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

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.
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

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.

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