Guest Post By Alberto C. Saldamando (@ElMundoTech)
Apple has set the standards for portable, electronic products since the arrival of the iPod and the iPhone. The technology company understood the needs of the corresponding markets, and turned them around to revolutionize both industries. With the recent release of the new iPad, Apple once again shows it leads the way in the tablets market as well, as other companies will play catch-up in the features department. Though the choice is crystal-clear for many tech-savvy people looking for the latest devices, for most others it will be if they want the iPad 2 (for $100 less) or the newest iPad. What is the new iPad offering now to convince people to make the jump from the first- and second-generation family of tablets?
As I opened the new iPad and turned it on immediately, I noticed it was real easy to setup the new device. A few minutes later, I was already checking out the apps, making changes to the settings, adding new main shortcuts, and downloading the apps that are most important for everyday communication and fun. For a bit I wondered what I could do (and not do) with it, so, I decided to start using it as much as possible from the day I received it.
At first sight
The new features of this device make it a very attractive gadget for many of our activities in our online life by working very rapidly and effectively. The look of the new iPad is basically the same as the one for the iPad 2 (launched last year), but there are a few subtle differences. Though it keeps the beautiful shape of the iPad 2, the edges look better and somewhat more noticeable. I received the black model. Its solid color is great. The whole device looks modern yet simple, but some people may have a hard time recognizing the difference by looking at the front of the new iPad and the iPad 2 (if they are next to each other).
The new Retina display, the A5X dual-core application processor with the quad-core graphics processing unit, the 4G Internet speed, and the upgraded camera are the main new features that clearly separate the new iPad from Apple’s previous tablets.
This new Retina display makes pictures and videos look really sharp. Its resolution is a first on mobile devices by offering a better-than-HDTV quality which is fantastic in itself. Nothing can compete against it yet. Text that has a bit difficult to read in previous devices for some users is much more crystal-clear now, but as of now, there are many third-party apps that do not yet take advantage of this, but should be updated soon. The iPhone and old iPad apps in the new iPad do come with a “2X” that zooms in into the application for easier viewing. While it’s great to see better-looking apps, the new updated games, utilities and other software will make the new iPad’s storage device fill faster. As of now, there are less than fifty apps ready for the new Retina display. Angry Birds Space is one those supporting it.
The dual-core processor is a feature seen in newer, high-end mobile devices, but the quad-core GPU makes it great to play graphic-intensive games that require the best of the new iPad, and something no other tablet currently has. The GPU and the retina display both could make gaming great on a tablet.
One issue in particular, though, has called out the attention of some people and Consumer Reports: the high temperature of the new iPad when playing certain games, such as Infinity Blade II. The Antennagate issue with the iPad 2 was a great concern for users and Apple, however, this heat problem does not seem to be of much importance in many new iPads. It feels a bit more on the warm side, but not enough to make people stop using it for brief or normal use. The new iPad User Guide says: “If the interior temperature of iPad exceeds normal operating temperatures, you may experience the following as it attempts to regulate its temperature: iPad stops charging, the screen dims, a temperature warning screen appears.” The device cannot be used while the warning screen appears, and goes into deep sleep mode to cool down itself “if the iPad can’t regulate its internal temperature”. For CNET, the heat is not an issue.
With Verizon Wireless, the net speed is absolutely amazing in 4G. As in some Android smartphones with 4G, the new iPad, in different areas of Central Florida, went from a download speed of 3.98 Mbps to 21.27 Mbps. In terms of upload speed, it went as low as 3.05 Mbps and as high as 14.30 Mbps.
Albert Aydan, Public Relations representative at Verizon Wireless en Español, said the company has full confidence in its network in supporting this device because “Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network is the largest and most advanced one in the world. The 4G network is available in 200 markets across the US and serves over 200 million people.”
One feature the Verizon model offers that the AT&T version does not is the personal hotspot feature. It makes the new device able to share its Internet connection with other devices. It worked perfectly with my Nintendo 3DS when accessing the Nintendo eShop, as fast as my Internet home connection to download new apps and/or games.
The iSight camera
The iPad 2 features a 0.7-megapixel capture that can be compared to taking small, printed photos or looking at video in a small, portable screen. This time, the new iPad comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera that offers much better quality in pictures and videos, but it does not surpass the 8-megapixel capture capabilities of other, recently-released smartphones or tablets. The video stabilization does help, but the quality does indeed make the device succeed. The photo quality is amazing. Though the new iPad is a somewhat big device to take pictures with, it’s so good to show others around you the awesome photos you can take with it in such a nice screen.
Even with more features, Apple makes the new iPad’s battery life work almost as much as the one in the iPad 2. For 5 days, I used the device frequently by playing games, checking my email accounts, writing blog posts, recording videos, twitting around, Facebook’ing, downloading new apps, reading the news, studying/reviewing IT (Information Technology) for certifications from PDF & PowerPoint documents, and so on. I did not have to worry about recharging the device until the end of the day. Over 10 hours of battery life is perhaps too much time to do stuff on a mobile device, but anyone who needs a working, powerful mobile device for that many hours has to take a look at this one.
Recharging, though, does not work when connected to a computer’s USB 2.0 port, which the iPad 2 does.
One thing to add | Una cosa que añadir
As a bilingual person, I love seeing information in two languages, so, I did switch the language in Settings to Spanish and then back to English again. I had gone back to the App Store when it was in Spanish, but after returning to English, I noticed certain words in the menu bar at the bottom did not change back to English. Words like Features, Categories, Purchased, and Updates did not change back to English from Spanish (see images below). Not that I’m complaining, but it’s an issue that should be corrected, unless Genius knows I’m really bilingual and I like it like that (some song comes to mind).
Language Support & “¿”Where in the World (of the New iPad) is Siri?
The voice assistant, Siri, is missing, but one of her specific features made it into this version. The dictation capability makes it easier and quick to look for the app I want or the text in an email, along with Search Web and Search Wikipedia.
Besides English, French, Japanese, Chinese and other languages supported on this device, the Spanish-language dictation is still absent, as in the latest iPhone with Siri. I had to say Univisión the English American way to come up with the TV network apps. Could an iOS update bring Spanish-language support (and Siri)?
Another nice feat is the availability of ASCII characters that many geeks, like me, use to communicate with others. By adding Japanese Romanji, it’s so easy to share emoticons. Clicking on the Globe icon switches language keyboard layout immediately. Anime fans should take advantage of this. I know I will.
Arrange the main icons so that it will be easier to return to the App Store right after downloading an app. Having to look for the App Store again could take a few seconds, but if placed on the shortcut menu, it would be just a click away (see third image below).
Why you should get it
People have been looking for perfection in Apple’s portable devices since the company won the heart of millions. Though a single device cannot yet make everyone happy for their online needs, the new iPad does brings many new features that are much worth than the $100 difference discount of the iPad 2. The 4G speed and its CPU & GPU processing capabilities make Internet apps work seamlessly. There is no delay in apps getting updated information. Seeing apps updated is much quicker. Video apps show no lag when watching videos on YouTube or in other sites with or without the Safari browser. The battery life is still great. In other words, buying an iPad 2 should only be recommended for people who are into little or casual Internet browsing, social networking, and other basic tasks (things that can also be done in an iPhone or other devices). But, for the ones who depend on constant and quick information, take their tablets with them for work or amusement, want to play the latest mobile games, record family moments to see them in a higher-than-HDTV-quality screen for many to see, and have access to an enormous amount of apps, the new iPad is a device that is impossible to ignore. It should perhaps be in your hands now.