Don’t Call It the iPad 3 (#ipad3 #sxswedu #ipad)

Quick comments on Apples announcements from yesterday. That it would be about iPads was no secret, and the expectation was for the iPad 3 that would feature a bulked-up camera and . . . the and was the unknown.

In a move not unlike the last iPhone release when we got the iPhone 4s instead of the expected iPhone 5, what we got today was not the iPad 3, but something called “the new iPad.” And that’s an apt moniker (though hardly seductive and inviting or creative) because this iPad is more third-generation than it is an iPad 3. What I mean by that is that it’s been substantially upgraded and modified, but it’s not a radically new machine.

So what is it and what is it not? Well, it is a lot more like a full-on computer in terms of capabilities, features, power, and memory. Rather, the new iPad is getting closer to approaching (and replacing) a laptop (first stat of the announcement: “More iPads were sold last quarter than any PC maker sold PCs”). The new iPad sees changes in the forms of retina display, 5MP camera with face recognition, faster processor, upped graphics (four times the performance of earlier iPads) and HD processing, 2084 x 1537 display at 264 ppi, and 4G LTE network, and 200,000+ apps that are priced much lower than most software packages.

It’s definitely fair to say that the emphasis of the new iPad is on multimedia. Today was all about creating and sharing and collaborating (all relying on connectivity and iCloud storage) and being the device to power that. This was shown by demos of Garage Band, iMovie, iPhoto, and SketchBook Pro — all audio-visual apps and all with integrated email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. buttons. The increased power and graphics and network speed will also satisfy gamers (The new iPad has more memory and screen resolution than the Xbox and PS3). It’s a multimedia and recreation tablet that is not any sort of productivity machine or eBooks reader (though between iWork and iBooks, it handles both quite well). This is a machine for making fun and having fun with friends and family.

So what about productivity and eBooks? Well, Apple’s made it pretty clear that the iPad 2 fills that niche and that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, even mentioning the pricing and calling it attractive for the education market.

In a nutshell, the new iPad isn’t a replacement for the iPad 2 so much as a veering off in a different direction and toward a new sort of tablet line for a very different target user. For once, Apple isn’t really making an older version obsolete or phasing it out so much as giving it a sibling. What we have here in iPad 2 is a reliable and down-to-earth older child who always comes through without a lot of flash or power or speed or adventure now being joined by the new iPad, a wild-child sibling with a much more “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” attitude.

  • iPad 2 will remain priced starting at $399 and reaching $529.
  • The new iPad starts at $499 and goes up to $829 for maximum storage and connectivity.

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