First impressions of “the New iPad”

I almost didn’t buy one.

I walked into the Apple Store on Regent Street and picked up one of the new devices on show. It was heavy. Heavier and thicker than the iPad 2.

This was an immediate downer for me. I thought about walking out there and then. I don’t expect to react in this manner to a new Apple product.

However the logical brain kicked in swiftly. I’d rather have a slightly heavier iPad that *still* has a 10 hour battery. Other manufacturers would have chucked out a 4-hour battery with the argument that the device is faster, has more features and so on.

The thickness is slightly annoying. But it does feel rather solid in the hand. And although it’s heavier, I don’t think it’s a problem: The iPad *is* heavy. It’s not a Kindle Reader. It was never really meant for one handed iPhone-style operation.

So let’s be clear: I’m broadly positive on these issues. I didn’t want to brush over them though.

Next up: The screen. It’s as good as folk are saying. It’s astonishingly clear. Unfortunately a lot of apps and icons are looking a wee bit blocky at the moment because they’ve not yet got Retina support. Expect that to be resolved “toooooot sweet” as Delboy might say. Right now legions of mobile executives (having just taken delivery of their new iPads) are firing off emails to their design departments demanding a fix this weekend. It’s a lovely resolution. Stuff just looks better. Safari, for example, when using standard text looks much improved. You can now spot graphical text at rubbish resolutions very easily.

I’ve found the it’s a little snappier when I’m swapping around apps. This is good. Not unexpected.

The camera is better. We’re not talking 41 megapixel Nokia quality yet though. It’s just better. The random photos of little Archie are just going to look better. Likewise the videos.

What else?


Oh… Siri. Now it doesn’t appear to be the standard Siri. It’s audio transcription and it is flipping amazing. I tried it with some chaps in my office each with dramatically different accents. I had them say a normal sentence each in a single recording segment and the transcription was near instantaneous and about 99% accurate. Or 100% if you’re happy with “very” being changed to “really” — although this was from a chap who isn’t a native English speaker. I reckon I might be able to dictate my blog posts with it.

Siri is definitely good enough to compose email replies no problem.

What else? Well that’s it. There’s not too much else jumping out at me.

It just feels better.

If you’re on an iPad 2, you needn’t feel like you’re missing much. iPad 1 owners will really appreciate the improvements.

Is it worth the £579 I paid? Yes when I factor in selling the existing iPad 2. Yes when I recognise this is my business — I need to be fully up to speed. It’s expected. Saying I’m “thinking about buying one” isn’t a valid answer for me. For others though, I don’t think you need to run out immediately and replace.

That said, if you intend getting a new iPad then I reckon you should get one soon, if only to maximise the available value before the upgrade circus rolls back into town next year.

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