Thoughts on Yesterday's Apple News

As you no doubt have heard, Apple unveiled a new iPad and more yesterday. Here are a few of my thoughts.

The Name

It seems like the biggest buzz around yesterday’s announcement was about the name: “The new iPad.” Some are declaring this to be a stupid move, as if Apple was “unable” to come up with a better name. Such thinking is, of course, laughable. I’m sure “iPad 3”, “iPad HD”, “iPad Pro”, and others were considered, but Apple made the right move here.

Three reasons off the top of my head: In five years, do you really think Apple would want to be announcing the “iPad 7”? The “iPad 13”? No, the numbers had to go sooner or later, and I suspect we’ll see the same for the new iPhone later this year. Furthermore, most casual users are going to call it “the new iPad” or “the new iPhone” anyway. Now there’s no need to explain that, “Well, it’s the fifth iPhone, but it’s called the 4S…” etc. Instead: “Hey, is that the new iPad?” “Yes, yes it is.” Finally, Macs and iPods do not have numbered names. There’s no “MacBook Air 4” or “iPod 12”. Getting rid of the numbering system makes Apple’s product line consistent and simple.

Slightly complicating the matter, though, is the fact that the iPad 2 is still going to be available for $399. It does seem a bit odd to envision Apple Store employees explaining the two devices: “Are you looking for an iPad 2, or the new iPad?” But, I think such a question is designed to entice customers to buy the new iPad. “iPad 2” might as well mean “the old iPad” when used in the same sentence as “the new iPad”. Plus, when comparing the two side-by-side, I don’t think people will have a hard time figuring out which model they want.

The Retina Display

…is what’s it’s all about. I remember turning on my iPhone 4 for the first time, and the screen was astounding. I can’t wait to see what the Retina Display looks like on the iPad. I’m curious to see how the reading experience compares between the new iPad and a Kindle. The Retina reading experience will undoubtedly be much better, but the new iPad is still backlit, allowing e-readers to hold onto their e-ink advantage. Still, the iPad is a multipurpose device, and browsing the web, email, photos, movies, et al. are going to be gorgeous. I will continue to own both.

iPhoto for iOS

I’m not a huge photos guy. I snap a lot of pictures with my iPhone, but I do little in the way of organizing, editing, sharing, etc. Nevertheless, the iPhoto demo (which starts at minute 62:00) really impressed me. At $4.99, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it, and don’t overlook the fact that it’s a universal app and can be used on the iPhone as well.

See Viticci’s in-depth review of iPhoto for iOS over on MacStories.

The New Camera

0.7 megapixels to 5.0 megapixels is a huge upgrade, and being able to shoot 1080p video is nice, but I still don’t see myself holding up an iPad to take photos or videos very often. I’ve seen people do that with iPad 2s on a semi-regular basis though, so it’s a worthy addition. At least now the pictures will be of comparable quality to those taken with an iPhone 4.

A5X Chip for Quad Core Graphics, 4G LTE, and 10-Hour Battery Life

Mmmmm… speed. I’m most excited about the fact that a 4G iPad strongly suggests a 4G iPhone later this year. The same 10-hour battery life is great. I charge my iPad every few days, and it’s impressive that Apple — predictably — made no sacrifices in this department.

Slightly Thicker, Slightly Heavier

Negligible. Skeptics will be glad to have something to nitpick over, but the hardware upgrades above more than compensate for a few extra millimeters and grams.

Will I Be Getting One?

Sadly, no, I don’t think so. My iPad 2 is only a year old, and I love it very much. I think the new iPad is going to be amazing, and like Marco has been saying, the Retina Display alone makes it a worthy upgrade. But, I will be buying the new iPhone later this year, guaranteed, and I’d rather stagger out my iDevice purchases than buy two in the same year. I think owners of the original iPad would be crazy not to upgrade, and even iPad 2 owners aren’t crazy to at least consider it. It’s very tempting, but I will save my $499+… for the time being.

If you are in the market for a new iPad, however, be sure to consult Marco Arment’s buyer’s guide.

The Latest Apple TV

Like Mr. Stephen Hackett, I’m glad the Apple TV is still an independent box rather than a full-fledged television set. I just upgrade to the new software, and the new interface and other improvements looks good. Notably, the only difference between the latest Apple TV and the previous generation is that the new one can play 1080p video, while the older one lacks the hardware capabilities to do so. At the same price of $99 though, I’ll strongly be considering giving/selling my Apple TV to a family member and picking up one of the new models. The fact that iTunes in the Cloud now supports movies is also pretty awesome.

iOS 5.1

Small, but nice, updates, including an always-present camera button on the lock screen. I never remembered to double click the home button before, and the swipe up gesture to open the camera is well done. Also, photos can now be deleted from Photo Stream, which is great because I can stop worrying about clogging up Photo Stream with screenshots and other throwaway shots.

“2012: There’s a Lot to Look Forward to”

Tim Cook:

“Only Apple could deliver this kind of innovation in such a beautiful, integrated, and easy-to-use way. It’s what we love to do. It’s what we stand for. And across the year, you’re going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started.”

Tim’s tantalizing promise about the year to come confirms that it’s still an exciting time to be a member of the Apple community, and that it will be for the foreseeable future. Certainly, Apple could merely continue to improve upon its existing devices and do very well, but I can’t wait to see what the next big thing is.

No other company creates an experience that instills such passion and dedication in its customers. It’s why people love, support, and stand so proudly alongside Apple.

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