Apple 'does an iPhone 4S' with new iPad: Disappointed?

Summary:Apple has given consumers and businesses alike a great deal in today's announcement, but it could be overshadowed by the seeming lack of progress in its hardware range.

What was the best we were going to hope for, really? A holodesk-style experience, or an iPad that would gently cradle you in your sleep?

Compared to the iPhone 4S, Apple has pretty much taken the smartphone, expanded it out, and created a 4G version. The company bats back and forth between the iPhone getting something new, and the iPad getting something new. It's like technological ping-pong.

It was a given that the new iPad would come with a Retina display, as did the iPhone 4S and the iPod touch. Now that the iPad has come with 4G LTE technology, it is inevitable that six months down the line the upcoming iPhone 5 will support it too. By then, 4G coverage should be greater and the networks balanced from the initial onslaught of new iPad devices on the networks.

Baffling many, Apple has not actually said what the new name for the next-generation iPad is. Did someone forget to mention it? Or is this Apple simply winding up the technology media? For all intents and purposes, it's "the new iPad", and at a push, the "iPad 3".

All in all, looking back at the announcement, how much were we really given?

The new iPad has the same design with a slightly beefed up A5X dual-core processor and quad-core graphics. It means more reactive gaming, faster processing, and also --- for what many have not considered --- a resilience to a future update to what we presume will be iOS 6 in the later part of this, or early next year.

In terms of the 4G specifications, Apple is producing two different tablets for two different networks, meaning that one cannot simply roam from AT&T to Verizon on 4G. It will work fine on 3G, and Apple claims that it has more wireless bands than any other device "of any device that has ever shipped". But it surely will play havoc for those who want to switch carrier, yet equally giving the choice of better service in one area over another.

While the battery is the same as the iPad 2, it offers 9 solid hours on a 4G connection. That's enough to last you a check-in at the airport and a flight from San Francisco to New York.

Disappointingly, the new iPad does not have Siri. It does possess a voice-dictation feature, however, which should at least bring some of the burden out of typing out a lengthy document on a rock-hard glass screen.

Siri, the ‘intelligent' voice assistant, was seen as the flagship update, but it remains only a gimmick to this day. Holding with one hand an iPhone 4S to your face to ask it something is at least somewhat more natural than holding a tablet nearly six times as big. At least Apple thought this through.

Frankly, we were all blind-sided by the iPad announcement --- which in retrospect will probably be one of the "most revolutionary products to hit the shelves in years" --- will still remains somewhat of a disappointment. Not to worry; the iPhone 4S was a busted flush when it was first announced, and look how popular it is now?

Apple sold more than 4 million devices in its first weekend alone. While the smartphone is by far its most popular product in the iOS range, with Apple selling 15.4 million iPads in the last quarter alone, it is entirely possible that the company sells a similar figure if not more this quarter as well.

What is important is that while this was not specifically marketed as an "iPad event", it was an "Apple event". So much more than the iPad was announced, including new iWorks, GarageBand, and iPhoto. Apple also announced a 1080p capable version of the next-generation Apple TV. iTunes in the Cloud was also updated to support high-definition 1080p quality content.

If we wedge it all together, while the cost remains high for the seemingly minor updates to a spattering of products, Apple has just updated half of its leading software products, and updated a key player in its hardware line-up.

Disappointed? You really shouldn't be.

Image source: Apple.

Related:

Topics: iPad, Apple, iPhone, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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