It’s pretty funny how many people at work asked me if I was getting the new iPad. As if they had to ask.
Last year the iPad 2 went on sale at 5 PM, so there was time to get out of work and over to the Apple Store. This time, the iPad went on sale at 8 AM. Rather than take a whole day off, I figured I’d just get to work a few hours late.
I told my boss yesterday I was going to be a little late for work but made a point of not offering an explanation. To my surprise, she said it was OK and cracked a joke about me picking up an iPad. I didn’t know if I was supposed to fake a doctor’s appointment or come clean, but she went on to tell me that she was going to be late too since she was hitting up the Apple Store on the way in. Needless to say, she was cool with me being late.
The iPhone 4 and iPad 2 launches were insane, so I figured the earlier I get there the better. I got up at 5:30, was out the door at 6:00 and at the Apple Store by 6:15. The mall usually doesn’t open until 10:00, but you can get in earlier and walk around before all the stores open their gates. To my surprise, there were only about 20-25 people in line.
See the mall cop on the right? There were another 5 people to the right of him.
I though the line was going to be insane. Even when the store opened at 8:00, there were only about another 10-15 people behind me. One of the Apple Store employees told me that it was going to be crazy later and that the Manhattan stores were already packed. I guess I got lucky.
The doors opened at 8:00 and I had my receipt in my hand at 8:04. Boom!
Again, I opted for the 64G version so that I can get more bang for my buck in the long run. Like they say, two’s a coincidence, three’s a collection!
32G iPad 3G, 64G iPad 2, 64G iPad 3
When I got the iPad 2 last year, I “gave” my 1st gen iPad to my wife to use. This time, I’ll “give” her my iPad 2 and the iPad 1 will become the one that the kids can use. My wife doesn’t care about getting a hand-me-down. She barely uses the iPad 1 now.
Some people say they should have called it the iPad 2S. Most of the changes are internal so to look at the iPad 2 and 3 side-by-side, it’s almost impossible to see any difference at all. To hold it in your hand, it doesn't feel new at all. I just dropped $750 bucks on this! What’s all the fuss about?
There’s not much of a difference between the boxes either. It looks like they just changed the wallpaper.
iPad 2 on the left, iPad 3 on the right.
I’m glad to see they still throw in a charger.
It looks identical to the iPad 2. It feels the tiniest bit heavier, but hardly noticeable. I heard that the curvature on the sides was supposed to be a little different and that it wouldn’t fit in an iPad 2 case. A friend at work rolled in with his new iPad 3. He pickup up an iPad 2 case and it fit without a problem.
Looking at the iPad 3 on top of the iPad 2, you can see a slight difference at the edges. I don’t think you could tell them apart without having them this close together.
The one giveaway is the camera. The camera on the iPad 3 is bigger.
I haven’t had a chance to order a new case for the iPad 3 yet, so I’ll have to carry it around in my iPad 2 DODOcase. Luckily for me it fits too.
One thing that doesn’t fit is my iPad 2 USB cable. Rather than open yet another USB cable, I figured I’d leave it in the box and just plug the iPad 3 into my Mac using the cable that’s already there. I can’t remember if that cable came with my iPhone 4 or my iPad 2, but it doesn’t fit into the iPad 3. It felt like the iPad was going to break trying to plug it in. I thought for a second I had a defective dock connector, but the iPad 3 cable fits without a problem. The iPad 3 cable also fits my iPhone 4, so what gives?
You can see there is a difference in the two cables. The old cable on the left is grey by the clips while the iPad 3 cabe is white. Now I’m sure that’s just the color of the plastic and it has nothing to do with the cable not fitting, but the strain relief is a different size, as well as the wire gauge. So maybe there’s more to it than just cosmetics.
I powered the iPad on and ran through the setup. Wow, does the Retina Display look amazing! What a difference. You really can’t see any pixels. Text looks absolutely incredible.
I simply restored the iPad 3 from my iPad 2 backup. They are like carbon copies of each other and everything is right where it was and where it should be.
OK, let’s check out that new camera...
Here’s an image taken with the iPad 2’s front camera:
iPad 2, 640 x 480, 131 K
And here is an image taken with the iPad 3:
iPad 3, 640 x 480, 149 K
Although the iPad 3 image might look slightly better, it has nothing to do with the hardware. It’s just the lighting in this room. Both cameras shoot at 640 x 480 VGA. Needless to say, the camera on the front is still a joke at taking stills. Then again, the front camera isn’t really for taking pictures of yourself. It’s for FaceTime and records video in VGA.
So how does the iSight camera fair at recording video? There’s no difference.
iPad 2 Resolution: 640 x 480 Filesize: 3.4 MB
iPad 3 Resolution: 640 x 480 Filesize: 3.4 MB
The rear camera however is a different story. It’s no iPhone 4S, but it’s better than the iPad 2. It snaps images at 2592x1936. It also has face detection too. I ran outside to snap a shot and the difference is remarkable.
iPad 2 Resolution: 960 x 720 Filesize: 448K
iPad 3 Resolution: 2592 x 1916 Filesize: 2.2 MB
It’s also better at handling inside shots when the lighting is less than perfect. Here’s a close up of my Apple //c. You can definitely tell that the iPad 3 image is less grainy than that of the iPad 2.
iPad 2 Resolution: 960 x 720 Filesize: 253 K
iPad 3 Resolution: 2592 x 1936 Filesize: 1.3 MB
HD video looks great. Granted, I scaled these down so they were small enough to fit on the page. Remember, the iPad 3 video is 1920 x 1080! Everything looks good when you shrink it down. So I don’t know how well this will illustrate the point that the iPad 3 video is way better than the iPad 2.
iPad 2, 720 HD Original .mov size: 16.8 MB Exported to .m4v: 11.1 MB
iPad 3, 1080 HD Original .mov size: 36.4 MB Exported to .m4v: 16.8 MB
All the more reason to pick up a 64G iPad. The iPad 3 file sizes are way higher than that of the iPad 2. That 16G iPad 3 is going to fill up pretty fast.
But enough about the cameras, how about that Retina Display?
It’s really hard to capture the awesomeness of the display with a camera. You really have to hold it in your hand. You’ll immediately see the difference. Any iPad 1 or iPad 2 owner will tell you have much better t it looks. I remember when I got my iPhone 4 how I was blown away by the display. After a week of use, I grabbed my old iPhone 3G and was almost disgusted at how horrible the display looked. I think the same will happen with the iPad 3. I’m going to feel like I have sand in my eyes looking at the iPad 2.
I’ll try to capture it with my camera.
Text looks amazing.
Images looks incredible. It’s amazing what doubling the pixels can do.
Now this is a really large image that I zoomed in on. You can see the pixels on the iPad 2, but on the iPad 3, they are barely noticeable. I’m only a few inches away with my camera. You’d never hold an iPad that close. At arms length, the iPad 3 image looks incredible.
Better camera, better display. But that’s not all. It’s got more RAM and a better processor to boot. I tried to capture the difference in speed with a video. Sometimes the iPad 2 beat out the iPad 3, but when I’d repeat the test, the iPad 3 would win. Some apps were identical. So launching a few apps isn’t exactly an accurate display of real-world use. I’ll have a better feel for the speed once I’ve used it for a few days.
The iPad 3 is on the right.
I played around with the new Dictation feature too. It works like a charm. You just have to speak clearly.
I just wish the iPad 3 had the full-Siri. That would have been killer. Maybe Apple will add that later.