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The enormous sales numbers of the iPad show that Apple’s courage to concentrate on making our computing feel more natural has paid off. It works against conventional wisdom by avoiding the ‘look what I can do’ mentality that is pervasive in our technology. All of its components are devoted to helping it deliver an experience that feels effortless and human, without the feeling that it is trying to impress you with its features, which is what makes it so good.

Matthew Panzarino

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The new iPad - a “meh” upgrade?

I read on the Internet a few people saying the new iPad is kind of a ”meh” upgrade. After all, not many things has changed and there is still no USB slot and the screen is ”essentially” the same.

On the missing USB slot

Those waiting for an iPad with a USB slot don’t realize that Apple is all about the cloud and doesn’t see the USB slot part of the strategy. By having your documents in the cloud, what a USB slot could be used for? Import documents on the iPad? The problem is this little known fact to a potential user of an iPad: there is no end user file system on this device. Where those imported documents would go? For a power user of an iPad, this can be frustrating at time but that the way it is. USB slot would be used by a small portion of the users and Apple don’t like to keep this kind of feature in their product. The same logic was applied to the CD drive on the MacBook air and soon will be applied to the MacBook Pro.

On the ”essentially” same screen

Since the first iPad generation, Apple didn’t change much externally: same buttons, same position, same case color, same size. The iPad 2 introduced a new casing which is much easier to hold and added value to the product. What else can Apple change on this device to make it better? What is the most important thing in a touch screen device? What is the component that defines the user experience? The screen! And now, this new iPad got a super high resolution display, higher than 1080p, the best TV screen resolution that you can find on the market. All this on a 9.7” screen, sitting at around 12” of your eyes. This screen makes the digital appearance of the software vanish for a more analog look. Still, you’ll find people saying that this is a ”meh” upgrade.

Apple make products built around components that they feel can add real value and can make a big difference. The new iPad is the embodiment of this strategy.

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My observations on the new iPad

Here are my observations about the new iPad after playing with it extensively for more than 24 hours.

  • iPhone apps running in 1x or 2x resolution look much better. Someone told me that if the iPhone app supports Retina Display, it will open in 2x mode on the new iPad. I wasn’t able to reproduce it. I have my doubt. 
  • iPhoto for iOS on the iPad makes much more sense than on the iPhone. 
  • I’m still trying to find any pixel on its display. I think Apple is lying when they say there is 4 millions pixels on it. There is none.
  • I upgraded from the original iPad so I’m much more impressed that going from an iPad 2. Still, my girlfriend had an iPad 2 and the display is a really big deal IMHO.
  • With the retina display, I feel the digital world is disappearing and the analog world is back upon on. This is a great thing if you ask me.
  • The size of the display combined with its resolution makes the experience more impressive than on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display. 
  • LTE and Personal Hostpot (when available) make the iPad super connected device. 
  • Having applications like iMovie, iPhoto, iA Writer, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, Reeder, Flipboard just to name a few is enough to make the iPad such a useful device on the go.
  • Paradoxically browsing the web is weird: we get very sharp text but 99% of the pictures are blurry. I don’t know how and when (besides Apple), web masters will add the required higher resolutions images to their web sites to take advantage of high DPI screens. We’ll see.
  • The default capacity of the device is about 500 mb less than on my original iPad. Why?
  • This iPad is certainly a bit warmer when used for a long period of time. Just warmer, not hot.
  • It seems that with LTE, we no longer can subscribre to a data plan from the iPad itself but only by calling the mobile operator. To me this is a step back. Everything that Apple can do to relinquish carriers to the back scene is good for me. Now, I have to call the mobile operator customer support to even stop my data plan if I feel the need to do it without answering a dozen questions on why I’m doing it. Sad.

This iPad is the most enjoyable device that I have ever used.

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