| Mar 17, 2012
Here at Chili Technologies, we follow new trends in technology and product launches pretty closely. Given that was are actively involved in iOS development, it's natural that we'd follow Apple launches, particularly iPad and iPhone launches, particularly closely. We're also early adopters here at Chili and after the first iPad (v1) was launched in 2010, we picked up a 3G version a few weeks after launch.
There is some debate as to whether the new iPad (3rd gen) is a worthy upgrade, or rather, worth the premium to upgrade to the Retina display, faster processor, and LTE. I would argue, and my own experience is testimony to this fact, that an upgrade from the original iPad to the new iPad is warranted, but an upgrade from the iPad 2 is not.
A couple of things to consider:
The iPad first generation, when compared to the new iPad, is quite a slog, as you can see from these benchmark results:
As you can clearly see from the specs, the original iPad has an A4 CPU v. the new iPad's A5X, further, you see that the new iPad has 4x the memory.
One thing that Apple never talks about during their product launches is the amount of memory in a device because they believe the number is irrelevant to the end consumer. Generally speaking I would agree, but as the devices age, you'll note that the amount of memory becomes a constraint.
The problems of low memory on the original iPad are further exacerbated by the fact that it initially launched with iOS 3.2, and has seen two other major releases (iOS 4.0 and iOS 5.0).
Unfortunately the original iPad cannot cope with such low memory, especially when rendering large and complex web pages. Safari on the original iPad with iOS 5.1 crashes approximately 25% of the time.
Exact same webpages do not cause crashes on either the iPad 2 or new iPad leading me to speculate that the 256MB of memory on the original iPad is the culprit.
Recommendations for upgrade paths are as follows:
- original iPad -> new iPad (reason: original iPad can no longer cope with complexity of apps and complex web pages)
- iPad 2 -> no upgrade (wait for gen 4)
- no iPad -> new iPad (reason: if you're looking to get an iPad it does not make sense to buy an iPad 2 for $100 less if you hope to have a product which is not EOL in 12 to 18 months. a new iPad with the retina display and faster processor / memory means no upgrade until at least 2014 or later.
Frankly I'm a little surprised of any blog that would recommend purchasing the iPad 2 at this point. Yes, you're saving $100, but it comes at another cost. This, especially from blogs which are always harping on Apple for not producing the latest and greatest every year.
I think Apple's greatest strength is also their greatest weakness - in that they make great products, but by the same token they've really built up this incorrect perception that they can whip up products year after year and they will be something amazing. iPod, iPhone, iPad were all great and seriously altered the consumer technology landscape, but everything after their launch have been incremental upgrades. Nothing game changing has happened yet from within any of the product lines. Even Siri has not yet become something that will really change how we use our phones (probably because the technology is so half-baked and feature incomplete).
I think a lot of people have gotten accustomed to these launches. Let's face it, before the iPhone the mobile smartphone landscape was pretty dismal, with these smartphones mostly being reserved to geeks and those in the business world. The iPhone changed all that, but since that time, in the mobile sphere, there hasn't been another shift in usage yet. The reality is a biannual upgrade cycle is probably the best you should shoot for as these incremental updates happen slowly enough that being one generation behind every other year is probably okay. Obviously one should always evaluate the need for an upgrade and plan accordingly. If it's working fine for you, and meets your needs, do not upgrade. However, if you're a power user, a biannual upgrade cycle is definitely something to consider.
The point I'm trying to make is that expecting Apple to release blockbuster after blockbuster every year is unrealistic. They're going to release incremental updates to their products as the technology becomes available, and I don't think anything in the near term will end up being a mind-blowing change such as this:
Satire and parody aside, my point is that while Apple introduced the iPhone as a "game changer" since that time there hasn't been another major usage change (by anybody) in the mobile space, and that something like an eye-embedded device would be a complete change, and not just a refinement of an existing technology. However, I for one, won't be an early adopter for this piece of hypothetical technology.
I'll wait for v2.
As an aside, yes, the new iPad is quite nice, the screen is absolutely stunning, and when I go back to the pixelated world of PC (mac/wintel) displays, I'm left with the realization that PC display technology has not really evolved much since the LCD flat panel became nearly ubiquitous a decade ago. Hopefully the iPad will push things further so that we see an adoption of this retina HiDPI technology in desktop and laptop displays.
The real world is not pixelated, it's high time that the display technology caught up. I suppose it is like anything, baby steps at first.
Apple is right about one thing though, technology has to evolve to a point where we are no longer conscious of its existence in our daily lives.
We're getting there, though we have a long way to go. (The latency of data networks and information retrieval is one thing still standing in our way).