"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

iPad 3 Officially Announced

Today CEO Tim Cook announced the iPad 3. As I predicted, the iPad follows the iPhone 4S in just being an incremental improvement over the previous model. Video of the event is here or the 99 second highlights here.

The improvements (comparison, other tablet comparisons) are really only important if truly anal about graphics and image quality. The device comes with "Retina Display" which is a 2048 x 1536 pixel range which means very crisp quality of images and video. Most programs and movies will not really benefit from this but games will. The CPU is dual core, so faster with improved graphics card and the camera is now 5 megapixels so great improvement there. Again most existing programs will not benefit but games might. The iPad 2 will get a $100 price drop. Hands-on video here.

In addition, Apple announced their software update for the Apple TV, not an actual HDTV like tech blogs had hoped. The upgrades are essentially software based so existing Apple TV will get them to. It does have a faster cpu but all that means if the programs might open a second or two faster. The main is support of 1080p (aka Blu-ray quality) movies, something that most streaming services will not take advantage of because videos of that quality level tend to be huge in size (2-3 gigs at least).

The improvements are so minor that I cannot really recommend anyone with an iPad 2 to fork over another $500 or more for this next gen device. Really even those with an iPad 1 (like me) would be hard pressed to justify the cost. About the only group of people that might benefit is the hardcore gamer and if that is the case I recommend using that money to get a PS3 or XBox 360 instead. As for the Apple TV, unless you’re entire library is bought from iTunes, don't bother. There are plenty of better, often cheaper alternatives that offer a wider variety of options including ability to play content from USB that you might have downloaded. Personally I use WD TV Live but any similar product is better than Apple's limited option. Much like the iPhone 4S, it is best just to skip this generation of Apple products and wait until next year. Both the iPad 3 and Apple TV will be released on March 16th and now available to pre-order.

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