/ Technology

New iPad – your expectations will always exceed reality

Reactions to Apple product launches are rarely reliable. Expectations are raised so high that they are rarely met. Last night’s new iPad launch was no exception. Is it time to cut the hype surrounding Apple products?

Apple rumours are far-fetched at the best of times, but mere hours before the event a new one appeared – the new iPad would have a ‘haptic’ feedback touchscreen.

What did this mean? That you’d feel the texture of items on-screen – i.e. a rough fabric would feel rough. This isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds – a company in Finland has showcased this technology – but it’s a long way from being ready and was all but fantasy for the new iPad.

Apart from that, most of the new iPad’s features were leaked beforehand – a fact that puts to bed Apple’s so-called ability to keep secrets. We knew the screen would be a ‘retina display’ – two times the resolution of the iPad 2. We knew the processor would be called the A5X, a sure enough sign that the upgrade wouldn’t be as radical as some previously thought. And plenty of other details were either predicted or hinted at.

Like a film trailer that gives away all the twists, the event was mundane in comparison to the things people *thought* the new iPad would do.

Beyond the iPad hype

Put aside the lack of surprises, however, and the new iPad is a strong evolution from the iPad 2. The significance of the ‘retina display’ is difficult to explain in words – it really does need to be seen to be believed. It has a resolution of is 2,048 by 1,536 pixels – that’s four times the number of pixels than the iPad 2 and a million more than an HDTV!

If you need an idea of the difference, simply find an old iPhone 3G or 3GS and put it beside the iPhone 4/4S. I was blown away by that comparison when I first saw it and the larger screen on the iPad will only amplify the effect.

But the other key feature of the iPad, its support for 4G mobile broadband (which promises wireless internet speeds 10x faster than 3G) sparks a pang of regret. Why? Because apart from a trial in Cornwall, the UK doesn’t have any 4G networks at present.

This extra fast wireless internet is widely available in the US, and Sweden and Norway are leading the way in Europe. But Ofcom says mobile networks won’t start deploying 4G in the UK until early 2013. Like the UK’s waning broadband network, this is another poor reflection on our readiness for the ‘digital age’.

This isn’t Apple’s fault, of course, but it does put a serious dent in the argument for buying a new iPad. As does the fact that the impressive looking new software will, with one or two exceptions, work just fine on the now discounted iPad 2.

None of this will affect Apple’s dominance of the tablet market – I fully expect the iPad to be dominant come this time next year. But perhaps next year people will have learnt to expect a little less, and enjoy the results a little more. We can but hope.


It’s still a touchscreen, any device with just a touchscreen will always be a dumbed down version of a normal computer and therefore inferior to anything else like a pc or mac

I have an ipad2 and I really quite detest it. Any website with a flash advert often causes the browser to crash (autotrader website is particularly bad), networked applications are very unreliable and there never seems to be quite enough menu options. Also, with all the contacts/calendars etc, Apple are assuming that my my life is organised. It just isn’t and will never be so all the extra phone type apps are entirely erroneous to me.

For specialist apps then it works quite well, as any computer can do. Personally I just use it as what a tablet should be used for, browsing whilst watching tv. It really is not a tool.

I still think my phone is a much better option for mobile browsing, you can hold it in one hand.

Tim Plowright says:
12 March 2012

Dean, why do you use the Auto Trader website when they have a brilliant app?

Hi Tim, I know you’re just replying to Dean’s mention of Auto Trader – but it’s off-topic from the new iPad. So if we could stick to that, that would be great. Thanks.

Rob says:
14 March 2012

I am reading reports from other website that when 4g is ready the new ipad wont support it in Europe

“In America and Canada, 4G runs on the 700Mhz and 2,100MHz spectrums, the only two supported by the iPad. In Germany, for example, with the only fully functional 4G network in Europe, the spectrums 800MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,600MHz are used. Likewise, current UK trials are for the 1,800MHz spectrum”

The hype surrounding the iPad has attracted the attention for the Office for National Statistics and the cost of tablet computers is now to be included in the monthly estimate of inflation. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/mar/13/inflation-basket-goods-2012-full-list

The cost of developing and printing of colour film has been removed form the calculation, at last.

James Brennan says:
15 March 2012

The ipad, does very little for a lot of money, why would you wast your money on one?

Adey says:
16 March 2012

Perhaps you meant; “I think the ipad does very little for a lot of money, why would I waste my money on one?” – the answer to that one is you probably don’t have a need for a portable media browser with built-in maps, camera and internet… much of the power of the ipad is in the apps you use and the portability of unit. Personally I think an ultra portable laptop is much better value.

Adey says:
16 March 2012

I can not recommend buying an iPad 3, especially if you have an iPhone 4/4S. I bought an iPad 1 and quickly returned it to buy a Macbook Air 11″ – you can run proper programs, it connects to wi-fi, it has a 120GB solid-state drive, real keyboard, plays substantially more media types, file download/sharing and its about the same size and weight. Seriously consider a baby Macbook Air rather than an iPad. I think its the best technology on the market for the size, power and convenience.

dunkan says:
16 March 2012

Oh, dear…. I have both a MacBook Air mk2 and an iPad… they are NOT the same size, NOT the same weight, and – while the Air is certainly great – it’s no iPad replacement.

Anyone want to take a guess on when the first Ipad3 catches fire, or at least starts smoking and melts.
And what do you think Apples response will be?

Actually we’ve taken the new iPad to our labs to check out the overheating claims – you can see our results here: http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/tablets-ebooks/is-the-new-ipad-overheating-the-which-test-lab-reports/

It is certainly hotter, but ‘overheating’ claims may be overblown. There’s also a response from Apple.

I had a look at the test results, whilst 40 degrees is not too hot, it does detract from the tactile experience of Apple products, the only comparison I can make is using the Ipad2 was like walking on a sandy beach, the Ipad3 is like walking on shingles. Not truly uncomfortable but slightly irritating.

I do wonder why apple with all it’s marketing expertise did not use this as a sales point, the Apple warm screen…..

I like many others will see how this pans out after they have been in use for a few months.
Apples response is what we have come to expect from them, soulless & corporate!

Watch the start of this video and you will see that the iPad really is at the ‘cutting edge’. 🙂


Larry says:
20 May 2012

I agree with Eileen’s comment, 20th May, some of the staff in Breahead are not to clued up when asked a question, I bought my I Mac in this store and any time I go and ask a question, remember this is my first Mac so there are some things I am not sure about, I do not always get a positive answer, some customer training is required in this large store.