Today I made the 15 mile journey to Milton Keynes, my trademark black skinny jeans had a hole in a rather unfortunate position and needed replacing, whilst there I strayed into the Apple Store and saw a gigantic floor-to-ceiling display for the iPad 3 with a few display models underneath.
Now, the Milton Keynes Apple Store uses iPad 2’s as a sort of catalogue, which can also be used to interact with the employees and flag that you require assistance, this is quite clever. It also meant that I could see an iPad 2 right next to an iPad 3.
Having seen both together, I found that to my eye there was very little difference between the normal old iPad 2 screen and the new “RESOLUTIONARY” iPad 3 screen. Admittedly, the iPad 3 did look better, just, but at that screen size I don’t think a PPI (pixels per inch) increase of the size that Apple did would ever have made much difference. The iPad 3’s screen is not the same “retina” display of the iPhone 4, which has 326 PPI, but rather a screen with a much less impressive 264 PPI. This is double the 132 PPI of the iPad 2.
Why does this all matter so much? Well, It comes down to what you want to do with your iPad. Having a more impressive screen (and really, its not that much more impressive) comes at the cost of battery life. The Battery in the iPad3 is 70% larger than that of its predecessor, but the battery life that apple says the device gets is exactly the same, about 10 hours. Personally, if I was going to buy a tablet I would prefer to have the extra 70% battery life than a screen that seeps all of those gains away, especially as its meant to be a portable device, and not one permanently plugged into a wall.
I must say, it strikes me as odd that apple have gone down this route of making a small adjustment to the screen at the expensive of battery, especially as they are now marketing the iPad as a portable productivity device (e.g. one you can use to write up documents etc.) Instead I think they would have been better of giving the new iPad the 70% bigger battery and a Keyboard attachment as standard, making it into a true laptop competitor and potentially gaining more of the business and education markets.
If you look around our lectures at University you’ll see well over 150 people with laptops, but as far as I know only 2 or 3 with iPads and not many more with Android powered tablets. If apple made a tablet with really good battery life (im talking 15 hours here, which seems possible if they dimmed down the displays a bit) and a nice, portable keyboard attachment as standard they could really be on to something.
Perhaps this is where Windows 8 on ARM tablets will step in, the ARM CPU architecture — which Apple uses in the iPad — allows for really good power-efficiency, and due to the fact that Windows 8 is licensed rather than sold on devices manufactured by Microsoft we may see a lot of different form factors and ideas of what a tablet should be like from different OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).
Here’s to a more power efficient, productive tablet future,
PS: “Resolutionary” isn’t and never will be a word, I hate when companies make up silly words like that.