First Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

Video is now shot in 1080p

If 720p just wasn’t enough, 1080p is now here too. Can you imagine all the TV one-man-bands in the near future? No need to get your constantly outdated equipment out, just film a press conference on the iPad, edit it with iMovie or Avid Express for £2.99 and upload it to YouTube. Welcome, Citizen Reporter – your quality is now better than CNN and APTN.

It has built in video stabilisation too – so if you’ve had too much coffee your shots will still look excellent.

Focal Length and Crop

It appears the focal length has changed on the new iPad camera – don’t ask me what it is, it’s not really relevant because we don’t know how big the sensor is anyway. What is relevant is the captured viewing angle.

Comparing iPad 2 and the new iPad (what a rubbish name by the way) it looks like the the new iPad shoots stills slightly wider than iPad 2. Have a look at this little experiment here: I’m pointing both iPads at the same scene:

Coparing still pictures: iPad 2 (left), the new iPad (right)

It’s not much, but we gained a bit of room with the new iPad. Great!

Would it be the same for video I wonder, where we really really need wider lenses to cope with close environments? Let’s take a look at it now. I’ve switched both iPads into video mode and pointed them at the same scene again.

Comparing video mode: iPad 2 (left) takes a much wider view than the new iPad (right)

Yikes – it’s the other way round. And it’s off by about 50% – that’s a shame. I always disliked video cameras that were too close, and the new iPad just got closer. Video is – compared to stills – more zoomed in on both devices, we knew about this already. It’s because not all pixels of the sensor are used to capture video, they literally just to a centre cut-out to match whatever standard you’re shooting.

I bet the aforementioned video stabilisation is the culprit: a common technology in video cameras is to shoot more pixels than you need, then zoom in to a “safe action” and match what’s similar from frame to frame. That way you can shake your camera but it’s “buffered” by the extra surrounding pixels you shoot.

It’s great to have that feature, I wonder if we should have a choice to use it or not.

Original Smart Cover still works – but…

some third-party solutions do not. That sucks. Apple must have moved those magnets inside the device. The original front protection thingy still works fine of course (you know, the one for £39/£69 available only in awkward colours?)

But I’ve recently purchased a really nice white faux-leather case that fits iPad 2 and works beautifully putting the device to sleep when I close it. Julia has the same in purple, only $40 from a stand at Aventura Mall (after haggling discount). Sadly my white cover does not put the new iPad to sleep anymore 🙁

At first I thought it was my device, but when we tried it in Julia’s purple case of the exact same make it went to sleep just fine. Must be my cover then – beware of such disappointments.

Now we’ll examine the 4G capabilities a bit closer. It gets techie, but bear with me here.

One thought on “First Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

  1. So I’ve spent a week with my new toy and I can tell you this much: the display rocks. Seriously. You get used to being able to read everything no matter how small the font is.

    Pictures I had taken weeks ago shine in a new light as I discover details that I didn’t know was there before – it’s a great enjoyment. HD video is the same: the extra clarity just adds a new dimension to it.

    But I’ve also found a couple of things that appear to annoy me, which really is a shame.

    For once, the new iPad is heavier – and that’s not just on paper. I can feel it when I pick it up and use it, especially with the unhealthy “reading while holding it in my left hand hand” approach. You’ll think I’m crazy making a fuzz over the additional weight of a chocolate bar, but I can feel it. The extra strain on your wrist isn’t fun. Not a dealbreaker either, but enough to annoy me.

    Then there’s the battery. When previously I would have put my depleted iPad to on charge for half an hour, I could take it out again for half a day. Not so with the new iPad. It takes nearly twice as long to charge. Again not massive issue, but it eats into the smooth cool of the iPad 2. I’ve heard reports that charging the new iPad on a well powered USB port or iPhone charger now takes 4x longer than before. That’s mathematically correct: we still only have 10W on the iPad charger, and a maximum of 5W on a USB port. So if the new iPad uses 10W just to operate, and you put 5W in, then you’re still down 5W. iPad 2 on the other hand may have only used 2-3W max, so the extra wattage goes into charging the battery.

    Software is a biggie though: I have a feeling that the new iPad isn’t as responsive ans slick as iPad 2. I understand there are more pixels to be moved and all, but what made iPad 2 so cool is its slickness. The magic touch if you will. The new iPad feels a bit like an Android tablet, where moving the screen sometimes jitters. Would Steve have approved of this? Certainly not.

    In addition, many apps are still not (yet) running well on the new iPad, and I don’t mean they haven’t updated their hi-res graphics yet. Some apps just don’t run. I know that’s only a matter of time until developers have sorted this, but my point is we HAVE a well-working version right here today (granted without the Retina Display). Why but up with a Beta Version if you don’t have to?

    3G (or 4G) is another minor issue: iPad 2 had better reception on AT&T – at least where I am right now. I wonder if HSPA+ is actually thinner in coverage compared to the previous UMTS, and since my new device supports HSPA+ it only connects to that band, neglecting the other. Hmmm…

    So I’m now thinking: it’s certainly great to have the new iPad, but maybe I’ll keep my old iPad 2 as well and use it depending on the situation. Maybe 2 devices is the answer, especially having one eye on developing apps.

    None of this really matters, and they’re all minor minor issues that only spring up if you compare both devices. I guess what I’m saying here is that if you have a choice which one to get, and you’re stuck asking yourself which once should you pick up, don’t see the iPad 2 as old technology. It still rocks, so much so that it has advantages over its new brother.

    I can’t help but wondering that if Steve would be alive… had the new iPad come out thicker and heavier? Or would he have said: “not an option – find a way or you’re fired”!

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