Apple has announced that the New iPad will go on sale in its stores on Friday morning at 8am. Is it worth getting up early, or camping out to get one? If you live in the UK is it even worth buying a New iPad since the stand-out feature, LTE 4G, won’t even be available here?

4G, not for me

NO?

The first consideration is whether it’s worth buying a device that boasts that it’s ready for 4G when the UK are nowhere near being ready for 4G, in fact by the time 4G becomes widely available, Apple will probably be announcing the next New iPad (the New-er iPad?)

 

As we explain in this article about the New iPad and LTE 4G in the UK: The New iPad supports 4G running on the 700MHz and 2,100MHz spectrums - which is where 4G sits in America and Canada. Here in the UK the spectrums reserved for 4G aren't the same: the current UK trials are using the 1,800MHz spectrum, and later this year the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum will be auctioned off in the UK. So the New iPad may never offer 4G in the UK.

YES?

The New iPad will support HSPA+ at 21 mbp/s however, which 3 (Three) should be offering in the UK. We’re going to test whether this works.

OUR ADVICE…

4G is nothing to get excited about… Jury is still out on HSPA+

Eyeing the Retina display?

NO?

Retina display ready apps and magazines updated for Retina-display resolutions will look great, but they will also be much larger files because in order to take advantage of that display, apps need to generate new versions of their graphical assets. The larger images are larger files in terms of megabytes. It's unfortunate that Apple didn't double the new iPad's storage space options to 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB to better accommodate the larger app sizes endemic to Retina-ready apps.

If you are wondering what the size difference might be, look at Apple’s own Retina display-ready apps: Keynote was 115MB, now it’s 327MB; Numbers was 109MB, now it’s 283MB, and Pages went from 95MB to 269MB. iMovie has ballooned from 70MB to 404MB). That’s an average increased file size of a factor between 2.5 and 3.

Of course the problem with larger app sizes will be apparent for any app that is upgraded for the Retina display – even if you have a iPad 2. The new iPad's Retina display will impact on owners of both iPads and iPhones.

YES?

The New iPad’s 2,048-by-1,536 pixel display looks great: text is crisp, colour saturation is vivid. As Jason Snell says in his review of the New iPad: “The moment you pick up a third-generation iPad, you can tell the difference. All the slight jagginess and oddly misshappen characters we take for granted on lower-resolution displays just vanish on the Retina display.”

Of course the big advantage comes when you look at photos and video. As Jason Snell says: “A photo that looks just fine on an iPad 2 looks almost undefinably better on the new iPad.” Video is an even bigger story. As Snell explains: “The third-generation iPad’s screen actually contains more pixels than an HDTV. As a result, the Videos app actually has to blow up 1080p videos slightly in order to display them across the full width of its screen.” This is good news because the old iPad didn’t have enough pixels to show a complete HD picture, so it had to either scale things down or cut off the sides of the frame, Snell explains in his review.

OUR ADVICE…

The best advice is, pick the iPad with the biggest hard drive – even if that’s your iPad 2, because the Retina display might look great, but the files sizes are going to be massive!

Lovely new iMovie & iPhoto

YES?

If you have an original iPad you may thinking it’s time to upgrade so that you can take advantage of iMovie and iPhoto, which are officially only available for the new iPad and iPad 2.

NO?

The new iPhoto iOS app and iMovie can be manually copied to the original iPad. You need to install Apple's free iPhone Configuration Utility, connect your iPad via USB to your system and select the apps you want to manually install by adding them to the library. It’s a bit complicated though, so read how to do it here.  

OUR ADVICE…

If you need an excuse to upgrade an original iPad the new Apps are probably a good enough reason, workarounds exist, but at the end of the day your old iPad would probably struggle with the new apps anyway.

Get chatting to Dictation

YES

It’s the dictation features on the iPhone 4S that really impressed us. We feel that Siri is really more of a gimmick, while voice dictation is genuinely useful. Just as with the iPhone 4S, the new iPad features a microphone button on its virtual keyboard. Press it and speak, and your words will be translated into written text.

NO

That said, there are still a lot of people who want Siri (probably because they don’t own an iPhone 4S). There’s no Siri in the new iPad and that’s probably because Siri requires an always-on Internet connection and, unlike with an iPhone, that’s not guaranteed with an iPad.

OUR ADVICE…

We wish Dictation was available on all iOS devices because it’s a lot easier than tapping things out on the keyboard. However, you’ll want a quiet room to get the most out of it, and you’ll probably think twice before talking to your iPad on the train.

Snapping up the iSight camera

YES

The back camera on the New iPad has been upgraded significantly. The iPad 2’s back camera can only take photos and videos at 720p resolution (1,280 by 720, or roughly 0.9 MP), while the new iPad sports a 5-megapixel (2,592 by 1,936 pixels). It can also record 1,080p video. Apple says the new camera offers improved sharpness, and it supports auto-exposure, auto-focus, auto-face-detection, auto-exposure lock, auto-focus lock, and (for low-light images) temporal noise reduction, and it uses the iPad’s improved processing horsepower to provide image stabilization.

Jason Snell has tested the new iSight camera and in his review of the New iPad he said it seems safe to say that the new iPad has the best camera of any tablet device, and among the best of any mobile device.

NO

Does it really matter if the camera is excellent? Are you seriously going to replace your compact or SLR with a 10in square? Also the iSight’s five-megapixel camera is not quite on a par with the one in the iPhone 4S.

OUR ADVICE…

A better camera doesn’t hurt, plus the great apps you can buy for the iPad can really enhance the camera functionality, so maybe one day we will replace our SLRs…

Get better graphics

YES

The new iPad gets a significant bump in power thanks to a new, dual-core A5X processor, which also contains a quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU). Apple had to boosting the iPad’s graphics capabilities so that it could update the 3.1 million pixels on its Retina display. (Keep in mind, previous iPad screens only had about 786,000 pixels.) Updating that many pixels requires a whole lot more graphics power just to keep things running as smoothly as before.

In his testing of the New iPad, Jason Snell found the third-generation iPad blows away every other iOS device in terms of graphics performance. “In our tests using the GLBench 3D graphics testing app, the third-generation iPad could draw a complex 3D scene at the full frame rate of its display, 60 frames per second, without breaking a sweat. And in GLBench offscreen tests, which aren’t constrained by the display’s frame rate, the third-generation iPad had a frame rate 1.6 times that of the iPad 2 (and 13 times that of the original iPad).”

NO

App developers will need to update their apps to work well on the new iPad. While Apple’s own updated apps worked well with the Retina display, scrolling smoothly at all times, several third-party apps had glitches, including unresponsive interfaces and stuttering scrolling.

OUR ADVICE…

Might be worth waiting for developers to update their apps before rushing out to buy it, especially if you are into your games.

Get a better processor

YES

The new A5X chip offers great graphics performance, but…

NO

The A5X processor that powers the third-generation iPad doesn’t really offer more processing power than its predecessor. In all our processor-based tests, the new iPad ran about as fast as the iPad 2. Going beyond pure graphics performance, our tests found the new iPad to be roughly the same speed as the old one.

OUR ADVICE…

There isn’t a new processor as such so don’t expect any changes other than to the graphics capabilities…

Get better battery life

YES

The battery lift isn’t better, but Apple has managed to keep it the same, despite all the extra work the device is doing thanks to the HD screen.

NO

To keep the battery life the same, Apple had to make the iPad bigger – that’s 0.762 millimetres thicker than the respective iPad 2 models. We’re betting most of that space is filled with battery. The new iPads are, depending on the model, up to 55g pounds heavier than their immediate predecessors.

OUR ADVICE…

It’s bigger than the iPad 2, but not so that you’d notice it. If you are upgrading from an iPad 1 the New iPad is tiny!