called "scrubbing" there). I really missed the ability to seek with greater or lesser granularity, going down to the second. You can't do that in Android - the seeks are all giant leaps. Similar story with volume control. There are only 15 settings on the SGS3 (and I assume Android in general). Most of the time, the music I would listen to would be ideally loud between, say, 12 and 13, but I could never set it to that. If I set the volume to 12, it would be too soft, and if I set it to 13, too loud. In iOS, there is very fine control over volume. And let's not even get to transitions between tracks. There is always a gap in the default SGS3 music player between tracks - this would perhaps have been understandable in 1995, but is completely unacceptable today!

    These little things add up substantially - the list goes on and on - making iOS just more polished. Even the basic OS responsiveness is a deal-breaker. On my SGS3, if I reboot the phone and go to type something up, say in a text message, it takes about 10 seconds before it even registers my keyboard presses. This is mind-boggling, and I truly wonder how many people on online forums say Android is "faster" - it is not, at least definitely not with the OS interface. I really do believe that people who claim Android is faster just haven't used iOS. Once you do, you just can't go back. :3

    Getting back to the original topic, I also don't fully agree that iOS is an appliance. The reason Apple vets software before allowing it to go on the App Store is mostly for quality control. Just search Google for "android apps insecure", and read pages with titles like, "Research says Android users at high risk of installing insecure apps", "Researchers find 1,000 insecure Android apps", and "One in five Android apps is insecure". Yes, you can sideload apps onto your Android phone, but it's a double-edged sword: the Android software ecosystem is a true wild west, with all the attendant issues: buggy or plain crappy software, crashes, malware, insecure apps, etc. I'm not saying Apple's App Store is immune to this, but it's definitely far less prone to it.

    In all, I stand by my original claim: "iOS is an appliance, Android is a true computing experience" is a completely bogus and harmful meme. Why harmful? Because millions of people are buying Android phones in the belief that it's better than iOS, when it just isn't. They are thus robbing themselves of a truly polished, wonderfully designed mobile hardware+software computing platform (iOS on iPhone) that is still the top in its class.

    Peace.
    Reply
  • Velius - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    Just to clarify, the point I made about Android's responsiveness - and examples I gave from my experience - were all based on Jelly Bean 4.1 stock ROM from Samsung. The "project butter" benefits were only really seen when scrolling between pages (and even then, it got choppy as the SGS3 was loading some widgets). Otherwise, when you open a browser or basically any app, and try to scroll, it is noticeably less smooth. It's like it only scrolls in jumps of 20 pixels at a time. Reducing animation times and forcing GPU rendering in the options alleviated this somewhat, but not entirely.

    Again, it boggles the mind how such a powerful device (from the hardware standpoint) can be so slow in its user interface - arguably the most important factor in usability!
    Reply
  • DeciusStrabo - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    for its power, the App selection, the looks, the lightning connector (yes, except the price it's really a great connector), Airplay etc.

    However, I don't like it nearly as much holding it in my hands than my Nexus 10. It's cold, slippery, heavy. You can't really hold it in one hand easily and if you use your body to prop it up if you lie on your couch the edge tends to get really uncomfortable (less than with the iPad 2 but still far too much). As nice as the aluminium looks I prefer the cheaper looking coated plastic of the Nexus 10. Also, speakers on the front > speakers on the back, usually where you tend to hold the thing, even if the one on the iPad is better than the two on the Nexus soundwise.
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    what's more concerning is how exactly do you have use for 2 same sized tablets?! Reply
  • eallan - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Sometimes we like to waste money on toys! Reply
  • seapeople - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    2 people = use for 2 tablets? Perhaps the guy is married? Otherwise, I agree, he's insane. It would be like the most colossal waste of money on the planet to buy multiple tablets within a five year period. I mean, that's like half a thousand dollars... for each! Only a very select few fat cats in our society make thousands of dollars that they can just spend on stuff. Reply
  • mavere - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    I honestly can't decide whether the latter half of your post is sarcasm. Reply
  • Henk Poley - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I've been thinking about getting a black and a white tablet. One for serious stuff, and one for play. Reply
  • Pessimism - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    I would like to see a direct comparison review between the ipad, nexus 10, and some of the generic chinese competition with similar specs such as the zenithink c94 Reply
  • BSMonitor - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Is there an App that will let me confirm which version I have of the iPad 2?? Just recently purchased during the Black Friday fury on these, so assuming the 32nm one. Thanks Reply
  • Zink - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5789/the-ipad-24-rev...
    Scroll down, there are free ways to do it.
    Reply
  • Dman23 - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Another great, comprehensive article from AnandTech! Well down Anand!!! :D Reply
  • Midwayman - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    I wish there was a PDF rendering benchmark. From what I've been able to grasp its a very CPU dependent task, but it doesn't seem to correlate well to the java benchmarks that are typically used in cpu performance tests for tablets. For example many people say the ipad line does pretty poorly here despite the good standings in the java tests. I know I'm not the only one looking at tablets as a way to view large PDF tech docs, books, etc. Reply
  • bogieworf - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    My biggest issue with the iPad is that it isn't trying to be more. The advances in the 4 would inspire few with the 3 to upgrade. Contrast this with the MS Surface. The device may be successful or it may not, but at the very least, MS has attempted to re-think aspects of the tablet. Then there the Lenovo yoga 11. Again, it may not succeed (actually I have my doubts on this one), but at least Lenovo is trying out new ideas in the tablet area. Just feels like a company like Apple with its past of groundbreaking designs should be trying to do more. Reply
  • darkcrayon - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    The advances and the timing of the 4 were clearly not meant to inspire "3" users to upgrade. It was just a refresh to keep it up to date with the latest SoC tech to stay near the top in performance. And notice MS put much lower end hardware in the Surface than the iPad. Tegra 3? Low resolution screen? Low resolution camera?

    The 5th generation iPad will surely have an updated physical design - it should be a bit lighter and have an enclosure like the mini's. But there is little wrong with the iPad's hardware, if anything the more interesting pieces will be what they will do with the software.
    Reply
  • bogieworf - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    I'm looking at the big picture. The touch type cover is innovative. The integrated kick stand is a neat feature. The automatically updating Tiles in Windows 8 is a neat feature. I'm talking innovation, not just a better camera or better processor.

    Maybe iPad 5 will feature new innovations, maybe not. Only time will tell. But there are other companies trying new things which I presently do not see with Apple.
    Reply
  • iCrunch - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Thank you. Another great review. Love the attention to every last spec!

    You mentioned that you couldn't find a whole lot of examples where the iPad 4's both CPU and GPU performance increases are actually noticeable, except, of course, for gaming. I have found one other area where the difference is quite evident: VNC/RDP. The iPad 4 feels several orders of magnitude faster than the iPad 3, as opposed to "just 2x". Especially when you want to remotely control your Mac at High settings, as I do! Where the iPad 3 lagged, the iPad 4 is buttery smooth. As a result, everything is more accurate when you're "VNC'ing", you make fewer mistakes, and this obviously results in a much faster and less frustrating (or more fun, whichever you prefer) experience. (I use iTeleport, btw)

    As a self-proclaimed power user, everything from loading webpages (thanks to 2x2 MIMO WiFi) to downloading apps to everyday mundane tasks are noticeably faster to me.
    Reply
  • darkcrayon - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    I agree totally. I use Splashtop remote. It's pretty CPU intensive on both the client and server end (but is probably the fastest remote app I've used - it's capable of watching video at OK framerates- and with sound). It's much better on the 4th gen iPad just because the 3rd was hitting 100% doing some things. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    The old charger was 10W, the new one is 12W. The old one drew 12.44W at the wall. The new on draws 13.57W at the wall. You say the new one delivers 9% more power, based on your measurement at the wall. The way you write it seems wrong to me. You are not measuring the power delivery of the chargers (which should be 10/12W), because you don't know their efficiency. It could be that the new charger delivers 20% more power as advertised and that the 9% increase in power draw simply means it has a better efficiency. Reply
  • Zink - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • GabeA - Saturday, December 08, 2012 - link

    Sorry to burst the collective bubble here, but in your breathless haste to talk about the objective quality of the screen, you missed one tiny detail: the display stack in action.

    I don't think it takes more than a playthrough of a dark movie (or animation content) to see what I mean. In dim movies, contrast, brightness, backlight (yes, backlight, even with auto-brightness turned off), tint, and color balance fluctuate wildly, producing flickering and pumping, color changes, and other horribly destructive qualities that do not do the display justice.

    Watching video on the iPad 4 -- particularly dark video in a dark room -- is quality suicide. There are threads devoted to the topic online. Colors are hilariously washed and change constantly within a scene, which is beyond annoying when watching a relatively static scene. White subtitles fade to a deep gray. Gray stone walls becomes light blue, then deep purple, then back to gray.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=14841...
    Reply
  • Booster - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    This POS ain't no 'computer'. More like a picture frame, just about as useful. Reply
  • LordConrad - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Stop trolling. Just because you find it useless doesn't mean that others will. Reply
  • LordConrad - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    I sold my iPad 3 and used the money towards a new iPad 4. I have noticed a huge speed increase in iOS and applications after getting the iPad 4. Switching to the lightning connector was a bit annoying, but I'm glad I upgraded to the 4. This is what the iPad 3 should have been. Reply
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  • prdola0 - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    Seriously, what is wrong with the picture quality bias on AnandTech? Most if not all Apple gear is photographed in a polished state, notebooks opened, gadgets turned on (and if not, only to produce a pretty little reflection effect), with fancy backgrounds and fancy picture effects (depth of fields, etc.). Yet, other manufacturers are treated like second-class, with notebooks closed, devices smudgy, on dirty and smudgy backgrounds, turned off with no screen picture. Just look at the background in the Goodle Nexus article, or compare the recent MacBook and other notebook articles.

    I have noticed that Apple stuff is creeping in more and more. Well, I don't like it but I can live with that. But why the hell this incredible, very unprofessional bias? I have asked this question before and did not get an aswer. So here it is again.
    Reply
  • IKeelU - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    I just checked the shots in the Nexus 7 review and they seem pretty clean and comparable to those in this review. Maybe the tablet reviews are better photographed than the laptop reviews? Reply
  • prdola0 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6440/google-nexus-4-...

    Just an example. Looking at many articles back, this bias is clear. It does not matter if you find one exception 6 months old, out of 40 cases. The trend is still there.
    Reply
  • Observerrr - Thursday, January 03, 2013 - link

    iPad 4 scores better than you've posted in the article (as example, 52 fps for Egypt Hd offscreen, 42 for onscreen, 132 for egypt classic offscreen and etc.).
    Please, fix it if you can. A6x gpu is a beast.
    Reply
  • SanX - Sunday, January 06, 2013 - link

    When you're using these tests DIFFERENTIATE what specific subtest gave what. May be just the PDF viewer part was lagging whole the test for one processor and giving super-advantage to another Reply

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