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Mar 072012
 

So tonight, Apple launched their new iPad so undoubted mass hysteria from the Apple fans but is it interesting?

Well of course it is – whatever the specifications, it is going to sell in huge numbers and have quite a big influence on the IT landscape. But ignoring that, what has changed ? And is it all good ?

The big change is the use of a high-density screen – 2048×1536 in a 9.7″ screen. The use of a high-density screen might seem like it is excessive given that each individual pixel is getting towards being too small to see. But it does make the overall effect better – text (when scaled appropriately) becomes clearer, etc. After all one of the reasons that reading paper is easier on the eye is that the greater density makes things clearer.

Software that does not scale the display is going to look a bit odd – after all this screen is very roughly the equivalent of an old 1280×1024 screen (commonly a 20″ screen) in 9.7″. But I dare say Apple has a trick up its sleeve to deal with that.

But it is a bit odd that this is still not a wide-screen format screen – most other slate makers use the wide screen format so films can scale up to the full size of the screen. But Apple wants black bars! Or letter-boxing if you insist although as a film fan I hate that.

With any luck the new iPad’s screen resolution should trickle into other products – whilst I’m not that keen on the iPad to go out and get one, I do want to see a high-density screen on my desktop at some point. And why not? Screens on the desktop have been not just stuck at the same resolution for a decade now, but actually decreasing in resolution – before HD TV became popular, 1920×1200 was a popular resolution on flat screens; now it is 1920×1080. Except if you have very deep pockets (although even that monitor does not have the density of the new iPad).

But what else ? Well, except for the new screen, it’s all a bit “Meh” … nothing shines out as a dramatic improvement.

For instance, it has a new processor. But it is only dual-core when some Android slates are getting penta-cores – usually advertised as quad core, but the many are using a processor with four high speed cores, and a single slow speed (and low power consumption) core.

And the rest of it looks pretty much the same as the old iPad – no memory slot for adding additional media, a proprietary dock connector and no micro-usb so you have to make sure you have the right cable with you. And so on.

And I still find it odd that the camera pointing towards the face is of a lower quality than the camera facing out – doesn’t the front facing camera get used more for video conferencing than the other ?

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