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The New iPad: Hits and Misses

Well, we’re finally here. After months and months of speculation, rumors, false reports, and countless prognostications, the new iPad (that’s actually the real name, it seems) has at long last been unveiled. As you would expect after such a build up, there were a lot of expectations for the new device, so let’s go through what some of our expectations were and see if they were met.

Retina Display

The improvement I think people were hoping for the most, that the iPad would sport Retina Display resolution (2048 x 1536), was announced to much acclaim and applause by the masses. The 9.7 inch screen blows every other mobile device out of the water (and most HDTVs, for that matter) with over 3 million pixels; so many that the human eye won’t be able to see a single pixel at normal 20/20 vision. The improved display means photos will pop like never before, and app developers will be forced to step up their game in order to bring us more advanced and gorgeous experiences with their products.

The A5X Chip

It goes without saying that when releasing an update, the latest device should be at least incrementally faster than the previous, and Apple didn’t disappoint. While maybe not as powerful as some were hoping, the A5X is necessary in order to power the super-HD display of the new iPad, and is claimed to be four times as powerful as the Tegra 3. In case you aren’t aware, that’s ridiculous.

The Camera

When the iPad 2 was released, everyone was absolutely beside themselves to learn that it would have a camera, only to find out that it was rather subpar once they got their chance to play around with it. Apple heard the complaints and stepped up big time with a 5 megapixel iSight camera that’s equipped with advanced optics and shoots 1080p HD video. Add in the image stabilization feature, and the new camera is smoking hot.

4G LTE

For those who have data-enabled plans for their iPads, the possibility of a 4G enabled device was a savory one. The newest iPad comes equipped with 4G connectivity, and what’s even more amazing about it is that it won’t be the battery draining nuisance that LTE is typically known for. Apple claims that battery life in the new iPad is virtually the exact same as the iPad 2 (up to 10 hours), with 9 hours of life when connected to LTE.

These improvements alone would be enough to make any enthusiast happy, but as it is today, the rumor mill has perhaps set some of our expectations a little too high. For me, there are just a few other things I was hoping for in addition to those listed above, but Apple obviously didn’t get the memos I’ve been sending them.

The Price

Despite the rumor that the new iPad would be priced higher due to the Retina displays, the new iPad will launch on March 16th at the same price as the iPad 2 launch last year with the least expensive model still priced at $499.  This is a big plus for us consumers.

No Siri?

Siri has been an incredible success for the iPhone 4S, so it would stand to reason that she would come with the latest iPad. Nope. Apple chose not to integrate the virtual vixen into the latest device, but they did add a dictation feature that does exactly what Siri would do for text messaging, notes, emails, and other text-input functions. We just don’t get the sweet and sassy personality of Siri or her amazing search functionality. I’m not sure why Apple didn’t include Siri, as Tim Cook avoided mentioning her in expert fashion. This was my biggest disappointment.

Haptics

Haptics have been the sexy “it” function included in a lot of last minute rumors, and if you’re unaware of what they are, here’s a brief breakdown: haptics give the user the feel of responsive interaction with the screen when they touch it. Think of it as a sort of vibration that takes place when your finger touches the screen, sort of emulating the feel of a keyboard or some other textured item. It was heavily rumored that this feature would be included, as Finnish tech company Senseq (a leader in this type of technology) has been making veiled claims about their relationship with Apple. So the fact that this feature wasn’t shipped with the new iPad leaves Senseq, and a few of us who were hoping for it, with egg on the face.

The Size

There are a few other things that I was hoping for, such as a slimmed down and lighter casing, but the rumors leading up to the announcement were all stating that this wouldn’t be case (no pun intended), so I quickly let go of that hope. Even still, the slight bump in size and weight is so minuscule that I doubt many, if any, would even notice.

The Name

A lot of folks are a little confused by the choice in name; that is to say, that there really isn’t a new one. It’s simply the iPad. Some are claiming that this will lead to a lot of confusion and frustration, but I don’t think that will be a major problem. Numbering a product will only go so far with each new iteration, and it would more than likely get more annoying a few years down the road when we’re all talking about our iPad 13’s. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple drop the version number from the iPhone line in the next update, if only to keep things simple and uniform across the product board.

That’s my take on the new iPad. All in all, I’m excited for it, even if nothing surprising came out during the keynote. It was kind of weird to see the unveiling end without the typical Apple-styled surprise, but the “one last thing” bit was sort of a Steve Jobs thing, and perhaps the company decided that it would be best to change things up and keep moving forward.

What do you think? Does the new iPad meet your expectations, or was there a missing killer feature you were hoping for?

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