The iPad was my first experience of a tablet device, followed by the iPad 2. I have since owned a 7-inch BlackBerry Playbook before moving on to Apple’s new iPad for this review. I have been without an iPad for some 3-4 months between owning the iPad 2 and the new iPad.
- Beautiful high resolution with Retina display
- iOS 5 operating system
- iCloud ecosystem
- Excellent battery life
- iCloud set-up
Build, Design & Quality
The iPad is nothing less than a beauty of design coming from the Apple manufacturing process. The new iPad is sold, well-built and beautiful. The form factor presents itself in a tablet with 9.7-inch dimensions. However, the corners are curved with a gentle slope to every edge. The display features a 2048×1536 resolution. The quality of the display means that the new iPad can still be seen easily in direct sunlight.
The iPad arrived with a very minimal amount of ports. These consist of a speaker grill, a charging port at the bottom of one end. The volume rocker key and a mute button on the right and the headphone socket and the 5 megapixel camera on the top.
The iPad uses Apple iOS 5 which features some of the following:
iOS 5 brings one of the fastest operating systems to the new iPad with the latest in applications and processing. The new iPad uses a dual-core Apple A5X chip with quad-core graphics.
Installation and Set-up
Opening the new iPad and setting it up was like welcoming home an old friend. The set-up and installation were no more difficult than that of the original iPad or the iPad 2. It was fantastic to be able to just open my apps and get stuck right in. Although I do have an iPhone, I had always set up my iPad in a different manner in that its use and applications were suited for the larger 9.7 display. Therefore, the vast majority of my applications were media and entertainment orientated for extensive viewing than the simpler, quick to use, apps that I have on the iPhone.
Social Networking & Apps
I am in love with Social Networking and being able to have direct access via my new iPad whenever I needed them was superb. In particular, was the full screen access that provided an almost full website capability.
Apple has recently incorporated Twitter into the main core of iOS and Apple is seeking to do the same with Facebook. This makes linking to your Facebook’s and sharing contacts easy.
iMessaging is my number one used app for IM and with iMessage I can switch from my iPad or my iPhone and have all the messages threaded.
Email was simple to set up on the iPad alongside other email accounts. I have written about the slight problem with the iOS automatically assuming that your email address for iCloud is the same as for the App Store.
I make full use of many of the default apps that are part of iOS such as Reminders, Notes, Emails, Contacts and iCloud and the knowledge of its security backed-up in the Cloud is a great asset.
I have so much to say about the App Store but lets begin with one word or make that two ‘incredibly useful’. There are App Stores and then there is the Apple App Store. It has just about every app available for every user and plenty more beyond that. I was able to grab all my old favourites as well as some new apps that were available for the iPad only.
Checkout my review of London – A City Through Time. I have yet to see a more beautiful, useful and in-depth app. I think app developers need to look to this app to build-upon its success.
Apps available run from weather apps through to Olympics, from books to games, from educations to business and from utilities to reference apps.
The iPad utilises the 3G, Wi-Fi HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA data networks and using the new iPad Safari Browser provides incredibly fast speeds, for searching, streaming and downloading apps, films and other media.
Quite possibly iTunes is the number 1 management system for users of the iPhone, iPod Touch, the Mac and let us add the iPad into the mix. I have used iTunes as my music management for over 5 years. It suits all my needs including those of the management of my iOS products but also in managing my vast music and media collection. I have to put little effort into iTunes. It just works. The process of ticking boxes to choose what music or media I want synced to my device could not be made any simpler.
One of my favourite apps is ClassicFM and the new iPad streams this quickly and efficiently with zero problems.
The speaker quality of the new iPad is very good. I often like to listen to it in preference to my Mac. The reason being that I find it much more pleasurable to listen to my music via a device that I am not using for work at the same time.
Photos and Gallery
The iPad photo and gallery is set up for the user to be able to quickly find and showcase their favourite photos. You can create individual albums or showcase photos from your photo stream.
iCloud brings synchronisation with mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, safari bookmarks, notes, passbook, photo stream and documents including the Find My iPad option. It might at first look as if you need an iPhone or alternative Apple device to make iCloud worth while but you do not. What iCloud offers is a back-up of your services so that if you device is lost or stolen you can re-install with the minimum of difficulty. However, in addition to back-up, iCloud does provide the superb experience of synchronisation the above between your other Apple products should you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or a Mac.
Camera and Video
The rear of the iPad 2 was the first time a camera made it to Apple’s tablet and as proven by the London 2012 Olympics, there are times when the iPad camera can be extremely useful to have. However on a general scale, capturing photos on the new iPad can be quite difficult especially due to its size.
The new iPad captures photos using a 5 megapixel camera (compared to 0.7MP in the iPad 2) and also packs useful features such as anf/2.4 aperture and five-element lens as well as tap to focus. However, it doesn’t pack a flash which would be useful to have.
Overall picture quality will suffice for the occasional shot but don’t give up your dedicated camera just yet.
I have to be honest here, in that as I said earlier it is some 3-4 months since I have owned the iPad 2. In using the new iPad I can find no excessive speed increase or improvements in the display despite the advertised improvements and capabilities.
However, I do very much agree with the excellent battery life. My personal views are that I would need to have the two devices of the iPad 2 and the new iPad side-by-side to be able to offer a legitimate response on the screen display and any increase in speed.
That being said, the iPad remains the tablet leader within the 10-inch tablet market and rumours of the mini iPad, set for launch next month, could see Apple attempt to replicate the 10 inch’s success in the lower tablet form.