New iPad not a must-have, but an amazing display

New iPad not a must-have, but an amazing display

Summary: You have to see the Retina display in person to truly understand why it's amazing. However, the iPad 2 is still a solid purchase.

TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware, iPad

I previously mentioned how I had ordered an iPad delivered to my home, for my family, and also one for work. Well, on Friday they both arrived.

For the home one, the Fedex guy mentioned to my wife that it was the 44th one he had delivered in the last three streets, and it was just barely noon. As for the work one, I had ordered it through the Apple Store and it was ready for me, so they seemed to have plenty in stock as the noon time hour approached. I have to admit that nothing will replace the feeling of having waited in line for the iPhone 3G in NYC back in July 2008, but it's nice to just have the iPad or any device just magically arrive on launch day.

This article is of my first impressions, since there are plenty of reviews already, which Matt Miller links to in his article about Walmart selling them at midnight. I have not yet hooked up the Verizon LTE service, but did connect it to my Wi-Fi without issue.

First Impressions

So, what do I think of the new iPad? First off, the display is incredible. I know that others have said it, but it really will blow you away. Even without apps optimized for it, you can see the difference right away. I also noticed, when putting the new iPad next to the old one, and running the latest version of the NY Times iPad app (optimized for Retina), that you can definitely see the pixels in the iPad 2 display, when you zoom the text in all of the way.

New iPad

iPad 2

Again, as others have said, you start noticing flaws in the iPad 2 display that you never knew were there, since the new display is incredibly crisp, and with the naked eye, no pixels can be detected.

Another thing that I noticed is that the new iPad's display appears to be "warmer". In one game in particular, Labyrinth 2 HD, you can definitely see a color difference in the wood. I'm not sure if that's remastered graphics or the iPad's display at play, but my guess is that it's the display. The reason for this is that I noticed something similar when comparing the NY Times iPad app running side-by-side on an iPad 2 and the new iPad (3rd generation). The NY Times App on the new iPad featured a "warmer" white than the iPad 2.

The new iPad is on the left. You have to see it in person to really tell that it's warmer.

Aside from the display, the chip is faster, sporting an A5X, instead of an A5, and the back camera is now a 5-megapixel with autofocus camera, capable of recording 1080p.

For my tests I snapped some pics and took some videos, but since I have an iPhone, I don't really see the need to do either from my iPad. That said, if others don't have an iPhone, they may appreciate using the iPad to do this, and in that case, it's a worthy upgrade, over the iPad 2, for the camera alone. The camera takes crisp photos and smooth videos, and I'll do more tests as the days go on.

As for the A5X processor over the A5, games seem to run just as fast as they did on the iPad 2. That said, I haven't played some of my favorites yet, since they haven't been optimized for Retina. From what I heard, you need the faster processor to display the games smoothly with Retina graphics, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them optimized.


In general, I think that the iPad definitely has the most amazing display I've ever seen. However, if you're more concerned with cost, the iPad 2 is still a worthwhile purchase, at $100 cheaper, since it will perform just as well for the majority of tasks that people require of a tablet.

One more thing: I'm far from a branding expert, but I do think that Apple messed up by not creating a new name for the iPad (3rd generation). They could have called it iPad Retina, even, and that would have made a lot of sense. Instead, you're faced with buying the iPad or the iPad 2, and the iPad is actually the newer one? I know that Apple assumes the majority of the world is familiar with the iPad 2, but I even had to pause before placing my order, since your gut tells you that the iPad 2 would be the newer of the two.

I'll continue to report on the iPad (3rd generation) as I use it more. For now, though, if you are thinking about getting the new iPad, remember that it's not a must-have, but the display is definitely the most amazing one I've seen.

I will also be hooking up the Verizon LTE and doing some speeds tests against AT&T's 3G service from my iPad 2.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, iPad

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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  • RE: Superlatives

    When I watched the new iPad announcement, I thought that Tim Cook and Phil Schiller kind of poured on the superlatives when describing it. I didn't count how many "amazing"s they used, but it was plenty. Now, most of the reviews I've seen are heavy with the "incredible"s and "amazing"s, too. It must be true! :)
    • Well done to Cook and Schiller on taking...

      AAPL (545.9b) to just shy of twice the market cap. of MSFT (273.5b) as of Sunday.

      Two MSFT to make 1 AAPL, how the giant has fallen.

      Way to go Steve B.
      Richard Flude
  • I can see this.

    I wish Apple took a page from Sony and added Bluetooth controller support for existing controllers and an IR port with a universal remote application. Nope, instead they went boring and just upgraded some components, while leaving pretty much the same old, tired, 2nd rate, functionality the iPad 2 has.

    Now the Sony still has more functionality out of the box.

    As for the New iPad, I have been playing with it for 3 hours or so and the display is nice but, everything seems to be very close to the iPad 2 and I can understand why people pass on the new model.
    • Do you mean...

      5 year old Bluetooth 2.1, like Sony?

      You seem to be taking these good iPad reviews personally, and you're starting to sound remarkably like NonZealot...Peter.
      • No

        I am talking about features, my comments are in line with, "The iPad is not a must have"...

        The Sony integrates well with the entire house and that to me is innovative... Apple stopping short of adding any features like the Sony really detracts from it.

        As for taking it personal, I have a 32 Gig model at my house and I haven't opened it yet and I am debating if I will. I only want it because of a few games my Android don't have but I might just sell it if the prices rise.
  • "warmer"...try Muddy Green!

    I am a confirmed Apple fan for many years, but am a bit disappointed so far with my New iPad. Sure it looks great with text, but I had to peer closely side by side with my iPad2 to notice a difference in my photos, which is what I really wanted the retina display for. The big Bummer is what you call "warmer' display, it really is a bad white balance and appears a muddy green on all my pix. Will be returning for a refund if I cannot alter the display to a decent color balance. Very apparent even in the screen shot you have.
  • Was surprised and disappointed

    Went to Best Buy to check it out first hand.
    What I did notice: crisper display, colors a bit "yellower". Overall it looked good.
    What I also noticed: after a few minutes it started to get warm, as in temperature. Not just the back, but the front too. Talking to the sales rep, he also noted that it will take longer to charge due to the battery size.

    Running through a few apps they had on there that I also have on my iPad 2 I did not notice any speed increase.

    Seems most of the improvement is for the display support and LTE.
  • Oh and...

    It looks like most of the population shares your opinion..

    I would say a safe bet would be 1.2 Million sold and quite a few were left over from day one. Interesting was the LTE and 3G enabled devices had more sell through than the typically strong WiFi models.
    • Good to know ZDNet's resident stock boy...

      is keeping track of inventory for us.
      • Boy

        You really hate the fact that this isn't an instant success don't you? Too bad man, I bet these numbers get worse when people realize they cannot make money on them and a lot of inventory goes back to Apple.

        The people sitting pretty are those who bought the iPad 2 because the display really is the only "Visible" difference.
    • I feel I must knock you down a peg

      It still sold more in one weekend than most Android tablets sell in quarters.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • the new ipad is the must have

    I total don't agree, at a so low price to get a perfect ipad new version, what you are guys expecting? it is a definitely must have IMO, anyway, I have pre-order it and bought some case here :
    • There is no such thing as a "must have"

      except for mindless fanbois.

      What we have are needs and wants. If you need this higher resolution display or derive really practical benefits from it, fine, buy the new iPad. If it only strokes your ego to own one, in particular when you show it to others, frankly you are a bit of a fool, but then again the world is full of fools.
      • Take it from a guy who use to be on dialysis... Yes, yes there is:)

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • How's your golf game?

        Are you aware that you slipped quietly into equating "wants" with "things that only stroke your ego"? The two are hardly synonymous. Try limiting your wife's clothing purchases to only things that offer practical benefits; let us know how that goes. Especially if you tell her that she only wants that other stuff to stroke her ego.
        Robert Hahn
      • I would say a need...

        is a 'must have.' In fact, that's pretty much the definition of 'need.'

        There are wants that don't aren't necessarily about stroking one's ego, and you look small by suggesting otherwise.
      • Irrelevant responses

        @Pagan jim

        "must have" in this context has general applicability. A must have for you is not a "must have" of general applicability.

        @Robert Hahn

        Were you trying to make a point? If so, your logic failed miserably.


        See my response above. If you do not understand a "must have" in this context, I cannot help you.
      • Far from being irrelevant in this context...

        you were the one who wrote "if you need this higher resolution display..."

        Unless you have a new definition of 'need,' that is.
  • Your title did not specify "In this case" but was far more general.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • So What Should We Do...Buy and Android Tablet?

    This screen will set the bar for all other tablets to follow.

    The fact that many Android manufacturers will be dropping out the race this year, because they've been throwing money down the drain holding unsold inventory, this new screen will increase the bar for entry for those attempting to compete with Apple going forward.

    Aside from Samsung, and maybe one or two other manufacturers, most wont be willing to shell out this kind of dough for tablets that aren't selling well in the first place, just my opinion.

    As far as Microsoft goes, just look at the hardware that Windows runs on. The margins in the computer industry are so small because of commoditization within the industry, the only way manufacturers can make money is by making the machines as cheap as possible (using plastic and other cheap components).

    Windows 8 notebooks and tablets will be no different. Expect them to be comprised of cheap plastics and various other rock bottom components (Dell and HP are masters at this).

    That's what separates Apple from the pack. They are now reporting that Apple's margins will be smaller on the iPad 3 and Apple will eat the difference, but that's where economies of scale come into play.... Macroeconomics 101. Apple simply pays less because of the volume of components that they pay for up front. Apple uses quality components and materials that will last for years. Apple is the only manufacturer in the computer industry today where they produce products that actually have significant resale value.