Why the new iPad's Retina Display matters
Occasionally something does fundamentally change, though. It doesn't happen very often. The first time I plugged an early, clunky 3G card into my laptop and was suddenly able to work from anywhere, I saw portability in a completely different light. The first time I saw HDTV contrasted with standard-def television, it was clear that the game had changed. There are spec bumps, and then there are redefinitions, and last week's iPad event was definitely not about bumping some specs.
The core experience of the iPad, and every tablet for that matter, is the screen. It's so fundamental that it's almost completely forgettable. Post-PC devices have absolutely nothing to hide behind. Specs, form-factors, all that stuff melts away in favor of something else that's much more intangible. When the software provides the metaphor for the device, every tablet lives and dies by the display and what's on that display.
This makes for a pure and egalitarian experience in a way most products can't. Tablets strip away the abstractions or externalities, it's just you and an app with absolutely nothing in-between. This is part of the reason why great, thoughtfully designed, humane software seems even more amazing on a tablet, while bad, poorly conceived software seems even more offensive. (I'm sure all that also had something to do with why Apple created full-screen mode in Lion.)
So when a device comes along like the iPad that doesn't just display the application, but actually becomes the application, radically improving its screen radically improves the experience. And when a device's screen is as radically improved as the display in the new iPad, the device itself is fundamentally changed.
One of the things I found most interesting playing with the new iPad is that, as it turns out, the difference a Retina Display makes is even more exaggerated on a 10-inch tablet than it is on a 3.5-inch phone -- and that's in addition to everything else. It's not just a linear improvement, it's actually greater than the sum of its pixels. This screen has changed what a tablet should be, and trust me, you won't want to go back.
You can also see my first impressions of the new iPad here: gdgt.com/discuss/ipad-3rd-gen-first-impressions-16...
I am frustrated by tech press and their self-inflicted blinders that only let them see the "feeds and speeds". I am sick to death about hearing about the latest, greatest Android or Nokia phones and its octo-core Z-boost 3.6 GHz processor with wireless-P draft spec, 2 USB ports, HDMI, PS/2 and Centronics parallel port and how this one... THIS ONE... will be the one that outsells all others. 6 months later, nobody can remember the name of that device and it didn't even put a scratch in the market.
Please, write more posts about the actual experience of a device. Yeah, the tech specs are interesting and informative, but they are a small part of the whole device and (generally) don't have much bearing on how well a device will do in the marketplace.
The lack of Flash support in iOS is barely mentioned, or if mentioned, dismissed by many tech reviewers. However, many users see the Flash Needed message too often. I recently did a user group presentation, and showed examples of the Flash Needed message with iPad screen-shots. Contrary to the FUD, they were not porn, or game sites. One was an aircraft manufacturer, another a well know tech site reviewing ironically the then new iPhone 4S, and the third (of many available) was a major shopping mall. Although more sites have alternate web formats available, or a third party app, not all relevant sites do. My experience with the 3rd party general apps to deliver Flash has been less than stellar.
If you wish to share a file other than a video or photo with Dropbox on (non-jailbroken) iOS, out of luck as well. We constantly hear about the post-PC era, sharing files other than photos / videos using cloud service of choice should be included with devices advertised, or at least hinted to replace the PC.
Being a gadget addict, I have iOS, Android, WP7 devices, and managed to get a pre-order for the new iPad for delivery on March 16. The iPhone 4's screen is certainly nice, but I prefer (realize this is a personal preference) the Super AMOLED Samsung screens even though their PPI are high 200's vs 300's. If over 300 (now 264 for tablets) is retina quality, Toshiba had that on their 313ppi Toshiba Portege G900 WM phone in 2007.
The improved display on the new iPad is certainly a major improvement, and should be a favorable focus of reviews. It will be interesting to see how the same sites review the new HD Android tablets, and the first tablet that exceeds 264ppi.
1. Dumbed-down-to-near-nonexistent file support. Reviewers are doing everyone a disservice by NOT complaining loudly about this. I fear for the future if we don't. Lion took a big step in the wrong direction by making it nearly impossible to get to your Library. If Apple is serious about making the iPad a creation device, they have to let us save files in armor-clad, bullet-proof, secure, LOCAL places, and I'm sorry but neither iCloud nor Dropbox qualifies.
2. Lousy PDF support. iOS can be nightmarish when you want to do something as simple as saving a PDF of an order acknowledgement. Yes there are apps for this, but they require you to use less-than-ideal in-app browsers, and you'll never use those browsers for the kind of surfing that leads to a purchase.
3. Terrible printing support. I have an efficient, networked, black-and-white HP laser printer that works beautifully, and have no desire to buy a new one just for my iPad. It's ridiculous that we STILL don't have printing solutions for iPad and iPhone, and the lack of this alone can make the iPad infuriating to the business user -- just when you need it most.
4. No flash support. This battle was lost long ago, and Adobe has tossed in the towel even for Android devices, so this is one shortcoming that isn't worth complaining about.
All that being said, I still think the new iPad sounds near-miraculous to this user -- and you'd better believe I'm getting one FOR BUSINESS USE. My iPad 2 really does make me more productive and I should add that it's also a pleasure to use, which is a serious benefit even for business users. The new iPad should be even more fun, and even more valuable for my businesses.
2. I manage PDFs all the time and have no problem using Goodreader and the built-in PDF functionality. It's easy to move a PDF from e-mail to Goodreader, for example. There are also signing apps and the like.
3. You're probably right. I've never tried to print, can't see why I would, but some people might need to.
4. This is an advantage, since my Android devices have issues with Flash regularly.
In addition, I print to PDF several times a day for financial bookkeeping alone. Invaluable for filing and tracking receipts.
All I'm asking is that Apple give iPad users access to the same printing and print-to-PDF support that they provide for OS X.
OTOH, Programs like Goodreader have made the iPad a terrific productivity tool -- enabling me to mark up everything from one-page articles to 500-page books, and conveniently export my notes and highlighted passages to a separate file. It's the last feature that separates the great apps from the also-rans. iAnnotate had it and inexplicably dropped it in their latest release, leaving me stuck in the middle of a job. Happily Goodreader has added it, and can handle PDFs exported from iAnnotate.
I would also argue that the technical specs are NOT what define the experience of a device or even the device itself. The tech specs list the underlying capabilities of the device, but it's the software, and the user interface that the software provides, that defines the device much more than the spec sheet.
There are devices out there that have amazing technical specs, but are unusable because the software that drives them was an afterthought in the design process. Who cares if a device has amazing feature X, if it takes digging through five levels of an arcane menu tree to be able to use it? Why isn't this ever written about? Why is it acceptable to simply have the capacity to do something, but it doesn't matter if it can do it well?
Android tables for example quad core this and how they are different and offer more ports and thinner than the iPad. for the exception of samsung and the note for example where they are selling it as a tabled device with a pen an Evernote integration and specific applications for the SPen you don't see a lot of others touting software.
But with Apple and the iPad i think that is different. you see commercials showing off all the different applications and practical (at least they think) uses of the device beyond just the hardware. i think apple does an amazing job at marketing not just the hardware of the device but the full experience of the device (both hardware and software).
Back to the android devices its mostly hardware companies selling the devices not software companies. they sell the machine what else do you expect them to market since thats what they sell. i would expect google or specific software companies to push the software side of the OS similar to how Microsoft markets Windows and not usually a specific device running windows.
think about the luddites out there - those who don't know the difference between a mega watt and mega hertz. they'll get confused when presented with 15 different tablets/phones withe varying specs. all the other manufacturers are building literally HUNDREDS of phones.... not one can even come close to the 4S in sales... and we all know who currently owns the tablet market. color, amount or memory and cellular or not are the only decisions you CAN make.
I'm not saying Apple knows what's best for customers, but they know what's not - a long spec sheet with lots of fine print.
"can I play Game X on this, does this tablet support wireless printing, can I use it with both WiFi and my phones service, etc" you never have to ask such questions re: i devices. but you can't say the same for Android. Can you GAURANTEE that phone X on carrier Y will be able to upgrade to the latest OS in a year? judging by the uptake of ICS... no.
if you disagree.. look at the number 2 tablet out there.. exactly ONE model. Kindle Fire. Easy decision.
This same strategy was applied to computing. When home computers were not very powerful and the software was more bespoke, customers had to be very careful when selecting the hardware they were going to use, to make sure it had the require features.
Computers have now evolved to such a point that hardware just works. The question might be for specific feature requirements like communication or a specific input device, but by making sure these are all covered in your single product you make the customers decisions simpler.
You can then concentrate on making sure the true reason to have a computer in the first place, the software, provides the best experience possible by providing multiple versions of the same thing that will capture the larger share of the market.
Similarly we spend too much time talking about megahertz and gigabytes when what really matters is the usability and user experience.
To me, this is much the same as Canon versus Nikon. For some strange reason, I cannot stand Nikon cameras. I owned a CoolPix 200, but since then I have been unable to get my head around their design. This came back to me again this weekend when I was playing with the P7100. It is a powerful camera, but the user interface just did not work for me. Canon and Panasonic, however, have interfaces that make perfect sense to me.
I have never played with a pure Android phone and I have not really played with an iPhone either because I use a Tracfone. However, as an iPad user, I think I know how what an iPhone will work. So the question is whether using a Kindle Touch or Kindle Fire will allow me to know what an Android phone will work like? I'd say, only if Amazon released a Kindle Phone. So, here lies the crux of Apples philosophy of making devices that are familiar enough that users can move from one to another without much of a learning curve. You can even see that in what they just did to the Apple TV. I am not a fan of some things Apple is doing with Lion because I came from a PC background, but people who are coming from an iPhone or iPad background are loving the similarities.
In the end, it is about what works for the users. It is important that Apple and Android continue to innovate and improve their products because that is what is best for the consumer.
In this day and age how does someone have confidence in that opinion and try and make it sound like everyone thinks that way?
I have owned 3 iphones and still don't have the experience that I want from it. Android gives me the experience that I am looking for. Iphones are a dime a dozen so I gave them a chance, along with the other 7 to 8 handsets I own.
Experience is what you make of it.
No fancy screen will ever replace the ease of sharing content to multiple services on my android device, other then just twitter and Facebook.
Not even a mac provides the experience I want, I need tons of third party non apple software to get the experience I want.
Guess what my iphones and mac products do have that I like?
Here's the thing: In baking its proprietary TouchWiz skin into the software, Samsung has watered down the Ice Cream Sandwich experience and delivered a UI that's barely different from what you have now.
But perhaps the most sweeping change in Ice Cream Sandwich is its look -- the fresh "holographic" design that brings a sleek and polished new shell to the platform. And Samsung has evidently decided it doesn't want that on its devices.
what is Samsung's rationale for this? Galaxy II S owners.. are you happy with this?
at least with Apple, you understand all the limitations up front and those limitations are mostly from the customer looking in perspective... Android may be open in the sense that you can install what you want from any marketplace you want, but what is not obvious is the fact that they leave some decisions up to the carrier/OEM for the OS itself - so Android is open.. but when they leave decisions up to the carriers/OEM's I start to get worried.
"The backup transport is the client-side component of Android's backup framework, which is customizable by the device manufacturer and service provider."
"Data backup is not guaranteed to be available on all Android-powered devices"
"Caution: Because the cloud storage and transport service can differ from device to device, Android makes no guarantees about the security of your data while using backup. You should always be cautious about using backup to store sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords."
Why the hell does Google give control for the most fundamental aspect of data integrity to someone else? Because it's OPEN, so you have the FREEDOM to deliver an inconsistent user experience.
IMO Google should set some ground rules. OEM wants Android. Fine.. but you will at least do these things: No bloatware, No custom UI (implemented by the carrier/OEM - users can re-skin at will), and provide the infrastructure to support critical APIs and mandate a consistent implementation across all carriers/OEMs.
It seems to me that it's getting a little harder for Apple to make us let go of our money. Many have gone to a 2 year refresh cycle on mobile devices such as the iPhone. Looks like that's the plan for me, at least: I won't buy this iPad but probably will get the next.
What about you, Ryan? Did you have an iPad 2 and will you be getting the new iPad ? Does the display warrant the expense for you?
Surely the primary reason for buying something is because it serves a purpose, and you upgrade it when it stops serving that purpose or a newer model does more stuff you value. Of course there is the enthusiast angle of having the latest gadget and that's fine, but it's the surprise that people demonstrate when they don't feel like the new model is worth them upgrading from their current model that really bugs me.
In the back of my mind is the worry that, without the manic driving force of Jobs at the helm, we may have seen the best that Apple will ever bring.
apple closed at $378 on the day he died. on 10/11 it was at $400.
say what you want about Apple's ecosystem, but people only spend money on shit for so long.. a $500 turd is still a turd.. people will stop spending money eventually if the products don't deliver... seems more and more people are going to Apple all the time. it's definitely not right for all, but Wall Street says it's definitely right for some.
since movies are limited by the resolution of the file, retina display won't help.. it WILL help tremendously for reading and web browsing though.. the things you use your ipad 2 for the most. Apps will also benefit because there's more screen realestate to play with.
I would look into selling your ipad if I were you.. I JUST sold my first gen 32GB, ATT for four hundred bucks.. that's half of the cost of the new one I got.. 64GB/LTE with Apple Care +.. the way I see it I paid about 2 dollars a day to use an ipad. less than a fancy coffee drink.
While I don't doubt these improvement will enhance the experience, I can still do all the same stuff on an iPad 2, and found it impossible to justify the extra cost of the 3rd gen.
Its just what has worked for me and my sensibilities, I'm not suggesting others shold do the same, but having weighed up the cost against the value, the iPad 2 remains the appropriate choice for me (which is why I've just gone and bought one second hand).
I am not sure there is an analogy between HDTV and the Retina display. There is really one one use for a TV set, users watch what is displayed, so improving that one functionality is significant. The iPad is used for much more than watching content.
but you could use the same argument for a monitor. are you still using 17" @1024X768 native? why not? - your desktop is the same. you still watching SD TV? shows are the same.
in those cases, increased resolution does not fundamentally change the experience.. but it does make it better.
I didn't like the display quality: it was fine for video, but I mostly used it for reading, browsing and email, and I didn't like the quality of text at the original and iPad 2 display resolution. For me the new display changes the value proposition completely. I expect it to positively effect every interaction, every single use of the iPad.
That seems to be the argument you're making and honestly I don't understand thinking this way. Every single thing you do on an iPad will benefit from the better screen.