So the Apple event finally happened, putting to rest rumors and speculations about a certain ‘iPad 3′. And surprise, Tim Cook chose to defy one and all by calling it something different altogether – “the new iPad”. How original!
Unlike some of the most memorable editions in the past with Steve Jobs, the March 2012 event was on relatively predictable lines, and not very different in feel from the iPhone 4s launch in late 2011. Nonetheless, the company made all tech enthusiasts, journalists, and fanboys (including cynical ones like me) across the globe stay riveted to live text updates on leading tech websites as the plot unfolded.
Here’s a roundup—with my opinion—of what the event unveiled in its elegantly pompous, and yet unimitated, style.
The whole thing was like a well choreographed dance (albeit to the tunes of Adele this time) that reaffirmed faith in the behemoth’s still nimble innards. The absolutely synchronized and punctual Houdini act by the website/store, and the seamlessness of all the upgrades screamed Apple from the word go.
The company announced the new iPad with a retina display, which packs in far too many pixels than one thought was possible (that’s what they said). But then, the modern tech consumer is a pixel-whore (or at least made out to be). Even if we wonder whether we need them, we do seem to need them. Apparently, this was the highlight of the evening. Yes thank you, so let’s move on. The optics got a facelift, although I still question the rationale of clicking pictures with a book-like slab instead of a camera or even a phone. The processor upgrade to the A5X was expected as well, and so was the 4G-LTE compatibility (an iPad 3 armed with 4G and not just 3G could have been confusing – was that the reason for the creative naming?). Anyway, once you think of all these power-hungry features, the battery life being comparable to the iPad 2 is a nice touch, but leaves one wanting more. With some of the new ultrabooks touching 8-9 hours, one would ideally demand more from a tablet. But then, one look at the closest competition (is there any?) and you’d probably feel at ease. Other minor things included the retention of the dock connector – thank heavens! The nominal increase in girth and weight was rather unexpected, so Apple did manage to surprise on this account, unlike its past track record of making its components feel as claustrophobic as it could.
The new dictation capability on the keypad sounds promising, but the absence of a full-blown Siri is disappointing, and yet not surprising. How else do you think we will get a “the new iPad S” later this year?
Yet another predictable outcome was the new iPad pricing and the associated iPad 2 price drop, followed by the absence of the 32 and 64 GB models from the store. It simply means that if you are keen on saving a few bucks and feel that the new iPad is not the massive leap that you wished it to be, rush to the physical store nearby and get your iPad 2 before the pending inventories run out (a sense of deja vu sweeps over as I recall my iPhone 4 32 GB purchase after three days of the iPhone 4S launch).
Over the past year, Apple’s focus on fostering the iOS ecosystem has become quite evident, to put it mildly. While my expectations of a significant upgrade to the iOS 5.1 were crushed, the company stayed true to its strategy by dishing out some of its blockbuster software suites like iWork and iLife on the iOS. Yes, please note these are available on the iOS, and not just on the new iPad, which means you can use all of these on your existing iPad 2. All the fancy iMovie and iPhoto demos yesterday morning were not exclusive to the new iPad – something the end-user should take note of when deciding which iPad version to buy. However, if you take the iPad out of this equation, it clearly shows Apple’s focus on generating a larger share of its revenue pie from non-hardware sources. Still clearer was the company’s push toward taking on its arch rivals (you know who I’m talking about!) in multimedia editing, among other things. As far as the whole video gaming extravaganza is concerned, I’ll choose to stay away and let the professional/casual gamers decide what the new developments mean to them. As a neutral no-brainer, I’d say the enhanced display and processing naturally translate into crisper gaming. Commercially speaking, the new games being exclusive to the new iPad will hardly be a game-changing differentiator for a general tech user.
In continuation to the software story, Apple chose to reveal the new Apple TV ahead of the anticipated iPad (possibly to avoid having to utter the cliched “last but not the least” phrase). No real beef-ups here, except for the 1080p resolution upgrade. Being able to get your iTunes playlists through the iCloud is hardly an engineering feat.
Don’t get me wrong! I remain an Apple fan, since I bought my first device 6 months ago (I guess that puts me at the cusp of the late adopters and laggards). Nonetheless, as a tech observer and user, I believe that exponential innovations are an exception and not a norm. With Steve Jobs’ larger than life image and Apple’s record of wowing and wooing, we have gotten used to expecting the world every time. What still wows me about the company is its ability to still be larger than the sum of all its parts that seem to function in harmony despite all the chaos around. Despite all the skepticism, nobody can deny the frenzy that awaits March 16 when the new iPad will be made available to the public.
- Apple Releases Updated iWork Apps For iOS, GarageBand, iMovie [iPad 3 Event] (cultofmac.com)
- Apple Event: Everything We Know [VIDEO] (mashable.com)
- Apple Unveils New iPad at San Francisco Press Event [News] (makeuseof.com)